Association Today

Association News You Can Use

Scary Sites: 3 Reasons Members Fear Your Website

Scary Sites: 3 Reasons Members Fear Your Website

Do your association’s members find your website helpful or horrifying? Despite their best intentions, quite a few association websites leave a lot to be desired in terms of easy navigation and mobility.

In addition, if you’re engaging in any of the following practices, your members may in fact be horrified at thought of logging onto your organization’s website.

...
Continue reading
1977 Hits

Scary Silos: Why You Should Avoid Isolating Data

Scary Silos: Why You Should Avoid Isolating Data

Okay, let’s be honest. There’s someone on staff at your association who is maintaining his or her own database (i.e. Excel spreadsheet) rather than updating and sharing information with the entire organization.

In our experience, there are generally at least one or two staff members or departments, no matter how well-intended, that feel more comfortable keeping their data isolated from the rest of the organization. As someone who appreciates how important it is to aggregate and consolidate data, that’s just scary to me, much scarier than the ghosts and goblins we see everywhere this time of year.

...
Continue reading
2017 Hits

The Leadership Link: 3 Qualities You Need to Be Effective

The Leadership Link: 3 Qualities You Need to Be Effective

Leadership, specifically how effective it is within organizations, is a perennial topic of discussion for associations. Because effective leadership is so essential to their success, organizations expend significant resources identifying and developing leaders. That’s also why I’ve devoted quite a few posts to the topic. I think it’s helpful to continue sharing ideas about different perspectives on leadership.

Recently LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner shared his thoughts on leadership when he spoke at a conference in San Francisco. For him leadership means embodying three key qualities:

...
Continue reading
2675 Hits

Don’t Lose Track of Great Ideas

Don’t Lose Track of Great Ideas

How many great ideas have you, members, or staff put forward that never went anywhere? You might not even be able to remember many of them. Unfortunately, during the constant hustle and bustle at most organizations, great ideas get lost in a kind of no man’s land, never to be heard of again.

Don’t let this be the case at your association. If you don’t already have one, you might consider establishing a standard process for tracking and vetting those great ideas that may come to your association from a variety of sources.

...
Continue reading
2104 Hits

Making the Most of Micro-moments

Making the Most of Micro-moments

Are you there? It’s a deceivingly simple but incredibly important question that all organizations need to answer. The question of being or not being there serves as the guiding principle for Think with Google’s Micro-Moments Guide.

More and more people, including your association’s members, rely on their mobile devices for getting information or taking action. Are you there when they need you? Is your association’s brand present across all platforms?

...
Continue reading
1998 Hits

Avoid the Perils of Adopting New Technologies: 5 Questions to Ask

Avoid the Perils of Adopting New Technologies: 5 Questions to Ask

Change is scary for most people, and in our experience, they can be especially anxious about implementing a new technology solution. Even if the new solution will ultimately make their jobs easier, staff members may be reluctant to learn something new.

Eventually, most people are able to overcome their fears and get on board with the new solution. However, as with any new venture, there is the potential for making an already sensitive situation worse if you don’t take precautions to avoid some common pitfalls organizations encounter when adopting new technologies.

...
Continue reading
1958 Hits

Ideas and Innovation: You’ve Got This!

Ideas and Innovation: You’ve Got This!

If asked, how many of us would describe ourselves as innovators? Too often people with great ideas think the title of innovator is reserved for someone else.

As author and marketing strategist Dorie Clark noted in an article for Observer.com, “innovation wasn’t taught in school, so many professionals assume you can only become ‘qualified’ to innovate if you’re a professor or researcher or programming genius.”

...
Continue reading
6418 Hits

Boards and Bucks: 3 Tips for Creating a Successful Fundraising Campaign

Boards and Bucks: 3 Tips for Creating a Successful Fundraising Campaign

Most nonprofit organizations rely on their board members to spread the word about their work. Board members’ personal and professional networks can be a veritable gold mine for organizations with active fundraising campaigns.

Many association foundation boards actively engage in fundraising. Others may be reluctant do so or unaware of the tremendous impact they can have. A personal “ask” from many of them could mean a new donor to an organization.

...
Continue reading
2549 Hits

A Nightmare on Data Street

A Nightmare on Data Street

As I have discussed on numerous occasions, data-driven decision-making is becoming the norm in most organizations rather than the exception. However, there are still those organizations where members of the leadership team go with their gut rather than making strategic decisions based on staff’s careful analysis of available data.

According to Daniel Scarvalone, associate director, research and data, for Bully Pulpit Interactive, “for those of us who work in data and analytics, this is a nightmare scenario.” So what’s the disconnect? Why aren’t some leaders more impressed with the data that’s being presented to them?

...
Continue reading
2090 Hits

Management to Go: The Mobile Workforce

Management to Go: The Mobile Workforce

By far one of the most highly valued features of Fonteva For Associations is its built-in mobility. Our customers can access their association’s membership data at any time from anyplace. In theory, increased mobility should make teams more productive and effective. However, as manager myself, I know that it takes more than technology to ensure productivity.

In fact, leading teams in a highly mobile environment can present its own unique challenges. As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, associations need to be prepared to manage teams effectively in this new norm. A recent post to the Mobileday.com blog offered some great tips for managing a mobile workforce. These three resonated with me:

...
Continue reading
1986 Hits

Get Schooled on Outsourcing

Get Schooled on Outsourcing

Eighty percent of associations work with outside service providers to accomplish their missions. This was one of the key findings from association management company Smith Bucklin’s recent report on outsourcing. The study included all kinds of functions with the exception of audit and legal services.

According to the study, associations’ primary goals in outsourcing were to gain access to specific skills, supplement in-house staff or save money. As reported in Associations Now, membership technology was ranked as the top future outsourcing need, which comes as no surprise to us given that we’ve had a front row seat as many organizations discover their need for more advanced and flexible technology.

...
Continue reading
2113 Hits

Trusted and Trained: Why Some States Are Considering Legislation to Make Board Member Training Mandatory

Trusted and Trained: Why Some States Are Considering Legislation to Make Board Member Training Mandatory

In recent years, there’s been discussion in almost every sector about how well trained and prepared board members actually are in carrying out their duties. A trend has emerged in higher ed that any organization with a board may want to monitor. This year (as of July) legislatures in two states had considered bills mandating training for trustees or university board members. And others may follow suit.

The primary concern is summed up by the question reporter Kellie Woodhouse posed in her article for Inside Higher Ed, “How well do they know how to do their jobs?” Certainly associations have expressed similar concern about how well-equipped their board members are to provide strategic leadership, and many have invested in additional training online or face-to-face with an outside facilitator.

...
Continue reading
2444 Hits

Mastering Social Media: 4 Rules for Leaders

Mastering Social Media: 4 Rules for Leaders

Most of us have multiple identities online. For example, I’ve met association professionals who have both professional and personal social media profiles.

As a leader in your organization, you need to have a handle on your accounts. It’s incumbent upon you to set an example for staff members in terms of how social media can be used to leverage the association’s brand and possibly your own as well.

...
Continue reading
2145 Hits

Back to School for Board Members

Back to School for Board Members

Our theme for this month is Back to School. As schools around the country re-opened for another academic year, and another opportunity for learning new skills and gaining additional knowledge, our thoughts turned to how important it is for associations to continue to evaluate their skill sets. What are staff members’ strengths? In what areas could your board be better equipped?

While most associations operate based on a fiscal year rather than an academic year, they can seize this back to school season as a time for making sure their approach to governance remains effective. What’s on your board’s back to school list?

...
Continue reading
2401 Hits

Get Schooled on the Benefits of Data Journalism

Get Schooled on the Benefits of Data Journalism

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a well-designed, data driven infographic could be worth even more to your association. If like most organizations you’ve invested in some form of content marketing, you might want to amplify your focus on data journalism.

As researcher and author Alexandra Samuel points out in her recent article for The Harvard Business Review, data is the next big think in content marketing. Samuel observes that “even as companies have embraced their new role as content creators, they’ve largely missed out on one of the hottest trends in the world of traditional media: data journalism.” Her definition of data journalism is a form of reporting that “draws on the growing availability of data sets and data analysis tools to uncover and tell stories.”

...
Continue reading
2245 Hits

Employees Who Think Like CEOs

Employees Who Think Like CEOs

“I wish employees would take more initiative and think about the long-term goals and vision of our organization.” If you find yourself making statements like this this one, it could be that your association doesn’t always provide the kind of environment in which employees feel they comfortable making decisions and taking actions that benefit the organization as a whole.

Of course in most organizations, the CEO or executive director is the ultimate decision maker, and for the sake of consistency, there can only be one of those. By the same token, David Royce, founder and CEO of Alterra, makes some valid points in favor of training all employees to “think and act like CEOs.”

...
Continue reading
2251 Hits

Technology: 5 Questions Association Boards Should Ask

Technology: 5 Questions Association Boards Should Ask

When it comes to questions about your association’s technology investments, your board members have at least as many questions as you do, if not more. And in general you should welcome their questions.

If they’re asking questions, the likelihood is greater that they are fully engaged in evaluating your association’s technology decisions from a strategic perspective.

...
Continue reading
2506 Hits

Back to School for the First Time: Tech Tips for Newbies

Back to School for the First Time: Tech Tips for Newbies

For first-time teachers, the past few weeks of the new school year have meant getting acclimated to their classrooms and beginning to establish relationships with students and parents. The environment in which they find themselves is not unlike how many employees feel when they first begin working at an association or even when they change departments.

Both new teachers and association employees often get on-the-job training that requires them to master a variety of processes and systems in a short period of time. Many of these are technology-based. As such both groups need personal plans for managing technology.

...
Continue reading
2176 Hits

The Download on Dreamforce Part II: Our Top 5 Session Picks

The Download on Dreamforce Part II: Our Top 5 Session Picks

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, this fall 50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. Many of them headed back to schools around the country a couple of weeks ago. Salesforce users and enthusiasts will have a similar opportunity to expand their learning as they go back to the premiere gathering of the Salesforce community: Dreamforce.

As in the past, this year’s event promises to be jam-packed with wonderful learning opportunities. With so much worthwhile content available, you’ll want to do everything. However, we know from experience that it just isn’t possible during the course of three days that we’ll spend in San Francisco.

...
Continue reading
2019 Hits

Take Time Out for Training

Take Time Out for Training

As we’ve worked with organizations to implement new technology Platform Solutions, we always recommend that they take time out for training. The assumption that employees will learn all they need to know on the job is a faulty one. It’s important to dedicate specific time and energy to technology training. By doing so, you increase the likelihood that staff members will use the technology in which you’ve invested to the fullest.

A recent blog post from the team at Smartbear outlined some of the personal benefits of you and the members of your team attending training:

...
Continue reading
2334 Hits