Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Association CEO as Chief Communications Officer

A health episode left me in bed – two-thirds of the time in hospitals -- for 3+ weeks and left me pretty much "in the dark" in terms of news and information from my associations.
And, it made me feel what it would be like for broad members who are left in the dark because of limited or non-existent communications from their association.

My biases about association management ....
  • It is impossible to over communicate!
  • Frequent, informal communications with volunteers (board members) improves the organization's health. 
  • The association's CEO is its chief communications officer for board members. And, the CEO should frequently circulate a “newsy letter” to the Board.
  • When you are a board member, you often get asked, "Say, what's happening at XYZ Association?" The worst answer is "I don't know."
  • Your "newsy letter" gives them an up-to-date answer and makes them (and you) look good. 
  •  And, making your board look good is one of your key jobs as CEO.
Here are some tips for communicating with your board:

  1. The look, frequency and format of your “newsy letter” depends on board and its structure.
  2. The ”newsy letter” should be at least weekly; some would suggest daily.
  3. It should be personal. A "letter;" a Leader Letter; a blog; a long email.
  4. Fill your "newsy letter" with lots of newsy items that are "short, sweet & easy to repeat."
  5. You can email it. Fax it. Snail mail it ... Ask each how they want to receive it.
  6. You should establish a firm "publish/send" date and stick to it. Pick a day of week. When it comes to publishing, your "newsy letter" should be predictable.

(Writing comes easy for me -- I am a blogger -- so here are some ideas to help you fill your "newsy letter.")
  • Invite your staff (or "department leads") to give you 1-3 short newsy items ... Give them a deadline. You determine which items to use. They should submit items that share “what is going on within their departments.”
Personal ...Everyone likes to read about themselves and/or their friends. Share news about the board: Promotions. Member company news. Staff news.

Programs ..... What is happening this week. Upcoming education programs. Conference registration. A piece of legislation that impacts members.

Finances … Give a quick snapshot of next months financial report. Don't surprise your board with a multi-page financial report, give them a preview of the key points it shows.

Stat of Week … What is the most important stat for your organization? Membership? Revenue? Conference attendance? Report this number in each "newsy letter" ... Consider showing the stat as "this week" and last year at the same time.

Graphics … adding photos or graphics help readability … but don’t make it look “too slick.”

Don’t let anything keep you from writing and circulating your “newsy letter.” 
  • You are, after all, your association’s chief communications officer.


· Post on this blog’s comment section … or …
· Email me at steve@scdgroup.net 

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