October 1, 2012

We've moved!

ASAE's blog on association management has a new home:

For more information, see "A new chapter for ASAE blogging," immediately below this post on the Acronym homepage.

Acronym will remain online indefinitely, but commenting will be shut down circa October 15, 2012.

Please direct questions to


September 28, 2012

A new chapter for ASAE blogging

We've finally gotten to the bottom of that bowl of alphabet soup.

As I briefly mentioned yesterday, the times are a-changin' for ASAE's print and online publications, and we're about to launch a new website that will be the new place to find our day-to-day news coverage and blogging on the association management profession. We hope you'll join us there, at

Beginning Monday, when the site goes live, you'll find:

Blogs: Five Associations Now editors will be blogging regularly on the new site. We'll aim to continue in provoking thought and driving discussion with fresh perspectives on association management.

The five of us will each have a dedicated topic (Leadership, Technology, Membership, Money & Business, and Meetings) that we'll regularly focus on, but of course any and all topics related to association management will be up for discussion, and we'll continue to seek professionals and experts in the association field to provide their guest perspectives, as well.

Our blogging will look a bit different, but the tone and the content will be much the same as what you've come to expect from Acronym over the years.

Daily news: The site will also be a source for a steady stream of news both from and about the association field. From new research on leadership and the latest tech buzz to updates from Capitol Hill and association success stories, we'll cover the news that matters most to association professionals.

You can bookmark the site or sign up to receive the Associations Now Daily News email in your inbox every morning. (Current ASAE members, you'll receive the Daily News beginning Monday. We hope you'll try it out, though if you prefer not to receive it, click "Update Your Preferences" at the bottom of any issue to opt out.) The Daily News is available to anyone and everyone who's interested, not just ASAE members, so tell your colleagues and friends.

Curation: In addition to the links we share in the course of reporting and blogging, we'll also be rounding up a few interesting blog posts and articles each day in a "Lunchtime Links" post.

New faces: You all know Mark Athitakis and me from our blogging here on Acronym, but you'll soon be getting to know several of our colleagues, some of whom are ASAE vets and some newbies:

  • Samantha Whitehorne, deputy editor. Our long-time showrunner for Associations Now will be our regular Meetings blogger on the new site.
  • Katie Bascuas, associate editor. Katie joined ASAE in June; she'll be blogging on Money & Business and reporting news each day.
  • Rob Stott, editorial assistant. Reporting daily news.
  • Ernie Smith, social journalist. Ernie will be reporting daily news, blogging on Technology, and curating links. He'll also be manning the Associations Now Twitter and Facebook feeds.

New formats: The new website and Daily News email are just two parts of an entire package of new features of Associations Now. The September/October issue of Associations Now in print is en route to ASAE members' mailboxes, and it has a whole new look. You can also now read Associations Now on the iPad. (Search "Associations Now" in the App Store.) And while you're at it, check out on your smartphone or tablet, too. (Two words: responsive design.)

Trusty Acronym will ride off into the sunset, which in website terms means that it will no longer be updated but it won't be shut down. We'll keep commenting available here for about two more weeks, and then the site will remain static after that. Acronym has been going strong for more than six years now, believe it or not, and a deep well of knowledge and expertise has been amassed on these pages in that time. That, of course, is a credit to all of you in the association community, who have guest blogged, commented, and provided inspiration for posts here. We thank you for that, and we hope you'll continue to do the same in our new digs.

If you have any burning questions about the new site or Acronym, please feel free to comment below. Or, you can offer feedback about the new site in the Associations Now LinkedIn group or contact VP/Editor-in-Chief Julie Shoop directly at Be sure to visit on Monday. See you there!

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August 1, 2012

Be an Acronym guest blogger at #asae12

The 2012 ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo is just around the corner, and Acronym will once again be your go-to source for online coverage of the conference. But, to make that happen, we need your help.

We're looking for guest blog posts from attendees before, during, and after the meeting. The assignment is simple: You'd only need to write one post (though you could write more if you'd like), anyone is eligible, and no prior blogging experience is necessary.

To get your blogging juices flowing, here's the theme we'd like guest posts to focus on:

  • New thinking: What association cliche or piece of conventional wisdom are you tired of, and how will what you've learned at the Annual Meeting help you challenge it?

We're hoping to line up a handful of volunteers before the conference, so if you're interested in contributing, email us at and we'll send you some additional guidelines and tips for writing a great post and instructions for submitting. Thanks!

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September 26, 2011

Welcoming some new voices to Acronym

A quick blog service announcement: In the coming weeks and months, you'll be seeing a few new names here on Acronym. As we aim to continue to share ideas and build discussion within the association community, several of ASAE's staff editors will be chiming in on the blog:

  • Julie Shoop, VP, editor-in-chief
  • Mark Athitakis, senior editor
  • Samantha Whitehorne, managing editor, Associations Now
  • Summer Faust Mandell, project editor

Julie and Mark are new contributors to Acronym. Julie took the reins as editor-in-chief in June, while those of you who read the Associations Now masthead know Mark has been an expert writer and editor for the magazine for close to three years. Samantha and Summer's names you might recognize from their past contributions to Acronym as onsite bloggers at the ASAE Great Ideas Conference.

So, keep an eye out for Julie, Mark, Sam, and Summer here on Acronym and please welcome them. (In fact, you'll see a post from Mark here in a few minutes.) Meanwhile, we're always eager to host volunteer guest bloggers from the association community on Acronym as well, so please email to inquire if you're interested. Thanks!


September 23, 2011

Quick clicks: Catching up edition

I spent all of last week out of the office with a nasty cold and had to declare RSS reader bankruptcy when I returned. Only today have I had a chance to go back and read through what I've missed in the past couple weeks. Here are ten posts that stood out, though there were a lot of other great posts in the association blogging community that I couldn't squeeze in.

Strategy. Virgil Carter asks, "Is Your Organization Using Too Much Strategy?"

Membership. Tony Rossell says he believes the membership model will survive, in some form or another, because humans have a fundamental need to belong.

More membership. Linda Owens shares a "renewal perks" promotional offer she received and wonders if a similar offer could drive membership renewals at associations.

Executive transitions. Judith Lindenau tells the story of an association that faced major challenges when it neglected to hire an interim executive, and follows it up with two more posts in a three-part series on the value of interim execs.

Diversity. Shannon Otto suggests that age shouldn't be overlooked in seeking diversity in an association board.

Power. Elizabeth Engel, CAE, shares the concept of "power with," which looks a whole lot different from the traditional version, "power over."

Innovation. Lowell Aplebaum explains how innovation can be as simple as just looking at something that already exists and viewing it in a new way.

More innovation. Jay Daughtry provides a thorough recap of ASAE's InnovationTalks Day this week. Having missed the event myself, Jay's post is a great way to sample the innovative thinking shared there.

Advocacy (and also more innovation). Stefanie Reeves writes that association advocacy is overlooked in discussions of innovation, arguing that it's time for some new ideas in government relations.

Organization. David Patt, CAE, urges you to clean your desk.

Farewell Scott. Finally, in honor of the guy who made Acronym what it is, a sampling of Scott Briscoe classics:


September 16, 2011

When the timer runs out...

It feels almost surreal to be writing this, but this is my last Acronym post. At least it's my last Acronym post as an ASAE staff person.

I'll be tying up some loose ends Monday and Tuesday, and then on September 26, I'm thrilled to be starting a new adventure as the senior director, communications and marketing at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. All of you from health-related organizations that I've met through the years, I hope you'll help indoctrinate me into this new world - I look forward to being part of it.

This whole journey started because of a practice I started a dozen years ago: giving myself at least a couple hours every week to randomly search the web. In early 2004 I ran across a spectacular website that reported in opinionated, colorful short articles the goings-on at a conference. (It was Ad:Tech, the conference continues, though the blogging surrounding it ended a few years ago.) The conference blog inspired me, and I wanted to try to do the same thing. GWSAE, my employer, was merging at the time with ASAE, a deal that would be consummated at the 2004 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in Minneapolis. Because such big things were happening, I was able to fly under the radar. "I want to write a conference blog," I would say to all the senior staff members I could. "A conference what?" was the universal response. And they'd stop me two minutes into my explanation and say, "Sure. Whatever."

It was fun, so we did it again the next year in Nashville, which was the grandfather of the modern ASAE annual meeting--truly buzzworthy. It was leading up to the next conference - 2006 - that I worked with Scott Steen, now the executive director of American Forests, to shape the foundation of Acronym and then launch it. I'm proud of what Acronym has become. We never wanted to own the association blogging space; we wanted to be a vibrant part of something larger. I give my gratitude to all Acronym readers and especially those moved to comment--you made Acronym. Thank you to all of the wonderful guest bloggers through the years, you made Acronym great. And thank you to those ASAE staff through the years who have volunteered their time to help me keep Acronym running.

I've loved being a part of the association blogging community. My apologies as I'm sure I'm going to leave people out, but I want to give some shout outs. To the early inspirations: thank you Ben, Jeff, Jeffrey, and David. Jamie: I'm smarter because of you. Maddy and Lindy: you changed the playing field. Cynthia, Deirdre, and David: you bring such unique and different perspectives. Maggie: your ruthless honesty inspires me. KiKi: you bring the fun. And to so many others, thank you! Please keep it going.

And finally, if Scott Steen and I are Acronym's creators, Lisa, you were its heart and soul.

Joe, it's been great working and planning Acronym with you the last year or so. I can't wait to see where you take it (no pressure or anything!).

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July 14, 2011

Seeking guest bloggers at #asae11

A quick blog service announcement: just as we have in past years, Acronym is looking for guest blog posts from attendees during the 2011 ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo, August 6-9. The assignment is simple: you'd only need to write one post (though you could write more if you'd like), anyone is eligible, and no prior blogging experience is necessary.

The theme we're following this year is "one question." We want you to think of a single question that you want answered during the meeting or in a specific education session and then share the answer in a blog post. Pretty simple.

We're hoping to line up a handful of volunteers before the conference, so if you're interested in contributing, email us at Thanks!


May 23, 2011

Small association staff week

We've got another themed week for you here on Acronym--this time we've asked people who work at associations with 10 or fewer staff to provide guest posts. We've got several posts over the next few days offering this perspective, including several from different staff at the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association out of Fairfield, NJ.

We may have a post or two this week from outside the theme; you can access all the ones from this week in the Small Staff Week 2011 category (will add the link after this is posted). I'll be putting them all in the system, but each one lead with a quick identification of the author.

As always, please jump in and provide your thoughts, tips, and experiences--we welcome conversations on Acronym!


May 2, 2011

Introducing a week of Key Ratios quizzes

In a few moments, I'm going to post the first of a week-long series of posts, which are quizzes derived from the ASAE Foundation's new product: Association 990 Key Ratios. The foundation has compiled information from thousands of IRS Form 990 Records--every record that reports at least $200 in membership dues revenue and at least one staff member--which is now available by subscription, giving associations a powerful benchmarking tool.

A demo of the product was unveiled at the Great Ideas Conference at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs earlier this year, and you can test drive the database yourself at the upcoming Financial, HR & Business Operations Conference (FHRBOC) May 12-13, 2011 at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC.

To whet the appetite, rather than just give some of the interesting stats that can be derived from the 990 data, I'm embarking on a week-long quiz. Each morning I'll put out a few questions. And I'll be giving out fantabulous prizes each day to the first person with the right answers. (Note: you might think that an adjective invented from the words fantastic and fabulous would be pretty special, but we mean it to be whatever we have that's sorta laying around.) We're going to go on the honor system here, no one who has purchased or otherwise has access to the database should give the answers. So please, feel free to offer up some guesses, and be sure to check back, especially on Friday when we will feature the Chicago association sector going head-to-head against DC-area associations.


March 30, 2011

New guest bloggers

It is my pleasure to introduce a couple of new guest bloggers to Acronym.

Mark Golden, CAE, is the executive director and CEO of NCRA: The Professional Association for Reporters and Captioners based in VIenna, Virginia. Mark is long-time thoughtful commenter on Acronym, and we're thrilled he's going to be writing some guest posts for us.

You've already seen a post from our other new guest blogger: Lauren Hefner. Lauren is director of membership, marketing, and communications for the Laboratory Products Association in Lorton, Virginia. Lauren is the latest representative from the young association executives to blog on Acronym, a partnership that has led to some great commentary in the last couple of years.

Thank you both for joining us, and we look forward to reading your posts!


March 7, 2011

YAE Week

It's pretty scary when a group of rogue members hijacks one of your communications vehicles!

Luckily for us, those rogues were more insightful than inciteful -- consider this a big public thank you to everyone who contributed while our defenses were down; it was a job well done.

And now we're back to our regularly scheduled Acronym programming. I think we'll have a guest post or two this week, we have the economic study to explore, and beginning this weekend we'll be reporting from the Great Ideas Conference. It's good to be back!


February 28, 2011

It's a Takeover!!!

That's right, the young association executives have overtaken this blog. This is Beau Ballinger, project manager at AARP, and we, the young executives hereby commandeer this communications channel.

EDIT: By the way, you have the Young Association Executives Committee to blame for this!

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February 10, 2011

So long, farewell ...

This is a sad post for me to write. But it's a happy one too. New beginnings often can be both.

This is my last post as a staff blogger for Acronym. I'm leaving my position with ASAE for a new job with Stratton Publishing, and, as such, I won't be part of the Acronym staff blogging team anymore.

Blogging here has been a wonderful experience. I remember when I first started writing for Acronym, four years ago, being terribly nervous each time I hit "post": What if I got 10 comments saying that I sounded like an idiot? Or what if I never got any comments on my posts at all?

But over time I grew to love blogging. Since I come from the periodicals world, I'm used to working for weeks or months to put something together, waiting while it's distributed to readers, and eventually hearing some responses back. On the blog, I could write spontaneously and hear back just as spontaneously. I could build one-on-one relationships with people in a way that's really difficult through a magazine or newsletter. And I learned to love the time I spent interacting with Acronym's fantastic crew of guest bloggers, as well as the equally fantastic association blogging community, which is growing and changing all the time.

Two years ago, I moved into the role of editor-in-chief at Associations Now, which really cut into the time I had available for the blog. But Joe Rominiecki and Scott Briscoe were kind enough to let me keep my hand in through Quick Clicks, liveblogging at conferences, and the occasional "regular" post.

I won't be disappearing completely--I'm sure I'll still be commenting on Acronym, and other association blogs as well. But I'll miss being a part of the behind-the-scenes at Acronym. I can't speak highly enough of Joe and Scott as colleagues, and Brian, Carolyn, Conor, Diane, and the many other guest bloggers I've worked with over the years as volunteers and insightful professionals.

Thank you to all the Acronym readers and commenters for making the blog experience such a great one for me!

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January 14, 2011

Welcome guest blogger Joel Albizo, CAE

Please welcome new guest blogger Joel Albizo, CAE, executive director of the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards in Fairfax, Virginia. Joel led a Learning Lab at the 2010 ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo titled "Do You Have What It Takes To Be a 'Recession CEO?'" with colleagues Henry Chamberlain, CAE, Pamela Kaul, and Paul Pomerantz, CAE, and will offer some insights over the next few weeks on that very topic. Welcome Joel!


December 2, 2010

Welcome Conor McNulty!

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to our newest guest blogger, Conor McNulty. Conor is joining us from the California Dental Association, where he serves as director of membership. In his work at CDA, he oversees statewide outreach and retention efforts, member engagement strategy, and dental school programs for the organization.

Conor graduated with the inaugural class of the ASAE Leadership Academy in August. He's been an active volunteer with ASAE as well, and currently serves on the Young Association Executives Committee.

Before his life as an association professional began, Conor was a professional soccer player and worked in publishing and corporate marketing. He is also the proud father of four-year-old quadruplets Russell, Ally, Molly, and Libby.

Please help Conor feel at home here at Acronym! We're very pleased to have him with us.

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October 19, 2010

Welcome Diane James!

I'd like to welcome a new guest blogger to Acronym today: Diane James, CAE, CEO of the Women's Transportation Seminar Foundation. Under her direction, the Foundation is expanding its scholarship and workforce development programs and working to measure the progress of women in transportation.

Diane has more than two decades of leadership experience in associations and nonprofits, including the Women's Transportation Seminar, ASAE, the Georgia Society of Association Executives, and other organizations focused on occupational health nursing, women's health, and women in cable telecommunications. She is an ASAE Fellow, a writer, and a speaker, as well as a member of the board of a DC-based youth development organization.

Please make Diane feel at home here on Acronym. She's got great ideas and important questions to ask, and I look forward to the discussions her posts will begin. Welcome, Diane!


August 3, 2010

Welcome new blogger Kris Prendergast

Greetings Acronym readers. Please join me in welcoming a new blogger to our ranks: Kris Prendergast.

Kris is the new director of membership, constituent, and network engagement at Independent Sector and is also currently a member of the board of directors of the Center for Watershed Protection. She is the past CEO of the Social Enterprise Alliance and VP of governance and organization development at the U.S. Green Building Council. (She also wrote an article for Associations Now in 2006: "Dynamic Governance, Dynamite Components.")

Kris's background in strategy, governance, and volunteer management and interest in environmental responsibility give her a unique perspective on how these disciplines intersect. In her upcoming series of posts, she'll tell us what "permaculture"—a form of sustainable agriculture—can teach us about healthy volunteer management and component relations.

Be sure to check out Kris's first post, which will be published shortly, and stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!


July 26, 2010

Some comment housekeeping

I was about ready to write a real post, when I realized I had wanted to do this quick housekeeping post this morning...

We're working on some upgrades in our online environment, and we have not been able to get the comment spam worked out yet. As a result, we still have to moderate comments. The purpose is only to weed out the spam, though I suppose if a legit comment that was especially profane or a hatchet job came in, we'd try to talk to the commenter before we posted it.

In any event, thank you all for your continued comments on Acronym--we love the discussions. We will continue to post your comments as soon as we see them and apologize for the inconvenience. Please keep 'em coming!


June 24, 2010

Small staff associations: How to manage with limited resources

A few weeks ago, ASAE & The Center held a few Idea Swaps where prominent consultants lead discussions with association executives who had between 1 and 10 staff. The execs and consultants left energized by the discussions and we asked a few of the consultants to give us some takeaways from their sessions. As many small staff execs prepare to take part in our online conference, Creating the 24/7 Small Staff Association July 13-15, we thought we'd share these takeaways from three of the Idea Swaps in posts today and tomorrow.


June 3, 2010

Welcome Marsha Rhea!

This month, we're pleased to have as a guest blogger Marsha Rhea of Signature i Consulting. Marsha specializes in strategic scanning and planning, development of signature initiatives, and innovation work, but she also has a passion for and lifelong interest in learning, both on the individual and organizational level. She also blogs at the Signature Insights blog.

As a writer with an avid interest in learning, Marsha contributed a feature story to the June issue of Associations Now on the power of collaborative learning. This month on Acronym, she'll be blogging some additional thoughts on collaborative learning and how it can work in an association context.

Please welcome Marsha to Acronym. We're excited to have her blogging with us!


March 3, 2010

Welcome Beau Ballinger!

I'd like to give a warm Acronym welcome to our newest guest blogger, Beau Ballinger. Beau is joining us from the Investment Management Consultants Association in Greenwood Village, Colorado. In his role as membership and communications manager, Beau manages media relations efforts, internal and external communications, and the development and delivery of member benefits, and serves as the editor of the Web site.

Prior to working at IMCA, Beau was public relations manager and membership recruitment manager for the Financial Planning Association in Denver. He's a member of ASAE & The Center's Young Professionals Committee as well as a board member of the Public Relations Society of America’s Colorado Chapter, and he's part of the inaugural class of the ASAE & The Center Leadership Academy for Young Association Professionals.

Please help Beau feel at home here on Acronym. We're glad to have him with us!


February 26, 2010

New embed codes for videos

Attention: Any bloggers or web folks who used an embed code from the This Week in Associations video series: Those links are going to break this weekend, so please remove them.

Right now, we don't have a way to get a replacement embed code; as we find a solution, we'll let you know.

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The wisdom of the spam

Many off you saw earlier this week, either via Scott's FYI post or via the comments feed itself, that Acronym has been experiencing a heavy onslaught of spam comments lately (a "spambush," if you will), enough to force us to turn on comment moderation for the time being.

If you paid close attention to the spam comments that snuck through the filter before we turned on moderation, you may have also noticed that, despite being rather cryptic and not quite coherent (as spam usually is), each one began with an odd quote or maxim. So, in an effort to make light of an annoying situation, I've compiled some of the best pearls of wisdom offered up during the spamstorm.

As Lisa Junker noted, most of these, if not all of them, appear to be quotes from actual people. Some of them may just be nonsense. And none of them are related to association management, but we all need a distraction every now and then. Enjoy.

  • The older I grow, the less important the comma becomes. Let the reader catch his own breath.
  • Nothing is said that has not been said before.
  • Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
  • All programmers are playwrights, and all computers are lousy actors.
  • What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.
  • Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.
  • The only difference between a rut and a grave is in their dimensions.
  • Facts are the enemy of truth.
  • Feet: why do I need them if I have wings to fly?
  • Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.
  • You can't deny laughter. When it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.
  • There are two types of people: those who come into a room and say, "Well, here I am!" and those who come in and say, "Ah, there you are."
  • Editor: a person employed by a newspaper whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff and to see that the chaff is printed.

In this case, the chaff has been blogged.

Thanks again for your patience, everyone. We hope to have the spam issue resolved soon.

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February 19, 2010

Spam comments hitting Acronym

First of all, let me apologize to anyone following Acronym comments via an RSS feed of some kind--we've had a bunch of spam comments getting through our filters.

The bad news is, until we get it figured out, we're having to turn on comment moderation, so there will be a delay before your comments are live on the blog. We'll be checking regularly during business hours, so the delay shouldn't be too long. It will be more sporadic, but we'll also check overnight and on weekends. We're sorry for this inconvenience. We hope to have the problem fixed soon and to be able to turn real-time comments back on.

For those of you who do follow a comments feed, it's possible a few more spam comments will get through as we experiment to try to solve the problem. Thank you for bearing with us.

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February 8, 2010

Quick clicks: Snowy day edition

This is a bit of a catch-up edition of Quick Clicks, so it's a little longer than usual. But if you're in the DC area (or elsewhere) and snowed in, what better time to catch up on your reading?

First, I'd like to welcome to several new association blogs:

- Aaron Wolowiec, a former Acronym blogger, has launched his own blog at An early standout post: Exposing the silo effect.

- Karen Tucker Thomas recently began the CEO Solutions blog. Early standout: Board orientation or board development.

- Management Solutions Plus brings us The Common Thread blog, featuring a number of staff, including well-known association blogger Jamie Notter. Early standout: Enquiring minds want to know how and why, by Angela Pike.

- If you follow any of the ASAE & The Center listservers, you're surely familiar with Vinay Kumar; he now has a blog of his own, too. Early standout: The Ferrari, the race, the pit-stop.

- If you have an interest in legal issues related to associations, check out Mark Alcon's new Association Law Blog. An early standout post: top 10 signs of a dysfunctional board.

Several existing blogs and bloggers are putting together interesting new series:

- The Vanguard Technology blog has begun a new "5 Questions" series, where they'll be asking five questions of an association professional doing innovative things with technology. This first interview (presented primarily in podcast form) focuses on why email marketing matters more than ever.

- DelCor has begun a weekly "Social Media Sweet Spot" show on Ustream, hosted by KiKi L'Italien.

- The SocialFish blog is hosting a series of interviews with association social media managers.

Many other association bloggers have had interesting things to say in recent weeks:

- Maddie Grant shared a thought-provoking post from Bruce Butterfield on lessons associations can learn from the struggles of the newspaper industry. Kevin Holland responded with his thoughts on what is missing from that comparison. Both posts inspired very interesting comment discussions.

- Elsewhere, Kevin Holland had a great discussion with Matt Baehr about aggregation as a value proposition for associations.

- Shelly Alcorn shares her take on the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case.

- Joe Gerstandt has a thoughtful post on opportunities he sees for local SHRM chapters to advance the cause of diversity and inclusion. I think his ideas could be applicable to a lot of other associations, too.

- Jeff Hurt shares a meeting planner's perspective on conference housing and attrition.

- Jeff De Cagna shares his five key words for 2010.

- Ellen Behrens argues that many of our current work practices are unhealthy for both ourselves and our organizations.

- Judith Lindenau shares her "A list" advice for association membership recruitment and retention.

- Maggie McGary is starting a list of association and nonprofit community managers.

- Eric Lanke at the Hourglass Blog shares a first draft of principles of innovation for the association community.

- Sue Pelletier responds to one possible model for the future of work and speculates on how associations might fit in.

- Tony Rossell has a simple method you can use to calculate where your membership numbers are headed.

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February 5, 2010

Calling all association bloggers: Tech Conference coverage

Just like at the annual meeting in Toronto, you can find all the action happening at ASAE & The Center's 2010 Technology Conference (next week! Feb. 10-12) on the conference Hub (that's or for your mobile device). It will pull through photo, video, Acronym posts, and, yes, lots of Twitter posts -- and it will be easy to tag Tweets to specific education sessions.

Any people in the association blogging community who will be there and blogging about the conference, we'd love to pull your posts through to the Hub as well. We'll need you to set up an RSS feed that is specific to your posts about the Technology Conference. Send the feed to and we'll pull it through. (If you need help setting up a feed specific to the conference, contact me at Oh and all you bloggers and Twitterers: be sure to sign up on our conference Blog Roll and Twitter Roll so others know to follow you.

Also, I wanted to let you know that our PR Manager Jakub Konysz will be available to you before each general session if you have questions about this year's attendance, want access to someone on ASAE & The Center's staff, or would just like to chat about the organization. You can email him at or reach out to him on Twitter: jkonysz.

As far as what we'll be doing here on Acronym at the conference, Joe, Lisa, and I will be sharing our thoughts on the conference activities we attend. We'll also do a photo roundup and take a look at some of the interesting Tweets and blog posts from around the association community.

If you're going to the conference, maybe we can meet at the Tweetups on Thursday or Friday. If you can't make it this year -- check into the Hub and back here on Acronym to get a flavor of the happenings.


December 24, 2009

Holiday break

Acronym, and Big Ideas month, will be taking a break through the New Year. We'll miss you! If you need any reading in the meantime, you might enjoy a few of these holiday-themed posts from other association blogs:

- Joe Flowers offers up an association version of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

- The SocialFish blog shares a social media version of A Christmas Carol.

- Peggy Hoffman links to some tips from the Happiness Project.

- Elizabeth Weaver Engel and Dave Sobol share best wishes for the season.

Take care and have a happy New Year. We look forward to talking associations with you in 2010!


December 1, 2009

It's Big Idea Month on Acronym

Previously we asked Acronym readers to give us some big ideas or interesting thoughts to write about, and you came through with a lot of good fodder--so much that we might have to do another big ideas month in the future! Your suggestions and input have been compiled and will be the first comment to this post.

We've culled this list and selected several that we're going to write about directly -- two or three a week up until December 24th, when Acronym will go mostly silent until 2010.

We're inviting the association blogging community to participate on their blogs--we'll share any we see with Acronym readers. In addition, if any readers out there want to give us their thoughts on any of these ideas, we'd love for you to write a post and email it to me ( -- I'd love to post them. Guidelines: make them no more than 400 words long and, well, coherent.

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October 13, 2009

Think big

Here at Acronym we have been developing theme months on a semi-regular basis, and for December we'd like your help.

The end of the year is traditionally a time for reflection about the past and future, so we'd like to do some creative thinking about big ideas. Call it a "what if" month.

Here's where you come in: please post in the comments below your suggestions for finishing this sentence:

"What if associations...?"

Yes, it's incredibly vague, but that's the point. Nothing is out of bounds. Again, think big. Think crazy.

We'll start things off with a few examples:

  • What if associations got rid of their boards?
  • What if associations moved to all-virtual staffing models?
  • What if associations required all members to volunteer?

With your suggestions, we'll plan to examine several of them in a series of posts here in December.

Can't wait to read your ideas. Thanks in advance!

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October 1, 2009

Welcome Joe Rominiecki!

I'm pleased to introduce to you today a new regular Acronym blogger, Joe Rominiecki. (Long-time Acronym readers may recall that Joe has posted here occasionally in the past.) Joe is ASAE & The Center's managing editor for newsletters; in addition to leading the team of staff and freelancers who work on our dozen-plus member e-newsletters, he also contributes extensively to Associations Now. Before joining us at ASAE & The Center, he worked for the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors as NVAR's communications coordinator. He's a talented writer and editor, soon-to-be owner of two kittens, and a sadly misguided fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Please welcome Joe to Acronym--he's got some great things to say, and I'm looking forward to seeing them on the blog!


August 18, 2009

What is not related to "social media"?

Here we are at the final day of ASAE 2009 in Toronto and one is overwhelmed with the amount of interest, and confusion, about social media and its impact on associations. The exhibit floor in the technology section is evidence not only of the intense interest in all things social media, but also the emergence of new solutions and companies in this sector.

A lot of the information on social media is aimed to help people understand the basics of what social media is and initial approaches. Other sessions have been able to go more into detail and share actionable information and resources.

However, one over-riding theme through all of the presentations and the discussions was just how important it is for organizations to develop a strategy for social media if they hope to really leverage the new tools and applications.

Another "elephant in the room" is about measurement and ROI. Sure, you might have thousands of "fans" on Facebook or hordes of "followers" on Twitter, but how are you managing your organizations brand message and reputation; how are you monetizing or measuring these platforms?

It is obvious that we are all at the front end of the social media revolution and that the initial strategies; i.e. using public social networks alone as the primary social media approach, are not going to deliver the kinds of sustainable results we need.

A solid strategy, use of multiple channels and the ability to manage your brand and quality of experience on a private social network while raising awareness in the public space seems to be where associations need to go to be more successful with social media.

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July 23, 2009

Welcome Jennifer Ragan-Fore!

I'm pleased to welcome a new blogger to Acronym today: Jennifer Ragan-Fore, the director of new media and member communities for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

Jennifer leads and manages ISTE's member networks, including ISTE's very successful Second Life Project, Special Interest Group Program, and other social and professional communities. (In two years, ISTE's Second Life community has grown to more than 5,000 members and included more than 6,000 contributed volunteer hours--it really is a great success story.)

Before holding her current position at ISTE, Jennifer was ISTE's director of general membership and Special Interest Group program director.

Please make Jennifer feel welcome here on Acronym. We're glad to have her on board!

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July 10, 2009

Welcome Larry Sloan!

Good morning! I'd like to welcome our newest Acronym blogger, Larry Sloan. Larry will be joining us for the month of July to share his perspectives on some of the challenges facing association CEOs today.

Larry is president of the Adhesives and Sealants Council Inc., in Bethesda, Maryland, and a CAE. He originally joined the Council in 2001 as director of member services, and was promoted to senior director in 2004 before becoming president in January 2005. He started his career as a chemical engineer, entering the nonprofit sector in 2000 as director of membership for the Consumer Specialty Products Association.

Please welcome Larry to Acronym. I'm looking forward to reading his posts!


June 15, 2009

Welcome Brian Birch!

I'd like to take a moment to welcome Acronym's newest guest blogger, Brian Birch. Brian is the assistant executive director of the Snow and Ice Management Association, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After earning his master's degree in e-business, Brian joined SIMA as membership administrator. He briefly served as interim executive director for the association during the search for SIMA's current executive director.

Over the next few weeks, Brian has some creative thoughts to share on management (both personnel management and association management) and more. Please make him feel welcome here on Acronym!

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May 26, 2009

(Re)welcome Steve Worth!

We have another new blogger joining us this month--Steve Worth, president of Plexus Consulting Group. Steve has more than twenty years of experience as a professional consultant and has provided strategic consulting assistance to associations, businesses, and governments around the world in areas covering organizational restructuring, public policy, and public and organizational communications.

Steve actually blogged with us last year, with a series of posts on partnership. This time, he's not focused around a specific topic, and he'll be taking advantage of that to share many interesting thoughts related to associations, leadership, and much more.

Please welcome Steve back to Acronym. We're glad to have him blogging with us again!


May 18, 2009

Welcome Kimberley Gray!

I'm happy to introduce you to our newest Acronym blogger, Kimberley Gray. Kimberley is the events coordinator for the Associated General Contractors of Alaska, a small-staff trade association located in Anchorage. To my knowledge, Kimberley is also our first Alaskan blogger (correct me if I'm wrong about that ...).

Kimberley will be posting with us over the next month with some thoughts on membership, social media, and communication.

Please make Kimberley feel welcome as she gets started on Acronym. Kimberley, welcome!


March 4, 2009

Welcome Art Hsieh!

I'd like to welcome Acronym's newest guest blogger, Art Hsieh. Art is chief executive officer and director of education at the San Francisco Paramedic Association, a nonprofit training institution specializing in emergency medical care and prehospital medicine. He is also certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians as an NREMT-Paramedic, the organization's highest level of certification, and serves as an exam representative for the NREMT examination.

Please welcome Art to Acronym. We're glad to have him on board!


December 12, 2008

Administrative business: Do you subscribe?

This is just a quick post for the wonderful people who subscribe to Acronym's RSS feed and/or comments feed. Like many organizations, we're doing our best to keep good data on Acronym's readership, and one way we're doing that is by using Feedburner with our RSS feeds.

If you've already subscribed to our RSS feeds, would you mind taking a quick minute to resubscribe through the following links? Main feed, Comments feed We appreciate you taking the time to help us with this.

(And if you don't subscribe to Acronym, we'd love it if you did!)


December 1, 2008

Welcome Stephanie Vance!

I'd like to extend an Acronym welcome to Stephanie Vance, who is joining us for the month of December to talk about how associations can prepare for the new presidential administration and the new Congress coming in January.

Stephanie is the Advocacy Guru at Advocacy Associates, Inc., and has more than 15 years of experience as both a lobbyist and a congressional aide. If you enjoy her posts here, you'll want to check out her work at the Advocacy New Approaches blog, as well as her posts last month on the Association Forum of Chicagoland's Forum Effect blog.


November 25, 2008

Welcome Pat Troy!

I'd like to introduce a new Acronym blogger today: Pat Troy. Pat owns Next Wave Group, LLC, a Maryland-based based AMC focusing on diverse, small associations. She has been managing associations since 1992 and has worked in the world of nonprofits since 1980. (She also owns Bay Media, Inc., a publication management firm.)

In 2007, she took her companies "virtual." Her team of employees and contractors works remotely, taking advantage of Web-based applications.

We're looking forward to Pat's great ideas here on Acronym. Please help her feel at home!


November 13, 2008

Welcome Peggy Hoffman and Nick Senzee!

I'd like to introduce two new Acronym bloggers to you today--Peggy Hoffman and Nick Senzee. Peggy is president of Mariner Management and Marketing; Nick is assistant director of constituent organization resources at the American Academy of Physician Assistants. (They're both bloggers, too.)

Together, they're going to be sharing some of their thoughts on volunteer management with Acronym readers. What are some of the current trends in volunteerism associations and components are facing? What do they mean for the future of our organizations? Peggy and Nick have some ideas, but they're interested in yours too--and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of the discussion.

Thanks to Peggy and Nick for joining us on Acronym.


October 16, 2008

Quick clicks: Blog Action Day

I'd like to welcome two more new association blogs to the blogging community: The "best new blog name" award goes to the Guilt by Association blog, with blogger Frank Fortin (who has been a commenter on Acronym for some time). And over at the YAP group blog, there are some great new blogging voices.

Some other interesting activity going on this week:

- Yesterday was a Blog Action Day with a focus on poverty. (What's a Blog Action Day? Check out Kristin's post from earlier today.) A number of association bloggers were inspired to post, including Jeff De Cagna, Elizabeth Weaver Engel, the Wild Apricot blog, Maddie Grant, Cynthia D'Amour, and Cindy Butts.

- If your association serves a profession or industry where there are many bloggers already, a challenge like a blog action day might be a great way to get everyone focused on a topic of importance to your members. Another idea, a blog learning challenge, was described in depth by Michele Martin at The Bamboo Project blog earlier this week.

- If you like the Acronym comments feed, you may also be interested in a new master comments feed for association blogs, created by Ben Martin. I personally really appreciate it--so much easier than trying to follow so many separate comment threads!

- Wes Trochlil put up a great post about trust and association databases; the comments on his post are also well worth a read.


October 7, 2008

Introducing our comments feed

Just a quick bit of administrative business: Acronym now has a comments feed! If you use an RSS feed reader and want an easy way to follow the comments on Acronym (and if you're not following them already, you're missing out on the many smart things Acronym commenters have to say) subscribe to

Thanks to Ben Martin and Scott Oser, whose requests for a comment feed led us to look into it, and special thanks to the wonderful Amy Hissrich, who actually created the feed.

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October 1, 2008

Welcome Shawn Boynes!

I'd like to welcome our newest Acronym guest blogger, Shawn Boynes. Shawn is the senior director of education at APIC--Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, where he has primary responsibility for all of APIC's education initiatives. Previously, he served as director of programs for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

In Shawn's 13 years of experience in the association sector, he's worked for trade, professional, and advocacy-based associations, so he can provide a broad-based look at the many issues facing all of us. We're really pleased to have Shawn join us and add his perspective and insights to Acronym!


September 8, 2008

Welcome to Steven Worth

We're pleased to announce that Steven M. Worth of the Plexus Consulting Group will be joining us for a series of blog posts related to partnership. (Since the Plexus Consulting Group authored the new book The Power of Partnership in cooperation with ASAE & The Center and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he has a lot of information to draw from for his posts.) If you have any questions, experiences, or insights into partnership and its role in associations' business strategies, feel free to share them with Steven!


September 3, 2008

Welcome new Acronym bloggers!

We'd like to welcome two new guest bloggers to Acronym: Scott Oser and Katie Paffhouse. Scott is with Scott Oser Associates, in Maryland; he brings with him a wealth of knowledge about publishing and marketing. Katie is the senior manager, affiliates, with the American Diatetic Association in Chicago; she has a strong background in volunteer management, training, and recruitment.

We're looking forward to seeing both Scott and Katie interact with the great commenters here on Acronym!


July 16, 2008

Great comment conversations

Just in case you haven't been watching our comment threads, I wanted to point you specifically to two comment discussions that are going gangbusters:

- Jason Della Rocca's post on a free-to-join model for associations has sparked some debate, with comments ranging from "I think you've hit on something that association execs need to take very seriously moving forward" to "I've been wary of the unbundled membership model for years, and as time passes, I become more convinced that while seductive, it is a mistake." If you're at all interested in the potential of new and different business models for associations, you should definitely take a look.

- Commenters on my post on telecommuting have shared their own stories on why telecommuting has worked well for them, as well as some thought-provoking cautions on telecommuting's drawbacks. And I'm still hoping for a commenter or two who will speak up on behalf of organizations that allow no telecommuting at all--can you help me better understand that approach?

Thanks to all of our commenters for sharing their thoughts with us!


June 11, 2008


We're proud to announce that Acronym has been honored with an EXCEL Award from the Society of National Association Publications, in the category of online publishing--blogs (surprisingly enough). We're very happy to have hosted the kinds of posts--from volunteers like Virgil Carter, Jason Della Rocca, Betsy Boyd-Flynn, Garen Distelhorst, Brynn Gumstrop Slate, Kevin Mead, and many others--that SNAP's judges found to be worthy of recognition.

We're especially proud to have been put in the great company of our fellow category winners, ShopFloor (the National Association of Manufacturers' blog), BoardBuzz (the National School Boards Association's blog), and The Penn Stater's Italy blog (from the Penn State Alumni Association).

Congratulations to all the winners of the Excel Awards--and congratulations to SNAP, for putting on a very enjoyable awards program this year.

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May 12, 2008

Moving On—Again!

Well, it’s time to move on—again! After six years at ASME, I’m retiring July 2, and my wife and I are reinventing ourselves for a fifth time. After a year’s participation on Acronym, this will be my last article. I have this perspective that every 5-8 years I need to move on and find something new and innovative to do. All of us are different, but this is one way I stay challenged and energized. Between now and July 2, there are many final activities at ASME to conclude, including taking my president to Western Europe in a few days for development of alliances and outreach activities. Thus, my time to blog new thoughts will be very limited.

Merle and I are going back to our place in Chadds Ford, west of Philadelphia, where I will do some things that I have long wanted to do: paint full time, teach art, self publish guide books of historic areas in the western Philadelphia area (with my paintings as illustrations), redo the herb garden, design a new house, and maybe, just maybe, do some consulting in association management. We’ll see. One thing is for sure: it will be an exciting and wonderful time of exploration and new discovery.

Folks have asked me what I consider to be my major achievement. It’s one of those common questions asked of retirees. My answer is simple--association management is a wonderful field, full of extraordinary people. Working with so many wonderful volunteers and staff is the achievement I treasure most.

Association management is not for everyone, of course, but it is an important and rewarding endeavor. I’ve been an army officer, practicing architect, university administrator and tenured faculty member, and, thanks to the invitation of a good friend in 1989, a senior association executive. I can’t think of anything as challenging and rewarding as association management. The non-profit sector is an important and significant contributor to the improvement of work, quality of life and personal well-being. Non-profit leadership is hard, but worthwhile and important work.

I want to thank Lisa and Scott for allowing me to participate as a contributor to Acronym. It’s a great blog and fine resource for ASAE. I’ve enjoyed my time here and the many conversations with colleagues.

Merle and I send all of you our very best wishes. I consider myself fortunate to have worked with and learned so much from so many of you. Keep up the fine work.

If you are interested in painting or need a guidebook for the historic areas in Delaware, Chester and Lancaster Counties, just let us know. If you’re in the area of Chadds Ford, stop by and we’ll have some lemonade on the back porch. Cheers!

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April 2, 2008

Technical note

For those of you interested in the documents Virgil Carter mentioned in his recent post "So You Want to Be an Executive Director?" there are now live links to both documents included in the post. My apologies for the delay--there were some technical difficulties to be worked out, but now they are solved, thanks to the patient help of Amy Hissrich in our web department.

Thank you for your patience, and thanks to Virgil for sharing such great information!

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March 6, 2008

New blog with an international twist

We've had a lot of new association blogs lately! This one, however, has a special focus on establishing and sustaining international business for your association: Peter Turner of the opensource.association blog is the featured writer, so you know there's going to be some great and thought-provoking posts. As a good example, check out this recent post in response to Acronym's series of posts from the Study Mission to India.

Peter, good luck with this new endeavor!


March 5, 2008

Welcome, new bloggers

I'd like to welcome two new bloggers to the Acronym crew: Brynn Grumstrup Slate and Garen Distelhorst. Brynn is manager of communications and programs for the National Association of Women Business Owners in McLean, Virginia; Garen is accreditation manager for the Marble Institute of America. Both are active members of ASAE & The Center's Young Professionals Committee.

We're excited to have Brynn and Garen as part of Acronym. Please welcome them both!


January 14, 2008


If you haven’t heard of memes (or you’ve seen the word used and don’t know exactly what it’s referring to), they’re sort of like internet chain letters. Someone will start a meme on his or her blog—for instance, answer a series of questions, or list the first 10 songs that show up in her iPod on “shuffle” mode. Then he or she will “tag” a series of other people, asking them to do the same thing on their own blogs. (I’ve also seen this done via e-mail.)

A lot of memes are fun, get-to-know-you activities. Sometimes they’re more serious, like raising a difficult question and asking others to blog about it.

A meme has been making the rounds in the association blogging community recently, with bloggers sharing eight things about themselves that their readers might not know. Participants so far have included Cindy Butts, Kevin Holland, Matt Baehr, and Maddie Grant. Maddie “tagged” Scott Briscoe and I, asking us to share our eight things. While Acronym doesn’t usually include more personal posts from our bloggers, we thought this could be a fun exception.

That said, here are my eight things:

1. Two of my uncles played in a band with Bruce Springsteen when they were teenagers (I believe they practiced, at least sometimes, in my grandparents’ garage).

2. My father stood my mother up on their first date. He had to come up with really good concert tickets to get a second date.

3. My brother Alex was born on my third birthday. Apparently I was not gracious about sharing my day with him at the time—but now it’s a lot of fun to be able to call him on our birthday.

4. I have two children: Gray is seven and Meredith is almost two. Gray wants to be a member of IGDA when he grows up; Meredith remains undecided.

5. I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 10 years now. If it is ever revealed to me that Diet Coke is not vegetarian, I would have a very difficult decision to make.

6. As Scott will tell you, I am many different kinds of geek. It was imprinted on me early. Some of my first memories are of watching Star Trek with my father (original series, episodes “Shore Leave” and “The Squire of Gothos,” for those who are curious) and some of the first books I can specifically remember reading are The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

7. I’m always reading. One of my favorite things as a child was to spend the day wandering the aisles at the Virginia Beach Central Library, reading any book I wanted for as long as I wanted.

8. We recently lost our wonderful German Shepherd, Cassie. We still have three cats; Christopher, the oldest, is 21, and we’re fairly sure he’s planning to outlive us all.


January 3, 2008

What do you think?

2007 was a very good year for us at Acronym; we were joined by some great new guest bloggers, we hosted some highly successful liveblogging from ASAE & The Center events, and we couldn't have been more pleased with the response to our social media month event in November. But we want 2008 to be even better.

To that end, we'd like to ask for the most important feedback of all: yours. For those of you who visit Acronym, whether regularly or not, we'd be very interested in your thoughts about the blog:

- What should we be covering that we're not talking about now?

- What should we do more of?

- What should we do less of?

- Who would you recommend as a potential guest blogger?

Of course, we can't guarantee that a particular guest blogger will say yes, but any and all feedback will be a huge help to us. Leave a comment; let us know what you think. Thank you so much!

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Welcome Kevin Mead

I'd like to welcome Acronym's first new guest blogger of 2008: Kevin Mead, CAE, president, North American region and executive director, worldwide operations, for IGAF Worldwide.

Kevin joined IGAF Worldwide as president in 2002. Previously, he has served in positions related to membership and customer relationship management, conferences, field services, certification development, internal audit, and finance, so clearly he approaches his work from a broad base of experience and knowledge.

Kevin is also a savvy world traveler (this recent article of his from ASAE & The Center's GlobalLink e-newsletter is a great example). We're glad to have another blogger with a good sense of the international association picture.

Welcome, Kevin! We're pleased that you'll be a part of the Acronym conversation.

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January 2, 2008

And we're back!

Welcome back, Acronym readers! We hope you all enjoyed your New Year celebrations, and we appreciate your patience while Scott and I took a holiday break from blogging. We're back, and we hope to start the year off right with some new guest bloggers (soon to be introduced), more great posts from the bloggers you already know, and new ideas.

We also wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ben Martin of the Certified Association Executive blog for choosing Acronym as his best blog about associations for 2007. We're honored, and we greatly appreciate Ben's kind words about Acronym. Congratulations as well to the other blogs and bloggers that Ben selected as the best of the year--as his list shows, there was a ton of great stuff going on this year around the association blog community. We're looking forward to the conversation in 2008.

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December 21, 2007

See you in 2008!

Thank you for tuning into Acronym this year. This is the last day ASAE & The Center will be open this year, so Lisa and I are going to take it easy and stay away from the blog for a week or so. Our guest bloggers were told that we'd be unofficially shutting the blog down until next year, but I suppose if something really strikes their fancy nothing is stopping them from posting anyway.

So, again, thanks for reading, commenting, and making Acronym a successful place for dialog on associating today. Check back on the second of January... until then, Happy Holidays!


November 7, 2007

We got your social media right here!

In honor of social media month, the kind folks in ASAE & The Center’s Knowledge Initiatives department have added a very cool widget to Acronym. If you look down at the bottom of this post, you’ll see a little icon that says “Bookmark.” To many of you, its meaning will be immediately clear, but for folks who may not have used a similar widget before, I wanted to provide a little extra information.

This icon is intended to facilitate the sharing of Acronym posts through social bookmarking and rating sites—communities where members share links to online articles, blogs, websites, photos, or other materials that they find to be useful or interesting. (Wikipedia has a more detailed explanation, if you're interested in more information.) If you hold your mouse over the icon below or click on it, you’ll see a list of options for sharing and recommending an Acronym post through services such as (a social bookmarking site), Digg (a content sharing and rating site), StumbleUpon (similar to Digg, a site where members share good websites they’ve “stumbled upon,”), and more. You can also use this widget to add posts to your Facebook profile, your Twitter page, or even your personal browser bookmarks.

(On a side note, I had no idea how many different social bookmarking options there were. Our widget has 35 of them listed!)

ASAE & The Center has also added this widget to the models and samples pages on our website, so you can share and recommend content there as well. If you see a post you find particularly valuable, we hope you will share it with others through this new widget. And if you have any questions at all about how the widget works, feel free to drop a comment or e-mail us.

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July 12, 2007

Posts you shouldn’t miss

The association/nonprofit blog community has been posting some great stuff lately—perhaps summer is recharging our batteries! I thought I’d pass along a few links to posts I found particularly interesting.

• Jamie Notter argues for the importance of healthy conflict on a senior staff team and, as a bonus, gives five tips on how to handle it productively.
• Ben Martin provides some analysis the current status of online social networking and why associations should be getting on board this train now.
• For the membership folks out there, two complimentary posts: Joe Grant discusses some important steps to take to determine if you’re solving your members’ problems, and Tony Rossell provides a helpful template for a dashboard to capture key information about your membership program.
• On the Bamboo Project blog, Michele Martin has some great ideas on how to build a better conference.

What good stuff have you been reading lately? Feel free to add your two cents in comments!

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June 7, 2007

Introducing new Annual Meeting bloggers!

It gives me great pleasure to announce the first three new Annual Meeting bloggers who will be posting in the coming weeks, as well as during the meeting in Chicago in August. In alphabetical order, they are:

Jason Della Rocca, executive director of the International Game Developers Association

Hilary Marsh, managing director,, National Association of Realtors

Matt White, director of marketing, Illinois Park and Recreation Association

I'll give each of our new bloggers the chance to offer their own unique intros. In the meantime, I want to express just how excited we are about these outstanding additions to the crew of Chicago Bloggers. And they won't be the last association community contributors to join the effort, so please keep reading!

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April 10, 2007

Welcome to Virgil Carter

It’s my pleasure to introduce a new guest blogger here at Acronym. Virgil Carter is the executive director of ASME in New York City. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a 120,000-member professional organization with a focus on the technical, educational, and research issues of the engineering and technology community.

Virgil comes to Acronym with a great depth of experience as an association leader. He is a past chair of ASAE & The Center’s Executive Management Section Council and served as a member of the Environmental Scan Task Force, among numerous other professional accomplishments.

I’m looking forward to the thoughts he has to share with us about leadership, management, and life as an association executive. Welcome, Virgil!

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March 21, 2007

Introducing a new guest blogger

Please extend a warm welcome to our newest guest blogger, Betsy Boyd-Flynn. Betsy is a senior specialist in communications and marketing with the American College of Rheumatology and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Association Leadership. I've personally gotten a lot out of her contributions to ASAE & The Center over the years, and I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to say on Acronym.

Thanks for joining us, Betsy!


February 23, 2007

Reading Room

I was reading an article this morning from The Daily Dog about breaking into blogs. They asked Burt Helm of BusinessWeek's Brand New Day blog for tips on how public relations professionals can "break into" the blog world. As is so often the case with me, the thing I took away from the story didn't have anything to do with the topic.

In the article, Helm recommends using Technorati to find blogs pertinent to your industry or business focus, but he adds, "I find better blogs and ones that I really like through word-of-mouth and talking to sources. I always ask important executives what they read online."

I have never asked an important executive what blogs they read. Maybe because I'm in Mississippi and worry that I would get a blank look and have to explain what the big deal about blogs is for 15 minutes. But I'm asking you today. (And if you are an important executive, please let me know so I can say in the future that I have in fact asked important executives what blogs they read.) You obviously read this blog periodically if you are reading this, but what other blogs do you read regularly - and why?

Here are a few I enjoy that are not specifically association-related:
- TP! Wire Service - It's just a collection of interesting stories, but what a collection!
- Fast Company Now - Brief entries with just enough meat to make you feel like you're learning something new but not so much that you think there's no way you can chew it all.
- Creating Passionate Users - Always makes me think
- mental floss blog - I love the blog as much as I do the magazine.
- 800.CEO.READ blog - I don't seem to have as much time as I like to read business books lately, so at times I live vicariously and just read about business books. ;)
- rexblog - A blog by Rex Hammock, the owner of Hammock Publishing. He has become a blog friend along the way, but many years ago, he was just writing an industry blog I read about magazine publishing (and other interesting stuff, too, which is honestly probably why I kept reading).

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January 11, 2007

Attention association blogoclump

For the most part, you're the only ones who used the trackback feature, and then it has only been about once every six weeks. Because we were getting (and this is no exaggeration) about 1 trackback spam every 3 minutes (or about 500 a day) we turned the feature off. The spam filters were catching all of them, but unfortunately were catching yours, too, so we had to painfully go in and review the spam and delete a couple times a day. So no more trackbacks, sorry. Feel free to drop a comment that says "I commented on this post in my blog."

By the way, most readers might be asking, what's the association blogoclump? I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, but I think David Gammel coined that term, or at least used it to describe this collection of bloggers.

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November 7, 2006

Guest blogger Michael Gallery

I'm thrilled to introduce another guest blogger: Michael Gallery, Ph.D., CAE. Mick is founder and president of Opis Consulting in Highland Village, Texas, which was preceded by a long and distinguished career as an association executive, including 14 years as COO of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

He's also had a long and distinguished volunteer career with ASAE & The Center and is currently a member of The Center for Association Leadership Board of Directors. Notably, he was the chair of the Measures of Success project, which resulted in the ASAE bestseller 7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don't and he has previously served as the chair of the CAE Commission. He became an ASAE Fellow in 1989.

Please welcome Mick. His first post has been ready to go for a little while, so it will be coming shortly.


November 3, 2006

More new bloggers

Please welcome another new, guest blogger: Ann Oliveri, CAE, senior vice president for strategic development for The Urban Land Institute. Like Peter, our other new blogger, she also has been involved with ASAE & The Center in many ways, including as a charter member of the Marketing Section Council in the mid 1990s. She currently serves on the Journal of Association Leadership Editorial Advisory Board. She was also named an ASAE & The Center Fellow in 2006 and is the author of the blog The Zen of Associations.

Ann is also one of those unique people, very creative and curious. She's a joy to talk to, and I highly recommend searching for her last name on ASAE & The Center's website and reading some of her writings. And check back here.


November 2, 2006

New guest blogger

It is my pleasure to introduce our newest guest blogger, Peter O'Neil, CAE. Peter is assistant executive director with the American Industrial Hygiene Society based in Fairfax, Virginia. He will be well known to many association people as he has served ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership in a variety of ways over the years. He currently serves on The Center for Association Leadership Board of Directors. He was also named an ASAE & The Center Fellow earlier this year.

I've only just started to get to know Peter over the last three years or so and just based on the conversations we've had, I can't wait to see his contributions to this blog. His first post should be coming soon.


October 6, 2006

The great spam battle

It was looking like spam was going to win the battle, but, risking the ire of the nuisance gods, it appears that we've come out on top. At least for now. For those of you with blogs or considering them, I asked John Stone from our service provider to explain what we've done to combat the comment spam:

"Over the last few months, the delivery of spam and junk posts through Web based forms has risen significantly. Comment forms like those at the bottom of ASAE's blog site can easily receive hundreds of junk posts a day. While it may be simple to delete each post, it's a time-consuming process and ultimately degrades the quality and value of the site.

To reduce automated posts, many sites have turned to reverse Turing tests, more commonly known as CAPTCHA. CAPTCHA is simply an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart,” and is trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University.

A CAPTCHA reduces automated posts by asking a question that only a human would be able to answer. The most popular test challenges a user to enter obscured text embedded within an image. You'll notice these graphics on many reservation system sites, online stores, and at the bottom of ASAE's own comment form.


While it is relatively easy for a person with good eyesight to see and enter 9059, an automated computer program or “bot”, is essentially blind to anything but the publicly available HTML source. A good CAPTCHA program, will insure that there is no textual reference to the image's content, making it easy for us to identify the real posts.


While CAPTCHA does a great job blocking automated computer software, it isn't perfect. Common problems with a visual CAPTCHA are that it can make it very difficult for those with visual disabilities to participate and it's only a matter of time before automated software includes optical character recognition that does it's best to decipher your obscured image.

Deciding whether your site should use a CAPTCHA is probably more difficult than actually implementing one. Many Web based applications already include plug-ins that simply need to be enabled; many others will make such tests standard features in their next releases. For custom sites, CAPTCHA is still an option and can be installed within a few hours once a few key elements are configured.

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September 28, 2006

Acronym blogger in the New York Times

One of our Acronym bloggers was featured in a Sept. 27 New York Times article about employee blogging by Matt Villand, "Blogging The Hand That Feeds You."

No, it wasn't me.

Here's the quote:

C. David Gammel, the president of High Context Consulting, a Web strategy consulting firm in Silver Spring, Md., said that employee blogs were worth encouraging, as long as companies devised individual policies about blogging and incorporated them into the employee handbook.

“Human resources departments should simply add blogging to the list of activities in which employees should be careful about how they represent the company,” he said.

And is it just me or does every article about employee blogging remind you also of those scare-tactic-laced after-school movies from the 70s? "One night, Linda was staring listlessly at the computer. She couldn't sleep. She had been thinking about it for some time, but she finally did it. She started a blog. She thought know one would know. It would just be her little secret. BUT SHE WAS WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! DON'T DO IT, LINDA. YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. GO BACK! YOU WILL BE FIRED! FIRED, I TELL YOU. REALLY. WE'RE NOT JOKING. STOP. RIGHT. NOW."

The funny part to me is that after they explore the handful of bloggers who did get fired for blogging about work and they have the lawyers chime in and say "Just Say No to Blogs," they generally conclude with "It's really just common sense - don't blog about anything you wouldn't want your boss to read." Which is very true. But in this strange new world of cell phones decked out with digital cameras and video capabilities - where clips can be posted on the Web in a nanosecond, where databases of political contributions can be searched without leaving your desk, where a Google search is the new screening process for dating and employment - I just find it odd that "blog" is the only scary word in the lexicon.

A Google search for "fired for blogging" brought back 73,300 results. A Google search for "promoted for blogging" brought back 147 and "hired for blogging" 324. I'm just saying it works both ways - and it's obvious to me that we need to work harder on uncovering the stories about the positive effects of blogging (for an association, for the individual blogger and for our industry in general).

I, for one, am going to do my part on making those search results equal. If you have had any positive experiences you would like to share about blogging or reading a blog - no matter how small - post a comment here or e-mail me directly at And I'm not just talking about new jobs and promotions - I'm talking about business contacts, sales and networking (an oft-overlooked aspect of blogging).

After all, I wouldn't even be writing this on the Acronym blog today if I had not begun blogging for the Mississippi Hospital Association two years ago.

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September 22, 2006

A Note on Comments

A quick FYI—in the constant battle against spam, we've had to ratchet up our comments filter. That means it's possible that your comment will get held in cue. We're checking the cue with regularity and publishing all nonspam, but it may take a few hours before your comment goes live. Apologies for the inconvenience, and we're studying alternatives.

For the geeks out there who care about such things—right now we're getting anywhere from 50 to 200 spam comments a day, about 5 to 10 percent of which are sliming their way through our spam filter.

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August 28, 2006

Kickin' it back into gear

Now that ASAE & The Center's annual meeting is over and the Boston Blog is winding down, I thought it was about time to get Acronym rolling again.

First of all, if you have not already done so, do check out the Boston Blog. I'm about 75 percent through it, and it really does have some good stuff in there—whether you were at the meeting or not. Because they did such a good job covering the meeting, and because I had my nose buried while developing the Daily Now, I'll only do one post on the meeting—sometime in the next few days.

Right now, however, I want to call attention to "5 to See" over in the right-hand column. Rather than have a very long blog roll, we put up five to check out with the notion to change it every so often. We'll be changing them soon, but before we did, I wanted to point out some of the interesting things on those blogs. So, here's my favorite post from the last week or so for each of the current "5 to See":

TomPeters! -- "It Depends on What the Meaning of 'Is' Is." I had to choose this one because it's probably my favorite line from the Clintonian era. It also encapsulates quintessential Peters to me: do something to shake it up.

The Long Tail -- "Peter Moore on Long Tail Gaming." Ostensibly it's about gaming. Take the seven points out of the gaming context, however, and you'll see some pretty powerful stuff.

Brand Autopsy -- "Businesses Gotta Be Confident." Brand Autopsy is a target-rich environment for a posting such as this. I chose this one, I think, because of an article that will appear in the October issue of Associations Now on associations facing attacks from techno-enabled malcontents.

Jeffrey Cufaude, Idea Archtects -- "Kids Nowadays." These lists are always entertaining but, more importantly, drive home generational differences.

Loose Wire -- "An End to the Anonymity of Trash?" Yes, Big Brother's muscles are growing quite strong.


June 29, 2006

What is "5 to See"

If you've scrolled down and looked at the right-hand column, you've seen a "5 to See" header. These are five blogs that we like. Rather than list 30 or 40 or 50 blogs in a long blogroll, we've decided to spotlight five at a time so if you're inclined you can easily check them out and see if they're something you might be interested in bookmarking.

We'll change the five up from time to time, each time providing a short post about the blogs on the list -- you can always see previous lists by selecting the "Five to See" category. So, the initial 5 to see:

TomPeters! -- The blog to "Reimagine" your own "Search of Excellence." The Master and his blog staff offer their thoughts that challenge convention and goad readers to action. Bonus: Peters puts up slides from all or most of his presentations.

The Long Tail -- Wired editor Chris Anderson's blog on the book on the article that crystalizes one of the major -- if not THE major -- way the Web has changed business and knowledge.

Jeffrey Cufaude, Idea Architects -- Known to many in the association community, Cufaude offers a unique approach and outlook on how to be extraordinary.

Brand Autopsy -- One of the first blogs I started following, John Moore of Starbucks and Whole Foods branding fame, talks about real marketing and what branding really is.

Loose Wire -- To mix it up, Wall Street Journal technology columnist Jeremy Wagstaff has been blogging for a long time. Seems most posts of some insightful look at a tech issue -- and his sidebar resources are priceless.

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June 26, 2006

Boston Blog on annual meeting up and running

ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership got its start in the blogging universe by blogging at its annual meeting—and now the 2006 version for the meeting in Boston in August is up and running. Be sure to check it out often.

And if you just can't get enough blogging, see the blog from last year's annual meeting at Opryland in Nashville.

And finally, for those of you who are really hard up, check out the 2004 blog from Minneapolis—but be kind, after all, who had even heard of a conference blog in 2004?

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June 20, 2006

Guest bloggers

We are lucky to have an experienced set of guest bloggers joining us as we kick off this new endeavor. Our first guest bloggers include:
• Greg Balestrero, CEO of Project Management Institute, a Center board member and former chair of GWSAE and CESSE;
• David Gammel, CAE, president of High Context Consulting, and author of the High Context blog;
• Shawn Lea, vice president for strategic communications for the Mississippi Hospital Association, and author of the The Big Picture blog;
• And Ben Martin, member relations director, Virginia Society of CPAs, and author of the Certified Association Executive blog (which, by the way, is about a lot more than the CAE).

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June 16, 2006


Welcome to Acronym, ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership’s new blog for and about the association community. Here you’ll find a variety of voices, many (but not all) of them from younger association leaders, grappling with ideas and asking questions that affect our profession and the world.

We’re joining the small but growing chorus of blogs serving the association community. We are certainly indebted to trailblazers like the Association Forum’s “From the Corner Office,” along with a number that have sprung up from members of our community with no organizational support. We hope to deliver a blog filled with provocative and pragmatic ideas that will make a difference in the way you think about the work you do.

Here’s what you can expect:

• Our bloggers will question the conventional wisdom of association management, spotlight innovation and excellence both inside and outside the association world, and explore new possibilities for the future of associations.

• Acronym is not a blog about ASAE & The Center. While it may occasionally creep in, we don’t intend for this to be a forum to talk about our organizations and activities or a place to market our offerings or a way to evaluate how well we are doing.

• Scott Briscoe, editor-in-chief of Associations Now, and I will serve as your hosts and regular bloggers in this space. Feel free to let us know how we are doing.

• Several guest bloggers will join us. We intend to ask a variety of people with different perspectives to join us, mostly from the profession but occasionally from outside the profession. The guest blogger list will change every few months. If you’re interested in becoming a guest blogger, let us know.

• Blogs are an editorial format. Each post represents the perspective and viewpoint of the blogger, not of ASAE & The Center. This is true for Scott B. and me as well. We certainly expect to disagree with each other occasionally and if we do our job, you may love some posts, hate others, and see still others as a starting point that you would like to build on.

• And we invite you to build on it. In my mind, the best blogs are conversations. We invite you to agree, disagree, augment or refine anything you see on this blog using the comment function.

So there you have it. We will try to post something every day or every few days at least. We hope you will come back frequently, and, again, let us know how we are doing.

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