Association Today

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Ask for What You Want and Avoid Conflict

Ask for What You Want and Avoid Conflict

“Failing to ask effectively for what we want is the stuff of low-grade irritation that, over time, can become a source of chronic conflict and tension.” Conflict resolution expert Tammi Lenski made this observation in a recent post to her blog. And it really resonated with me.

Often in our work, we encounter association staff members who are quite frustrated with the technology they are using to do their jobs. One source of this frustration is that they have not been given or feel they have a mechanism for expressing what they want and need from the technology their organizations implement. When selecting an AMS or other technology solution, we always recommend that associations conduct a thorough review of staff’s needs and pain points. You can learn more about that process by reviewing our guide on “How to Choose Association Software.”

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Recognizing Your Association’s MVPs

Recognizing Your Association’s MVPs

Committees are an essential component of association governance. The variety of jobs they do—big and small—help move an association’s strategic goals and objectives forward. Committees also provide great opportunities for increasing member engagement. When members join committees, they are more likely to stay involved in an organization’s activities over the long-term.

Despite their importance committees are sometimes overlooked when associations recognize contributions to their work at annual award ceremonies and other events. One of customers has found a great way to remedy this. Each year during its annual conference, NICSA announces the winners of its MVP awards, which recognize “committee members who have shown extraordinary commitment to the committee they serve on.” MVPs are nominated by the co-chairs from their respective committees.

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Having it ALL: NASBA Website Reaches Milestone

Having it ALL: NASBA Website Reaches Milestone

Fonteva customer the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) recently announced reaching a milestone with a key online resource they’ve developed and improved over the last decade.

NASBA first introduced its Accountancy Licensing Library (ALL) in 2006 and then relaunched an enhanced version of the resource in 2010. The enhanced site featured a new section for accounting students and an enhanced state requirement comparison research tool as well as incorporating video. The goal was for site to be a “true portal for CPA licensing information.”

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3 Tips for Tackling Data Management & Marketing

3 Tips for Tackling Data Management & Marketing

“Stop paying lip service to data and start actually tackling it.” Corinne Sklar’s recent post for MarketingProfs.com bears this title. And it’s a sentiment to which I can certainly relate. In our experience, some organizations talk a lot about better data management, but they do very little to make sure this actually happens. Good membership data doesn’t just materialize on its own. Associations need to put processes in place to ensure that data is well-maintained.

Good data management policies and practices are particularly important at time when marketing campaigns are only as successful as the data used to implement them. As Sklar observes, “marketers need to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. Without trustworthy data, that level of personalization is nearly impossible.” She offers these tips for tackling your data and setting the foundation for marketing success:

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Shopping for Software—Start with a Clean Slate

Shopping for Software—Start with a Clean Slate

“We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
–Albert Einstein

I don’t think Einstein was referring to a software purchase when he said this, but the sentiment still rings true. When making a big decision or purchase, it can be tempting to refer to a process that you’ve used in the past. But it’s time to ditch the tried and true method for selecting software and go back to the drawing board.

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Data Visualization: Design vs. Dump

Data Visualization: Design vs. Dump

“It’s only in recent time that many business people have started to use data in a way that actually provides insights.”

Data visualization expert Dona Wong made this statement in a recent interview for the American Marketing Association’s “Marketing Insights” newsletter. I was struck by her observation that the use of data as means for communicating strategic trends was a relatively new phenomenon.

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BYOD Could Mean More ROI

BYOD Could Mean More ROI

The mobile workforce is here. We find that our current and potential Fonteva team members all need flexibility in terms of where and when they work. Organizations in a variety of sectors are seeing the value of giving employees increased flexibility by implementing bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives. Is it time for your association to join them?

According to a recent article by Entrepreneur.com Contributor Matt Straz, founder and CEO of Namely, 75 percent of companies surveyed by Tech Pro in 2014 permit or plan to permit BYOD in the workplace. Essentially BYOD permits employees to use personal devices at work, ranging from smartphones to tablets to laptops and/or devices sanctioned by the organization and supported alongside devices that are business-owned.

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Analyze This: Adoption of Cloud Analytics on the Rise

Analyze This:  Adoption of Cloud Analytics on the Rise

According to a recent survey conducted by IDG and published by Informatica, the use of cloud analytics will definitely expand in the near future. Of the 400 IT and business decision-makers surveyed globally, 68 percent said they intend to investigate, analyze or actively plan to deploy cloud analytics Platform Solutions in the coming year. Further, 74 percent expect to adopt a hybrid or cloud-only approach to analytics over the next three years.

Given the flexibility and agility of the cloud for managing large data sets, this comes as no surprise to us. We’ve seen the potential for cloud analytics as we’ve worked with a variety of organizations. As Forbes.com contributor Joe McKendrick observed in a recent article, analytics is a natural fit for the cloud. “Organizations are still dipping their toes into the possibilities, but this is about to accelerate dramatically,” he wrote.

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3 Myths and Mistakes Your Association Can Avoid and Start Using the Cloud Today

3 Myths and Mistakes Your Association Can Avoid and Start Using the Cloud Today

Since Fonteva’s inception, we’ve advocated for associations adopting true cloud-based Platform Solutions. Early on it became clear that many associations simply were not educated about the cloud and all of its benefits. Six years later, we’re pleased to see that many more organizations have investigated and adopted cloud computing.

However, there are still numerous organizations that remain hesitant about moving their technology to the cloud. In a post for the company’s nonprofit technology blog, Capterra writer Hannah S. Ostroff shed some light on why this hesitancy persists. According to her, these organizations “might be holding onto some apprehensions that aren’t true.”

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Maintaining Healthy Relationships: 4 Important Keys

Maintaining Healthy Relationships: 4 Important Keys

At this time of year, many people resolve to live healthier lives. Whether it’s exercising more frequently or eating less of certain foods, getting healthy is historically the number one resolution Americans make every year. You might be among them. I am of the mind that this commitment to better health is also applicable to your association’s relationships with members, volunteers and other stakeholders. How healthy are those relationships?

In a recent article for Success.com, Jim Rohn discussed 8 Traits of Healthy Relationships. According to Rohn, “[these] are [the] basics that govern most human relationships.” I found four of them particularly relevant for associations.

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Managing Absence & Disability in Your Association’s Workplace: 2 Trends to Watch in 2016

Managing Absence & Disability in Your Association’s Workplace: 2 Trends to Watch in 2016

As we’ve worked with our association customers through the years, it’s become evident that their roles as employers are equally important as their roles as organizations representing specific industries and professions. One of the benefits of working with a cross-section of organizations is that we’re able to monitor a variety of trends that may be relevant to the nonprofit sector as a whole. A case in that point is our customer the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC).

In a recent interview with HR Drive, DMEC Chief Executive Officer Terri Rhodes highlighted five pivotal disability and absence management trends to watch this year. There are two that I would like to summarize for your reference:

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Show Your Connections Some Love in 2016

Show Your Connections Some Love in 2016

By now most people have at least set up their LinkedIn profiles. Some may have taken their use of the network a step further and actively pursued new connections. Others might even contribute regularly to the discussions in the groups they’ve joined.

However, if some of us are honest, setting up the profile is about how far as we’ve gotten in exploring this social media network. That could change in the coming year if we really commit to making the most of those virtual connections.

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New Year, New Approach, New Now: 5 Questions to Jumpstart Your Thinking

New Year, New Approach, New Now: 5 Questions to Jumpstart Your Thinking

“I love new years. I think they're a gift, an opportunity for a fresh start. They're an opportunity to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.”

—Sam Horn, Communications Consultant and Strategist

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Innovate with Intent: 3 Questions for Evaluating “Great” Ideas

Innovate with Intent: 3 Questions for Evaluating “Great” Ideas

All ideas are not created equal. Someone’s great idea may not, in fact, be that great when considered within the larger context of your association’s strategic goals and objectives. Even so, with the New Year well under way, most organizations want to encourage their team members to share their great, or perhaps not-so-great, ideas.

Ultimately, ideas lead to innovation, and it’s important to have a mechanism in place for employees to suggest them easily. Your method of gathering ideas might be as simple as the proverbial suggestion box in your lunch room or an online form that goes to a staff committee.

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New Year, New Career?

New Year, New Career?

Whether you’re looking to make a move internally or externally, this may be the year that you change your career path. We’re always on the lookout for prospective Fontevans who might be a good fit for our team. And we’re equally committed to advancing our current staff on their chosen career paths within our organization.

In her article for ASAE Career Headquarters, career coach Cheryl Palmer highlights five steps people can take to make themselves promotable. I think they are worth reiterating at the start of a New Year, when many associations may be re-evaluating their human resources.

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Sick of talking about digital disruption? So is your legacy AMS.

Sick of talking about digital disruption? So is your legacy AMS.

Digital disruption is the new buzzword in the association industry. Associations everywhere are searching for new ways to increase revenue while attracting new members who just aren’t interested in paying dues. But a few associations have already found a way to be innovative. These successful organizations are flexible, mobile, prevalent, and agile—much like their association software tools should be.

The truth is that many association software companies have been digitally disrupted as well, and many of them are unwilling to change. Your software’s mission should be to help you remain better informed about your organization, with low costs, state of the art features, and endless options for you to cater to the needs of your constituents. If you just chuckled, snorted, or emitted any otherwise unintentional noise of disbelief, I understand. Unless your AMS is a true cloud solution, those features are simply unreasonable.

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Happy 10th Birthday AppExchange!

Happy 10th Birthday AppExchange!

Today Salesforce is celebrating the 10th birthday of the AppExchange. As part of the celebration, they’ve asked their partners to blog about it, which I’ve done quite a bit during the last two years. During 2014 and 2015, I made it a point to select and highlight an App of the Month.

Why? First, there probably is an app for that, for just about anything you want to accomplish professionally and personally. But how do you know which apps are the best ones for your association? To help the association community in this selection process, I highlighted apps from the Salesforce AppExchange so that you were able get a better idea of what was available and might be most useful to you in your work.

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Disrupt Your Database: 5 Questions for the New Year

Disrupt Your Database: 5 Questions for the New Year

Is your association still using old software? Thirty-seven percent of the associations that participated in the “2015 Association Data Management Benchmarking Survey” indicated that they had been using their current AMS for more than seven years.

It’s likely that their technology isn’t meeting their current needs or generating the information required to plan for the future. If you’re in a similar position, this is your year to make a new beginning. As I write this, the theme from ASAE’s Technology Conference last month is still fresh in mind: “Status Quo—Denied, Disruption—Required.”

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Predictions and Planning: Content in 2016

Predictions and Planning: Content in 2016

It comes as no surprise that content will remain king in 2016. As Julia McCoy, CEO of Express Writers, observed in her recent post for Search Engine Journal, “it’s safe to say content will be every bit as hot as it is right now throughout 2016.”

McCoy also acknowledged that recognition of content as a valuable commodity alone won’t help organizations launch successful content creation strategies this year. To that end, she outlined her “content predictions” for 2016 as well as some tips to help you get ahead of the game in your content planning for this year. Here’s a quick look at two predictions and three planning tips that I thought would be particularly useful to associations.

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5 Tweet Takeaways from ASAE’s Tech Conference

5 Tweet Takeaways from ASAE’s Tech Conference

Focused around the theme “Status Quo—Denied; Disruption—Required,” ASAE’s 10th annual Technology Conference drew in a record number of attendees last month. In fact, with close to 1300 total participants, it was the highest attended conference in the event’s history.

We had the chance to meet many of these attendees when they stopped by the Fonteva Lounge (Booth #539). After hearing their concerns and challenges, I am not surprised that association executives turned out for the conference in such large numbers. In general, I got the impression that organizations know they need to be disruptive in the sense that they have to approach their business models and a variety of strategies (i.e. marketing, content, etc.) differently.

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