Sunday, November 30, 2014

3 Takaways Common Core & Associations

National Urban League PSA on Common Core

Target marketing. One-to-one marketing. Demographic marketing.

Communications and marketing designed to recruit members, generation donations or register attendees recognize the individual differences in the population we reach.

Yet, the concepts of the Common Core education system assume all children are equal.

Coming from a family of teachers, I may be more aware of education issues ... including the ongoing debate about “common core,” a topic impacting many associations.

The National Urban League has been airing a TV public service announcement (PSA) over the past few weeks made me think about this.

Rather than helping common core advocates, the PSA may actually illustrate the fallacies of the common core concept.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving.

Despite all the bad news around the world and in spite of all the Black Friday hoopla, most Americans have benefitted from the freedom and abundance of this country.

Take time to be thankful.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

6 Thoughts on Innovation

With rapid changes impacting association members, associations need to be innovative as they move forward. Here are six quotes to empower you:

When there is no market, create one
* Sony co-founder Akio Morita

Great innovators are successful because they are not aware of their limitations.
* Gene Landrum, Profiles of Genius

Imagination is more important than knowledge. 
*  Albert Einstein

Leap and the net will appear. 
*  Author Unknown

Creativity is intelligence having fun. 
*  Author Unknown

Learn from the past, watch the present and create the future. 
*  Jesse Conrad

Thursday, November 20, 2014

6 Articles for Associations and Millennials

Millennials Will Become The Majority In The Workforce In 2015. Is Your Company Ready?

Via FastCompany

Next year, people born between 1981 and 1996 are poised to become the new workforce majority and will eventually remake the workplace in their own image. That means office culture is in for big changes. As a new survey shows, this generation is already chafing at today's traditional company structures. More than half of the hiring managers agreed that it was difficult to find and retain millennial labor. Nearly 80% of the millennials surveyed say they would consider quitting their existing jobs and working for themselves in the future.

Study Debunks Myths about Generations’ Workplace Preferences

As a generation, millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are widely characterized as being extremely connected, tech savvy, diverse, expressive, optimistic and socially minded. In the workplace, they have been described as being adaptable and collaborative, multitaskers, and as having a general disregard for organizational hierarchy. As it turns out, how millennials work and what they want from their work environment is not drastically different than what Generation Xers and baby boomers want. In fact, in the vast majority (75%) of the 250 questions CBRE’s Workplace Strategy team posed to more than 5,500 U.S.-based professionals from a wide range of industries in its workplace surveys, there was no more than a 10% difference between how millennials responded versus how other generations responded."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Shirt. The Lie. The Seal. Lessons for Associations

Matt Taylor (l); Jonathan Gruber (c); Robert O'Neill (r)
Three men have been prominent in the news this month. Their stories show associations what can happen when a leader, staffer or member get “off message.” This can create big issues for associations.

Here are the three stories:

The Shirt

From Scientific American 
During interviews streamed to the public about the Rosetta’s Phil lander mission, Project Scientist Matt Taylor described the mission as the “sexiest mission there’s ever been”, but not “easy.” He conducted on-camera interviews in a colorful shirt patterned with pin-up images of scantily-clad women. Social media exploded with negative comments about the shirt’s sexist statement while ignoring the mission’s huge success.

The Lie

From the Washington Post
Multiple videos surfaced in which MIT economics professor Dr. Jonathan Gruber (sometimes labeled the “architect” of “Obamacare”) was quoted saying “the stupidity” of American voters and their “lack of economic understanding” made it possible to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Documents showed Dr. Gruber may have been paid as much as $6 million for ACA consulting with the Administration and various states.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

3 Tips To Ensure Full Potential of Association Promotions

Anything Missing from Your Key Association/Foundation Messages

My wife (and proof reader) shared this email and asked me, “What’s wrong with this email?”

Ignore the typos!

Did you find it?

Ok, it is so obvious it may be hard to see ....

Thursday, November 13, 2014

4 Stories about Association Membership

Managing the Membership Journey
via Silverbear Member Solutions

As with any journey in life, the membership journey has a beginning, a middle and an end. The member moves through the initial engagement to becoming a member, until such time as they reach the end of their journey. A strategic membership organization will look to engage with its members based upon where they are in their membership journey and where they should, logically, look to go next.

Member Engagement is Vital, So Why Don’t More Associations Track It?
Via CQConnectivity

Ask association executives what the most important metric is, and member engagement is often near the top of the list. Fully 67 percent called it their top membership priority, according to a survey by Marketing General, a membership consultancy. Almost 9 out of 10 ranked it “very critical” in a survey by Tate & Tryon, a Washington accounting firm that specializes in non-profits. Yet two thirds of those executives said their organizations were not tracking member engagement at all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Is Junk Cluttering Association Membership Appeals?

One day's snail mail (Left); Inserts in Sunday paper (right)

You’ve crafted a well-designed, well-worded appeal to recruit new members. The call to action grabs the recipient.

But, despite these superior marketing aspects, your response rate is well below expectations.
What is going on here?
In a word: clutter.
  • Note the two photos above: on the left, our snail mail for just one day (no political campaign mail in this!). On the right, the undesired ad fliers that came with our Sunday newspaper.
Your brilliant appeal probably did not break through the clutter of your recipient’s inbox (whether that is a snail mail box, social media or email.

I was thinking about this when I saw a comment from Glenn Tecker, Chair and Co-CEO of Tecker International.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Veteran's Day 2014

It's been 44 years but I still remember my boot camp "call letters" at Fort Jackson:  E-9-2.

I encourage you to participate in the Pizza4Patriots #American Flag Challenge.  Just hang a U.S. flag outside your home and/or office and "register" it at

Here's to all who served.  Bless you and Thank you!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Attention! Association Executives 55+

What do you do? Who are you?

As you get closer to retiring, those are the questions you can expect others to ask you.

Retirement planning involves more than just financial planning. Planning mentally and physically are just as important.

After years as association professionals, you suddenly find yourself answering the easy but difficult question “who are you.”

Nanci Hellmich’s USA Today article headlined “Preparing yourself mentally for retirement” tracks the tough questions and provides guidance good for association CEOs who are heading toward retirement.
  • "When you retire, you have to establish a new identity, purpose and relationships.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Waiting: Members are Sick and Tired of Waiting!

Well, I am.

I’m tired of waiting on “service people.” Waiting is almost as annoying as all those political ads.

The annual meeting of members started 8 minutes late. No big deal, right? Well, BS! Wasted time for all of waiting. And, it says that our association disrespects us and the value of our time.

Associations: don’t do this! Start on time. 

Respect and value the time of your members.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Do you need to power your association writing?

Early in my job as a news writer at The Associated Press, I was assigned to the “night radio desk.”

I arrived at 4:00 pm and needed to put the initial “evening news” headlines/stories on the wire by 4:20 pm. This meant converting stories written for a newspaper into broadcast news stories ... which involved cutting a 500 to 600 word story down to less than 100 words.

If I was lucky, the day radio editor had time to get a couple of these stories edited before he left at 2:30 pm.

While often frustrating, the job taught me to write really fast and short!

I recalled this experience when I read a Copyblogger post headlined Are You Too Lazy to Write Less?, Chris Garrett posed a key question: