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Will Virtual Reality Become Reality for Associations?

Will Virtual Reality Become Reality for Associations?

Want to see what the future looks like for associations? See the association community’s first virtual reality prototype.

Remember when “paradigm shift” was the go-to idiom to refer to changing an industry’s perspective?

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Not All Apps on Salesforce Are Alike

Not All Apps on Salesforce Are Alike

Person Accounts Blog Series

Many associations who are looking for new association software have already decided that they are going to move to the cloud. Many, in fact, have decided to go with Salesforce as their CRM. But when it comes to selecting Association Management Software, their discerning process seems to end. In more than one vendor selection meeting, I have heard, “Well they’re both on Salesforce, so how can we go wrong?”

But you can go wrong!

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Let Me Google That for You

Let Me Google That for You

One question I like to ask when I interview job candidates is as follows:

“If I were to present you with a task you’ve never done before, and you weren’t sure how to begin, what would you do first?”

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Big Data: Don’t Lose Sight of the Forest for the Trees

Big Data: Don’t Lose Sight of the Forest for the Trees

I, for one, am sick of hearing about big data. Yes, there are many quintillions of bites of data floating around in the ether. Yes, it would be fantastic if we could use that data to become omniscient about our constituents. But the problem I encounter when talking to many associations, is that they are still using antiquated tools to collect and analyze the small and medium sets of data they are already collecting.

Many organizations spend hours downloading information into a spreadsheet, then adding formulas and calculations in a manual and error-prone process. All this to report on numbers that are outdated by the end of this process. How do you get actionable insights from outdated data?

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Personalize Engagement Tracking—Your Members Are More than Transactions

Personalize Engagement Tracking—Your Members Are More than Transactions

“Engagement is personal—only measuring transactions won’t give you a complete picture of a member’s commitment to your organization.”

—The Evolution of Member Engagement

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How Associations Can Overcome Innovation Killers

How Associations Can Overcome Innovation Killers

This week, I was inspired by a recent Salesforce blog post called “The Top 10 Innovation-Killers—And How to Neutralize Them.” When Fonteva For Associations was conceptualized, we set out to build “the coolest, hardest apps in the cloud,” as Jerry, Fonteva’s co-founder, likes to say. But it was more than that. We set out to truly innovate—to create association software that was unlike anything on the market. A solution that would anticipate the needs of our customers and grow with them.

I have personally encountered each innovation killer listed on the blog. But in the interest of brevity, here are five that stood out most to me:

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How Do You Define the Cloud?

How Do You Define the Cloud?
How Do You Define the Cloud?

I have spent a lot of time explaining how the cloud works to both customers and prospects. At Fonteva, we spend our days making true cloud software. I spend so much time talking about the cloud that it’s easy to take for granted that not everyone is well versed in the ways of the cloud.

Nearly every software vendor claims to have a “cloud” solution, but very few have a real cloud. They are just “cloud washing” their on-premise software as a hosted product. Don’t let clever marketing jargon deceive you.

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#Salesforce Makes My Job Easier

#Salesforce Makes My Job Easier

“It has been awesome to use the new features and be able to streamline some of the processes that took longer before we worked with Fonteva For Associations.”

“Fonteva For Associations has changed the way we reach out to our membership in the best way. Thank you for creating a great product and providing exceptional service. You make my job easier.”

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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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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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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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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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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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