Thursday, July 18, 2013

Do you adapt or reject ideas for your association?


When I worked in college public relations, I had the chance to attend several professional development conferences.

I was always amazed when PR folks from “small colleges” would walk out of a session led by someone from a “big university” saying “well, I could never do that, I don’t have her big budget.

Or people coming from a session led by someone from a “small college” saying “they are way too small, there is nothing we can get from his ideas.”

These comments always frustrated me.

Why?

Because I always assumed I could “steal and improve” any idea regardless of whether it came from a small college or a large university.

And, steal I did!

I borrowed the idea of feeding audio of great stories to radio stations. In fact, I got the small college I worked for featured on the national NBC radio news. Using ideas from others, I got a history professor branded as a China expert for a major urban radio station. This even though the major state university – with lots of China experts – was about 50 miles closer to the station.

My “stealing” came from advice of my college PR professor who told us: “If you steal from one person it is plagiarism but if you steal from many people, it is research.”

So, when you are stumped about association membership or association publishing or association governance, look around. What can you steal from others who have had success.

And, remember, when you steal an idea, be sure to tweak it to fit your organization and its needs.

Happy hunting!

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