Sunday, January 31, 2016

Oversight: What’s a Nonprofit Board to Do



Last week, our local newspaper ran a front page story “exposing” a local foundation’s questionable spending practices.

Here are some of the details I pulled from the foundation’s 2013 990 report:
  • Total assets of $8.99 million.
  • Total grants (to other groups) of $235,352 (that’s 2.6% of assets).
  • Total compensation (to board, CEO and staff) of $296,402. Even though the Foundation has no direct programs, that’s $61,050 MORE than it grants.
After the foundation’s president died, board members “discovered” the foundation had bought the president a $45,000 Lincoln Town Car and that back in 2000, the foundation paid $69,000 for a Cadillac for its president.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Will the Ziosk experience impact your association and association members?



The other day I stopped at a convenience store to get gas and buy some water. I used the self serve gas pump and walked inside ... only to discover a huge line at the cash registers.

“Forget it,” I thought. “I don’t want to wait that long. So, I walked out without buying the water.”

I wondered why “convenience stores” don’t have “self checkout lanes” like groceries and other retailers. Why do they think customers are willing to wait in lines when more convenient processes are available?

Later that day, our local newspaper ran a feature headlined “Tabletop tech helps diners pass, save time” that discussed a new convenience service called Ziosk. It allows customers to order from an iPad stationed at the table. But, there’s more! Didn’t get ketchup? Just press the button. Want to pay now? Just pay via your Ziosk. Kids getting antsy? They can play online games on the Ziosk.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

NFL. Rams. Association Governance.


All association professionals need to remember this mantra: “It’s their organization not yours!”

Last week, the National Football League’s Board of Governors voted to authorize the (Cleveland/Los Angeles/St. Louis) Rams to move (again) to Los Angeles. The decision upset fans in St. Louis ... along with San Diego and Oakland (other franchises seeking to move.)

An association colleague (St. Louis native and former Rams ticket holder)sent me the following note saying, “for your next blog.”


Sunday, January 10, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court to Review Mandatory Member Dues


The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week over mandatory union dues (also know as “fair-share fees”) for members and non-members.

The case will impact any association – such as State/Local Bar Associations – having mandatory dues for all professionals within the profession or industry.

[Disclosure: my first job out of college was as a news reporter for The Associated Press. I joined the guild (union) because I knew I would not cross the picket lines if/when we went on strike ... which we did about two months after I joined.]

When I read the USA Today article outlining the various positions about the case of mandatory dues, I looked at it from the perspective of an association professional.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First Impressions. Word of Mouth. Associations.


“You only get one chance to make a great first impression!”

Ok, I hate to start 2016 with a cliche. But, it works.

Living in a golf community has given me a personal perspective of the power of word of mouth within membership communities.

All of this is important to association professionals.