Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Wishing all the best to you, your family and your association and/or nonprofit organization!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays

Did you know that 96% of Americans say they celebrate Christmas? (Source: Harris Interactive polls for the National Christmas Tree Association)

I'm one of the 96% ... so during this holiday season, my daily blogs will become sporadic until 2012!

Wishing you, your family and friends a joyous holiday season and to those of you in the 96%, Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

6 Must Read Books for Association and Nonprofit Staff

These six (6) books in six (6) categories offer association and nonprofit organization staff professionals great insight into the changes coming and detailed steps that help lead the way.

These really are "must read" books for those interested in keeping their organizations at the forefront of 21st century associations and nonprofits.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Time & Money: 2 Biggest Competitors for Associations & Nonprofits

Associations, nonprofits, companies, churches, youth sports leagues all have two things in common: we all seek time and money from individuals and families.

Think about our “ask” for those people we seek:

  • Membership. Donations. Volunteers. Coaches. Leaders. Seminars. Workshops. Conferences. Retreats. Webinars. Journals. Websites. Newsletters. Blast emails. Online shopping. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Challenges of Narrow-Minded Board Members: OMG, I am One!

I was sitting in a board meeting last week (as one of the volunteers) and realized that most of us represented what  association management professionals tell me they worry about: “old board members unwilling or unable to look to the 
Then it hit me.

OMG! I’ve become what I complain about: a closed-brain, narrow-minded volunteer!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

6 Great Posts for Association & Nonprofit Executives

The holidays often can provide time to catch up on reading.

Here are very insightful and thoughtful posts and articles that are good reads for association management and nonprofit professionals. Some are geared at the for-profit world so you will need to substitute “nonprofit” as you read and think about the commentaries.

Hope you have time to review these. And, please share what you are reading as it pertains to nonprofit and association trends and ideas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

2 Examples of 1st Alert Member Service

Is there a legitimate role for the association to serving a “first-alert” role for its members.

As time pressures continue to hit members of your association, perhaps associations such as yours can provide an “early warning system” for members.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

7 Ways to Turnaround Your Meeting Attendance

In a recent Association Trends poll, trade associations and professional societies expressed surprise at higher-than-projected attendance this spring. But they remain only cautiously optimistic about future attendance as uncertainty about the US economy looms.

After 25+ years of managing conferences, workshops and meetings, I’ve found 7 ways that you can sustain growth in meeting attendance:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Antennas Up - Are You Really Listening

Last week I wrote about the need for you and other organizations to have our antennas up and offered a couple of tools that I use.

After posting the blog, I came across some examples and other tools that you may find useful in your association management work.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

$250 million vs 50 years: Loyalty at Work

Love this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

On Thursday (December 8) two totally different events happened in St. Louis:

  • Albert Pujols announced he was taking the money ($254 million), departing the St. Louis Cardinals (after 11 years).
  • Bobby Donovan was recognized for 50 years work with Pepsi ... yes, all 50 years with the same company.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Recycle the Five Drive: Great Example of Real Time Marketing & PR

At the 2011 Content Marketing World Conference, David Meerman Scott talked extensively about the value and need for real time marketing and public relations.

Too many companies fail to operate in the present. They do a great job in planning for the future but fail to plan for NOW or react NOW. The Power Law of Marketing & PR shows value of NOW marketing.

Following the announcement that the Los Angeles (Anaheim) Angels had signed slugger Albert Pujols to a mega 10-year contract, a St. Louis church saw a way to use the St. Louis loss as a Los Angeles win.

Friday, December 9, 2011

“You Are What You Publish:” 16 platforms for associations & nonprofits

These insightful words are revealed inside David Meerman Scott’s book The New Rules of Marketing & PR. Scott’s book is based on his statement that “the web has changed the rules” of marketing and pr. 

As you think about your association or nonprofit organization, consider that “publish” today has many platforms beyond print.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

“Nothing ruins a good organization like too much money.”

I’ve never forgotten this comment from Indiana soybean farmer Wilf Illingsworth in the 1980s. It speaks to money and associations and other nonprofit organizations. I’ve come to learn it’s a pretty accurate statement.

And, I thought of Wilf’s statement as I read Mark Rosenman’s Chronicle of Philanthropy article titled “Calling All Boomers: Don’t Start More Nonprofits.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

“Antennas Up!” Are you casting a wide net in your listening?

Earl Pertnoy’s quote is an exclamation that we should be listening. To members. To prospects. To donors. To our industry or profession. To trends that will impact our organizations.
  • So, how big is your antenna? 
  • How big is your information net? 
  • Are you a “single station” person or, do you follow information on “stations” you don’t like but which may offer great information? 
  • Are you connecting the unconnected in a way that helps you? Do you see the connections between other areas and your organization?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

“Speed wins. While you’re looking at your calen..

“Speed wins. While you’re looking at your calendar to find the time to get back to your customers (read members), they are looking at their watches.” Joe Calloway

Speed does win ... in nearly every endeavor.

I can think of at least three stories about speed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

100,000 milestone offers template for associations & nonprofits: the power of cause marketing for associations

Sometime this week, the 100,000th military family will receive a free farm-grown Christmas tree from the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and FedEx.

This remarkable Trees for Troops program offers a template for how trade associations and professional societies can join with charities and for-profit companies to benefit society and advance the image of its industry/profession.

Friday, December 2, 2011

5 Great Posts for Association & Nonprofit Executives

Over the last week, I’ve come across some very insightful and thoughtful posts and articles that are important pieces for association and nonprofit professionals. Some are geared at the for-profit world so you will need to substitute “nonprofit” as you read and think about the commentaries.

Hope you have time to review these. Meanwhile, please share what you are reading as it pertains to nonprofit and association trends and ideas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

5 Association/Nonprofit PR Tips: Are you a Codfish or a Hen?

“A codfish lays 10,000 eggs a day ... silently. A hen lays one egg a day and cackles. Nobody eats codfish eggs. Everyone eats hen’s eggs.”– George Bernard Shaw

As a public relations professional, I’ve always liked this quote as it speaks to the value great public relations provides your association or nonprofit organization.

Here are five key elements of a successful public relations program for associations:
[Yes, PR is much broader than publicity or getting yourself in the news.]

What Does Cyber Monday Mean for Associations & Nonprofits?

Here are the stats for Cyber Monday (11/28/11):
  • 38% of all Thanksgiving weekend purchases were made online
  • 43% more online retail traffic than in 2010
  • 33% increase in online sales (over 2010)
  • 7.4% increase in sales via mobile devices

“We spent the last year really focusing (to make sure) our mobile experience was full and complete,” Sears CMO told USA Today. They focused on speed, features and functionality.

So what Steve ... we have members and donors, not consumers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why a Mediocre Website Is So Dangerous for Associations & NonProfits

A Twitter buddy (@RobbTrost) shared this column ( from today’s New York Times. While the column focuses on a forprofit company, the concepts apply to associations and other nonprofit organizations.

In doing communications audits and other consulting for associations and nonprofits over the last two years, I’ve seen some really bad association websites!

Most are simple “electronic brochures.” Few post anything new between conferences, if then.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Problem with Committees: Added Thoughts

Jamie Notter recently wrote a post ( he titled “The Problem with Committees.”

After the first paragraph, I thought I’d prepare a response pointing out the “mistakes” in Jamie’s thinking and rationale.

But, then I came to these paragraphs:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

6 Reasons Why Your Organization Needs a Social Media Hub

My Twitter friend Colleen Dilenschneider gave me permission to share her post with you. Funny coincidence: her uncle and I shared the same PR prof at Ohio State.

A hub is an important part of an online communication strategy. The hub serves as a landing page for engaging content (stories, videos, anecdotes, etc). The hub functions much like a blog. It is critical for community building and,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saying Happy Thanksgiving!

As you share Thanksgiving Day with family and friends, SCDdaily invites you to share your gratitude with others in your social media community.

If you are tweeting, we invite you to use the following:
#FoodThanks ... your opportunity to “thank a farmer” for the food you are enjoying.
#EpicThanks ... you can launch your own gratitude bomb at

Meanwhile, enjoy, be safe and share your thanks.

And, I want to personally thank you for reading SCDdaily!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What is the Role of Your Speakers in Content Marketing?

The ASAE The Center for Association Leadership group on LinkedIn ( has been engaged in a lively discussion about how the association can get speakers to submit their Power Point presentations before their presentations.

  1. I’m an association professional who gets paid to speak NOT a professional speaker who gives presentations to associations. 
  2. I look at this topic not as conference speakers but as the association’s overall content management strategy which some call knowledge or resource centers.
  3. I’m a fan of all forms of presentation aids. While I talk about Power Points here, I’m referring to handouts, outlines and other tools that share the message.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What’s Your Crisis Communications Plan?

What do the recent high-profile events surrounding Penn State, Syracuse and Herman Cain have to do with you and your association or nonprofit organization?


Friday, November 18, 2011

9 Leadership (Associations/Nonprofits) Lessons from Steve Jobs

Since the death of Steve Jobs, all kinds of books, videos and news articles have chronicled the life and beliefs of Steve Jobs. Many have focused on his quote that putting a sales person at the top can ruin a company because they focus on the bottom line rather than innovation.

Jamie Notter did a great job and tied his comments on CEO into his latest efforts regarding humanizing our organizations ( Larry Dignan focused on the sales quote in his post for Zdnet. ( This week, I went back and viewed the 2007 joint video interviews Kenzoki ( conducted of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Wow. Some really great stuff for you and others leading associations and nonprofit organizations!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Go Mobile Association. Go Mobile!

There are 1.2 billion computers in the world. But, there are 3.5 billion mobile phones. In the last three months of 2010, Apple sold 10 times more mobile units as it did Mac computers.

You and the rest of us need to quickly get mobile if we want to stay relevant to our members, donors and prospects! If you are not there, be there early in 2012!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Will the Recession’s Influence on Gen Y Attitudes Impact Your Organization?

Thanks to the Missouri Society of CPAs, each morning I receive the Business Intelligence Brief which is a “digest and commentary” of economic news prepared and distributed by the folks at Armada Corporate Intelligence ( Good stuff.

A week or so ago, I was reading a post called More Evidence that Frugality May be Here to Stay.  While the authors focused on the impact of frugality on retail and consumer sales, I wondered about the impact on associations and other nonprofit organizations.

Two questions and the analysis from this column grabbed my attention:

Monday, November 14, 2011

5 Tips to Increase Your Headline Click-Through Rates

Click-throughs are a key tool to measure the impact of your content delivery.  

When I attended the 2011 Content Marketing World Conference ( – an awesome event – the folks at Outbrain (; @Outbrain) shared a simple postcard with some powerful information.

I thought these five (5) tips to improve headline click-through rates would be helpful to you and other nonprofit organizations.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Will Competition Push Associations & Nonprofits to Reinvent Themselves?

"When you're finished changing, you're finished."  Benjamin Franklin.

I’ve been tracking association trends for some time and have discovered a growing number of organizations that are filling needs and niches existing associations apparently have missed.  

Some of the new discoveries gave me a flashback to 2008.  Reading Clay Shirky’s ( powerful book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations changed my perspectives about associations and other nonprofit organizations.

I remember telling colleagues that the book’s contents represented either a huge opportunity or a burgeoning threat to the nonprofit community.

At a session on the future of associations this summer, a well regarded association consultant challenged several association professionals who  suggested associations faced increasing competition from nontraditional organizations.  He said such organizations couldn’t sustain the structure needed to continue.

Friday, November 11, 2011

7 Ways Content Marketing Can Boost Your Image

Earlier this week, I “observed” as a client communications committee and its marketing agency shared the 2012 marketing campaign with its board and industry leaders. [Unfortunately, I need to keep the client and the specifics of their marketing plan confidential.]

About half way through the presentation, I realized that they were delivering some key information that might help you and other association and professional societies whether you are communicating with members or marketing your industry or profession.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ring-Ring. Ring-Ring. Social Media is the new Ma Bell

One comment from one of the mommy bloggers on a panel yesterday jolted me to attention!  

Asked how she researched products, she responded “after looking at their website, I tweet them if I have questions. Twitter is a better way to get the company than trying to reach them via their toll free numbers ... I hate going to the 800 number and getting lost in all the auto sections.  Twitter usually gets a faster answer and if they don’t answer my tweet, I don’t bother with that company.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Membership Marketing: Are You Fishing in the Right Pond?

As some of you know, I enjoy fishing.  Especially our family’s annual fishing adventure to Canada.  We’ve been doing it for more than 45 years.  Dad and my brother Dave started the tradition which now includes Dave, his twin sons Randy and Todd, my son Mike and our family friend Brian. (That’s me on the left and the “younger generation” on the right!)

Linking fishing and membership marketing may seem like a stretch but let me explain!

Here’s a potential dialog between two association professionals discussion member development:

Let’s go fishing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sharing Association Content Only Once is Wasteful!

Since reading Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing ( years ago, I’ve often referred to the “Rule of 9.”  Its core: we need to read/see/hear a message nine (9) times before we “receive” it.  But, because of clutter, we miss two out of three messages.  So, to “get hit” nine times, the message needs to be sent 27 times.

I thought of this recently when I heard Guy Kawasaki ( mention that he tweets key messages eight (8) times a day.  Why?  Because – given the continuous and constant stream of Tweeted content – “Twitter is like a river” and people only see your Tweet if they are looking. So Tweet key content multiple times during the day.  (By the way, do NOT do this with Facebook or LinkedIn.)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

5 tips associations can learn from a pool guy

As I settled into one of the breakout sessions at the recent Content Marketing World conference (, I realized one of the speakers owned a swimming pool company.

My first thought was “What is a pool guy going to teach me about content marketing?”

Wow!  Was I wrong!!

Marcus Sheridan (aka the pool guy) blew me away.  Energetic.  Enthusiastic. Practical.  One of the best speakers I’ve heard in a long time ... and, he only had 15 minutes to talk with us!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Inspiration in the nonprofit workforce

Are you inspired about your work? Do you feel engaged with the mission of your organization? Do you feel recognized and/or rewarded for the work you do for your organization?

In the last two days, two chance meetings and two articles made me think about “inspiration in the work place” and our personal role in our own happiness. Think about how these four items relate to you and your organization.
  1. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ( reported on research data from 3,500 nonprofit workers in New York and Washington that showed many were not happy in their jobs.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

9 Key Points about Non-Profits and Social Media

My friend John Haydon ( recently shared the new idealware report called "The Nonprofit Social Media Discussion Guide." I thought it might be useful to you and others working in associations and other nonprofit organizations.

This 78-page FREE document ( has some great info and tools for associations and other nonprofit organizations. It includes 12 worksheets for you to use. By the way, thanks to our friends Maddie & Lindy at Socialfish ( and Brett at The Center for Association Growth ( for helping sponsor this workbook.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Social Media Empowering Consumers (and members)

Ripped from Today's headlines: "Bank of America fee retraction shows effect of consumer rage"

Did the impact of social media on Bank of America pull back on debit card fee surprise you?

Probably shouldn't have. It is not the first time.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

3 Association Leadership Lessons from World Series Champs

I watched from my hotel room in Columbus as the St. Louis Cardinals finished the unbelievable ending of their amazing 2011 season by winning their 11th World Series championship (their 3rd since I've lived in St. Louis). This morning I realized that associations (and other organizations) can learn at least three valuable lessons from the Cardinals season and their 2011 World Series championship.

Monday, October 10, 2011

If you are a job seeker, this article that I've shared with the Businesspeople Between Jobs (BBJ) LinkedIn group has some valuable information for your search.

If you had only one question you could ask during your next job interview, what would you ask?
This article from Associations Now (while focused on nonprofits) offers some insightful questions.

See how these CEOs reacted.

Hope this helps give you ideas.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

10 Ways 2 use a Conference Presentation add 2 value to your association

The content from a conference can help you increase value of your organization and make it a valued thought leader for members and prospects.

Here are 10 Ways to use a Conference Presentation
1. Post the speaker Power Points to (a channel in name of your organization)

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Beginnings

I've sold Drake & Company to AMR Management Services.

AMR has hired all 27 DrakeCo staff and will maintain the office in Chesterfield.

Since the sale, a number of people have asked "So, what are you going to do?"

Great question!