September 27, 2012

Quick clicks: September 27, 2012

Have you heard about the new Tomorrow I'll be sharing more details about the new site, but the short version is that will be the new location for ASAE's blogging on association management, beginning Monday. So, that means today's Quick Clicks post will be the final installment in its current form. But, fear not, as we'll continue to curate the best of the association blogosphere over on the new site. It will look a bit different, but I think you'll like it. Stay tuned for more details!

Now, on with the links:

Community management. Lindy Dreyer talks with a lot of community managers, and she sums up five core lessons from the best of them.

New product development. Knowledge@Wharton explains what organizations can learn from Bud Light Lime and Nintendo Wii about entering new markets.

CEO onboarding. Elizabeth Engel, CAE, says a new CEO's background and an association's internal structure are leading influences in a transition process, and she offers a list of ways to prepare for a smooth one.

Customer service. Maggie McGary tells her tale of dealing with her broadband-internet provider over service issues. Calling regular customer service got her nowhere, but posting on Facebook about her problems got her a solution (sort of) right away. Her takeaway: "Checking off the box of social media customer service while leaving traditional customer service untouched is ultimately a recipe for failure, because a confused customer isn't necessarily a happy customer."

Speaker selection. Meetings & Conventions shares some interesting data on how meeting planners choose event speakers. Thirteen percent of survey respondents said they don't pay for speakers, while 3 percent said they budget more than $50,000.

Video. Cynthia D'Amour shares a video from the Craft & Hobby Association that features CHA staff dancing and singing to promote their upcoming conference and tradeshow. It also kicks off a video contest for CHA members to promote the event, as well.

Volunteer management. Shawn Kendrick at the Engergize Inc. Blog shares several ideas for dealing with last-minute volunteer cancellations.

Technology. Wes Trochlil surveyed association execs on their biggest IT challenges, and he was a bit surprised by a few high-profile topics that didn't crack the top five.

Government relations. Stefanie Reeves, CAE, shares some advice for CAE candidates studying up on government relations, which she notes is the CAE domain that, by far, candidates feel the least prepared for.



  • Jeff Cobb writes that most adults are not prepared to continue learning after finishing high school or college, which is a big problem for maintaining a skilled workforce. Associations should be stepping in to solve this problem, but they're not doing enough, he says.
  • Dave Lutz calls Continuing Education Units the "fool's gold" of conference marketing: "I have yet to find an organization whose own research has proven that CEU acquisition is a major conference draw," he writes.

Future of associations. Jamie Notter responded to my "big and niche" post from two weeks ago to say that associations need to understand they aren't entitled to exist, and embracing that reality may just free them to build a more effective future for themselves.

Free membership. Steve Drake shares the story of the Small Business Association of Michigan, which added a free-membership category to its membership structure, primarily in effort to expand its lobbying clout: "Our messages focus on cause … NOT on the benefits you'll receive," says SBAM CEO Rob Fowler.

Membership marketing. Tony Rossell breaks out some important formulas to help you determine how to budget for recruitment and renewal efforts.

Boards. Rick Moyers points the spotlight at Susan G. Komen for the Cure to illustrate the dangers of founder's syndrome.


September 13, 2012

Quick clicks: September 12, 2012

Education. David M. Patt, CAE, says taking questions at the end of a session doesn't make it "interactive."

Pricing. Steve Drake asks, if online retailers adjust product prices multiple times per day or even per hour, why do associations tend to lock in their membership dues or product prices for months or even years on end?

Budgeting. Jeff De Cagna continues his series exploring his "really radical shifts toward the future" for associations, this time proposing that associations should eliminate budgeting in favor of "function[ing] more like investors by allocating capital to fund high-level strategic priorities."

Leadership. Kerry Stackpole, FASAE, CAE, offers five reasons complexity is your friend, rather than something to be feared.

Volunteer engagement. Got a new product in development? Don't wait until it's perfect, Elizabeth Engel, CAE, writes. Instead, recruit some eager members to test it out, and they'll love you for it.

Fundraising. Colleen Dilenschneider explains five mistakes that nonprofits often make in working with celebrities to endorse their causes.

Vendors. Deirdre Reid, CAE, says some association professionals are missing out on vast stores of knowledge when they say "no vendors, please" in community discussions. Her thoughts started a lengthy comment thread, which you should be sure to read, too.

Social media. Leslie White shares a report that examines the world of social media risk managers. Likely few associations are large enough to have such a specialized position, but that doesn't mean they don't still have to manage social-media-related risks.

Change management. Jeffrey Cufaude illustrates the importance of helping people understand new ideas in terms that relate to things they are already familiar with.

Value. Jeff Cobb reminds associations of the importance of answering the question "why?" in marketing its education programs or even membership overall.

Negotiation. Cindy Butts, CAE, hosted a yard sale, and visitors asked her a few questions that reminded her of association management.

Management. Jamie Notter points out one big reason for the success of Netflix as an organization: "They fire adequate people."


August 30, 2012

Quick clicks: August 30, 2012

It's been three weeks since the last edition of Quick Clicks, so there's a lot to catch up on. First, a reminder about the #ASAE12 Scoop.It page, where you can find all the articles and posts from the community related to the 2012 Annual Meeting & Expo, which is already two weeks behind us. (Only 338 days until #ASAE13!)

Social media. How much is a tweet from an association CEO worth? A whole lot more than one from other staff, says Maddie Grant, CAE.

Membership marketing. Tony Rossell writes that most associations underbudget for membership recruitment: "Frequently, I speak with organizations that have very lofty plans on how many new members they want to add. When I ask them what they have budgeted to accomplish this, the answer is shockingly low."

Innovation. Jeffrey Cufaude explains how your association should work toward a range of innovations, from small, quick wins to big bets, which he likens to managing an investment portfolio.

Management. Speaking of portfolios, Jamie Notter shares a lesson the book Beyond Performance that applies the portfolio concept to changing organizational culture.

Loyalty. Eric Lanke, CAE, says for-profits organizations that want to create "brand superfans" can learn much from the associations.


Content marketing. Deirdre Reid, CAE, says associations should get on board with the concept of creating a Chief Content Officer position: "Content strategy isn't a social media, website, or magazine issue, it's a management issue."

Member relations. Shannon Otto asks what association staff could learn if they swapped lives with their members: "Imagine how improved communication and understanding between staffers and members could be."

Conferences. Dave Phillips, CAE, explains why his association stopped booking a keynote speaker for its conferences.

Education. Jeff Cobb says he likes the new education formats he sees associations trying, but they can be doing much more. He lists five changes for a true revolution in association education.

Online community. Maggie McGary shares a cautionary tale about the lack of control an association has over its groups on third-party social networking platforms, in this case LinkedIn.


August 9, 2012

Quick clicks: August 9, 2012

The 2012 Annual Meeting & Expo is just two days away! The association blogosphere has been looking ahead to the conference, and you can find all #ASAE12-related blog posts on the #ASAE12 Scoop.It page:

Be sure to bookmark both Acronym and the Scoop.It page (or subscribe to the RSS feeds) to keep track of the buzz throughout the meeting.

Of course, there have also been plenty of great posts beyond the scope of the conference, so here's your regularly scheduled batch of top-notch reading material:

Business models. Maggie McGary highlights an online-only, "concierge-level" association for social media professionals that follows a model that could be a threat to the traditional association business model.

Organizational structure and culture. Jay S. Daughtry noticed some cobwebs at an otherwise clean amusement park, and it made him wonder: Who's minding the cobwebs in your association--all those little details that aren't officially anyone's job?

Learning trends. Jeff Hurt shares an infographic from Boundless that neatly sums up more than 20 emerging trends in learning technology.

Strategic planning.

Meetings. Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE, shares his reaction process to the GSA conference controversy and concludes, "We need to be absolutely above reproach in how we structure and promote our meetings."

Risk management. Leslie White examines some sample association exhibitor contracts and finds that many associations are leaving themselves vulnerable to liability in the event of something going wrong at their events.

Turnaround strategy. Lyn Slater examines the financial trouble that Washington, DC's Cocoran Gallery of Art finds itself in and recommends seven steps that an organization in The Corcoran's position could take to get out of trouble.

Icebreakers. Cindy Butts, CAE, shares a simple bingo-game icebreaker that could be easily repurposed at any association.

Website redesign. Chris Bonney explains why an association should launch a new website when it's only 85 percent done.

Conflicts of interest. David Patt, CAE, lists five reasons why you shouldn't hire board members for paid positions at your association.

Technology. Shannon Otto writes that associations can learn from the anger of NBC's tape-delayed Olympics coverage about how to adapt their media and events to the changing times.

Marketing. Andrea Pellegrino argues that if your association resorts to gimmicks to try to attract more members or customers, it probably isn't offering anything that they value to begin with.


July 26, 2012

Quick clicks: July 26, 2012

Business models.

Stifling innovation. Elizabeth Engel, CAE, channels The Buggles and laments that "Process Killed the Association Star."

Governance. Laura Otten draws four lessons for nonprofit boards to be learned from the mess at Penn State.

Conferences. Jeff Hurt writes that big conferences are sources of "big data" and explains the challenges associations must overcome to capture that data.

Personal development. In tribute to the late Stephen Covey, Jay Daughtry presents "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People People."

Pinterest. Maddie Grant, CAE, shares the questions and answers from a recent webinar on using Pinterest to advance your association.

Association careers. Stefanie Reeves, CAE, follows The Atlantic's cover story on women in high-powered careers by examining whether she can "have it all as a female lobbyist."

Social business. Rachel Happe says email is getting in the way of organizations becoming more social (internally) and offers eight ways to "change where information is consumed and interacted with and change conversational habits" among staff.

Human resources. Carl Greenberg recommends associations hire slower and fire faster. "Employers consistently want to hire someone to fill a position yesterday yet these same people spend months, if not years, tolerating poor performers before terminating them."

Fundraising games. Shari Ilsen highlights a few nonprofits that have turned online games into major fundraising campaigns.

Management. I'm a sucker for a baseball analogy, so I enjoyed Jamie Notter's post in which he applies lessons from Moneyball to organizational management. Much like the old scouts in the Oakland A's front office, "we're not seeing how the management game has changed," he writes.

Sponsorship. Jeffrey Cufaude points out the increasing difficulty to provide valuable sponsorships at associations and that quantity does not trump quality. "Since almost everything is sponsored, almost nothing gets noticed," he writes.

Networking. Some food (or drink) for thought before your next networking event: A new study shows evidence that "just holding an alcoholic beverage can change how others perceive you."

ASAE12. Finally, a housekeeping note: We're using Scoop.It again this year to track articles and blog posts about the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo. The Scoop.It page for ASAE12 is up and running and will surely pick up speed as the meeting approaches, so make a point to bookmark it now. One early post that we've "scooped" onto the page is John Chen's "Five Tips for an ASAE Annual Conference First Timer." 2012-07-26 11-22-28.png


July 12, 2012

Quick clicks: July 12, 2012

Member engagement. KiKi L'Italien suggests a new label for your most engaged members—"fierce members"—and shares three steps for turning fierce members into your best volunteers.

Networking. While most associations cite networking as a benefit of attending a conference, Jeffrey Cufaude says most of them don't put much effort into developing effective networking opportunities. So, he offers more than a dozen simple tactics for better networking at meetings.

Strategic planning. Jeff De Cagna, FASAE, says "millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours of staff and voluntary leader time" spent on strategic planning in the association industry has all been a waste of time.

Workforce equality. Laura Otten digs into a variety of research on workforce demographics in the corporate and nonprofit sectors and finds that some disappointing biases against women still persist. Example: "In the 20 most common occupations for women … men out-earned women in all but two."

Leadership. Kerry Stackpole, FASAE, CAE, examines massive projects like highway construction and healthcare reform to show what association executives can learn about what he calls "mega-leadership."

Change management. Eric Lanke, CAE, says his association has too many choices on its "menu" of programs and services, so it's cutting back. No easy task, and he offers some advice on how they'll manage the discontinuations.

Blogging. Rosetta Thurman points to three nonprofits that are establishing themselves as thought leaders in their communities through blogging.


Volunteer management. Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, tells the story of one of his chapters that created a "chief innovator" position for a volunteer with more ideas than the chapter could handle.

Association mascots. Jodie Slaughter, FASAE, shares a funny example of an association with a donkey for a mascot, though the association has nothing to do with donkeys or other animals.


June 28, 2012

Quick clicks: June 28, 2012


  • Andrea Pellegrino takes a couple swings at the association governance model: "The practice of allowing a small group of atypical members to 'drive' the association is helping to drive many organizations toward irrelevance and decline."
  • Steven Worth says association governance is growing more difficult because technology is fracturing groups into smaller and more numerous "tribes."
  • I was hoping someone would draw some lessons for associations from the controversy at the University of Virginia. Mark Golden, FASAE, CAE, came through: "Thirty-plus years in the association business has taught me that a board needs more than just the legal authority to take action … it needs to get buy-in from enough of its constituency to make the decision stick, and the UVa Board of Visitors clearly failed in this regard."

Online community. Ben Martin, CAE, explains the prevailing trends in naming practices among associations for their private online community platforms.

Legal trouble. Citing a case of a Realtors association being sued, Judith Lindenau shares some tips for associations to avoid becoming the target of a lawsuit.

Diversity and inclusion. Joe Gerstandt writes that a lot of people miss the point of D&I: "Inclusion is not the goal. Greatness. That is the goal. Inclusion is simply something that can help us get there."

Volunteer management. Jeffrey Cufaude proposes a model for associations to pre-qualify volunteers to create a "pool of available talent; and their skills, interests, and availability captured in a searchable database to facilitate matching them with current and future opportunities."

Membership marketing. Tony Rossell says the latest MGI benchmarking study shows "an alarming lack of using even the basic marketing measurement tools available" among associations.

Data security. Is your association PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant? Shannon Otto offers a rundown of the potential risks and shares a useful infographic.

Social media ROI. Dwayne Flinchum recaps a great morning roundtable discussion on monetizing social media at the Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting.

Benefit corporations. Did you read the June cover story in Associations Now on benefit corporations? B Lab profiles the National Cooperative Grocers Association, which became Certified B Corporation last fall.

Change management. Seth Godin shares the perfect five-word response to someone who "attacks, dismisses or trolls" your new idea.


Human resources. Exit interviews are a common practice at all sorts of organizations. But Jason Lauritsen argues that exit interviews are a waste of time. Do you agree?


June 15, 2012

Quick clicks: June 15, 2012

Media and publishing. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at the Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting, and I learned a lot. Catch a glimpse of what you missed with:





Collaboration. How many different ways are there for nonprofit organizations to collaborate with each other? At least 10, ranging from issue advocacy to fully integrated mergers, according to Craig Van Korlaar.

Meetings. Lauren Mangnall shares seven ways to put board members to work engaging with attendees at your conference or tradeshow.

Online communities. Social networking has not killed email. In fact, email is a great way to keep people engaged with a social network, and Joshua Paul suggests seven ways to use email to improve your virtual communities.

Technology. NTEN has released its annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing & Investments Survey Report. Annaliese Hoehling shares some of the key findings.

Learning. Celisa Steele recently led a webinar on virtual events and asked participants for their predictions for the future of virtual events. She shares five of those predictions plus a couple of her own.


May 31, 2012

Quick clicks: May 31, 2012

Quick clicks skipped its regularly scheduled edition last week to make way for coverage of ASAE's Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference. We're back this week, with plenty of great links to catch up on.



  • Jason Lauritsen writes that, in trying to influence others, focusing on what they "should" do is a futile strategy. Instead, focus on whatever particular motivations will spur them to action.
  • Maddie Grant, CAE, highlights the need for good "middle-level thinking" in associations, where people can connect the high-level strategy with ground-level details.

Social media.

Strategic planning.

Market research. Mark Golden, FASAE, CAE, points out the difference between what people say and what they do. Bottom line: everybody lies.

Leadership. Eric Lanke, CAE, offers some very simple advice for association CEOs: "Don't Say It If You Don't Mean It."

Data management. Wes Trochlil asks why so many associations are using aging technology for data management when newer, better (and affordable) products are available.

Content marketing. Joe Pulizzi at Copyblogger explains the three components of a content marketing calendar.

Google Drive. TJ Rainsford writes at NTEN about how Google Drive improves upon its predecessor, Google Apps, and how nonprofits might put Google Drive to use.

Learning. Jeff Hurt shares a room setup called "horseshoe groups," which "promote analytical thinking, creativity, evaluation, assessment, and application of the information."

Fraud. Steve Drake shares five tips for preventing embezzlement at your association.

Millennials. Mental Floss magazine offers an 11-question quiz, "Tip for Managing Millennials or Advice for Puppy Owners?" I got 10 of 11 right, though I had to guess on several of them. (Hat tip to Sue Pelletier for pointing this out.)


May 10, 2012

Quick clicks: May 10, 2012

Volunteerism. Greg Baldwin offers a glimpse into some new science on altruism that focuses on "cooperative groups and the biological advantage they have over less cooperative groups."

Risk management. What's the difference between a policy and a procedure? Leslie White clears it up for us and says that most associations are doing it wrong.

Virtual events. Celisa Steele looks at some recent data on associations and virtual events and writes that most virtual events still need to be tied to an in-person event to gain traction.

Leadership. Eric Lanke, CAE, shares a story from a colleague who learned that "leadership is not about getting your way."

Attitude. Deirdre Reid, CAE, asks if your association has the right attitude for future success, and shares five attitudes identified by digital strategist Jasper Visser.

Government relations. Stefanie Reeves, CAE, discusses how the principles from the book Humanize apply to association lobbying departments.

International growth. Peter Turner shares lessons, slides, and video interviews about opportunities for associations in India and China, from two of his colleagues at MCI who spoke at ASAE's International Conference last week.


Change management.

Online community.




April 26, 2012

Quick clicks: April 26, 2012

Millennials. Jeff Hurt shares the highlights of McCann WorldGroup's "The Truth About Youth" study and what the findings mean for associations.

More millennials. Ryan Crowe is a graduate student and doesn't really know what associations do. You might think that's too bad for him, but he'd argue that that's bad news for you. (Be sure to check the discussion in the comments, too.)

Associations' role in society. Eric Lanke, CAE, just read Shelly and Mark Alcorn's report "The 2012 Association Forecast: Provocative Proposals for Future Change," (which you should probably do, too), and suggests that associations must both learn from the for-profit sector and also re-establish themselves as "a fundamental component of our functioning democracy."

Strategy. Andrea Pellegrino writes that associations should abandon their missions. "[I]n organizations that are struggling to keep members and customers, the organization's mission is often one of the main roadblocks to growth," she writes.

More strategy. Jamie Notter points to a blog post on Harvard Business Review about the downfall of Sony and draws some lessons on why strategies fail when the context around them changes (and how this might be happening to associations.)

Economy. Toronto-based AMC Zzeem conducted a survey of Canadian membership organizations and, similar to findings in a similar study of U.S. associations by ASAE, found that the economic recovery is proving to be a very slow one for associations.

Board size. Jan Masaoka at Blue Avocado answers the question, "what size should our board be?"

Embracing failure. Two weeks after NTEN's 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference, Executive Director Holly Ross writes a blog post about lessons learned from eight failures at the event. Would your association CEO do that?

Questions. Greg Roth examines the lost art of asking questions.

Facebook Timeline. Maggie McGary says Facebook's Timeline page layout is bad for brand pages and explains why.

Organization. Cindy Butts, CAE, is cleaning up 24 years of clutter in her office and offers some tips for better office organization.

Twitter. Data collected by Dan Zarella shows that tweeting links generates more retweets than does tweeting replies. In other words, broadcasting beats conversation, at least if retweets is your measurement of success.

Information overload. Mark Golden, CAE, explains his mixed emotions about the rise of social media and the minute-by-minute news cycle. He writes that social media is "empowering, but it also creates an elevated need to take personal responsibility for exercising discipline and integrity in drawing your conclusions."

Learning. Kevin Makice at Wired's GeekDad blog takes a close look at the "flipped classroom" model. Lots of ideas here to rethink association learning methods.

Volunteer engagement. Speaking of flipping, Jeffrey Cufaude suggest a new way to approach working with association volunteers and calls it "Flipped Volunteering: The Better Way to Invite and Engage."

Online community. Joshua Paul recommends adopting a 24-hour rule to get a private online community up and running: "an organization must ensure that all discussions are responded to within 24-hours of the initial posting."

Meetings technology. We've come a long way. Corbin Ball documents the highlights of 30+ years of advancements in meetings and events technology.

Apps for lobbyists. Stefanie Reeves, CAE, recommends nine mobile apps for association GR pros.


April 12, 2012

Quick clicks: April 12, 2012

The value of meetings. I could link to a slew of articles and viewpoints on the conference debacle at the U.S. General Services Administration, but Sue Pelletier did a great job of this yesterday, so I'll just encourage you to read her post to get all the info you need on what it means for the meetings industry.

The value of volunteering. Robert Rosenthal at the Engaging Volunteers blog highlights Independent Sector's 2011 estimate of the monetary value of an hour of volunteer work ($21.79). There's a lot of debate over that number or whether it's fair or even possible to try to measure it. But it poses an important question to association executives: what are your volunteers worth to you?

Meeting registration models. Mariela McIlwraith shares the story of the American Institute of Steel Construction, which boosted overall meeting attendance and advance registrations by instituting a plan in which registration fees increased by $10 every week. Oh, and it has also gone from about 1,200 members to 25,000 in three years.

Future of associations. Shelly Alcorn, CAE, spent a year interviewing association CEOs about their visions of the future of associations, and the results of her research are finally ready for prime time. Check out her preview of the report on the Affiniscape Blog.

Chapter challenges. Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CAE, shares a story of a national association and one of its chapters that don't see eye to eye, and she has some good suggestions for how to fix that. There's some good conversation in the comments, as well.

Chapters and membership marketing. Tony Rossell offers an early peek at some data from Marketing General Inc.'s 2012 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, which shows that associations without chapters have performed better in membership numbers in recent years. Tony started a discussion on the data in ASAE's LinkedIn group, with 13 responses so far.

Young professionals. Rosetta Thurman suggests five ways to support your young professional staff in their early stages of career development.

Volunteer engagement. Eric Lanke, CAE, points to an interesting data point in McKinley Advisors' 2012 Economic Impact on Associations that shows volunteer participation is an increasing concern for association executives as the economy recovers. Eric postulates that, as companies have learned to do more with less, there are simply fewer people—with less time to spare—to fill volunteer roles. Concerning, indeed.

Honkers vs. helpers. Steve Drake shares a short anecdote about complaining versus helping and asks if your association board and staff culture encourages people to just complain (honking) or to step in and help.

Community management. The discipline of online community management is a growing one for association professionals. Maddie Grant, CAE, summarizes some key points from Community Roundtable's 2012 State of Community Management Report, including "Technology enables community, but doesn't create it."

Great Ideas recaps. I posted the last edition Quick clicks too early to catch these recaps from the Great Ideas conference, so be sure to check them out:


March 29, 2012

Quick clicks: March 29, 2012

Missed our regularly scheduled "Quick clicks" post last week, so we're catching up on three weeks of association management reading this week. Here are some of the highlights:

Collaboration. Jason Hensel shares a psychological study that points to one pitfall of collaboration: overconfidence.

Learning. Jeff Hurt describes the "complex and fragile" process in which learners absorb (or don't absorb) information in a lecture. (And, on a side note, this post features what is possibly the greatest piece of blog art I've ever seen.)

Membership. Anna Caraveli points to, of all things, a cement and building-materials corporation to illustrate the future of membership: "Helping Members and their Communities Succeed."

Leadership development. Mark Golden, FASAE, CAE, writes that associations are taking the wrong approach to attracting the next generation of leaders: "[I]t seems to me, what actually happens is the established board, made up of more seasoned and experienced individuals,  is looking for ways to get the next generation to change, not the system."

More leadership development. Judith Lindenau shares her experience with the "shooting fish in a barrel" style of nominations committees and suggest several ways to transform nominations into true leadership development.

Authority. Jamie Notter writes that the end of the Encyclopedia Britannica's print edition signals a larger trend relevant to associations: being the sole arbiter of authoritative information is a thing of the past.

Self-organization. Maggie McGary asks "If Your Members Organize Their Own Committee, Are You Failing Them?"

Compensation. Laura Otten urges nonprofit executive directors "to be the advocate for his/her employees, and to make the case for improved salaries."

Leadership. Brian Reuwee adds some thoughts to the eternal question, "Who Should Manage Your Organization? Industry Experts vs. Association Experts."

Social media staffing. Ryan Crowe (a grad student at the University of Missouri writing at SocialFish) thinks "engagement" has turned into useless jargon. "Do not let someone get away with just saying "engage". Ask them what they mean by it - and make sure the answer is relevant to your business or needs," he writes.

Marginalized members. Ever feel like your members are lashing out at you, like an angry raccoon? Shelly Alcorn, CAE, suggests that perhaps you, the association, put your members in that position through your own actions.

Components. Cynthia D'Amour suggests that a failing chapter might not be a sign of low demand or a dying model; its leadership may just need better training.

Web strategy. Ray van Hilst offers some tips to make sure your association's website doesn't get thrown out in your members' "digital spring cleaning."

Demographics. Seth Godin says "fifty is the new thirty." How does that affect your membership marketing?

Hybrid events. Celisa Steele shares some data from a forthcoming report that shows the majority of associations (about 75 percent) that have offered virtual events are linking those virtual events to in-person events.


March 8, 2012

Quick clicks: March 8, 2012

Two weeks ago, I titled the last quick clicks post "So hot right now edition." As I discovered later, that's the same title I gave to a quick clicks post last July. So, it seems I'm running out of clever (well, if you consider a Zoolander quote to be clever) titles for quick clicks posts. Perhaps more telling, no one seemed to notice. And as the association blogosphere continues to expand and diversify, finding a theme among a mix of posts to serve as a title is increasingly difficult. So, from now on we'll just label quick clicks posts with a date. While the titles will be a less interesting, the blog posts and articles shared will remain as compelling as ever. Enjoy.

Shareworthiness. Deirdre Reid, CAE, offers several suggestions on generating content that your members will want to share with their colleagues and peers.

Board management. Brian Reuwee rounds up advice from several association pros on how to fight board apathy.

Bad management. In The Washington Post, the authors of The Progress Principle provide a quick, four-step process on "How to completely, utterly destroy an employee's work life."

Member demand. Rather than you asking questions of your members, Craig Hornick suggests the opposite: "[O]ne of the first steps to becoming a demand-driven organization is to … provide a means through which customers, staff, partners, and volunteers can ask as many questions as possible."

Social media and HR. Mark Alcorn offers some words of caution to managers who see social media as an easy way to check a prospective employee's background.

Portable content. Mark Armstrong, founder of Longreads, explains how, perhaps counterintuitively, mobile technology is giving online content a longer shelf life (as long as it's good content).

Online community. Terry Coatta gives three tips for associations that have built an online community for their members but have struggled to drive participation.

Career development. Rosetta Thurman says blogging can help you advance your nonprofit career and lists 16 different ways.

LinkedIn. Susan Kistler explains how the American Evaluation Association analyzes its member engagement on LinkedIn with the platform's Group Stats Dashboard.

Content strategy. Steve Drake makes a case for the reuse and repurposing of content in the "oldies but goodies" category.

Advocacy. Joshua Paul explains how an online community platform can be used to support and advance an association's advocacy agenda.

Member participation. Jeffrey Cufaude relays some more lessons learned from the Super Bowl experience in Indianapolis, this time showing how great event activities appeal to a simple human desire: "people just want to be a part of the action."

Facebook Timeline for Pages. If your association has a Facebook Page (or wants to build one), you should check out these posts for more advice now that Timeline has been rolled out to Pages:

Agility. Someone asked Jamie Notter what would be the top benefit of an association becoming more human, in one word. His answer: agility.


February 23, 2012

Quick clicks: So hot right now edition

Just about everywhere you look lately, social media platform Pinterest and NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin keep popping up, and that includes this week's batch of association blogosphere links:

Pinterest. The buzz on Pinterest continues, with some more takes on it from the association angle:

Management. I'm a sucker for a sports metaphor, so I very much enjoyed Jay S. Daughtry's "4 Organizational Lessons from Jeremy Lin."

Trends. Shelly Alcorn, CAE, shares's Top 20 Trends in 2012 Forecast and explains how five of the trends will apply for associations.

Mission and vision. Maddie Grant, CAE, recaps the recent efforts of the Public Relations Society of America to redefine "public relations." It has involved the greater PR community in the process, but it's been a bumpy road. It's an interesting study in strategic planning if your association is in a similarly evolving industry.

Community management. Maggie McGary asks "So You Think You Want to be a Community Manager?" Then you better enjoy customer service, she writes.

Communication. Jeffrey Cufaude explains how, for some of your members, their involvement with your association reaches beyond the professional, to a personal level, and your communication with them should reflect that.

Volunteer management. Steve Drake answers the question "What do you do when association volunteers want to manage rather than lead?"

Meetings. Jeff Hurt shares a few different perspectives from which to view your annual meeting and how each can change how you plan and develop the event.

Growth. Andrea Pellegrino offers five characteristics of associations are growing and thriving.

E-Commerce. Chris Bonney points to a sharing feature on's purchase confirmation page and urges associations to emulate it.

Member recruitment. Erik Schonher shares a brief case study of one association whose best source for new members is now LinkedIn.

Board management. Eric Lanke, CAE, asks "Whose Job Is It to Be the Facilitator?" specifically in reference to an association board of directors. Is it the CEO or the board chair? He says it's the board chair; do you agree?

Stuff people say. Last, a bit of humor. Riding the wave of "Stuff [Insert Type or Group of People Here] Say" lists and videos that have proliferated on the web in recent weeks, a few nonprofit professionals have applied the meme to their work:


February 9, 2012

Quick clicks: PR trouble edition

Public relations. I don't think anyone envies the position that Susan G. Komen for the Cure found itself in last week, but, setting politics aside, from an association-management perspective it was a fascinating study in modern-day public relations, which plenty of people wrote about:

Social media. KiKi L'Italien writes a great primer on Pinterest, the latest hot social media tool, for association executives.

Environmental scanning. Jeff Cobb writes that association board members are too often completely uninformed about the competition.

Leadership development. Rosetta Thurman says that, in regard to leadership development in nonprofits, the language we use is all wrong.

Game thinking. Deirdre Reid, CAE, writes that game thinking could be an "epic win" for associations.

Content strategy. Becky Rasmussen shares 5 W's and an H on making 2012 the year of better association content strategy.

Development. Cindy Butts, CAE, shares a brilliant idea for fundraising photo ops: a reusable oversized check.

Volunteers. Jeffrey Cufaude shares 10 tips for engaging your volunteer community.

Revenue. Joshua Paul offers some ideas on how associations can drive revenue with their online community platforms.

Metrics. Tom Morrison suggests a simple metric for measuring an association's performance—"return on management"—and gives a detailed explanation of how it works.

Technology. Holly Ross applies lessons from the book Humanize to technology because, as she writes, "technology is 90% psychology."


January 26, 2012

Quick clicks: Two-by-two edition

After rounding up some of the best blog posts on association management from the past two weeks, I found I had several pairs of posts on matching topics. So, I paired them up on the list below. Enjoy.

Community management

  • Did you know that Monday was Community Manager Appreciation Day? Well, thanks to Maggie McGary, now you do. So go give your association's community manager(s) a belated "thanks."
  • Colleen Dilenschneider explains why quality, not quantity, matters most in building your organization's online followers.

Fixing problems


Member engagement

  • Aaron Wolowiec, CAE, explains how a strong pursuit of a relational business model (rather than transactional) can be a key method for recruiting and retaining members.
  • Two weeks ago, Elizabeth Engel, CAE, responded to Mark Athitakis's post here on Acronym to say that reading fiction teaches you how to think. So it's no surprise this week that she explains what associations can learn about engaging retired members from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


  • Jeffrey Cufaude thinks a lot of organizations "missed the memo" on effective meetings. Convenietly, he recaps it nicely here if you missed it too.
  • Speaking of the future of meetings, after what she saw at the PCMA Convening Leaders and the Virtual Edge Summit, Michelle Bruno writes that the future for meeting planners is one in which "the traditional competencies (and assumptions) will no longer be adequate for the job."

Management. Virgil Carter shares five new management metrics. My favorites on the list are "flow-state percentage" and "positive-feedback ratio."

Customer service. Jeff Hurt explains how organizations are using social media for "digital customer service," like a online version of the bell on a concierge desk.

Nondues revenue. Erik Schonher points out a source of revenue your association might not have considered before: list rentals. And he offers several questions you should ask if you're looking for a list management company to manage rentals of your membership list.

Membership models. Lowll Aplebaum makes a guest appearance on the Affiniscape Blog to argue that the end of the traditional membership model is not a sign of impending doom but rather an opportunity to remake the membership model in any way we can imagine.

Strategic planning. Eric Lanke, CAE, concurs with Humanize authors Maddie Grant, CAE, and Jamie Notter that strategic planning is a term that should be done away with.

| | Comments (2)

January 12, 2012

Quick clicks: New year edition

Quick clicks took some time off over the holidays, so there's plenty to catch up on. We start, though, on a sad note. Long-time association executive Mark Bledsoe, CAE, passed away December 22. Mark blogged on association management via his AssociationOkie blog. Friend, colleague, and fellow blogger Cynthia D'Amour shared her memory of Mark. His voice in the association blogosphere will be missed.

Looking back at some of the top posts from the past few weeks, many association bloggers turned their attention to predictions and resolutions for 2012:

Words for 2012. Following a theme that she started last year, Shelly Alcorn, CAE, shares five words that will define her work with associations in 2012. As she points out, several others joined her in sharing their words for 2012, as well: Lowell Aplebaum, Kiki L'Italien, Nikki Jeske and Jay Daughtry.

Changing the world in 2012. Maddie Grant, CAE, posed a question on her blog: "How are you going to change the world in 2012?" Several association bloggers responded with posts, which Maddie has conveniently gathered up in a recap post.

Technology challenges. Wes Trochlil has followed up ASAE's 2011 Technology Conference & Expo with a series of blog posts titled "Things I heard at the ASAE Tech Conference." He's up to seven so far, with topics ranging from internal users groups to new association management systems to training.

Membership. Maggie McGary tried out a consumer membership at the Consumer Electronics Association in 2011, only to see CEA discontinue it shortly after launching it. Her account is a good example of how a new member experiences an association.

Wifi at conferences. On the NTEN Blog, Jason Samuels shares how the National Council on Family Relations provided wireless internet for conference attendees via mobile broadband hotspots. It worked, but not perfectly, and Jason shares all the ups and downs and lessons learned.

Consensus. Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE, makes an argument for the value of consensus in associations, but he also makes some important clarifications about what consensus is and isn't.

Convention management. Sue Pelletier is at the Professional Convention Management Association Annual Meeting this week, and she provides a thorough recap of the first day's keynoters: John Medina, Jane McGonigal, Sally Hogshead, and David Brooks.

Volunteer recruitment. Susan J. Ellis relates author Steve McKee's "spark plug theory of marketing" to volunteer recruitment and connecting with volunteers who "want to be challenged to solve problems in new ways."

Diversity. Elizabeth Engel, CAE, is disappointed in the lack of diversity in a collection of association CEOs in an industry publication and says the lack of progress on diversity in general is a threat to the survivial of associations.

Tradeshows. Michael Pinchera a t MPI's PlusPoint blog shares a video that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the construction of a booth at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Marketing. Cindy Butts, CAE, offers six reasons why sponsoring a sports program (such as a local pro or college team) can benefit your association.

Online communities. Terry Coatta asks if you are promoting your online communities as "deadly jelly babies." If this doesn't make sense to you, the point is that it probably doesn't make sense to your members, either.


December 21, 2011

Quick clicks: My favorite blog posts on association management from 2011

Another busy year for the association-management blogosphere is in the books. To cap it off, I've assembled a list of my favorite association-management blog posts, shared below.

I tried to find a way to get the total number of blog posts in the "associations" folder in my Google Reader for 2011, but had no such luck. Simply put, there were a lot. Far too many to count. And there were a lot of great, interesting, informative, provocative, entertaining ones, which we've been sharing here via our quasi-regular Quick Clicks posts.

If you're not plugged into the association-management blogosphere, you're seriously missing out. Make that a New Year's resolution to start following some of these blogs. (See the "Blogs on Associations" list in the right margin on the Acronym homepage to find some good ones to follow.)

The posts below are listed in chronological order and, though they're not numbered, there are 31 of them. In the interest of spreading out the link love, no blogger appears more than once. (Some of you more prolific bloggers made that difficult.) And, as a disclaimer, the selection process here is wholly unscientific, involving no formal criteria and no panel of judges. It's just me and what I remember as particularly good posts this year. If you have some favorite posts from 2011 that aren't included here, please add them in the comments.

See you in 2012!

| | Comments (10)

December 16, 2011

Quick clicks: Post-#tech11 edition

First off, a quick list of blog posts from around the association community that highlighted or recapped last week's ASAE Technology Conference & Expo:

And now on to other interesting commentary from the last two weeks:

Governance. Cindy Butts, CAE, says board officer positions should not be linked with specific tasks, and such requirements definitely should not appear in an association's bylaws.

Collaboration. Nilofer Merchant at Harvard Business Review explains eight reasons why collaboration appears dangerous. (Shared via Robert Rich, CAE and his "Association Strategy and Innovation" Scoop.It page.)

Meetings. Sue Pelletier shares news about the Occupy movement and a quasi-convention that arose from it last week in Florida.

Speaker selection. Jeff Hurt says conference organizers have too much power, particularly in regard to their role as the gatekeeper of information, choosing what education sessions make the cut.

More speaker selection. Stefanie Reeves, CAE, likens conference speaker selection to college football's Bowl Championship Series. The sports fan in me loves this quote: "What are we doing to make sure the Boise States of the association community get their moment in the spotlight?"

Jargon. Dan Pallotta says meaningless business-speak is an epidemic. "I'd say that in about half of my business conversations, I have almost no idea what other people are saying to me," he writes. I agree.

Housekeeping. Andy Freed offers a year-end checklist for associations: to-do's that will get your organization refreshed for the new year.

Marketing. Colleen Dilenschneider offers four ways nonprofit organizations can benefit from their employees personal brands.

Inclusion. Joe Gerstandt explains why The Golden Rule isn't as great as everyone thinks it is. (Hint: it's about the difference between good intentions and good outcomes.)


December 2, 2011

Quick clicks: Overstuffed edition

Quick clicks took a week off for Thanksgiving, but the association blogging community did not. Below are some of the best posts from the last two weeks.

Lobbying. Stefanie Reeves, CAE, says it's time for associations to take back the word "lobbyist" and change the negative perception that it carries in the public mind today.

Diversity and inclusion. Joe Gerstandt delivers an excellent five-minute Ignite speech on "the sweetness" that emerges at the intersections of human relationships. In other words, here's why your organization should embrace diversity.

Publishing models. Holly Ross and Brett Meyer at NTEN share how they've boosted readership on NTEN's blog and newsletters by changing how they gather and schedule content: publishing online first, letting the community spread it, and then using the best of the best for the newsletter.

Committees. Jamie Notter says the very existence of committees is a problem for associations.

Online community. Joshua Paul identifies three features of online community platforms that will be most appealing to your skeptical CEO.

Google+. KiKi L'Italien warns associations not to jump in too fast. John Haydon offers tips for making your Google+ page successful once you've jumped in.

Change. Jeff Hurt explains six disruptive forces that will bring major change to the association realm.

Learning. Ellen Behrens illustrates the difference between "information" and "informational content." (Hint: one is useful, the other is not.)

More learning. David Patt, CAE, says that "interactive" means different things to different people, which you should take care to consider in designing and promoting conference content.

Membership. Lowell Aplebaum has designed a member-orientation program for his association and shares it on his blog (and also seeks input).

Good vs. perfect. Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CAE, says associations are risk averse because they strive for perfection so much that nothing ever gets done.

Innovation. Maggie McGary shares six tips for building collaboration and innovation into association culture and identifies why she thinks associations are deficient in these categories.

Leadership. Eric Lanke, CAE, highlights key leadership lessons from Francis Ford Coppola in a Harvard Business Review interview. The first: "The things that you get fired for when you're young are the exact same things you win lifetime achievement awards for when you're old."

Social media policies. Finally, from the jokers at The Association Onion, a fictional association's Twitter policy that I hope doesn't sound similar to yours.


November 17, 2011

Quick clicks: Volunteer management edition

Last Thursday, I was busy talking about blogging rather than actually blogging, so Quick clicks took a week off. This week's edition has some extra meat to make up for it, including five posts relating to volunteer management to start us off.

Volunteer management 1. Jennifer Bennett at Engaging Volunteers shares her experience as a volunteer manager and all the inherent ups and downs. "I believe that giving someone the opportunity to make a difference or change something is worth the work," she writes.

Volunteer management 2. Lowell Aplebaum outlines a different approach for developing association volunteers: rather than explaining a role, asking the volunteer about goals and desires and matching a role to meet them.

Volunteer management 3. Terry Coatta offers some tips on maximizing a volunteer's "return on time," based on his own experience as an association volunteer.

Volunteer management 4. David Patt, CAE, tells a story that shows why it might not be a good idea for association staff to chair volunteer committees.

Volunteer management 5. Eric Lanke, CAE, shares a story of a committee chair who alienated his committee members. The cause? Not knowing which kind of committee he was best suited for. "Some committees make decisions and other committees get things done," he writes.

Crisis communications. Deirdre Reid examines the lessons to be learned about crisis communication from the National Restaurant Association amid the controversy surrounding Herman Cain, and Maggie McGary zeroes in on the social media mess the NRA has faced. Good conversation in the comments on both posts, as well.

New learning formats. Dave Lutz says shorter conference presentation formats (Pecha Kucha, Ignite, and so forth) aren't great learning opportunities on their own, and he identifies six specific factors that can make short presentation formats most effective.

Conference missions. Sue Pelletier asks "What's your conference's why?"

Association creation and development. Greg Kohn at Virtual Inc.'s Association Management Blog shares advice on how to keep a new association from falling victim to "the post-launch blues."

Speaker development. Aaron Wolowiec, CAE, lists some common reasons why speakers at association events fall short and offers several methods for vetting speakers and preparing them for improved results.

Work ethic. Stefanie Reeves, CAE, shares an association "fairy tale," replete with a princess, a wicked witch, and a taskforce report.

Management. Jamie Notter writes that, in the case of most management practices, "we have no idea what we're doing," and the first step to fixing it is admitting it.

Engagement. Anna Caraveli exposes myth no. 1 about member engagement: counting by numbers, and she argues that engagement should be measured in much deeper terms.

Google+. Maddie Grant, CAE, gives an early primer on setting up a Google+ business page for your association.

Policies and procedures. Wes Trochlil shares "a great example of managing to the rule" rather than the exception.

Blogging. Here's where I was last week: the Progress U. Blogger Summit, hosted by Delcor. KiKi L'Italien and Bill Walker have rounded up recaps and photos from the event. Plus, Dan Brady at the Giving Forum shared some blogging tips from our old friend Lisa Junker, CAE, and yours truly.


November 3, 2011

Quick clicks: Members come first edition

Several of this week's links remind us of the importance of serving members and helping them succeed, and they also offer some advice on how to do just that. Enjoy.

Chapters and social media. Lowell Aplebaum writes on the AssociationTECH blog that social-media know-how can vastly increase the success of association chapter leaders, and component relations professionals should provide such training.

Customer service and social media. Maddie Grant, CAE, provides an easy-to-follow use case for how to make your customer-service department more efficient and more effective via social technology.

Member (or donor) relations. Laura Otten writes that nonprofits too often fall into a dangerous sense of entitlement. "No funder owes us funding simply because it has funded us in the past," she writes. Her focus is on charitable nonprofits and donors, but the lesson translates to associations and their members, as well.

Meeting member needs. Anna Caraveli shares the story of the turnaround at the Photo Marketing Association, which changed course by taking on a new perspective. "Paradoxically … it is fighting and advocating for members rather than for the association's agenda … that best serves the association's interests," she writes.

Conference evaluations. Sarah Ruzek at the Midwest SAE's Associations Live blog offers several ideas for questions for your conference/education evaluation surveys.

Staff development. Aaron Wolowiec, CAE, writes that, in making a case for investing in professional development for your entry- and mid-level staff, you should answer the same, age-old question that marketers aim to answer: What's in it for me?

Web design. Dodd Caldwell writes "Ugly nonprofit websites aren't surprising … great web design can be an even bigger differentiator for a nonprofit than for a for-profit." And then he describes the five elements of great nonprofit website design.

Work vs. talk. Wes Trochlil writes (twice) about the importance of doing actual work. Sounds silly, but Wes says, in his experience, his most successful clients are the ones who understand that even great technology can't do all your work for you and who act on one or two ideas rather than talking about a dozen.

Governance. Eric Lanke, CAE, adds to the conversation on Race for Relevance and suggests that, if the book's recommendations seem outlandish or unfeasible for your association, they nonetheless make for a starting point for negotiating for change with your board or other stakeholders.


October 27, 2011

Quick clicks: Innovation, volunteers, and technology

This week's links offer insights the skills and challenges inherent in innovation, managing volunteers, and new developments in technology. Enjoy.

Innovation. Virgil Carter recaps a Harvard Business Review article on "innovators' DNA."One of the five common skills of innovators: associating.

More innovation. Erik Lanke, CAE, shares a recent experience that illustrated exactly why innovation is so hard.

Volunteer speakers. David Patt, CAE, sums up why it's important to sign agreements with your event speakers, even if they're unpaid.

Volunteer management. Engergize, Inc., links to several stories about how the Occupy Wall Street protesters are organizing themselves and draws some lessons to be learned for volunteer managers.

Tech trends. Jeff Hurt looks forward to 2012 with a nice rundown of the top ten stategic technology trends that associations should be monitoring in the coming year.

Mobile publishing. It's hard to keep up anymore, but here's another new development in mobile publishing: Apple's Newstand feature in its newest mobile operating system is already "hitting it big with traditional media publishers"writes Christina Bonnington at Wired's Gadget Lab.

Human resources. Leslie White explains why HR pros should view social media as an opportunity for better personnel management, not a threat.

Getting unstuck. Jeffrey Cufaude offers seven questions that will help jumpstart thinking and restart conversation when progress in a group or organization is slowing or at a standstill.

Headquarters. This is an old link (from August), but it was passed along to us just recently and I thought it was worth sharing: the headquarters of ASM (American Society of Metals) International in northeast Ohio recently was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places and underwent a $7 million renovation and restoration. The building sits beneath a "cloudlike geodesic dome designed by R. Buckminster Fuller"and is considered a hidden architectural gem in the region. (What does your association's building look like?)


October 20, 2011

Quick clicks: Whack-a-mole edition

Sometimes work and life feel like whack-a-mole: as soon as you handle one task, another one pops up nearby that you hadn't planned for. Four of this week's links discuss the challenges of seeing the big picture and operating on that scale.

Unintended consequences. Jay S. Daughtry shares three stories of one action leading to unexpected results and the lessons to be drawn for associations.

Details. Small changes can have big effects. Eric Lanke, CAE, shares the concept of the "Chief Detail Officer," who would be "responsible for finding small things that cost little that have tremendous impact and making sure they are done right and consistently."

Competition. Mark Golden, FASAE, CAE, suggests that competing with for-profits sounds good, but it makes associations more like for-profits and thus less unique and less competitive.

Systems. Jamie Notter says silos in an organization are OK, but you need good systems thinking to know how to keep them from causing problems.

Member innovation. Anna Caraveli explains that we're moving into a new era in which consumers are a major source of innovation and how associations can adapt.

CEO evaluations. Jen Masaoka sums up the common deficiencies in nonprofit boards' evaluations of their executive directors and suggests some methods for improving the process.

Creativity (or not). Shelly Alcorn, CAE, uses this past Sunday's Dilbert comic to analyze the ways in which creativity is often stifled in associations.

Boards and staff. Skip Potter shares lessons from a personal experience in which, as a new association CEO, he misjudged the passion and interests of his board of directors and they steadily began quitting.

Tweets and statuses. Shannon Otto offers five tips for effective posts in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks. The point about the negative effect of URL shorteners was a new one for me.

LinkedIn pages. Lindy Dreyer asks whether your website links to a group page or a company page on LinkedIn (assuming it links to LinkedIn at all), and suggests that one is a much better option than the other. (You'll have to read her post to find out which.)

Social memory. For you brain-science geeks out there, Jonah Lehrer at Wired reports on a recent psychological study that shows humans often rewrite their memories based on input from peers. Ever more evidence of the power of community.


October 13, 2011

Quick clicks: Practical lessons edition

The blogging community often leans more toward the think piece, but several of this week's links happen to offer practical lessons, tips, and advice to help you be more effective and efficient. For the thinkers out here, fret not; there's still a few think pieces toward the end.

Membership. Tony Rossell shares 25 open-ended responses to a question asking for lessons learned in membership marketing on MGI's 2011 Membership Benchmarking Report.

Productivity. Shannon Otto shares three cloud-based tech tools that can help small-staff association professionals manage tasks, notes, and files and save time.

More productivity. Deirdre Reid offers a handy list of tasks that make for useful time killers at the end of the day, when it's almost quitting time but too late to dive into lengthy tasks.

Better writing. Even non-writers are tasked with writing from time to time: memos, reports, product summaries, and so on. Carol Saller at The Chronicle of Higher Education's Lingua Franca blog shares several tips for self-editing.

LinkedIn for member recruitment. Maddie Grant, CAE, shares an example of social customer relations management in action: one association that generates new members via LinkedIn more effectively than in any of its other recruitment pools.

Social media. Using a lot of social media channels? Colleen Dilenschneider recommends providing a central "hub" to connect them all and drive members/readers/users to each.

The unmeasurable. Joe Gerstandt says "don't believe the hype" about the importance of metrics.

Conference innovation. Jeff Hurt outlines five traits of innovators and explains how these qualities can help meeting planners create better conferences.

Association (r)evolution. Following up on Deirdre Reid's post about The Race for Relevance, Jamie Notter suggests that the changes recommended in the book might be insufficient to save associations from eventual doom.


October 6, 2011

Quick clicks: Complexity and simplicity edition

A couple of this week's links illuminate the eternal struggle for simplicity in a complex world. A fitting theme after the death of Steve Jobs, who was about as good as anyone's ever been at turning big, complex ideas into elegantly simple products.

Learning. Jeff Hurt offers some neuroscience that explains how much info a human can absorb at any one time and why conferences should focus on delivering less information, not more.

Change. What stands between your organization and your long-term goals? A giant hairball of complexity, writes Eric Lanke, CAE.

Online community. In the wake of Steve Jobs' passing, KiKi L'Italien reflects on how social technology allows people to gather and share in both good times and bad. "Blog posts that assume technology makes us colder make me angry," she writes.

Volunteer value. Susan Ellis suggests that nonprofits undervalue their volunteers, and she offers eight tips for volunteer managers to promote the value of volunteers to their organization's senior executives.

Board meetings. Andy Freed suggests five ways to improve association board meetings, based on his experience visiting 200 of them each year.

Shifting demographics. Jeff Cobb points to data that shows more and more professionals are choosing to work on a freelance basis, and not just because of the economy. This change should prompt associations to think in new ways, he writes, because "we don't currently have sufficient social/economic infrastructure in place for supporting these people."

E-newsletters. Shannon Otto shares some advice from her MemberClicks colleagues on creating compelling email newsletters.

Facebook changes. Maddie Grant relays a summary from Tonia Ries of all the upcoming/in progress/just happened changes on Facebook, complete with links to further insight on how these changes might affect your organization's use of the platform.

Private social networks. Joshua Paul shares several mistakes to avoid in designing the functionality of a private social network for your association's members. This is Part 4 of a series that I've somehow missed, but Joshua conveniently links to the previous segments at the top of the this post.

Sponsorships. You're doing it wrong, says a new study. Dave Kovaleski at Association Meetings offers a nice summary of the findings of the report on association sponsorships, which says "Given the highly targeted nature of association audiences, this sector is underperforming …"


September 29, 2011

Quick clicks: Combating conventional wisdom edition

Several of the blog posts and articles in this week's batch of links offer arguments and evidence for some new thinking. Enjoy.

Volunteering. Shari Ilsen offers seven reasons why a member doesn't want to volunteer with your nonprofit and some tips to overcome those reasons.

Hybrid meetings. Barbara Palmer at the PCMA Convene blog notes that the case for hybrid meetings—mixing online with face to face—is getting stronger, now with evidence from the world of higher education.

Pricing. Celisa Steele explains what associations can learn from ticket scalpers about pricing their products and education.

Leadership. Cindy Butts, CAE, shares some lessons on leadership from an inspiring volunteer who she admits was one of her favorite members.

Committees. Eric Lanke, CAE, argues that not all volunteer committees should report to an association's board. Rather, some should report to the board and others should report to staff. He makes a good case for it, and the debate in the comments is interesting.

Hiring. David Patt, CAE, recommends always stating a salary with the listing for a job opening and offers some good reasons. Do you agree?

Innovation. Maggie McGary reminds association executives that it's not enough to experiment. Innovations that are successful then have to be developed into mainstream efforts.

More innovation. If you're looking to guide discussions on new ideas and innovation with your staff or volunteer leaders, check out Jeffrey Cufaude's tips on facilitating innovation discussions.

Writing. As an editor I can't help but share some writing-related links from time to time. If you want to avoid cliche phrases in your writing, you'll do well to avoid the ones highlighted on the new Unnecessary Journalism Phrases tumblr.


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 2, 2011

Quick clicks: So long, summer edition

Hard to believe it's Labor Day weekend already. Another set of excellent posts and articles for you to read before you head out for the long weekend. Enjoy.

Social media policies. Heather Bussing at HR Examiner says they're a bad idea, and offers eight reasons why they tend to backfire.

Fundraising. Deirdre Reid likens fundraising to dating: it's all about donors and organizations getting to know each other.

Ideas vs. execution. Tom Morrison asks who you should take advice from: people on Twitter, or people doing actual work?

Hype vs. reality. Ellen Behrens warns against overpromising and asks, if there were a site like Yelp where your members posted ratings and reviews of your association, what would they have to say?

Audits. Is your association getting the most value out of its financial audit each year? At Blue Avocado, Dennis Walsh, CPA, offers two checklists that assess the "qualities inherent in a well-functioning audit relationship."

Member needs. Anna Caravelli highlights one membership organization that is winning in its marketplace because it immerses itself in its members' world and has moved from "nice to have" to "imperative to have."

Private online communities. Maggie McGary says too many associations that are building private online member communities are failing to plan for the level of staff resources required to make those communities thrive.

Innovation. What makes a great innovator? According to Steve Tobak at The Corner Office blog, "More often than not, they stand on the shoulders of giants, see things a little bit differently, or benefit from timing, opportunity, or luck."

Online learning. How do you decide which webinars to offer for free and which ones to charge for? Jeff Cobb at Tagoras suggests a simple dichotomy to guide you.

#asae11. Finally, believe it or not, recaps and thoughts from the Annual Meeting are still trickling in, which you can find over at the #asae11 Scoop It page. One of the new items is a video with dogs, just FYI.


August 26, 2011

Quick Clicks: Small good things edition

Reaction to ASAE's Annual Meeting & Exposition continues -- keep up here on our Scoop-It page (now with more than 100 posts).


But even as we continue to feel the meeting's afterglow, the world continues on, and there's been some great blog posts in the last week. Here are some small, good ones that caught my eye.

Ordinarily I'm not sure I'd link to this post. Don't get me wrong it's useful, but my thoughts on open rates are a tad on the skeptical side, so I don't think I would have paid much attention to this post if it weren't for the title: What We Talk About When We Talk About Open Rates. It's this simple really, you make a good play on a great Raymond Carver short story title and you make my Quick Clicks. Thanks Brett, I'm going to be reading some short stories tonight.

From there let's jump to diversity and inclusion and Jeffrey Cufuade who has some tough words and some tough introspection on the topic. I gotta say, though, Jeffrey, I liked the original post a whole lot better than the update. Your specific example makes the diversity and inclusion topic hard, and guess what? It is hard. It needs to make us uncomfortable. Taking it more general makes it more comfortable. There's need for both conversations, but your stark light on it makes your post stick out as essential for me.

It's not a far jump then to the messy topic of organizational culture. Jamie Notter didn't try to neaten it up for us -- such attempts are spurious anyway. Rather, he just gives some advice on how to see it, because before you can do anything about it, you have to see it and name it and know where you want to be -- but that's getting ahead. Start with Jamie's post, take a step back and see your culture for what it truly is.

And I just can't help it. If you can step back and see your culture, and it's not set on a bedrock of trust, then there's trouble. I like it when people share personal stories and make a point on their blogs. Here's Wes Trochlil's story on trust.

I like to end my Quick Clicks with links to nonassociation stuff I've read that I liked. I'm going to throw social media genius Chris Brogan's post in here rather than the end, though, because it's about building on things other than bedrock. I like the parable he tells a lot. Projects crumble. Careers crumble. Organizations crumble. Guess what? Those things are just an end, not THE END. (And if you want to get all existential, they're also beginnings.)

I've been really wordy in these Quick Clicks, so apologies for the not-so-quick clicks. To redeem myself, I really will share some quick hitters:

- Shelly Alcorn reminds us to keep it important.

- Lori Halley pulls together some of the recent thinking on board development.

- Maddie Grant gives us an idea of how to listen (i.e. find) things important to us in Google+.

- Scott Fulton (ReadWriteWeb) tells us what we can learn from Steve Jobs.

- And finally, Seth Godin pulls inspiration from the earthquake to provide a little truism about human nature.

| | Comments (2)

August 18, 2011

Quick clicks: Getting back to normal edition

ASAE's 2011 Annual Meeting & Expo is now more than a week behind us, but the thoughts and reflections from both attendees and nonattendees have been steady. Since the last edition of Quick Clicks last Friday, another 20 blog posts/articles have popped up related to the conference, and we've added them to the #asae11 Scoop It page, here:


Thanks to all of you out there who have been writing and sharing your thoughts and lessons learned from the conference.

Of course, the rest of the world has continued to spin for the past two weeks, so here are some interesting reads from beyond the the #asae11 bubble we've been in lately:

Executive onboarding. Tim Wolfred and Jen Masaoka at Blue Avocado share 12 tips for boards to support a successful transition for a new executive director. Tip number one: assign a board member to be a six-month "ED Transition Advisor."

Workplace interaction. Which pays better: being nice, or being sort of a jerk? Research from the Academy of Management says it's the latter. I don't know the makeup of the study's source data, but I'd be curious to know if that dynamic holds up in the nonprofit realm specifically.

Leading from below. Ellen Behrens shares advice on creating change in an organization (particularly when coming back from a conference loaded with great ideas) from the middle of the organizational chart.

Curation for conferences. "Curate" is quite the buzzword these days, a point that Jeff Hurt concedes, but none the less he offers an excellent perspective on how the concept of curation can apply to the conference-planning role.

Small- and large-staff dynamics. Elizabeth Engel, CAE, compares and contrasts her work experience in organizations of varying sizes and wonders how to combine the best qualities of each. Some good ideas in the comments, too.

Online community. Joshua Paul at Socious offers 10 surprises about building online communities. Number one: "online communities are not about social networking." The lessons only get more interesting from there.

Brand loyalty. How much do your members love your association? A new study shows that consumers who are highly loyal to certain brands actually experience lower self-esteem when the brand is criticized or performs poorly. That's an interesting commentary on modern society, but it can work to your association's advantage if it builds strong relationships with members.

Link sharing. So, is social media about community or about sharing? Both, you might say, but one PR/social media blogger offers evidence that "the key to social media success is links, not conversation." [Thanks to Maddie Grant for sharing this one.]

Levity. A sharp-witted denizen of the association community has launched The Association Onion, a blog for poking fun at some of the situations we associations often find ourselves in. Lampooned so far: strategic planning, social media, innovation, free pricing models, conferences, and credentialing.


August 12, 2011

Quick clicks: #asae11 weekend reading

It has now been a full week since many association professionals were packing up and boarding planes for St. Louis for ASAE's 2011 Annual Meeting & Expo. Time flies. In the time since the end of the meeting, the conference has been the topic of choice in the association blog-o-sphere.

Since the last quick clicks post on Wednesday, we've added more than 20 more links to new blog posts and articles about #asae11 on the #asae11 Scoop It page:

#asae11 - 2011-08-12 15-25-20.png

The new posts include recaps from John Chen, Elizabeth Engel, Tom Ingram (a video!), Jamie Notter, Shelly Alcorn, Amy Williams, Stefanie Reeves, and more. If you haven't seen them all already, then now you have some good weekend reading to catch up on. Enjoy.


August 10, 2011

Quick clicks: #asae11 recaps and reviews

ASAE's 2011 Annual Meeting & Expo has concluded, and the recaps and reviews are coming in.

Just today, we've added 10 more links to new blog posts and articles about #asae11 on the #asae11 Scoop It page:

#asae11 - 2011-08-10 17-05-39.png

We'll continue to add links to this page as long as the buzz continues, so stay tuned!

August 8, 2011

Quick clicks: #asae11 continues

We're halfway through Day 3 of ASAE's 2011 Annual Meeting & Expo and participants continue to capture and share lessons and experiences.

Here's another reminder to check out the latest blog posts and articles about #asae11 from the community on the #asae11 Scoop It page:

#asae11 - 2011-08-08 12-41-31.png

The latest posts discuss association learning trends, personal energy management, food at the expo, the opening night celebration, and more.

August 7, 2011

Quick clicks: Getting started at #asae11

Day 2 of ASAE's 2011 Annual Meeting & Expo is underway, and the buzz around the meeting has continued as attendees traveled to St. Louis, participated in committee meetings, and enjoyed the opening night party under the Gateway Arch.

Be sure to check out the latest blog posts and articles about #asae11 from the community on the #asae11 Scoop It page:

#asae11 - 2011-08-07 11-44-26.png

Among the latest posts include David Patt, CAE, recapping the opening night party, Mark Golden, FASAE, CAE, sharing his thanks for the ASAE Key Award, and more.

August 4, 2011

Quick clicks: Scoop 'em up edition

This week's installment of Quick Clicks is a hybrid. First, I'll introduce a new tool we're going to try out during the coming days to share what people are writing about ASAE's 2011 Annual Meeting & Expo. Then, your normal Quick Clicks programming will resume with some recent links on association management.

Annual Meeting links

We're fortunate that Annual Meeting attendees are a knowledge-sharing bunch, as there always seems to be healthy buzz in the blogosphere during the meeting. In past years, we've posted a traditional Quick Clicks post each day during the conference to point you to the latest articles and blog posts. This year, we're going to gather them all in one place with a new online tool called Scoop It.

Scoop It is a free online tool that's still in beta mode, so this is an experiment in progress for us. But, it's a convenient tool for curating links on the web, and the conference provides a focused, short-term event to build a collection of links around.

The widget below scrolls just a few of the latest links that we've "scooped" so far. Click anywhere on the widget to check out the full #asae11 Scoop It page.

The direct link is, and if you're RSS-inclined, you can subscribe to a feed of all the "scooped" links here: As we continue to add links during the conference, please let us know what you think.

And now on to this week's links:

Research. "6 Tips to Make Membership Research Work," from Adina Wasserman via Erik Schonher's Experts in Membership Marketing blog.

Management models. Which model of organizational management do you follow: Holding, Strategic, Active, or Operationally Involved? Findings from a Booz & Company study, via Virgil Carter on the Plexus Consulting Group blog.

Small-staff. "Tips for leveraging people's skills and talents in the best possible ways" at a small-staff association, from Shannon Otto at MemberClicks.

Get IT help. Nonprofits can tap the minds of tech experts on TechSoup's forums, via a new program called "Donate Your Brain." This is an opportunity both to get IT help and to see an interesting microvolunteering initiative in action. (via Engaging Volunteers)

Staff bonuses. Good or bad? Laura Otten at the Nonprofit University Blog says staff bonuses are bad, calling them "offensive and difficult in the nonprofit sector."

Me vs. Us. Shelly Alcorn, CAE, writes, "I believe WIFM (short for "what's in it for me?") is the bane of association leadership. … The Boardroom belongs to WIFU instead (short for "what's in it for us?")"

Generations. Jamie Notter had to trim his training on generational diversity down to 50 minutes for a recent training session, he focused on three points: Theory matters, Learn about millennials, Embrace change. He recaps those points here.

Conference speakers. 17 tips for conference planners on how to help make speakers' experience, and thereby their audience's experience, a positive one.

Idea sharing. What's the tipping point for an idea to spread like a virus? One new study says it might take just 10 percent of people in a social network to adopt a view to ensure the idea spreads throughout the network.

| | Comments (1)

July 21, 2011

Quick clicks: So hot right now edition

If you're in the eastern half of the United States, you'll understand why it's just too hot for me to think of any kind of interesting intro to this week's edition of quick clicks. Several interesting articles and posts below. Enjoy.

Argument. Mark Golden, FASAE, CAE, asks "Have We Lost The Ability To Argue?" One should hope not, as it's an important capacity for association leaders to maintain.

Creativity. Virgil Carter points to an article that suggests creativity might be a quality that prevents one from reaching the CEO position of an organization, particularly associations that tend to be creatures of habit. "Typical leaders in such organizations are expected to have traits that reduce uncertainty and promote stability," he writes.

Staff communication. Tom Morrison doesn't like meetings, but he does like effective staff communication at his association. That's why he created a private online group for his staff called "Staff Meeting 24/7" that serves as the central location for inter-office communication.

Fundraising. Laura Otten highlights research that shows that more than half of nonprofits that ask or require board members to raise money provide little or no training in fundraising to the board members, which she calls "sad." "The state doesn't tell children turning 16 ... 'Okay, get behind the wheel of a car and drive!'" she writes.

Pricing. Jeff Cobb shares a brief note about the power of a small price increase, citing research that shows a one percent price increse results in more increased profits than a one percent increase in volume or decrease in costs.

Groupon. Maddie Grant, CAE, urges associations to be cautious before jumping on the daily-deals bandwagon.

Web experience. Jeff Hurt argues that a poor conference website experience will set up your face-to-face event for failure.

Social media exhaustion. Maggie McGary is a social media professional, but even she finds herself overwhelmed with the number of networks and social outlets to explore and engage in. "Google+ has tipped the apple cart for me and I find myself just wanting to avoid the computer altogether," she writes.

Boards. Eric Lanke, CAE, continues a thread about boards being out of touch with members. He suggests association staff or other active members or volunteers are the ones more in touch and should be conveying that knowledge to the board.

Emotions. Jamie Notter explains why recognizing your own emotions and understanding how they affect others in the workplace is one quality of skilled leaders.

| | Comments (1)

July 7, 2011

Quick Clicks: It's beginning to look a lot like #asae11

Believe it or not, the 2011 ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo is less than one month away, and it makes its first appearance in Quick Clicks this week, alongside several other must-read posts. Enjoy.

The yearly cycle. C. David Gammel, CAE, makes no mention of Annual in his post "The Association Cycle," but it hit home for me as we're all busy preparing for our biggest event of the year. I'd never thought of it this way before, but he makes a compelling point: "Associations, more than any other type of organization I've seen, are defined by their annual cycle."

Tips for #asae11. The Annual Meeting-related posts started with Joe Sapp, who will be a first-time attendee to this year's conference. He asked for some tips for a first timer, and he got some good advice both in the comments to his post and in separate posts from Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CAE, and Shannon Otto at MemberClicks.

Membership increases. Tony Rossell shares some data from the forthcoming 2011 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report that show substantial improvements in total membership, new members acquired, and membership renewals among respondent associations.

Complaining. Do you or your colleagues complain about your association's members? Is that a healthy practice? Eric Lanke, CAE, thinks not: "If [your staff] don't see your members as partners in your mutual success, you probably won't succeed in anything you set out to do," he writes.

Google+. It can be exhausting trying to keep up with every new development in the realm of social media. Fortunately, in the case of last week's roll-out of Google+, you can find some initial reactions from Maddie Grant, CAE, at SocialFish, who shares an introductory video, and Maggie McGary, who explains "Why I'm not Giddy Over Google+."

Presentation formats. Jeffrey Cufaude warns association conference planners to "Be Careful of Format Fetish," arguing that new waves in presentation styles (think Open Space, Pecha Kucha, IGNITE) should be adopted if they match the event's needs, not just because they're the new cool thing to do.

Expo halls. In many ways, they're a lot like shopping malls, Jeff Hurt writes. In "Mall Science: What Your Conference Can Learn From The Mall," he shares six lessons expo planners can learn from the shopping-mall experience.

E-learning. The downside of in-person education is often that space is limited. But starting a waiting list isn't the way to go, says Ellen Behrens. Rather, on-demand online learning can let your members access education on their time, not yours.

Leadership before strategy. Judith Lindenau shares a story about a grantmaking foundation with an interesting approach to ensuring its donations are spent well: it requires its beneficiary organizations to display skill in its leadership—or go through training to develop it—before receiving grants.

Control. Jamie Notter revisits the pitfalls of seeking control over everything we do within our organizations. This time he shares a perspective that says humans are wired to seek control even if they know it's just an illusion of control. No wonder it's so difficult to overcome.


June 24, 2011

Quick clicks: New voices edition

Happy Friday, everyone. Another collection of must-read association links from the past week. The first three include an association-executive guest blogger, an association professional who just jumped into blogging, and a blog on volunteerism that is making (I believe) its first appearance in quick clicks. Enjoy.

Telecommuting. Marcia Bartol is a work-at-home association executive for the Greater Bangor Association of Realtors. In a guest post for Cindy Butts, CAE, on the AE on the Verge blog, Bartol shares the pros and cons of the work-from-home arrangement for both the employee and the association.

Putting data to use. Thomas Oravsky offers three ways practices used by Netflix could be adopted and adapted for use in associations. All three relate to having a healthy command of member data.

Volunteer expenses. A U.S. Tax Court ruled last week that a volunteer for a nonprofit animal shelter could deduct expenses related to fostering stray cats in her home. The Energize Inc. blog says the ruling "has far-reaching implications for every sort of American volunteer."

Social media hiring. How the heck to you staff a function that didn't even exist just five years ago? Maddie Grant, CAE, at SocialFish shares a thorough primer on how to structure a social-media manager position, including at what level to place it and skills to look for.

Retention. Jeffrey Cufaude relates using a Groupon at a local restaurant to being a first-time member or customer at an association, and he explores ways an organization can turn a one-time customer into a long-time member. "Getting people to try you out is great; getting them to come back is better," he says.

Past leaders. David Patt, CAE, reminds associations to remember their past presidents and other former leaders and recognize them at events. "It keeps them connected to the association, helps maintain the loyalty of long-time members … , and promotes the strength, longevity, and potency of the group," he says.

The member perspective. Eric Lanke, CAE, shares an example of a "customer journey map" and wonders why associations don't seek out and explore member perspectives more often.


June 20, 2011

Quick Clicks: The tardy edition

I had my selections for last week's Quick Clicks made, and then I just ran out of week. I hope you'll still consider taking a look at these posts - each of them mademe think in some way.

Speaking of thinking, I'm going to start with Jamie Notter's interesting post about adult brain development. If part of your mission is to provide knowledge or information to your members, then the research Notter is talking about matters. Oh, and he's right, it's good to think about it in terms of your staff, too.

Innovation has become a hot-button word at ASAE, and with many associations, with an emphasis on creating an innovation culture. SmartBlog Insights gives a starting point.

Love the concept that Jeff Hurt pointed to: the HIPPO problem (highest individually paid person's opinion). I may disagree a bit with an implication in the post (or maybe just my inference?), but it's worth read, as is David Patt's response.

Jumping into the tips side of posts from last week, a lot of what Stephanie Vance wrote in "Tips from Congressional Staff" may be old hat to old public affairs pros, but I really like her third tip: "Don't be scared to talk about what the opposition is doing."

I love it when someone reaches back to Marcus Buckingham (Want to build great managers? Have them read and/or develop a training program around First Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths.) like Allan Liff does in his post on strengthening the chapter/headquarter relationship.

Jumping out of the association-specific sector, here's a post on how the iPad has become a tool for top-level executives.

And two about Facebook: First, I think it's an interesting idea and probably a trend worth following to gauge success or failure or popularity by what happens on Facebook. This post describes how Mitt Romney did in the Republican Presidential Debate.

And finally, I just find it fascinating that Iceland is rewriting its constitution and is soliciting ideas and feedback via Facebook and other social venues.

| | Comments (1)

June 9, 2011

Quick clicks: June 9, 2011

Defining roles. Confused about who's in charge of what at your association? Define activities as either "mission driven" or "business operations" and divide duties between volunteers and staff accordingly, writes Virgil Carter at the Plexus Consulting Group blog.

Relevance. Innovate all you want, but it won't matter if you're not relevant, says Ellen Behrens at the aLearning Blog.

Passion versus skill. Is passion for your association's cause a relevant qualification for a job applicant? David Patt, CAE, thinks not: "A skilled professional should be able to fulfill … duties for any organization," he writes. Do you agree?

QR codes are neat, and they're even neater when an association uses them to help conference attendees download handouts, read speaker bios, and more, like Association Media & Publishing did at its annual meeting last week. (via Maddie Grant, CAE, at SocialFish)

In-person meetings. Ever met a person in a hotel-lobby poker game and then later asked that person to speak at a conference? Robert Rosenthal at the Engaging Volunteers blog has, and that's the power of "off book" interactions (aka "hallway conversations") that can only take place at face-to-face events.

Employee satisfaction correlates to customer satisfaction, which correlates to profitability. Perhaps not surprising, but a good reminder about the value of employee morale. (via Jason Hensel at the PlusPoint blog)

Blogging. Do your association have a blog? Do you have members who are experts in their profession? Here's four ways to put the two together, from the experts at Copyblogger.

Technology. You might have heard some buzz about iCloud, iOS 5, and other announcements from Apple this week. Joshua Paul at the Socious Member Engagement Blog shares his thoughts on what the new developments mean for associations and what they can learn from Apple's corporate style.

Business models. Taking a cue from my fellow blogger Scott, I must point out Seth Godin's latest post about how the gap between free and paid is growing ever wider (and the pursuant business model growing ever more challenging). It's one of the longest blog posts I've ever seen Godin write (which is still short, by some measures), but it's worth a read.

| | Comments (1)

June 3, 2011

Quick Clicks: Summertime tips and thoughts

Acronym's had a bit of a slow week - sorry about that, we'll do better next week, must be the heat or something. But association sector blogging has been anything but slow, buzzing with tips and thoughts worth reading. Here are a few the things I've read in the last week that caught my eye.

Jeffrey Cufaude--who usually makes Quick Clicks with his thought-provoking posts--comes forward with such a simple, no-tech organizing tip I had to share it.

Sticking with the practical, or at least toolsy, part of this recap, early this week Maddie Grant gave us a look at some tools to help us tell our stories. Her post reminds me of how much we think of stories as words, but how something is presented can be just as important as what is presented.

Sticking with the story idea, Jeff Cobb talks about simple stories grabbing attention. What simple story are you neglecting to tell about your association's products and services.

And now a few things to make you think, starting with Sue Pelletier in a little post about an article she had read. Follow her link and read the original post on how wrong it is to approach design as a way to make people act or do certain things. We do this all the time as associations, and we need to rethink it. Sue talks about it in the context of meetings (of course), and I think that's a great place to start.

Peggy Hoffman describes three lessons she has recently learned about volunteer opportunities, and she gives association execs three helpful insights in how to manage our volunteer opportunities.

We all know who the important people are in our associations, right? Maggie McGary talks about how you might not be as up-to-date in this area as you think you are.

Jeff Hurt points out a must-read study. I like Jeff's take, too (though, as always, I bristle a bit when age is described as a causal factor as the study and Jeff does). It's another one of those "the nature is changing" things, but guess what? The nature of things is changing.

And I'll leave you with two more posts I want to share. As always, my Quick Clicks is not complete with Seth Godin, but this one is tricky for me. Here's his concluding statement: "Dreaming of winning the lottery is fine, apparently, while experiencing pangs of regret over a decision is not." I've always thought it a good idea/tactic to give a taste of, for example, a major conference to those who didn't attend to entice them to decide differently next time. I think Godin is saying this is a bad idea. Is he? And is it?

And one more, because I think it's fascinating, though I don't know how to draw a straight line to association work: Tom Barnett notes an article that countries with higher per capita income are more likely to demand well functioning government.


April 28, 2011

Quick clicks: Just the links edition

Been a busy week here in ASAE-land with two conferences in three days, so I'll skip any effort toward pithy commentary on this week's collection of links from the association blogosphere. Just the links, but still good stuff. Enjoy.

"Why Private Social Networks for Associations Aren't About Networking" by Joshua Paul at Socious

Another installment of "Here Comes Clay Shirky" by Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CAE, on the Thanks for Playing blog

"Oh, No!! It's Back!!" by Ellen Behrens at the aLearning blog ("it" refers to high gas prices)

"Four Benefits of "Gamification" for Associations and Nonprofits" from the blog

"We're Good Because We Belong" by Jason Hensel at MPI's PlusPoint blog

"Consumer Use of Email Declines, but Association Deployment Remains Constant" by Tony Rossell at the Membership Marketing Blog

"The sponsors' perspective" by David Patt, CAE, at Association Executive Management

"Getting to know your members" by Shannon Otto at Memberclicks' Splash blog

"Talking to Members Counts as Research, Too" by Eric Lanke, CAE, at The Hourglass Blog

"What Is Your Transparency Architecture?" by Jamie Notter on the SocialFish blog

"Deference and Difference: Who Yields for Innovation?" by Jeffrey Cufaude at Idea Architects

"Your Meeting Starts In Your Participants' Mind" by Jeff Hurt at Velvet Chainsaw's Midcourse Corrections blog


April 14, 2011

Quick clicks: Small edition

This week's collection of important association links isn't "small" in terms of quantity, but it's a theme that keeps coming up, from small-sized volunteer opportunities to the small mobile devices that your members are using to the size of your staff getting smaller if you don't invest in their productivity. The level of thought-provoking ideas in the links below should be anything but small, however. Enjoy.

Microvolunteering. Robert Rosenthal at the Engaging Volunteers blog points to a new, free 40-page guide to microvolunteering: "How To Set Up A Microvolunteering Project" from Help From Home in the United Kingdom. Rosenthal calls it "most comprehensive guide to microvolunteering that we've seen." I agree.

Mobile tech. You may have seen my posts here from last week's Digital Now conference or been following along on Twitter. First-time attendee Carrie Hartin shares her five takeaways from the conference, and they all point to the rapid advance of mobile technology.

More mobile tech. Joshua Paul at the Socious Member Engagement Blog offers "10 Things Association Execs Need to Know About Mobile Membership Apps." He divides the list into mobile's impact on member engagement, selecting an application, and development costs.

IT and staff turnover. Wes Trochlil asks, "Are your lousy systems affecting staff turnover?" Cheaping out on technology doesn't just make your staff less productive; it also makes the good staff leave.

Strategy. Shelly Alcorn, CAE, continues her series on big-picture association issues, this time making a case for adopting a spirit of "cultivation" in association strategic planning.

Volunteer management. Jeff Hurt attended one of Cynthia D'Amour's Lazy Leader Road Show events and recaps it nicely here, offering some key takeaways. Among them: "Instead of an annual volunteer fair, volunteer recruitment is done all year long."

Content curation. Rohit Bhargava explains five styles of curation that provide value for readers, followers, members, etc. Thanks to Maddie Grant for pointing to this one. It's a great primer if you're new to the concept. (By the way, this Quick Clicks post is the first type of content curation: "aggregation.")

Video. So YouTube is getting into live video streaming. It's too soon to know the practical impacts this will have, but as more and more associations get into virtual and hybrid events that include online streaming, YouTube will certainly factor in.


March 31, 2011

Quick clicks: Opening Day edition

For your sake, I hope right now you're sitting in a stadium somewhere with a hot dog and box of Cracker Jack, enjoying the return of America's pastime and not thinking about associations at all. (That's what I did last year.) But if you're hard at work for your association like normal today, here are a few important articles and blog posts from the past week to help you do that job a little bit better.

Web sharing. Google is getting into the social web-page-sharing game with its new "+1" button. You can't add the "+1" button to your web pages yet like a Facebook "Like" button or a Twitter "Retweet" button, but you'll be able to soon, and you can sign up to be notified when it's ready.

Member recruitment. David Patt, CAE, asks why member-get-a-member campaigns always feature incentives. The underlying question is, "If your members aren't recommending your association to others on their own, are you really that valuable to them?"

Membership models. Jamie Notter on The Common Thread blog sums up this week's association chat on Twitter (#assnchat) and asks, "Are You Still Collecting Dues?" The debate over paid membership rages on.

Staff meetings. Jeffrey Cufaude passes along an insight from a colleague: "Scheduling a meeting is not the same as planning one." He suggests a rating system for staff meetings. Makes sense. We ask members to rate our conferences, so why not ask colleagues to rate our staff meetings?

The Stars and Stripes. Does your association open meetings with the pledge of allegiance or the national anthem? Cindy Butts, CAE, tells some stories about problems associations run into involving the display of the American flag, and she offers six tips to avoid some of those common pitfalls.

Bacon (the email kind). Maddie Grant shares a great infographic about bacon, a term for spam that you sign up for, which describes a lot of email that associations send to their members. (Just like the real thing, "Some bacon is good, too much clogs your arteries.") She says she'd even pay an extra fee to get less bacon. Would you? (Would your members?)

Member communication. How can you know what innovations your members will find useful? Listening. Listening closely to your members about their challenges, hopes, fears, daily lives, and so on, says Eric Lanke, CAE.

And if you're a baseball fan, here are's predictions for the 2011 season. Best of luck to whichever team you'll be root root rooting for this year!


March 25, 2011

Quick Clicks: Elite Eight

As the NCAA Tourney pares it's way from 16 to 8, I bring you this week's Quick Clicks -- an Elite Eight of posts from the past week plus that caught my eye.

If you find yourself annoyed, angry or otherwise flummoxed at some key members, Jamie Notter has the right advice: Stop Making It Worse.

Mizz Information's Maggie McGary calls them like she sees them, and she doesn't like this organization's publicity approach.

David Gammel reminds us that charging for online content can be a perfectly viable business model... but you have to do it smartly.

Acronym has been on point in innovation posts this week, but we're not alone. Elizabeth Weaver Engel has a nice take on the idea side of innovation.

The always thoughtful Shelly Alcorn also gives us a lesson on innovation, namely that governance and policy are binders, not enablers.

And another look at innovation from Radian6 blogger Amber Naslund, who tells us to Put Some Skin in the Game.

There are a ton of blogs where this title wouldn't get attention, but none of them are in my Google Reader. So when I saw "The Politics of Queering Anything" from Microsoft social media researcher Danah Boyd I had to look. I'm glad I did, and if your organization plans panel discussions and uses a demographic qualifier to describe the panel, you'll be glad you looked, too.

Finally, I must always include a Seth Godin post when I do Quick Clicks. I mean, I have a Seth Godin action figure at my desk. Don't believe me? Here, I just took a picture as I'm writing this:

seth godin action figure.JPG

The post I'm choosing this time is "Better than it sounds," in which he says:

"Is your product better than it sounds, or does it sound better than it is?

"We call the first a discovery, something worthy of word of mouth. The second? Hype."

That's 75 percent of the post, so don't follow the link to read that post; follow the link to see all the other perceptive things Godin has to say.


March 10, 2011

Quick clicks: The good, the bad, and the board

Board size. Dave Phillips, CAE, suggests the size of association boards can and should vary greatly, depending on the needs of any given organization. (His organization's board has 200 members!) Some interesting discussion has arisen in the comments, as well.

Bad boards. Eric Lanke, CAE, points to a list of characteristics of a bad board at a for-profit and offers an equivalent list for association boards. (And board size comes up again.)

Innovation. Last week, Jeff De Cagna interviewed Matthew May and posted the full interview podcast to his blog. May is author of The Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change and will speak at this week's Great Ideas Conference.

Association (r)evolution. Shelly Alcorn, CAE, believes associations must change their behavior, and in the first two parts of a series of posts, she examines associations from a sociological perspective and argues that membership creates harmful barriers to pursuing common good.

Museums as associations. Colleen Dilenschneider makes the case that museums should adopt the association model and many of its best practices.

Cash or volunteers? The UK's Directory of Social Change asked nonprofits last month if they'd rather get a £10,000 cash donation or the equivalent in volunteer hours, and 91 percent said they'd take the cash. I could see a healthy debate there, so I'm surprised the results were that one-sided. The summary shares some interesting quotes from respondents.

Wisdom. David Patt, CAE, shares a story from early in his career about the pitfalls of being a board chair at just 26 years old.

Like. Nieman Journalism Lab points to new research into the most-Liked links on the web (and by "Like," we mean the Facebook vote of approval). The most popular articles tend to be opinion-based, ones that are "implicit invitations to discussion and interchange." Member engagement FTW.

[By the way: we're looking for volunteers interested in book blogging. (See past book blogging series here.) It's pretty simple; you read a book from which you can draw some lessons about association management (or organizational leadership in general), and you write a series of three or four blog posts for Acronym. It's a great way to contribute to the community discussion. If you're interested, contact Scott and me at]


February 24, 2011

Quick clicks: Strategy and PR edition

This week's collection of interesting reads includes a pair of items about strategy and governance and a pair of case studies in handling challenging PR situations. Enjoy.

Strategic planning. Jan Masaoka at Blue Avocado begins a two-part series with an exploration of the common failures of strategic planning at nonprofit organizations. She promises some alternative approaches in the follow-up.

Effective boards. Virgil Carter at the Plexus Consulting Group blog shares five qualities of high-level governance.

Social media/PR crisis. Shannon Otto recaps how the Red Cross deftly handled a "rogue tweet" last week, when its Twitter manager sent what was supposed to be a personal tweet out through the Red Cross's account. The Red Cross managed to spin the episode into a fundraising meme.

Social media/PR crisis, part II. Maggie McGary points to a recent exchange between Forrester Research's Josh Bernoff and the Public Relations Society of America. Bernoff asked PRSA to strengthen its code of ethics; PRSA said no thanks. Maggie says PRSA "miss[ed] out on a huge social media opportunity." I'll let you decide, but either way it's a story that should make you think about how your association would react if called out by an influential blogger.

Conference engagement. Jeff Hurt shares six meeting engagement takeaways from Chris Brogan, who spoke at EventCamp Chicago 2011. "A well-organized event does not usually create attendee loyalty. A great conference experience creates attendee buzz, loyalty, and an attendee's desire to return," Jeff writes.

Conflict. Jamie Notter shares a tip for conflict resolution: move toward the conflict.

Online communities. Julie Secor at Socious explains five ways you can mess up the launch of your online community, and she shares advice on how to avoid these mistakes.

Games for learning. Jeff Cobb highlights an excellent example of how a nonprofit can use a simple online game as an educational and fundraising tool that creates an experience, not just info, for potential donors.

| | Comments (1)

February 10, 2011

Quick clicks: Chief Attention Getter edition

A few of this week's interesting blog posts and articles talk about methods for focusing the attention of your audience in certain ways, which makes me wonder if anyone out there has the title of "Chief Attention Getter." I think that'd be a fun title to have. Or better yet, "Attention Getter in Chief." Anyway, here are this week's links:

Attention. Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CAE, points out that the kid in the Darth Vader costume in Volkswagen's Super Bowl ad was a patient at one of her association's member hospitals, and that hospital capitalized on the buzz around the ad to draw some attention to its work. A good example of being ready for the spotlight, she says.

Focused campaigns. Jeffrey Cufaude touts the value of rallying attention, effort, or contributions during a short time period. Think pledge drives or awareness months. "The crowd is busy," he writes. "But if we want the attention and the participation of the masses, a short campaign can provide a focal point for their contributions and be a fulcrum for greater results."

Twitter buy-in. Craig Sorrell makes a guest appearance on KiKi L'Italien's blog to share his success story of encouraging Twitter use among members and staff at his association.

Conference value. Nancy Lublin at Fast Company offers a checklist to determine whether a conference is worth going to. It's somewhat tongue-in-cheek, until you realize that your association's potential conference attendees consider the same factors when they think about going to your conference.

CEO contracts. David Patt, CAE, encourages association CEOs to pay special attention to severance clauses when they negotiate employment contracts.

Data outcomes. Wes Trochlil explains why focusing on outcomes is more important than focusing on inputs when building an association management system.

Optimism. Earlier this week here on Acronym, I asked if you have to be an optimist to be a leader. Shortly after, I came upon an article from the Winter 2011 MIT Sloan Management Review highlighting a study that says "People with optimistic dispositions get jobs more easily and get promoted more."

In chief. You might already be aware that Associations Now's fearless leader Lisa Junker, CAE, is leaving us. (Big shoes to fill, but here's the job listing if you're interested.) Anyway, I got to wondering why the title "Editor in Chief" originated (like "Commander in Chief"). Why not just "Chief Editor" or "Chief Commander"? The answer is a bit fuzzy, but the "in chief" construction appears to date back to feudal times. And there's your useless trivia for the day.

| | Comments (3)

February 4, 2011

Quick Clicks: Welcome Back Carter Edition

Welcome to this week's edition of Quick Clicks!

- A former Acronym blogger has popped up again in the association blogging community--Virgil Carter, who contributed a great deal to Acronym before he retired as CEO of ASME, is now leading the Plexus Consulting blog. Virgil introduces himself and lays out his planned approach to the blog here. Even if you weren't reading Acronym when Virgil was blogging with us, I highly recommend you take a look at what he's doing in his new digs.

- Judith Lindenau at Off Stage asks if you really know how much your association's governance system costs.

- At the Nonprofit University blog, Laura Otten takes on some practices she'd like to wash right out of the nonprofit sector.

- "We have to, as a community, get the hell off the hamster wheel of busier = better ..." Elizabeth Weaver Engel has a challenge for the association community, based on an insight she had while reading Seth Godin's book Tribes.

- "Real professions have strong associations ... Whether we work on a world-wide level or via one community at a time, virtually or face-to-face, we will make progress only if we perceive associating as power."

- Carol-Anne Moutinho argues that member feedback is what separates good associations from great ones.


January 28, 2011

Quick Clicks: RFPs, social media (of course) and China edition

Jumping right into this week's look at notable things from the last week (or so) of blogosphere activity...

First, 7 steps to a clean RFP process from Rick Johnston over at Ironwork's Fit & Finish blog. It was written from a Technology Conference perspective, but the tips help RFPs for nontechie things too.

Tim Arnold from Beaconfire asks, "Are your mobile assumptions correct?" The post reminds us to ask the fundamental question: what is it your users would want to get out of your organization through a mobile device?

Every once in a while I have to throw a link in because it nails my own veiwpoint so well. Lynn Morton does so on the SNAP blog in describing the great utility of RSS. She stops just short of the description I'd use, which is that RSS is magic for your website.

Here's post with a link to a presentation from Jeff Hurt over on Midcourse Corrections. I like the slides, and I like the 4Cs of social engagement (Jeff, don't be mad, please, but I want to give the 4Cs: content, collaboration, community, and cumulative value.) Jeff gives us the why. The post reminds me of a post from Maddie Grant from OCtober 2009 that I still love today. She has the 5Cs of engagement, but her post tells you how.

Stepping outside of the association-specific context: as always, Seth Godin's blog remains a must read. Here's a post that will make you a better motivator of people.

And now a few that our thought projects for you, so you can decide how such ideas may or could affect your associaiton:

The creator of Delicious social bookmarking is building a new social media platform; this one is a market where people who have talent or skills hook up with those in needs.

Every day on Facebook, people watch 150 years worth of video.

And here are two about Asia -- nothing really knew, but amazing nonetheless. The first is a blog post the brings to light the amazing fact of the size of China. Hint: If you put the entire population of North America, Central America, and South America into the Continental U.S. -- you'd still be shy a few 10s of millions. I'm cheating on the second, it's a video from the TED Conference about when China and India will overtake the U.S. in economic importance.


January 20, 2011

Quick Clicks: Warm conversation edition

January is one of my least favorite times of the year. The holidays are over, and it's cold and dreary outside. At least there's plenty of interesting online conversation happening in the association realm to keep me distracted.

Innovation. Jeff De Cagna and Eric Lanke, CAE, have begun a back-and-forth series of blog posts on innovation in associations. Jeff kicked it off last week, and Eric followed up this week. These two have likely devoted more personal mindpower to the broad topic of association innovation than anyone else you'll find. This is a conversation to follow.

AMS ROI. Wes Trochlil explains that an association management system should benefit an association in ways beyond just enhanced data management.

Open GR. Stefanie Reeves, CAE, interviews Maddie Grant, co-author of Open Community, about how the concepts it the book apply to association government relations professionals.

Facebook. Maggie McGary explains why the thought of Facebook fully replacing websites sounds like "the worst idea ever."

New products. Seth Godin asks, Why the need for a big splash? Perhaps a quiet, obscure launch for a company or product is best. That's how Google and most major web companies started, after all.

Online groups. Maddie Grant points to a new Pew Internet Research study about the effects of the web on how people form groups. Obvious implications for associations.

Microvolunteering. Robert Rosenthal at the Engaging Volunteers blog explores the varying definitions of microvolunteering and asks whether the definition really matters, as long as organizations are experimenting with it.

The over-50 crowd. Dan Pallotta at HBR writes on the value of age and experience, which often goes overlooked in the fuss over young "potential."

Website landing pages. Copyblogger offers five common mistakes made by organizations that build website landing pages, whether it be a "sales page, an email opt-in page, a video landing page, or even a content landing page designed to rank well in search engines."


January 7, 2011

Quick Clicks: New Year's Edition

Welcome to this week's edition of Quick Clicks! If you're following the discussion on association membership that began on Joe Flowers' Unhatched blog, be sure to check out Scott's post about it. Not only is there a great discussion going on in the comments, Scott is adding links to other blog posts related to the discussion as we find them.

Here are some other interesting tidbits from the association blogging world and elsewhere :

- This post of Jamie Notter's is a few weeks old, but it's really resonating with me right now: The Hard Work of the Middle.

- The Interactive Meeting Technology blog has 5 wishes for the meetings industry in the coming year (hat tip to Sue Pelletier for the link).

- Jane Cravens at the Coyote Communications blog describes how mapping your volunteer intake process can help you engage volunteers more successfully.

- Erik Schonher asks if 2011 will be the year of customer service.

- Tony Rossell proposes three membership marketing New Year's resolutions.

- Cindy Butts compares life as an association executive to the new movie Black Swan.

- Sarah Ruzek at the Associations Live blog is doing a whole series of short posts with three tips on a variety of topics, including collecting bad debt, meeting marketing, RFPs for speakers and meeting venues, and more.

- Erik Lanke is looking for Gen-X association professionals to join the Hourglass Blog as guest posters.

- Jeff Hurt discusses the challenges for associations navigating the transition from a push economy to a pull economy.

- Kathi Edwards at the Learning Evangelist blog has some ideas for how webinars can become more interactive.


December 9, 2010

Quick clicks: Communication challenges edition

This week's collection of association expertise from around the interwebs includes a variety of viewpoints on the challenges and practices of conveying information, whether to members, colleagues, decision makers, a seated audience, or your board. Enjoy.

Focused messaging. Cindy Butts, CAE, tells the story of 28 associations meeting with the Maine governor-elect, with each group allowed 90 seconds to convey its message. It's a format I wonder if an association could employ, and the story also makes you think about how well you'd do at condensing your association's mission or key initiative into 90 seconds.

What do members know? Eric Lanke, CAE, thinks your members are stupid. Well, not really. Not stupid in the common sense of the word; more in the economist's view of an uninformed consumer. Eric says most association members vastly underestimate the cost of association services, and he wonders if better information might allow associations to cut costs without making members upset.

Boring conference sessions: DOA. Jeff Hurt is finding increasingly creative ways to lament over poor conference education, this time with a mock obituary for a conference education session. At the end, he offers two important questions that, if answered, could save a session's life.

Trust. Jamie Notter recaps a presentation on trust that he gave last week at an association conference, calling trust among a board of directors a "secret weapon for dealing with complexity." In the comments, Jeff De Cagna and Jamie have an interesting exchange, as Jeff wonders whether too much trust can be detrimental.

Boards do the darnedest things. Dan Pallotta's blog at Harvard Business Review is one of my favorites, simply for his boldness; he makes no effort to mask his utter disdain for the ingrained practices of nonprofit organizations. This week, he marvels at the ineptitude of meddlesome nonprofit boards, calling for better training about a board's proper role. I think Dan and Roy Snell, whose guest column "Is Your Board Run Amok?" appears in this month's issue of Associations Now, should get together.

Shirkyisms. Elizabeth Engel, CAE, continues her periodic glimpses into Clay Shirky's modern classic Here Comes Everybody. She quotes Shirky's thoughts about Wikipedia and then pushes associations to consider how they can better accommodate varying levels of contribution among wide audiences.

New website. Joe Flowers at the National Association of Dental Plans offers a before-and-after look at NADP's new website, the latest update in a series of posts from Joe during the 18-month overhaul process.

Hiring. A lot of millennials applying for jobs at your association might come with a personal brand, because they're active bloggers, Twitterers, social movers, etc. So is that a plus or a minus in the hiring decision? Colleen Dilenschneider says it's a plus and offers three reasons why.

Learning. In honor of Employee Learning Week, Ellen Behrens suggests seven easy ways you can advance your own professional development. "You can't nourish your members educationally if your own head is empty!" she says.

| | Comments (1)

November 24, 2010

Quick Clicks: Pre-Thanksgiving edition

Good morning! For those of you in the States, I hope you're looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow (I personally am looking forward to my sister-in-law's pumpkin cheesecake). Here are some quick clicks to enjoy before you enter any kind of food-related coma:

- Several association bloggers have gotten into the Thanksgiving spirit with posts related to thanks. Bruce Hammond has some advice for properly and effectively thanking volunteers; Jeff Hurt gives thanks for his community and others like it; Colleen Dilenschneider at the Know Your Own Bone blog considers the power of public thanks; and here on Acronym Carolyn Hook shared a few associations she's thankful for.

- I'm thankful for all of Jamie Notter's thoughtful and thought-provoking posts throughout the year. He has a great one about the importance of keeping your perspective under pressure on the Common Thread blog this week.

- Holly Ross of NTEN is another blogger I admire, so it's great to see her posting on the associationTECH blog. She wonders if we need more managers or more leaders to thrive in today's tumultuous climate. I've have never loved the distinction between "leadership" and "management" (and there's a whole other blog post), but Holly has some interesting points to make, and I'll be curious to see how that discussion develops.

- The GrowGlobally blog has an interesting look at three global megatrends.

- I'm a sucker for a good flowchart, so I love the ASCE social media triage chart that's up on the Socialfish blog.

- Joyce McKee attended the virtual side of COMDEX and returned with good advice for associations considering a virtual component for their tradeshows.

- Tony Rossell has a great list of the top 25 lessons learned in membership marketing.

- At the SmartBlog Insights blog, Deirdre Reid suggests that conference attendees bring their own meeting evaluations.

- Laura Otten fears that nonprofits may be in denial about the "new normal."

- Rebecca Thomas at the Money and Mission blog shares four questions to ask to determine if a nonprofit is ready for change.


November 18, 2010

Quick Clicks: "Friend management" edition

This week's links offer some provocative opinions on emerging technology for associations, plus some excellent recommendations for managing expectations among boards, speakers, colleagues, and more. Enjoy.

To app, or not to app? That is the question Lindy Dreyer answers on the SocialFish blog. Her perspective is clear: "Mobile apps are a waste of time for associations." The ensuing debate (24 comments so far) is excellent reading.

All your message are belong to Facebook. So Facebook's next step in taking over your life is the new, email-ish Facebook Messages. The best analysis of this week's announcement that I've read comes from Charlene Li, who will speak at the Association Technology Conference & Expo in December. (Sidenote: Li uses the term friend management in this article. I long for simpler times.)

Board micromanagement. Jen Masaoka at Blue Avocado gets to the heart of why boards sometimes micromanage their staffs: confidence. She offers some great advice for making such situations better.

Thou shalt giveth your speakers guidelines. Jeff Hurt shares the TED Commandments, the ten guidelines for speakers at TED Conferences, and he recommends associations adopt them (plus two more that he suggests).

No is the new yes. David Patt, CAE, tells two short stories about how being able to say "no" when appropriate is a benefit to your association.

Weekend reading. Deirdre Reid, CAE, asks if your association is publishing content over the weekend, and suggests you should consider it, if you're not already. The conversation in the comments is interesting, as well.

"Make it fun!" How do you present a catalog of project ideas to an audience of organization leaders who want to find which ones might fit their needs? Turn it into a game. Judith Lindenau explains how the National Association of Realtors did just that.

Sadness. By the looks of this picture, it appears Philadelphia-based AMC Fernley & Fernley lost a bet on the World Series with San Francisco's LoBue & Majdalany Management Group. From one die-hard Phillies fan to another, I feel your pain, Kyle Fernley.

| | Comments (1)

November 4, 2010

Quick Clicks: Random acts of kindness edition

Happy Thursday! Here's some of the latest and greatest reading from the association blogging community and elsewhere:

- On the Coulter Companies blog, Thomas Coulter Gibson writes about the big impact of small gestures of kindness, and lists his top 10 "small kindnesses." What would you add to his list?

- On a related note, Bill Taylor asks, "Why is it so hard to be kind?"

- Rebecca Leaman suggests one possible cause of member retention issues: other members.

- Carol-Anne Moutinho points out another potential culprit: engagement erosion (or, put another way, too many hands for too few volunteer opportunities).

- Jamie Notter and Acronym's own Joe Rominiecki kicked off a discussion on collaboration last week. Mark Bledsoe as AssociationOkie adds his thoughts on why people sometimes don't collaborate when they could (or should).

- Jeff Cufaude picks a fight with Yoda. (Apparently he never saw Yoda's big lightsaber duel scene in Attack of the Clones.)

- Rebecca Rolfes wonders if "efficiency" and "productivity" are really just euphemisms for "understaffing."

- Blue Avocado's Jan Masaoka posted a very useful example of a board-staff agreement around issues of financial accountability.

- David Gammel at the High Context blog suggests a simple plan that could help you fast-forward improvements to your website.

- The Nieman Journalism Lab has an interesting post summarizing a report from the Society of Professional Journalists' Digital Media Committee on how SPJ can stay relevant in the digital era. While their conclusions are intended for an association of journalists, I think much of what they have to say can apply to other associations as well.

- Bruce Hammond takes a look at some career advice that he used to follow and wonders if it's still a good idea.


October 28, 2010

Quick clicks: Don't procrastinate. Read these now.

Usually I gather links over the course of a week, but I've been a procrastinator this week when it comes to reading, so I caught up on everything this morning. Happily, I found a lot of great ideas out there to link to, including one, in fact, about procrastination. Go figure.

Innovation. Jeffrey Cufaude takes on Jedi master Yoda: "Yoda had it wrong. When it comes to innovation there is only try. Try often. Listen. Revise. Try again."

Planning for exceptions. Wes Trochlil argues that, when it comes to exceptions, it's better to just manage them as they come rather than trying to build a system to prevent them. He writes about this in the context of data management, but I'd argue the same principle applies to all aspects of organizational management.

Speaker selection. The prolific Jeff Hurt offers a primer on the jargon you'll run into when hiring a professional speaker for your association's conference. Two parts: A-M and N-Z.

Social media hiring. On the SocialFish blog, Maggie McGary recommends associations look for both "talkers" and "listeners" when hiring for social media.

Content strategy. Valeria Maltoni explains how curating information as a content strategy can work for your association, particularly if you don't have the resources to produce high volumes of content yourself.

Website improvement. David Gammel has a suggestion for making simple improvements to your website where it counts, with a minimal time commitment.

Collaboration. It came up several times this week:

Online customer relations. Slate's Farhad Manjoo writes about how organizations should respond to bad reviews on the web. His advice is one of the most clear-headed explanations of how a business should navigate social media that I've ever read. His context is that of hotel managers and TripAdvisor, but the principles can apply anywhere (and it actually relates a lot to Wes's post, too).

Procrastination. The You Are Not So Smart blog gives an in-depth explanation of why humans tend to procrastinate and why some people are better at beating it than others. If you're a procrastinator like me, it will make you feel guilty, but it also will give you some ideas on how to be more productive.


October 19, 2010

Quick Clicks: Last week's edition

Good morning! I'm a little late with my turn at Quick Clicks, but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to link to some of the great stuff that's been going on in the association blog world and elsewhere:

- Jeffrey Cufaude is a tad bit frustrated with the basic meeting-planning mistakes he's seen lately.

- Speaking of meeting planning, I'm intrigued by Michele Martin's idea for a "reflection session" to encourage meeting participants to think about what they've learned before they head home and jump right back into their daily work. (I know I'm often guilty of not taking enough time to think and process after a conference.) Elsewhere, Sue Pelletier wonders if we should kill the Q&A session.

- In a guest post on the Wild Apricot blog, Trish Hudson shares three questions that you can use to mobilize volunteers.

- I'm really enjoying the new governance-focused Against the Grain blog by Rick Moyers on the Chronicle of Philanthropy site. Here's the first paragraph of a recent post, just to give you a taste: "Several years ago, while conducting a workshop on nonprofit boards for a group of 15 or 20 executive directors, I asked them to close their eyes and raise their hands if they wished that they didn't have a board. More than half raised their hands."

- Jeff Cobb has a thought-provoking post on the many ways we have to not know things.

- Jeff Hurt suggests seven attitudes for association success in the 21st century, and followed up with seven principles for association stakeholder success as well.

- Another seven things post: Tony Rossell has seven tips to improve membership recruitment on the Marketing General blog.

- I know Scott's usually the one to link to Seth Godin posts, but I really loved this one: a list of ways to demonstrate strength.

- From the Harvard Business Review site, Lance Bettencourt suggests an interesting and practical way to evaluate and improve customers' experience with your organization by mapping their "consumption chain."


October 7, 2010

Quick clicks: non-vacation reading

I'm off on a vacation beginning Thursday, and--no offense to the bloggers below--what I plan to read while I'm gone will have nothing to do with associations. For those of you working hard, however, the links below are all great non-vacation, learn-how-to-do-your-job-better reads. Enjoy.

Blogger outreach. Maggie McGary points out the potential pitfalls of asking (or compensating) bloggers to write about your association or its cause, on her mizz information blog. She shares an interesting case study and asks some very tough questions. A "must read" if you're considering this kind of outreach.

Board packets. Jen Masaoka offers "Five Tips for Better Board Packets" at the Blue Avocado blog. Two interesting takeaways: "[B]oard members feel disrespected when board packets are late or sloppy and feel railroaded when background information isn't included for an upcoming decision."

Performance under pressure. Paul Sullivan, author of Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don't, offers five reasons why leaders fail under pressure, in a guest article at

Small-staff social media. Maddie Grant points out potential advantages that small-staff associations have over their larger counterparts in adopting social-media, in a guest post at the Splash! blog.

Gen-X leadership. Eric Lanke, CAE, explains why generation X is the "IF" generation and how its style of option-seeking leadership differs from its predecessors, on The Hourglass Blog.

Gen-X pressures. In another gen-X-related post, Shelly Alcorn, CAE, urges us to consider the new and different types of pressure that generation X is experiencing and how those pressures will be a human-resources challenge for employers (and a serious one: her first point of evidence: gen-X's suicide rate).


September 30, 2010

Quick Clicks: The Straight Dope edition

Welcome to this week's edition of Quick Clicks. Nothing clever, nothing pithy, just straight to the links:

So often, I read things that are so simple, so practical, it's a crime that they even have to be written. Call the police, then, because I'd wager a lot of associations need to heed the common sense of Jeffrey Cufaude's note on association renewal efforts. (And thanks, Jeffrey, for putting THAT song in my head!).

I love it when a blogger does something bold, so here's to you Elizabeth Weaver Engel, who brings out a personal experience to talk about just how hard transparency is when confronted by the politics of associations.

Jeff Hurt challenges us to flip our conference education models.

She's talking about a real estate organization-specific topic, but I still can't help but think that Judith Lindenau's talk about boards and new technology has much broader applications.

I have to link to Deidre Reid's recommendation of Scott Stratten, touring now in promotion of his new Unmarketing book. Stratten has become a hero ever since I saw him speak.

And one last association related post: Vinay... are you really climbing Mt. Everest? Cool. And good luck.

Just to do a quick look into a couple nonsector blogs, I seem to be on a social media kick this seek, as I really liked Brian Solis's look at influence in his post "The Social Network: Ecosystems vs. Egosystems."

Another one that shouldn't be missed: Amber Naslund talks about "4 Reasons The Social Media Industry Has a Credibility Problem." Introspective stuff.

And it's not a Scott Briscoe Quick Clicks without my favorite Seth Godin post from the last few days. I must be on a basics kick this week, too, because like Cufaude's post, making a strong "About Us" page on your website should be a no-brainer. Take Seth's five points though and measure how well a few randomly selected association pages do (it will likely be unpretty).

And last and least -- now, if you thought the title was a reference to the first line of this post where I said we'd get straight to the links, you're wrong. I think that could be translated as me calling my readers dopes, which would be unwise for a blogger who wants to be read (much less one who's intelligence compares so unfavorably to his readers). No, I was referring to one of my favorite newspaper columnists, the self-proclaimed smartest human, Cecil Adams. His website, The Straight Dope, recently posted one of his classic Q&As on how they got Mr. Ed to talk... and stop talking.


September 24, 2010

Quick Clicks: Healthy debate edition

Welcome to a late-Friday edition of Quick Clicks. Happy weekend to you!

- Welcome new association blogger Kathi Edwards at the Learning Evangelist blog!

- Shelly Alcorn sees a seismic shift coming in the nature of association leadership. In response, Jamie Notter envisions a new environment of "social leadership." Cecilia Sepp isn't sure Shelly and Jamie's ideas will work and explains why.

- Jeff De Cagna challenges the association community to commit to transforming itself.

- Could everything you know about writing and editing for the web be wrong? Brett at NTEN argues that it might.

- An outside perspective for us: 37Signals explains why they don't offer special pricing for nonprofit clients. Aside from the nonprofit aspects, it's an interesting look at the thinking behind one company's product pricing decisions.

- David Patt wonders if the nature of association boards might be leading some CEOs to play it too safe. Elsewhere, at Harvard Business Review's blogs, Roger Martin wonders why too few boards challenge the organizations they lead--especially when those organizations need to be challenged the most.

- Martha Rhea calls for association execs to take a good, hard look at their tendency to overcommit themselves.

- The MemberClicks blog is celebrating Small Staff Association Month in October and is recruiting guest bloggers to help celebrate.

- The Heath brothers (authors of Made to Stick and Switch) have a three-question interview with the authors of Brains on Fire about how organizations can ignite passion around their products and services. I love question 2: "Are there some products or services that are passion-proof?"

- Carol-Anne Moutinho has started a series of posts on the ARC blog based on interviews with Canadian association execs about what's keeping them up at night. Her first post focuses on issues related to membership; the second, media.

- Speaking of social media, Stefanie Reeves argues that Congress is kicking associations' butts when it comes to using social media for advocacy.

- Joe at the unhatched blog describes the experience of a total communications breakdown (believe me, I've been there!) and asks how you would handle one.

- Chris Durso at PCMA Convene dares to speak out in defense of PowerPoint (complete with a slide summarizing his post)!


September 16, 2010

Quick clicks: Questioning conventional wisdom edition

This week's heap of hyperlinks features several perspectives that might lead you to reconsider the status quo. Enjoy!

Advocacy and social media. New association blogger Stephanie Reeves, CAE, calls associations out for failing to use social media to their advantage in advocacy and lobbying. Congress is doing it, so we should too, she says.

Decision making. This headline from MIT Sloan Management Review is not a typo, and you are not having dyslexia: "Is Decision-Based Evidence Making Necessarily Bad?" The authors argue that some situations exist in which it's OK to make a decision first and gather evidence later. The key, of course, is to know when that model applies and when it doesn't. An interesting take, especially if you've ever read Chapter 4 of 7 Measures of Success, which covers "data-driven strategies."

Nonprofits acting like businesses. And vice versa. It's something of a mantra that nonprofits should act more like for-profit companies. However, Colleen Dilenschneider suggests some ways in which sector blur might be a bad thing for those in need. Her focus is mainly on charitable nonprofits, but the underlying conflicts of crossing social goals with business competition are good principles for any association or nonprofit leader to understand.

Content marketing. In the Web 2.0 age, the lines between marketing, public relations, communications, and editorial publication have all been blurred. Valeria Maltoni at Conversation Agent offers some focus in "Debunking 5 Myths About Content Marketing."

Print publications. As a former student journalist and on the heels of Dave Lutz's argument to kill conference daily newspapers, this headline caught my eye: "Students Prefer Printed College Newspapers over Online." The relevant quote:

"My experience is that if something is free and it's convenient to get and whatever is in it is relevant to them, they have no qualms about printed versus non-printed," said Kevin Schwartz, general manager of The Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The sense of community a college engenders in its students (aka "members") is the envy of any association, so it's worth considering the parallels (and differences) between student newspapers and association publications.

Truth in leadership. Jamie Notter continues his series of blog posts on truth, this time explaining why association CEOs need to spend less time crafting messages and more time just talking openly and honestly.

Managing collaborative work. How do you get people to use a wiki? My initial thoughts: bribes, threats, or possibly both. However, Jonathan Rick at the K Street Café blog offers some much more sensible ideas.

Keynote speakers. What makes a good one? Maddie Grant puts this question forth on the SocialFish blog, and the discussion in the comments is great food for thought for any association conference planner.

Other conference sessions. I'd be hard-pressed to come up with an idea for a conference breakout session that could work at any and every association conference, but Suzanne Carawan offers five on the etouches blog. Color me impressed. So there you go, whatever your association, five free ideas for sessions at your next conference.

Tradeshow booth sales. If your association hosts a tradeshow, no doubt it's a revenue stream you'd like to maximize. Dave Lutz at the Midcourse Corrections blog recommends onsite sales for the following year's show and a points program to reward loyal exhibitors. He even suggests giving your booth-selection process some NFL-Draft-style hype.

Funny. You know social media is here to stay when even Dilbert's employer hires a social media manager. The link goes to Monday's strip; the rest of the week has been about social media, too, so be sure to click through.


September 10, 2010

Quick Clicks: Dartboard edition

Probably no bullseyes here. This is the "put-a-blindfold-on, spin-around-three-times-and wing-a-dart-in-the-general-vicinity-of-where-you-think-the-dartboard-is" edition of Quick Clicks. If we're lucky, no one will lose an eye.

So let's start with the Dean of Association Bloggers, Jeff De Cagna, though we're not going to his excellent Principled Innovation blog, rather, his post on SmartBlog Insights where he wants to change the E in CAE from Executive to Entrepreneur. I like it Jeff, but I have to wonder, what's the situation where an entrepreneur needs to make a loud noise and leave the room?

Garry Polmateer's post Watch out for "The Blob!" on associationTECH also caught my eye. Reminds me of a book I read a while back by Cass Sunstein in which he warns of the the evils of the social web where rumor, falsehoods, innuendo, and everything else bad is magnified faster and larger than truth and reason. (The book, by the way: On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done.) I remember thinking while I was reading it: "Aren't we all getting smarter and more skeptical about these things?" Maybe, maybe not.

Also, diversity was the word of the week, featured in #assnchat (pronounce that however you want). I'm linking to Maddie Grant's post over on SocialFish (can I do a Quick Clicks without linking to Maddie?) because she captures the conversation.

Jumping out of the association-focused sector for a second, I wanted to point out Social Media Scientist Dan Zarella's incredible idea: A New Kind of Tweet-up: Social Media Battles. There's no need for the idea to be limited to social media.

On Tom Peters' blog there is a guest post from Steve Yastrow that I like a lot. It talks about how information collection used for personalization can make you look slimy if you're not careful.

Presentation Zen shows us what Star Wars might have looked like in the death-by-PowerPoint age. It's an older post, but I ran across it after ASAE's Annual Meeting when I was wandering around the interwebs thinking about how to make presentations better.

And speaking of the annual meeting, the posts in the blogging community just keep on coming. The meeting ended 17 days ago at this point, so I'm just going to do this in rapid fire:

Thoughts from a thought leader.
Better presentation thoughts.
Mmmmm beer.
Mmmmm beer II.
Making a booth prop meaningful.
Photo post
Attend a conference with a plan.
Wow, an Escape Club reference.
Creating a different kind of experience.
There's a new way to conference.

And finally in the just because I want to link to it category, here's a look at a Venn Diagram of Muppets/Sesame Street names. Who knew Rowlf the Dog was at the nexus of it all?


September 2, 2010

Quick Clicks: Not yet our regularly scheduled program

Happy Thursday! I had expected this edition of Quick Clicks to be primarily non-Annual-Meeting related, but people are still posting so much good commentary on the conference that I'm going to focus on Annual after all:

- Mark Bledsoe at AssociationOkie recapped his Annual Meeting experience, and also started a fun game: What are some cities that would be great for Annual Meeting in 2018?

- Brian O'Leary at Magellan Media Partners' blog teases out the major themes he sees in the post-conference discussion about Annual, and shares some of what he experienced there as well.

- Elizabeth Weaver Engel posted her reflections from Annual Meeting. She also started a discussion on the YAP discussion board for suggestions for Annual Meeting 2011 in St. Louis.

- Jeff De Cagna proposed three key questions he hopes to see discussed by the time of next year's conference. (Don't miss the comments on his post--other great questions are proposed in there.)

- Dave Nershi (association executive by day, wine blogger by night) shares his take on the Food & Wine Classic.

- At the Common Thread blog, Jamie Notter worries that lessons learned during Annual might be forgotten in the press of day-to-day work once we're all back in the office.

- Jeff Cobb sees the post-conference discussions as a great learning opportunity (and gives a very kind shout-out to Acronym in the process. Thanks, Jeff!).

- Several posts offer follow-ups and additional information about topics discussed at Annual: Leslie White breaks down antitrust issues and how they relate to social media, and Paul Schneider shares some information on mobile.

- KiKi L'Italien has some suggestions for future presenters based on some AV issues she observed during conference.


August 31, 2010

Quick Clicks: Annual Meeting postgame, one more time

Discussion of Annual Meeting continues--and I continue to be floored by the quality and passion of the post-conference commentary. Thank you to all of the bloggers and commenters out there who have been and will be part of this conversation.

(On an administrative note: After this post, we'll probably roll future Annual Meeting-related posts into the regular weekly Quick Clicks rather than breaking them out separately. The next weekly Quick Clicks will be this Thursday.)

- Peggy Hoffman enjoyed seeing a new kind of conference attendee while she was in LA, and she suggests that associations need to get ready for what these new attendees are looking for.

- Jeff Hurt discusses three things he found rewarding at Annual and three things about the conference that need rethinking (plus two bonus items that need reconsideration as well).

- The folks at the Connect blog have 19 takeaways from the conference. (My favorite is probably item 13: "Hire staff who know more than you, and your organization will always excel.")

- At the Splash blog, Elyse Savaki shares her notes from the Learning Lab "Get Your Data Under Control."

- Gary Polmateer of NimbleUser and Lisa Hasen of DAXKO Connect provide their take on the exhibitor experience at Annual.


August 30, 2010

Quick Clicks: Annual Meeting postgame, continued again

Responses to Annual Meeting continue to be written (and thanks again to everyone who's taken the time to share their honest and heartfelt input--we're privileged to have members and participants who post such detailed and thoughtful feedback). Here's a roundup of the latest:

- Stefanie Reeves, a new association blogger at Association Advocacy Chick, posted on what the Annual Meeting meant to her.

- Jon Aleckson recaps his time at the conference, including his first meeting as a member of the Professional Development Council.

- The American Bar Association's Behind Bars blog (which gets major points from me for its name) responds to Maddie Grant's "Has ASAE Lost Its Mojo?" post-Annual post with some thoughts on what other associations can learn from what she has to say.

- David Patt responds to some of the post-Annual blogging with thoughts on the importance of providing education that suits a variety of participants' preferences.

- Michelle Butler was inspired by Marshall Goldsmith's talk on mojo and found herself getting her own mojo back.

- Matt Baehr has more thoughts about the Annual Meeting, based in part on comments on his earlier post.

- Maddie Grant shares 10 things that she loved at this year's conference.

- Jamie Notter reflects on the Annual Meeting experience this year, both during the conference and afterward.

- Toni Rae Brotons posts an update from her previous post about her experience in the "Guilt By Association" sitcom.

- Teri Carden says she achieved her goals for the conference, and so much more.

- Some perspectives from the exhibitor side of the conference: Bill Walker shares his view from the DelCor booth, and Dawn Taylor at Nonprofit Staffing Solutions relates a few conversations she had with visitors to her booth.

- Jeff Hurt collected tweets from the "Free: Future of a Radical Price" Learning Lab.

- The SocialFish blog rounds up the liveblogs they did during education sessions at Annual.

- The ConventionPlanit blog recaps the last day of the conference.


August 27, 2010

Quick Clicks: Annual Meeting postgame, continued

As I promised yesterday, I'm continuing to gather reactions to this year's Annual Meeting. (If I've missed any that you know, please leave a comment or email me at, and I'll be happy to include a link in a future post.)

- Maddie Grant has some extensive thoughts about several things that concerned and saddened her at Annual. There's also a great deal of discussion in comments to her post.

- Toni Rae Brotons, one of the participants in the "Guilt by Association" sitcom, was disappointed in the experience.

- It's not available as I write this, but at noon today the Social Media Sweet Spot will be discussing Annual. You can see the live webcast or view it after the fact here.

- Robert Barnes shares learnings, musings, and afterthoughts from the conference. (And thanks to Robert for traveling so far to be with us!)

- Jamie Notter has some thoughts about ways Annual could have been more social, connected, and action-oriented for learners.

- Bruce Hammond explains why a fraternity executive attends Annual.

- Elizabeth Weaver Engel has a new video of the YAP Annual flashmob (or at least new to me).

- Bojan Tercon shares his take on traveling to Annual and Los Angeles.

- The ConventionPlanit blog has two recap posts, one on the weekend and one on Monday.

- The associationTECH blog is seeking notes and summaries from technology-related sessions at Annual.

| | Comments (3)

August 26, 2010

Quick Clicks: The non-#asae10 edition

While many of us were consumed with the 2010 Annual Meeting & Expo (as evidenced by the last 30 or so posts here on Acronym, including the #asae10-related quick clicks entry that Lisa posted earlier today), I have been informed that the Earth indeed continued to spin all the while. The links below from the past week prove it, because none of them has anything to do with the conference. Enjoy.

Now that I've finished this list, I'm realizing that almost all of these topics are depressing. So, I made a point to go find someting a little more fun, even though it has nothing to do with associations or even organizational management: "The Stories Behind 8 Back-to-School Essentials" from the mental_floss blog. (Stories behind common objects used in your association's industry could be a good idea for an article or blog post at your association, though, so there's your related value.)


Quick Clicks: Annual Meeting Postgame

Annual Meeting summaries, reflections, and recaps are popping up all over--it's great to read all the different perspectives. Here are the posts I've found so far ... but I'm sure more are being written even as I post this. I'll link to 'em as I find 'em.

- Several bloggers posted takeaways and responses to specific sessions, including Shannon Otto at the Splash blog, who wrote about an interesting ethics session she attended as well as a session on engaging members with mobile.

- Jeff Hurt posted twice about that same mobile session, first with notes and takeaways and then with 18 questions to ask your members about mobile.

- Lynn Morton live-blogged the session on deconstructing social media guidelines.

- The Connect blog posted major themes and ideas from a session on great IT on a tight budget.

- Annual by the numbers: KiKi L'Italien has a list of her top 5 personal highlights from Annual. Matt Baehr posted 10 thoughts on the conference. Thought Leader Carmine Gallo posted 7 secrets from his Annual session (plus some Flip video he took during his talk).

- Shannon Otto shared some great photos her colleague Kevin Patrick took during the meeting.

- Wes Trochlil recapped his Annual Meeting experience. So did Talia Salem at the Smart Meetings blog.

- Thomas Getchius wrote up his learnings from the last day in LA.

- Jeff Cobb wasn't at Annual (for a very good reason!) but he still participated through social media. He shares what the discussions he saw onlinetell him about the future of learning.

- Stephen Nold at the Trade Show News Network shares his impressions (and concerns) from walking the expo floor.

- Maggie McGary riffed off of some discussions going on at Annual to talk about the depth of associations' commitment to social media. In a similar vein, Dave Lutz' preparations for Annual got him thinking about conference websites and how they can fail.


August 24, 2010

Quick Clicks: Annual Meeting, Day Three

Welcome to the last day of the Annual Meeting! I hope you enjoyed the Food & Wine Classic, the YAP party, or wherever else your travels took you yesterday.

Here are some blog reactions to the conference so far:

- Cynthia D'Amour attending a truly eye-opening education session and shares her impressions of the experience.

- KiKi L'Italien hosted the Social Media Sweet Spot webcast live from LA yesterday. The archived video and chat are available on the Sweet Spot's UStream page.

- Sue Pelletier rounds up some video from the conference, including the first few segments of "Guilt by Association" and a video of the flashmob from Sunday.

- Lynn Morton and Elizabeth Weaver Engel posted the Prezi (a.k.a., slides) from their session "Plays Well With Others," on engaging members through multiple communications channels. Elizabeth also posted a list of tips from the session and additional resources as well.

- Maggie McGary (who is missed at Annual this year!) posted five things that make her wish she was here at the conference. Joe Sapp, who is also missed, posted some of the sessions he'd be attending if he were here.

- Shannon Otto posted photos from her time at Annual so far at the Splash blog.

- Peter Turner posted the slidedeck and some key points from his session "It's All About What's Locally Relevant" (on entering or expanding global markets through meetings) as well as a link to some additional case studies.


August 20, 2010

Quick Clicks: PreAnnual Meeting Edition

I'm frantically packing and trying to get some last-second work done before getting on a plane for 5 hours headed to ASAE & The Center's (one of the last times you'll see that phrase in this blog) Annual Meeting & Exposition in Los Angeles. I'm a bit stressed, what with needing to remember cords and chargers for two cameras, a video camera, two microphones, an iPhone, an iPad, and a laptop. Oh yeah, and those wonderful ASAE & The Center logo shirts we have to wear (I especially love Saturday's "coral" color -- kind of a hot pink/bright orange mix). So not only am I stressed because I'm sure to forget something (or some things) and I have a ton of work that I just couldn't quite squeeze in this week that I'm going to have to find time to do today and tomorrow, but I have serious questions about my wardrobe--much like KiKi L'Italien... but we'll get to more blog posts about the meeting in a second.

I'm stressed is what I'm saying, and so I was thinking about a conversation I had with Lisa Junker recently who used to always write Quick Clicks for Acronym, and she mentioned how pleased she was that Joe and I, who now help her out with that assignment, continue to be irreverent in the naming of each edition. (I must be stressed, that was one huge run-on sentence I just wrote.) So I thought about naming this edition: Quick Clicks: the PMS edition -- for PreMeeting Selections. I realized that would be bad for many reasons, one of which is, well, it's just bad. But another is that I'm a guy, so I would describe my actual experience with PMS as"do-whatever-you-can-to-stay-out-of-its-way" variety. Plus its sexist and could get me in trouble. But I feel like I've let Lisa down with this title, so I decided to risk a little trouble and tell the story anyway so that, Lisa, at least will have a little respect for me. Now on to actual Quick Clicks, which is going to be a roundup of all the preannual meeting posts we saw (thank you so much to Lisa who pointed out most of them. All right, all of them.)

First up, is a nice three parter from Reid All About It's Deirdre Reid: post 1 ( a lot like this post, actually -- I mean this post from here forward, not the top part. Deirdre's much too classy for that.), post 2, and post 3.

There are several posts by bloggers on presentations they are giving (Frank Fortin, Mickie Rops, and Jamie Notter.

Shannon Otto, who is scheduled to write a guest blog post or two here on Acronym, pretty much laid out her whole schedule on the Splash blog.

Maddie Grant did a nice Twitter fountain, had some nice things to say about being excited about the meeting, and gave the meeting website a little bash, gave her schedule as well as some other handy info -- all in a single post. By the way, Acronym blogger Joe Rominiecki responded to the little bash, and Maddie posted it on the associationTECH blog.)

Lisa Hasen gives some ASAE & The Center annual meeting tips, and, finally, Maggie McGary, on the SocialFish blog, is sad to not be going to LA, but plans to stay in touch and involved.

So that's what I got. I'm sure I missed several posts -- I'm sorry. Did I mention I'm a little stressed? Please, give us a link to them in the comments section.


August 16, 2010

Quick Clicks: Late late edition

Good morning, and happy Monday! There's less than a week until the Annual Meeting, so I'm kicking off this edition of Quick Clicks with some Annual-related posts:

- Teri Carden shares some thoughts about what she's most excited about as a first-time Annual Meeting attendee.

- Mark Bledsoe missed the conference in Toronto, so he's twice as psyched for LA.

- Jon Aleckson shares some thoughts on Annual, communities of practice, and why he enjoys working with associations.

- Elizabeth Weaver Engel has posted two top-five lists about the Annual Meeting.

- Bruce Hammond plays along with Acronym's "three things" theme for Annual with three things he's looking forward to in LA.

Outside of the Annual Meeting, there were plenty of interesting blog posts to consider last week:

- Welcome a new association blog from DAXKO Connect, featuring multiple DAXKO Connect staff.

- At the Trade Show News Network blog, Dave Lutz dares you to read his "rant" on six suspicious tradeshow practices (hat tip to Jeff Hurt for the link).

- Tom Peters shares a great collection of words to the wise, all in five words or less.

- KiKi L'Italien is optimistic about the future of associations.

- Harvard Business Review had some good blog posts related to nonprofit management this week, including "We Need to Rethink Fundraising" by Dan Pallotta and "Job Growth Poses Challenges for Nonprofits" by Wayne Luke.

- You may have heard of the One-Week Job Project, but if you haven't, the gist is that Sean Aiken spent a year working 52 jobs for one week apiece around North America; now three students are pursuing abbreviated versions of this same project, working eight jobs in eight weeks. The Texas Society of Association Executives graciously hosted both Sean and one of the new students to give them a taste of association management--and apparently they represented our sector really well. Here are Sean's posts about his association-management experience and three posts from Michelle Attah about hers.

- Eric Lanke continues his great series on innovation in associations, with a guest post on barriers to innovation in associations at the Socialfish blog and a follow-up post on the role of trust in innovation at the Hourglass Blog.


August 5, 2010

Quick Clicks: Sorry There Are So Many Edition

A lot of great stuff out there on the information superhighway this week, IMHO. Enjoy.

  • Innovation: In a guest post on the SocialFish blog, association exec Eric Lanke offers reasons why associations tend to be bad at innovation, based on research he's leading at the Wisconsin SAE.

  • More innovation: Meanwhile, author Vijay Govindarajan argues over at Harvard Business Review that most organizations' real innovation problem is execution, not creativity: "[I]deation is sexy, while execution is long, drawn out, and boring."

  • Diversity: Jamie Notter followed up the discussion on Elizabeth Engel's post about the TEDWomen conference with some ideas about "Why Diversity Issues Are Hard." The bottom line, he says: "The systems that perpetuate the inequality survive precisely because they have managed to convince the people with the upper hand … that the privilege doesn't exist." The post alone is a must-read, but the ensuing comments are enlightening as well.

  • Volunteer management: Jeff Hurt at the Midcourse Corrections blog offers "10 Ways To Ensure Your Nonprofit Volunteers Fail."

  • Tax exemptions in danger: Nonprofits with annual revenue less than $100,000 must file a short version of the IRS Form 990 by October 15 or risk losing tax-exempt status (and that date is an extension, by the way). This explainer on the Lancaster (Pa.) Law Blog makes sense of the new requirements for you.

  • Big questions: Elizabeth Engel, CAE, at the Thanks for Playing blog poses a question—"How do we connect with stakeholders who have public, digital and highly networked relationships?"—and then answers it in regard to her association. This is part one of a series, so I'm looking forward to more big questions from Elizabeth.

  • Websites: Chris Bonney at the Vanguard Blog suggests 11 questions to ask yourself to answer "How In Touch Are You With Your Website?"

  • Online privacy law: In another guest post at the SocialFish blog, Leslie White shares a case that shows employers can run afoul of the law by gaining unauthorized access to employees' private online sites or groups. "If you ask the owner or administrator for access to a private site and they say no, walk away," she writes.

  • Social media and employment law: Meanwhile, David Patt, CAE, at the AEM blog shares a tip he heard at an Association Forum of Chicagoland meeting that offers a way to check a job applicant's social-media presence without putting yourself at risk of breaking anti-discrimination laws.

  • Membership: Funny how, as associations are worried about membership failing as a business model, media organizations are turning to membership as the model that might save them. At the Nieman Journalism Lab, author Ken Doctor examines how membership programs might work for media orgs in "The Newsonomics of membership" and "The Newsonomics of membership, part 2." Reading how another industry views membership is a little like hearing what people are saying about you when you're not in the room.

  • Web content: Also at Nieman, a fascinating look at how Slate has had great success with long-form journalism on the web. This caught my eye at first because Slate is the homepage on my Mac at home (two facts that surely out me as a yuppie liberal), but it's a valuable read for its ideas both on how you might make in-depth content work at your association and how to inspire your employees or members to make that in-depth work happen.

  • Life: Last but not least, a link that has nothing to do with associations but one that will stick with me for a long time, from the mental_floss blog: "He Took a Polaroid Every Day, Until the Day He Died."
| | Comments (1)

July 29, 2010

Quick Clicks: A little of this, a little of that (plus football predictions!)

We're going to jump right into this week's roundup with a quick look outside the association sector with two posts in the world of social psychology, a personal favorite of mine.

I'm going to start with the Psyblog and it's post on "3 Universal Goals to Influence People." In associations, power, even at the top, is widely distributed. The ability to influence others is crucial. To complement that, I jump to David McRaney's You Are Not So Smart blog, where he pulls on a thread in Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational and talks about price anchors. He's trying to educate consumers. From an association standpoint, you should consider what kind of anchors you are using with your members, and are they appropriate.

And before we jump to some of the excellent conversations happening in the association blogosphere (does anybody use that term anymore?), I wanted to call attention to the fun graphic in The Cosmonauts blog that tells you what your font choice says about you.

From the association world, I was interested in Dave Lutz's post on Midcourse Corrections that gives some excellent tips to think about when considering virtual tradeshows, an increasingly hot topic.

What has to be the winner of the most comment-worthy post came from Elizabeth Weaver Engel, who's post TEDWomen - Really? touched some nerves.

Another post you'll want to read the comments on comes from Tony Rossell, who draws some interesting conclusions on email communications from a recent study by Marketing General.

Pesonally, Mizz Information Maggie McGary wrote a post I wanted to comment on about the value (or lack thereof) of social media interning.

Here's a good one. Nobody chronicles association examples in the association social sector as good as Maddie Grant. I loved her look at PRSA a while back, and have even used it in presentations I've given (thanks Maddie!). This week she had another good one, a look at MPI's program of attracting social influencers. Well done.

And finally, I'm putting a teaser post in here. As of this writing, there's not an additional post yet, but I'm looking forward to reading Joe Sapp's posts on having a new CEO for the second time in two years. Now you have to write the posts, ok Joe?

Finally, jumping back outside the association sector, you probably heard about the Old Spice Hunk, I mean guy, I mean campaign. Wildly successful at generating buzz, it was criticized as a social media flop because it didn't generate sales. Not so fast, says

So that wraps up this week's edition of Quick Clicks...


Football predictions?

Ok, here's a post about why all football predictions are hooey, and now you can make fun of me for the completely geeky, nerdy sports stats blogs I read. I'm heading to a Nationals game now. (Seriously.)

PS - my prediction: the Washington football team will not make the Super Bowl. Probably. (Hey, there's nothing like the eternal hope of the fan.)

| | Comments (2)

July 22, 2010

Quick Click: Editors rule edition

I hope you're enjoying our new shared rotation of Quick Clicks posters. I know I am.

Here are some posts that I found particularly interesting since my last turn at Quick Clicks:

- Wild Apricot has launched a new blog, Association Ideas@Wild Apricot. Officially, it's aimed at small-staff association leaders, but I think their posts so far are interesting for large-staff readers, too.

- Another recently-launched association blog is associationTECH, a place for association folks with an interest in technology to share their thoughts and ideas. They've issued a call for contributors, so if you'd like to join in, take a look at their About Us page.

- I find failure and how organizations respond to and learn from it to be fascinating, so of course I liked this post by Seth Godin sharing his take on a "hierarchy of failure."

- I am in no way influenced by personal bias in sharing this post with you: "How to Measure the Value of Editors."

- HBR has an interesting blog post from Roger Martin about whether or not management is a profession. I think Martin's arguments are food for thought for those of us in the association management field, too.

- Speaking of food for thought, Vinay Kumar recently posted some wonderful "what if?" questions for you to ponder. The Plexus Consulting blog also recently posted some questions to help you consider whether or not your organization is relevant, insightful, efficient, and effective.

- Shelly Alcorn has a great post on the way human memory functions and its implications for your members.

- I love this post by Maddie Grant on an advantage associations should never forget that they have--community.

- At the Connect blog, there's a great post by Carrie Hartin on her experience volunteering for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (man, that show makes me cry) and some lessons it taught her about volunteerism.

- Marsha Rhea and Elizabeth Weaver Engel both posted some thoughts inspired by a future-thinking exercise at a recent CAE event. What do the next 50 years hold for associations?