Thursday, January 30, 2014

Can “oldies but goodies” work for associations and nonprofits?

Perhaps I need to get a life!

  • Last night, I found myself watching the reruns of the 2003 US Open on the Golf Channel.
  • Today while driving around town, I found myself listening to the 1996 NHL All-Star game on satellite radio.
  • And, my wife and I often switch off “regular TV” and watch reruns of Frazier on TVLand.
What the heck?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Football PATs, NASCAR Qualifiers & Hockey Shootouts: Does your association "hit the refresh button" often enough?

Back in September, I wrote, Are You Boring Your Association’s Members?

The post included noted that Holly Duckworth, CAE, shared this awesome quote:

  • “Associations fear change when they should fear staying the same.”
  • Is this fear of change why we in association management keep doing the same things the same ways year in and year out?
Two recent stories on sports leagues making basic changes to their structure made me think about the issues once more.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Is conventional wisdom limiting associations?

Sometimes conventional wisdom (aka best practices) limits our ability for success. 

Conventional wisdom sometimes leads to “we’ve always done it this way” thinking. 

And, following best practices can lead to group think and the lack of ideas and practices that build on the past and improve our results.

Over the last week, I discovered three examples about conventional wisdom being challenged and found faulty.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Two ads define storytelling for associations

Some association professionals ask me what I mean by storytelling. 

An email from Ohio State alerting me to a 90-second Apple commercial featuring the Ohio State Marching Band started my thinking about this blog on association storytelling.

Thus, I found two ads that demonstrate compelling storytelling that serve as great examples for association marketers and membership professionals. (Keep in mind that most association storytelling will feature free media and not paid commercials. But, the time limits of a paid ad help demonstrate the power of storytelling.)

Here are the two examples of the power of storytelling:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Is your association stuck in the industrial age?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve heard a lot of association professionals talking (arguing) about freemium, about monthly memberships, about “the new normal.” 

When you step back from these conversations, it almost sounds like a bunch of Boomers trying to keep things as they are until they can retire.

With that as a reference point, Associations Now’s Robb Stott captured some of this dialogue in a piece called New Social Network for Docs Already Outpaces AMA Membership. The article focuses on Doximity, a social network for doctors founded in 2011 that doubled in size over the agrarian year and now has more than 250,000 members or about 35% of all doctors in the U.S.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Association CEO contracts can create issues

As I posted Friday, an association CEO colleague emailed the other week informing me that her contract had not been renewed.

It got me to thinking about CEO contracts with their associations. 

Most recent discussions about CEO contracts focused on whether to have a contract and the length of the contract or the salary and other terms.

My colleague’s situation made me realize there is a much more important factor about CEO contracts: the length of the term ... more specifically, why have a contract length at all? 

After all, the only term that matters is the length of the termination notice and your severance. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Attention Association CEOs: Boards do crazy things even when your metrics are great!

After reading my blog Why do association boards do what they do?, a CEO friend emailed me.
The note said:
  • “Your blog struck a nerve. I have been informed that my contract will not be renewed. The logic: we love what you've done. The association has made great advances since you've been here. Great strategic plan. Better structure. Higher caliber staff. Vastly improved relationships with our components/chapters. Now we need someone who better fits the culture. But - we're not really firing you. We need you to stay until the new person is hired.”
More than 20 years ago, the board of a large international association fired our CEO and me (the deputy CEO).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Is your association feeling impact of Boomer retirements?

Economists and demographers are starting to note the rapid increase in retiring Boomers.

The most recent came with the release of the latest government employment numbers. See this USA Today story on the topic. 

According to the report, about 76 percent of those leaving the workforce in 2013 were people 55 or older. “For the year, the labor force shrank by nearly 550,000 workers to about 154.9 million — marking only the third year since 1948 when the U.S. workforce declined on an annual basis.”

For the last two or more decades, Boomers have been the majority of members, volunteers and leaders for most U.S.-based trade associations and professional societies.

So, here are key questions for association executives:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Best of the Week: 8 readings for association professionals

When I decided to move SCDdaily to a three days a week schedule, I assumed I would not include the readings of the week among those three blogs.  But, there have been so many great articles in the last week or so that I need to share them with you this week.  Additional readings of the week will depend on what is out there.

How to Create a Mobile-First Content Marketing Strategy
By Devika Girish via Content Marketing Institute

A recent study by Nielsen and Google suggests that 77 percent of mobile searches are performed at work or home — areas where a PC is also likely to have been available. Yet, mobile website visitors have a 9.56 percent higher bounce rate on an average than desktop visitors. These conflicting stats demonstrate that, while there are tremendous opportunities for marketers on the mobile channel, there are also big challenges that need to be overcome.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How do your association members and attendees find you?

The other Sunday, as part of our search for a church here in Fort Myers, we visited a different church for the first time.

During the sermon, the relatively new minister shared thoughts on his observations of his first seven months. 

What caught my attention was his listing of sources for new members at mainline churches.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why do association boards do what they do?

In 36 years of association management, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “why do smart business people become so dumb when they become board members of nonprofit organizations.”

As an association professional, it can be frustrating to watch (or guide) association volunteers through decision-making.

This is especially true when it comes to hiring a new association chief executive. 

I was reminded of this when I read the Wall Street Journal article about Microsoft’s struggles to find a new CEO.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Storytelling a great way to get Association message out

A few weeks ago, USA Today’s Michael Wolff wrote a compelling column about NYC mayor Bill de Blasio’s use of a video to “control the narrative” regarding his daughter’s drug problems.

The column offers some really good tips for associations and association story telling to communicate with members and/or the public.

Key points:

1) Control the narrative

Sunday, January 5, 2014

13 best association blogs of 2013

Based on a review of reader numbers, here are my top 13 association blogs of 2013. Interestingly, 77% of the top read posts contained the word “board” in the headline. Sounds as though association professionals have a great deal of interest in dealing with association boards?

As I reviewed the SCDdaily for 2012 and 2013, I noted some of your comments about how much you like and value my writing. 

 I noticed, however, that several of you feel I am writing too often and suggested I reduce the daily writing to be less than five times a week. While I worry about not having that daily deadline, I want to listen to your needs. So, starting in 2013, my intention is to post only three times a week. We’ll see how that works!