Association Brain Food Weekly: 7.30.21

Canyon trail, looks familiar – inspiration for a weekly list of free educational events and resources for the association community

The weekly list of free educational events and resources for the association community…


Non-dues revenue. The countdown is on! 55 days from now, you could be in Nashville hanging around with people whose associations are rolling in non-dues revenue and people who want to emulate their success. Teri Carden—founder of ReviewMyAMS and AMS Fest—is bringing both groups together for a day of learning and sharing on September 23, plus some fun, of course, the night before. Actually, her events are always fun and enlightening. Check it all out on the Non-Dues-A-Palooza website.

Online learning programs. If you’re looking for a low-budget way to start an online learning program at your association, WBT Systems has the answer. People are too busy to find and vet the educational content they need, so do the dirty work for them. Combine a selection of articles, posts, videos, podcast episodes, session recordings and/or other content you already have into curated content bundles.

Volunteer learning journey. Billhighway introduces a volunteer management model developed by Peggy Hoffman, FASAE, CAE, and Kristine Metter, CAE, the volunteer learning journey, which helps you visualize both member and association needs and desires for each level of the volunteer pathway—from first-time volunteer to board member. As members move along the pathway, they develop the skills and experience needed for the task at hand and can see what competencies they need to move to the next level of volunteering.

Pandemic success story. During the pandemic, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) added 250 new members and achieved an 80% retention rate—in the travel industry! Dainella Nartker at Association Ventures Playbook explains how they became an “emotional home” for members while remaining transparent about their financial situation, neither “Pollyannish” nor “deer in the headlights.” Pay attention to the guidance the CEO’s advisor gave her during one of ATTA’s lowest moments—everyone could benefit from advice like that this year.

Membership wake-up call. Ten Ways to Futureproof Your Membership, a new report from Sequence Consulting, is a refreshing wake-up call with practical new ideas for a time of reset member expectations. A few that stand out include: adopting a fluid planning style, abandoning time-honored traditions and demolishing inefficient processes, focusing on outcomes, and using technology to build capacity. The report’s format makes it a quick read so dive in.

Change fatigue. A Gartner study found that smaller changes create more change fatigue. “Under normal circumstances, we can rely on our ‘surge capacity’ to deal with sudden, short-term changes. The ongoing pandemic has depleted these usual reserves… employees have less capacity to cope with change,” writes Sara Antliff at Atlassian. She describes two factors that can build an employee’s capacity for change.

Quick hits  

  • A powerful new approach to changing someone’s mind—useful for system implementation, process improvement, presenting a business case for technology, etc. (Jonah Berger, Knowledge@Wharton)
  • How the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s podcast engages members, supports DEI initiatives and attract sponsors while maintaining integrity. (Ronn Levine, SIIA)
  • Why niche communities are the future of social media marketing—associations should have an advantage here. (Shama Hyder, Inc.)

Good eats

Skip down to the list of free webinars if you prefer takeout. If you’re a home cook, check out the irregularly published In The Kitchen posts on my Grabbing the Gusto blog.

  • I found a tasty new fish recipe, roasted dill amberjack (instead of salmon). Following a suggestion in the comments, I used pomegranate molasses instead of maple syrup.
  • The next night, an old staple, Mummy Lorraine’s blueline tilefish. Okay, Mummy Lorraine always makes this with cod. Top fish fillets with a mix of crushed Ritz crackers, lemon zest, garlic powder and melted butter, then bake.
  • On the side, roasted sweet potato wedges inspired by my brother Ed’s version, spiced with smoked paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, and garlic powder, along with summer squash pesto with corno di toro and red bell peppers, grape tomatoes, onions and corn.
  • On Sunday, I made enough gumbo for a few nights. My version this time included chicken thighs, Portuguese chourico, shrimp, okra and the rest of the usual suspects. I served it over brown rice made in the Instant Pot. On the side, green beans with caramelized red onions. For the beans, I used chicken instead of vegetable broth and only half the brown sugar. I was going to add mushrooms but didn’t feel like going to the store.

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Here are the educational events scheduled for next week. If you have a free webinar or event coming up, please send me the link by Wednesday afternoon the week before it’s scheduled. I’ll be happy to feature it as long as it’s not too product centric.

Fri 7/30 at 12 p.m.* – EventTech Chat

A weekly conversation about meeting and event technology, including software, hardware, and audiovisual for in-person and online events. More info/register.

Host: Brandt Krueger, founder Event Technology Consulting

*All times are Eastern Daylight Time unless otherwise noted.

Fri 7/30 at 4 p.m. – Writing as a Thought Leadership Strategy

Writing is one of the most powerful strategies for establishing thought leadership, increasing visibility and credibility, and growing your business. Yet, many professionals don’t believe they have the time or expertise to write. Participate in a series of writing exercises to develop writing muscles that will help grow your business and career. You’ll walk away with an action plan for writing a series of blogs or articles (that could even lead to a published book!). More info/register—must join first before registering.

Host: Fridays@4

Presenter: Cathy Fyock, The Business Book Strategist

Mon 8/2 at 1 p.m. – Extended Special Episode: Creativity & Intelligent Automation (Chatting with Agnes & Cecilia)

This series of 15- to 20-minute videos covers hot topics and issues related to 501c organization management. New episodes are posted by 1 p.m. every Monday. Check out Cecilia’s Nonprofit Executive Spotlight series too.

Guests: Mike Jacka & Bryant Richards


  • Cecilia Sepp, CAE, CNAP, principal and founder, Rogue Tulips LLC
  • Agnes Amos-Coleman, MBA, CMP, education, conference, event, certification consultant, Amos-Coleman

Tue 8/3 at 11 a.m. – The Importance of Integrations to Member Retention

Your members primarily interact with your association using technology such as your website, LMS, AMS/CRM, and more. But if your technology platforms are not well integrated, you are likely missing out on key member retention opportunities. Learn how integrations affect the member experience and member retention, solutions to common integration issues that directly affect your members, how to align your technology strategy to decrease friction and increase member retention, and how to make technology work better for your team and your members. More info/register.

Host: Cimatri

Presenter: Rick Bawcum, CAE, founder and CEO, Cimatri

Tue 8/3 at 12 p.m. – Analytics 101: Creating Dashboards for Your Organization (Data Analytics Network)

Discuss dashboard best practices and planning with association peers, see examples of dashboards in MS Excel, and hear before and after examples of the dashboard development process. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: Association Analytics

Tue 8/3 at 3:30 p.m. – The No BS Guide to Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has been a hot topic for a decade, and yet associations still struggle to make it happen, to get beyond “digitizing” and truly “go digital.” Hear the findings from a new, deeply researched whitepaper, The No BS Guide to Digital Transformation: How Intentional Culture Change Can Propel Associations Forward. Learn what makes association culture unique and how culture change particularly impacts associations—through the lens of an ever-evolving tech environment. 1.5 CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: Association Women Technology Champions


  • Elizabeth Weaver Engel, M.A., CAE, chief strategist, Spark Consulting
  • Maddie Grant, culture designer and digital strategist, Propel

Wed 8/4 at 1 p.m. – Pitfalls and Planning for the RFP Process

The RFP process is there to help associations understand their needs and find the right partners to help them fill those needs. Learn about the red flags to watch out for, how not to ask dumb questions, and if you even need to issue an RFP in the first place. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: Altai Systems


  • Tammy Marko, PMP, Achurch Consulting
  • Beth Power, Altai Systems

Wed 8/4 at 1 p.m. – Legal Considerations in the Post-Pandemic Period

Learn how you should prepare for the initial phase of the return to in-person events and how to effectively communicate with your facility and destination partners to ensure a successful result for stakeholders and attendees. Hear about force majeure, vaccine passports, waivers, on-the-ground protocols, and meeting roles and responsibilities. 1 CMP credit. More info/register.

Host: Meetings Today

Presenter: meetings industry attorney, Joshua L. Grimes, principal of Grimes Law Offices LLC

Wed 8/4 at 3 p.m. – How to Use Your Member Engagement Scores

Learn how to use your engagement scores to uncover which activities lead to the highest engagement; create next-level customer segmentation; find volunteers, speakers, authors, and brand advocates; identify at-risk members so you can create personalized renewal campaigns; and tailor your messaging based on segments and historic engagement levels. CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: Association Analytics

Presenters: Bill Conforti, SVP of Strategy and Solutions, and Greg Pollack, VP of Sales, Association Analytics

Thu 8/5 at 10 a.m. – The Changing Role Of Event Data – New Challenges & Opportunities

A new 2021 research study shows the dramatic shift to virtual events has meant organizers are collecting more data today than ever before. Sponsors and exhibitors want more data to justify ROI, and attendees are getting more concerned about what data they share online. Learn about the new challenges and opportunities surrounding the changing role of event data. More info/register.

Host: Eventsforce

Thu 8/5 at 11 a.m. – Member Engagement: 15 Ways to Take Your Newsletter to the Next Level

Learn 15 ways to take your email newsletter to the next level, how to leverage new technologies to make your email newsletter more sophisticated, maximize your newsletter real estate, and increase email engagement for your newsletter. 1.5 CAE credits. More info/register.

Host: U.S. Transactions Corp.

Presenter: Erica Salm Rench, Director of Client and Market Success,

Thu 8/5 at 1 p.m. – Student Networking Panel

Attracting and retaining Gen Z to associations is getting harder and harder. Could be shortening attention spans, a lack of understanding (on the value of associations), or the changing nature of learning and professional networking. Since there’s no good answer, we’ve brought together a panel of students to talk about networking, associations, and how it should (will soon enough) work. More info/register.

Host: Protopia

Thu 8/5 at 2 p.m. – Vital Lessons from Covid-era Medical Meetings

Hear lessons learned from recent medical meetings that took into consideration organizational goals, attendee comfort levels, CDC protocols and rules for medical programming. Learn what to ask when considering virtual, in-person and hybrid models; how to communicate with attendees before, during and after the event; and how to make everyone feel comfortable and safe. More info/register.

Host: Smart Meetings


  • Kara Ferguson, MSHTM, CMP, Meeting Planner, American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Rod Rydell, Director of Site Selection and Planning, Keene Research Institute

Thu 8/5 at 3 p.m. – Netflix-ing your Association Digital Transformation with a Purpose

Learn how to make your website as personal and purposeful as Netflix by offering targeted content recommendations that delight your audience. Our webinar will demonstrate how modern technology makes this transformation possible – in under 90 days. More info/register.

Hosts: Association Analytics and Association TV


  • Greg Pollack, Vice President of Sales, Association Analytics
  • Dan Stevens, President, Association TV

Fri 8/6 at 12 p.m. – AI Now for Associations: Strategy – Where do I start?

Learn the practical steps to create a technology strategy that aligns with your association’s mission and goals, and get a roadmap to take immediate action in support of your association. More info/register.

Host: AI Now for Associations

Fri 8/6 at 12 p.m. – Meetings Outlook: Future Predictions for the Business of Meetings

Deep dive into MPI’s most recent Meetings Outlook research, published quarterly in The Meeting Professional magazine. Hear the forecast for events in the coming year, including a budget, attendance, and business conditions; trends that matter and how these trends affect you and the future of your meetings. 1 CMP credit. More info/register – possible fee for MPI non-members.

Host: MPI

Presenter: Jessie States, CMP, CMM, Director, MPI Academy, Meeting Professionals International

Fri 8/6 at 4 p.m. – Foresight as a Leadership Competency, Part 1

Leaders are better prepared for an uncertain future when they practice foresight, the practice of continually scanning for developing trends and considering how they will impact your organization’s mission and operations. This forward-looking mindset transitions you from a reactive position to one that is proactive and transformational. Find out how to enrich your planning and operations through the integration of foresight into your organization. In Part 1, learn the basic elements of foresight and why it is important for leaders to practice foresight. More info/register – must join first before registering.

Host: Fridays@4


  • Kristine Metter, MS, CAE, founder, Crystal Lake Partners
  • Sue Pine, FASAE, CAE, Strategic Advisor

Tue 8/10 at 11 a.m. – Why Your Association Needs to Embrace a “Digital First” Strategy

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that associations underestimated members’ acceptance of digital delivery. Associations can capitalize on this digital tailwind—or they can succumb to the temptation to return to the “good old days” of traditional practices. Learn how to create a sense of urgency for “digital first” thinking, how to fund technological investments, and understand technology’s critical role in the future relevance of associations. More info/register.

Host: Sidecar


  • Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, CAE, authors, Race for Relevance
  • Chelsea Brasted, general manager, Sidecar

Tue 8/10 at 12 p.m. – Looking Forward Solutions

Get a first look at Looking Forward (Solutions), the most current and comprehensive examination of association strategy ever conducted. The research tested more than 120 strategies currently being implemented by associations to discover the ideas that association leaders believe are most critical to success. Learn about the principal challenges facing association strategy as the sector emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, key strategies that associations believe are critical to success and why they are so essential to the future of associations, and how to access the Looking Forward Dashboard, filter for the specific information you need, and download reports to share with your staff or board. 1.5 CAE credits. More info/register.

Host: Association Laboratory


  • Dean West, FASAE, founder and president, Association Laboratory
  • Nikki Haton Shanks, MBA, CAE, strategist, Association Laboratory
  • Meg Whedbee, MPP, senior analyst, Association Laboratory
  • Miranda Barrett, CAE, PMP, strategist, Association Laboratory
  • Nikki Golden, CAE, strategist, Association Laboratory

Tue 8/10 at 12:30 p.m. – Community by Association Book Chat: Build Your Community with Richard Millington

Hear about the key concepts in Richard’s newest book, Build Your Community: Turn Your Connections into a Powerful Online Community, which will provide you the keys to unlock the potential in your online community programs to create member loyalty and to build sustainable communities. More info/register.

Host: Community By Association

Presenter: Richard Millington

Wed 8/11 at 3:30 p.m. – AWTC Salon: Degrees, Certifications, and Your Career

Participate in an interactive discussion about the value of advanced degrees and certifications. Do degrees and certifications help your career? Which credentials are the most valuable? AWTC Salons are interactive, collaborative gatherings where everyone is invited to share experiences, knowledge, and resources about a topic. More info/register.

Host: Association Women Technology Champions (AWTC)

Facilitator: Jill Treby, Senior Director of Membership and Marketing at the Association for Psychological Science

Association Brain Food Weekly is published Friday mornings. If your organization offers free professional development for the association community, please send me the link via email or Twitter by Wednesday afternoon.

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Creative Commons photo by Dyaa Eldin Moustafa via Unsplash

Author: deirdrereid

Deirdre is a freelance writer for companies serving the association market, who after more than 20 years in the association and restaurant industries, is enjoying the good life as a ghostblogger and content marketing writer. Away from her laptop, you can find her walking in the woods, doing yoga, going to shows, journaling, cooking, or relaxing in a comfy chair with a good book and a glass of something tasty in hand.

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