Associations & Nonprofits

Arches National Park in the early morning

While writing this I realized I haven’t been taking my own medicine. Since my return from Big Bend, I haven’t attended any webinars. I won’t make that same mistake this week.

I’m definitely participating in Tuesday’s Association Chat on Blab—a topic and speakers I don’t want to miss. And, I’ll see how the rest of my week shapes up. I’d love to go to Chicago for the AMS Fest, but…too many conferences, too little time and money, sort of like books.

Here’s the webinar line-up for the association community for the week of May 2.

Tue 5/3 at 1 p.m. EDT* – 10 Website Design and Email Marketing Best Practices for NGOs

The rapid rise of social media and mobile technology has had a profound impact on website design and email marketing, yet many NGOs haven’t yet adapted to the new aesthetics and functionality of a mobile, social Internet. This webinar will demonstrate the importance of embracing new design and call-to-action trends. You’ll learn how to format news articles and blog posts to increase your click-through rate, ensure your website and email communications are mobile compatible, integrate social media into your website and email communications, and build your email list. More information.

Host: OnGood

Speaker: Heather Mansfield, Nonprofit Tech for Good

*all times are Eastern Daylight Time

Tue 5/3 at 2 p.m. – Culture and the Board (Association Chat on Blab)

What does organizational culture have to do with the board? This week’s guests will talk about boards in ways you can’t even imagine. We’ll dig in and get real about the questions we need to start asking and the changes we need to start making for the health and sanity of everyone involved. Participate live or view the recording.

Host: KiKi L’Italien, Amplified Growth

Guests: Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, founders, WorkXO

Wed 5/4 at 12 p.m. – Form versus Function: Assessing Your Email Templates

When is the last time you took a hard look at your email template portfolio to assess it based on modern practices? This webinar will teach you the elements and styles that make emails appealing and help users engage; layouts, subject lines and imagery; and why it’s not enough to be just functional in today’s information-overload world. 1 CAE credit. More information.

Host: ASAE Business Services

Speaker: Suzanne Carawan, Chief Marketing Officer, HighRoad Solution

Wed 5/4 at 12 p.m. – 25 Free and Low-Cost Tools for Nonprofits 

Learn about free and low-cost tools ranging from photo editing and design apps to time management and collaboration tools. More information.

Host: Idealware

Speaker: Joshua Peskay, Vice President, RoundTable Technology

Wed 5/4 at 1:00 p.m. – Recruitment Jam

Join Cynthia for a test experience using virtual improv games virtually to learn how to recruit new members with ease. Participants will co-create new perspectives on recruiting, and learn some specific how-tos as well. Limit: 25 players. More information.

Host: Cynthia D’Amour, MBA, People Power Unlimited

Speakers: You

Wed 5/4 at 2 p.m. – Executive Director Essentials: Effective Team Development

Whether you are tasked with building a management team for your organization or filling seats on a volunteer board, make sure you’re making sound decisions based on knowledge and experience, rather than timing and costs. This webinar will help you understand how to create an accountability chart, fill positions with the right talent, conduct meaningful meetings, deal with healthy conflict, incorporate culture into the team building process, and measure success. More information.

Host: Association Headquarters


  • Kelly Mariotti, JD, CPA, CAE, Vice President of Client Services
  • Amy Barra, Account Executive

Thu 5/5 at 11:00 a.m. – Getting Real about AMS Costs (#aptichat Twitter Chat)

If your organization is looking for new AMS software, then chances are you want to know how much it will cost. Join Aptify’s Johanna Kasper and David Frick for a frank discussion. Search for #aptichat on Twitter or your favorite Twitter dashboard. Related reading.

Thu 5/5 at 12:30 p.m. – Save Money and Boost Organizational Engagement with Office365 (Thirty on Thursday Solutions)

Many associations and nonprofits needlessly invest additional dollars on third-party collaboration platforms, even though their Office 365 license includes enterprise-class collaboration tools. Discover a better way to engage and collaborate with your constituents and members using Office 365. More information.

Host: .OrgCommunity

Tue 5/10 – AMS Fest Midwest in Chicago

Seats are almost sold out! This event is for you if your organization is thinking about a new association management system (AMS) in the next 2 years.

  • Meet executives in the same buying position as you and some who have ‘been there, done that’ and can share lessons learned.
  • Learn from forward-thinking association leaders the first half of the day.
  • We’ll keep you on your toes the second half of the day with sessions that have been selected by you, the crowd.
  • And to make the day even sweeter we’re introducing an AMS Showdown where AMS representatives will have just 10 minutes to share their best client story, flashiest tool, or newest module.

You won’t want to miss it, but seats are limited to the first 100 so register today. More information.

If you can’t attend a live webinar, go ahead and register if the topic interests you. Most webinar hosts send a link to the recording to all registrants.

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

Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend NP

Here’s the webinar line-up for the association community for the week of April 25. If you’re at the digitalNow conference when this is published on Friday, please find me and say hello.

Happy Passover! Earth Day is also Friday (April 22)—go out into the woods, desert, or your favorite happy place outside and soak up nature’s splendor. Yes, we are blessed to be here on this beautiful planet.

Tue 4/26 at 1 p.m. EDT* – The Certificate is Obsolete: New Ways to Track PD, CE and Certification 

In 2016, professionals should not be forced to keep track and self-report stacks of PDFs and paper certificates in order to demonstrate that they have met certification, CE, or professional development requirements. This session explores technological solutions, including badges and xAPI, that should be used to enable learners to concentrate on the learner while certification bodies worry about the credits. 1 CAE credit. More info.

Host: Web Courseworks
Speaker: Andy Hicken, PhD

*all times are Eastern Daylight Time

Tue 4/26 at 2 p.m. – Woo Woo to Wow: Creating Conscious Associations (Association Chat on Blab)

Participate live or view the recording.

Host: KiKi L’Italien, Amplified Growth

Guest: Holly Duckworth

Wed 4/27 at 12 p.m. – Attract Qualified Candidates and Retain Star Staff: Market Your Association as a Great Place to Work

In this webinar, you’ll hear about today’s most effective talent recruitment and retention methods. You’ll also learn how to define your objectives to help identify your authentic employer brand; segment your audience into categories such as long term staff, newer staff, qualified candidates, and general candidate pool — all of which require tailored messages and approaches; and persuasively articulate the three key benefits to working at your association. More info.

Host: Association CareerHQ

Speaker: Michael Cummings, principal, Tate/Cummings

Thu 4/28 at 12 p.m. – Creating and Distributing Engaging Video Content to Advance Your Message

Video has 10 times the engagement potential of email, yet many struggle with its production and distribution. In this live chat, four experts share insights and tips on how to create and distribute compelling content that will engage your audience and advance your association in a measurable way. Learn about strategies to create, distribute and measure the effectiveness of video content to amplify your message. More info.

Host: ASAE Communications Section Council


  • Brianna Lawson, Online Marketing Specialist, Naylor Association Solutions
  • Sara Mischo, Digital Content Manager, American Speech-Language Hearing Association
  • Marc Rein, Multimedia Specialist, New Jersey CPAs
  • Jim Wacksman, Producer & CEO, Association Studios
  • Greg Roth (Moderator), Writer, Speaker, Presentation Coach, GRcreative

Thu 4/28 at 12 p.m. – Digital Advertising to Attract New Customers (Inbound Lunch Bunch)

Inbound marketing is so new to the association market that it might make you feel like you’re back in elementary school where everything is new. We’re embracing the idea of starting fresh and learning new fundamentals by coming together with other association professionals who are interested in inbound. 1 CAE credit. More info.

Host: HighRoad Solution

Thu 4/28 at 1 p.m. – Learning Portfolio Audits: 7 Secrets of Thinking Like an Entrepreneur

This session is designed to help association professionals and industry partners leverage their inner entrepreneurial spirit to categorize, audit and optimize the programs that comprise their learning portfolios, resulting in a stronger brand, an elevated reputation and more loyal participation. You’ll learn how to identify the building blocks of an entrepreneurial mindset, examine the steps that comprise a learning portfolio audio, and design a plan for auditing your organization’s learning portfolio. 1 CAE credit. More info.

Host: CommPartners

Speaker: Aaron Wolowiec, Founder and President, Event Garde

Thu 4/28 at 2 p.m. – Technology as a Strategic Asset: Association Technology Trends, Innovation and Transformation

Think about new ways to really speak and engage with your audience, including lapsed members and prospects. A data driven strategy turns audience insight into action. With marketing automation, organizations can observe audience behavior and serve customized content that really matters. More info.


  • Tom Lehman, Lehman Associates
  • Vivian Swertinski, Informz
  • Andy Steggles, Higher Logic

Fri 4/29 at 2 p.m. – Discover Super Members: Maximizing Your Data Strategy

Your members are expecting you to understand them on a much deeper level than ever before, while your data continues to pile up to the point that analyzing it seems to be an insurmountable task you’re avoiding at all costs. Learn three strategies to make your data more meaningful, and ultimately define what a “Super Member” looks like for your organization. More info.

Host: Abila

Speaker: Carlos Restrepo, Senior Director of Sales at Abila

If you can’t attend a live webinar, go ahead and register if the topic interests you. Most webinar hosts send a link to the recording to all registrants.

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

Inspiration - view from the South Rim, Chisos Mtns, Big Bend NP

The best professional development opportunity this week is definitely the digitalNow conference. Here’s how dedicated I am to this conference for association execs. After seeing Pearl Jam (bucket list!) on Wednesday night, I’m waking up at the ungodly hour of 2:30 a.m. on Thursday “morning” to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight to Orlando.

I intend to be chipper throughout the day thanks to intellectual stimulation, excellent company, and modest amounts of caffeine and B-12. After a good night’s sleep on Thursday, I expect I’ll be more myself on Friday and Saturday. Hope to see you there!

Here’s the webinar line-up for the association community this week…

Tue 4/19 at 12 p.m. EDT*- Recruiting and Retaining Talent (Virtual Lunch)

Learn what companies are doing in the association management community to recruit high performers with positive attitudes and how to build a loyal, high performing team resulting in higher retention rates for your AMC. 1 CAE credit. More info.

Host: ASAE AMC Section Council


  • Jodi Araujo, CEM (Moderator), Entrepreneurial Industry & Corporate Segment Leader, Association Headquarters
  • Vicki Loise, CMP, CAE , Vice President, Association Management, Kellen
  • Sara Meier, CAE, Senior Vice President, Client Relations, MCI | USA
  • Rebecca Brandt, CAE, Executive Director, Executive Director, Inc.

*all times are Eastern Daylight Time

Tue 4/19 at 2 p.m. – Tech Disruption is Everywhere (Association Chat on Blab)

Mark your calendars for a deep dive on the pitfalls and opportunity of tech disruption. You will come away with some actionable insight to keep your organization moving forward. Participate live or view the recording.

Host: KiKi L’Italien, Amplified Growth


  • Layla Masri, president, Bean Creative
  • David DeLorenzo, CAE, Executive Vice President, Information & Communications, American Urological Association

Wed 4/20 at 12 p.m. – Innovation by Design: Building Your Innovation Capabilities to Deliver More Value to Members

We’ve all heard leaders declare, or perhaps you’ve said it yourself, “we need to be more innovative.” But how do you do it? How do you help people to do the work that generates new ideas and opportunities and value for your members? Learn the key considerations and tips to help align your team, explore your innovation opportunities, identify and develop new ideas, and navigate the challenges that pop up along the way. You’ll gain a clearer understanding of the opportunities, challenges and tools needed to help your team consistently create new value for your members, volunteers and organization. More info.

Host: YourMembership

Speaker:  Jennifer Blenkle, Founder and Chief Consultant, Frameworks

Thu 4/21 at 12 p.m. – From Outbound To Inbound: Adopting Community Centered Marketing in the Digital Age (Virtual Lunch)

The way your community is engaging with your association has changed and because of that, old school outbound marketing tactics are becoming less and less effective. Fortunately, associations are uniquely positioned to succeed in this new inbound community centric world, thanks to the backbone of all associations: educational content. During this session, you’ll learn how associations can transition from outbound marketing to inbound marketing by leveraging content to drive awareness, membership and engagement. More info.

Host: ASAE Marketing Section


  • David DeMambro, Nonprofit Inbound Marketing Specialist, HubSpot
  • David Evener, CAE (Moderator), Marketing Director, National Ground Water Association

Thu 4/21 at 12 p.m. – Spot and Stop It: 3 Steps to End Harassment at Your Meetings (Alexandria Brown Bag)
What do you do if you hear about harassment at your meeting? More important, how could you have stopped it from happening in the first place? Learn what motivates harassers and how to end harassment at your meetings with three steps: prepare, take care and do it there. Hear what some associations have done to successfully address harassment at meetings, and come away with plans and resources for your own organization. Networking begins at 11:30. 1 CAE credit. More info.

Host: ASAE

Speaker: Sherry Marts, CEO and Head Coach, S*Marts Consulting, LLC

Location: Marketing General, Inc. (MGI), 625 N Washington St #450, Alexandria, VA

Thu 4/21 at 3 p.m. – What Community and Social Features Are Vital to Your Organization’s LMS?

Given the many LMSs on the eLearning market today, you need to know how to evaluate the features and functionalities of each one. Learn about the most essential social and community features and functionalities to help your organization train, track and manage learners. You’ll also learn the principles and benefits of social learning, how to spot LMS packages with baked-in community features, and hear case studies of organizations that are already reaping the benefits of a socially enabled LMS. More info.

Host: Online Community Results


  • Ben Martin, Chief Engagement Officer, Online Community Results
  • Al Ryan, Chief Experience Officer at Cypherworx

Thu 4/21 at 4 p.m. – Unselling SharePoint for Nonprofits

Have you implemented SharePoint flawlessly (technically) only to have it fail for nontechnical reasons? This webinar will cover some of the points we make before beginning a SharePoint implementation project: areas in which SharePoint delivers real value; implementation challenges and duration; and leadership buy-in. You will learn to guide your organization through the philosophical assessment you need to make before embarking on this type of project. If you’re experiencing a rough SharePoint implementation, this webinar can give you the tools to take a step back, get buy-in and get back on track. More info.

Host: Community IT Innovators


  • Steve Longenecker, Director of IT Consulting, Community IT Innovators
  • Johanny Torrico Vice President of Operations, Community IT Innovators

Fri 4/22 at 1 p.m. – Spring Cleaning: Quick Ways to Refresh Your Core Volunteer Program Materials

Program documents used to manage your volunteer recruitment process and communicate policies and procedures tend to be dry and boring, but they don’t have to be. Learn how to “prime” volunteer commitment using simple psychology, spice up volunteer position descriptions and make them more mission- focused, generate more compelling volunteer testimonials, shift your perspective on engagement, and much more. More info.

Host: Wild Apricot

Speaker: Tobi Johnson, MA, CVA, president and founder, VolunteerPro

Fri 4/22 at 3 p.m. – Measuring: Banner Ad Programs for Revenue & Insight

Learn how to measure the success of your banner ad programs. We’ll find out what metrics are important, and how to collect and interpret them so your organization thrives. 1 CAE credit. More info.

Host: HighRoad Solution

Speaker: Maneesha Manges, Inbound Marketing, HighRoad Solution

If you can’t attend a live webinar, go ahead and register if the topic interests you. Most webinar hosts send a link to the recording to all registrants.

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

Inspiration - Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend NP

Excuse me while I go completely off-topic but some of you will appreciate this. If you love to hike in the mountains and desert, make plans to spend some time in Big Bend National Park in far west Texas. I just got back from several days hiking in and around the park. Oh. My. Good golly, it was beautiful and awesome in the true sense of that word. One of my favorite national park experiences, if not the favorite. In case you were wondering, my other top parks are Capitol Reef, Zion and Canyonlands in that order. Yes, I have a thing for red rocks and high desert.

Now, back to what you came here for—what kind of webinars are going on next week? Well, I’ll tell you, but first, if you can’t attend a live webinar, go ahead and register anyways. Most webinar hosts send a link to the recording to all registrants.

Tue 4/12 at 3:30 p.m. EDT* – Platform Basics and Beyond

This session is part of a free monthly webinar series, Unified Learning Design Studio, that will help you building better eLearning programs for your association. Learn what LMS features create a unified learning experience, how a LMS benefits learners and staff, and why that matters. Register. (1 CAE credit per session)

Host: iCohere Academy

Speakers: Amanda Batson, Ph.D., education architect and consultant at ADB Partners, and Lance Simon, executive vice president at iCohere

*all times are Eastern Daylight Time

Wed 4/13 at 2 p.m. – After the Conference: How to Maximize on your Content

Learn how to stretch the value of your conference content, and increase the potential of non-dues revenue, by maximizing the use of your event’s content. You’ll leave this webinar knowing how to plan ahead to ensure the fair use of content afterward, maximize content across different platforms, and understand options for using content for different purposes (i.e., membership marketing, member retention, non-dues revenue). Register. (1 CAE credit).

Host: Association Headquarters

Speaker: Sarah Black, Senior MarCom Manager, Association Headquarters

Wed 4/13 at 2 p.m. – The Secret to Recruiting Talent: Authentic Employer Branding

Why is it so hard to recruit and retain the right talent? Your brand promise is the most important reason why members want to join, customers want to buy your products, and employees want to work for you. In this webinar, you’ll learn why brand authenticity matters, how to use data to create an authentic employer brand, the importance of building a strong work culture, and how to start designing the culture you want, rather than defaulting to the culture you have. Register.

Host: QuestionPro

Speakers: Charlie Judy and Jamie Notter, co-founders, WorkXO

Thu 4/14 at 3 p.m. – Website Accessibility: Building an Online Space for Everyone

Your website is the online hub of your organization—but is it useful and usable by everyone who needs it? Is the text readable by someone with poor vision? Can the visually impaired use screen readers to gain access to your content—even images? Are users with other disabilities equally able to view and interact with your content? If you’re not sure, this session can help you make your website a place everyone can gain access to your valuable content. Register.

Host: Idealware

Speaker: Chris Tuttle, Tuttle Communications

Fri 4/15 at 12:15 p.m. – Data Analytics and the CEO of Tomorrow: Through the CEO Lens

Leaders today have more decisions to make and less time to make them. If you understand the story your data is telling, you can leverage that knowledge to make decisions with confidence and shape the future. Learn how to develop an analytical mindset—the ability to understand, visualize, and communicate data, the most important leadership skill in the next decade. Register.

Organizer: Lowell Aplebaum, ASAE Aspiring Executive Leaders Group

Speakers:  Debbie King, CEO of DSK Solutions, and David DeLorenzo, Associate Executive Director of the American Urological Association

Save the date, it’s coming soon (can’t wait!): Thu 4/21 – Sat 4/23 – digitalNow Conference

The best value conference in the association community—excellent program, optimal atmosphere for learning and connecting, and always great food. Registration is limited to association CEOs and team members they bring along. More info. (lots of CAE credits)

Location: Hyatt Regency, Orlando FL

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

Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park

No fooling. Get your learning on by attending a webinar this coming week. If your organization offers professional development for the association community, please send me the link via email or Twitter.

You’ll see several webinars this week from Wild Apricot. When you register for their free Membership Growth Online Summit, you’ll get access to any (or all) of their webinars.

Mon 4/4 at 3 p.m. EDT* – Attract & Retain New Members with a Marketing Funnel

Learn how to build an online marketing funnel—an ongoing and automated marketing strategy for capturing the attention, nurturing, and converting prospects into new members. More info. (CAE credit)

Host: Wild Apricot

Presenter: John Haydon, Marketing & Social Media Expert

*all times are Eastern Daylight Time

Tue 4/5 at 11 a.m. – How to Increase Members with Facebook Ads

Steps for creating a targeted Facebook ad campaign will be explained, including: how much to spend, and how to target members on Facebook, find new members, create copy, and measure results. More info. (CAE credit)

Host: Wild Apricot

Presenter: Shiv Narayanan, Head of Marketing, Wild Apricot

Tue 4/5 at 12:30 p.m. – UBIT: What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know about Sponsorships, Advertising, Royalties, and Cause Marketing 

Learn about current IRS enforcement patterns concerning Unrelated Business Income Tax, proactive practical tips and suggestions, common pitfalls, and what to do if the IRS comes knocking. More info. (1.5 CAE credits)

Host: Venable LLP


  • Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum, Esq., Partner and Chair of the Nonprofit Organizations Practice, Venable LLP
  • Lisa M. Hix, Esq., Partner, Nonprofit Organizations Practice, Venable LLP
  • Lakshmi Sarma Ramani, Esq., General Counsel, National Association for the Education of Young Children

Tue 4/5 at 3 p.m. – How to Be a Google Ads Super Hero – for Charities & Nonprofits

Learn how to build an effective nonprofit Google AdWords campaign that supports your mission, programs, marketing, and fundraising. More info.

Host: Wild Apricot

Presenters: Jason Shim & Mark Hallman, certified Google Partners

Wed 4/6 at 1 p.m. – Fitness for Duty: Managing Your Workforce from a Legal and Medical Viewpoint (FBO Virtual Huddle)

Relevant employment laws that surround employee fitness for duty issues (such as FMLA, ADA, Workers Comp, Drug Free Workplace) will be reviewed. You’ll also learn about the procedures and tools you should have in place to effectively manage (and mitigate liability) on-duty injuries and off-duty illness and injuries that can impact an employee’s ability to safely perform their essential work duties. More info. (1 CAE credit)

Host: ASAE


  • Melissa Forburger, CAE (moderator), Vice President, Association Management Strategies, Inc.
  • Grace Bradley Kelly, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-CP, Human Resource Consultant, RC Kelly Law Associates

Wed 4/6 at 3 p.m. – Increase Membership Engagement with Social Media

Learn the basic steps to engage your members using social media. Explore a variety of digital strategies and tools to develop a unique member engagement strategy. More info. (CAE credit)

Host: Wild Apricot

Presenter: Amy Sample Ward, CEO, NTEN – The Nonprofit Technology Network

Thu 4/7 at 12 p.m. – The Five Ws of Member Leadership Development

Learn which critical elements to consider when establishing a leadership training program for your members including The Five Ws: Who is it for? Why is it critical in today’s world? What approaches are most successful and what skills are most valuable? When do you start the process? Where does it happen? More info. (1 CAE credit)

Host: ASAE


  • Carol Vernon, Principal, Communication Matters, Executive Coaching & Training
  • Anne Marie Pascoe, Director, Radiology Leadership Institute
  • Sheri Singer, President, Singer Communications

Thu 4/7 at 1 p.m. – Amplifying Value and Brand

In this session, we walk through the key components of amplifying value and brand and illustrate these components with a real-world case study. You’ll walk away with a clear model for attracting participants to your lifelong learning offerings and retaining them. More info. (1 CAE credit)

Host: Meridian Knowledge Solutions


  • Celisa Steele and Jeff Cobb, co-founders of Tagoras
  • Jeff Kristick, president, Meridian Knowledge Solutions

Thu 4/7 at 3 p.m. – How to Turn Millennials into Members

Gain perspective on how the Generation Y/Millennial mindset and recent economic shifts are reshaping the membership value proposition. Learn how to turn that perspective into membership strategies and marketing tactics that work. More info. (CAE credit)

Host: Wild Apricot

Presenter: Sarah Sladek, CEO of XYZ University

Fri 4/8 at 3 p.m. – From the Bottom Up – Tips for Building an Effective Membership Model

Discover how to find and leverage your superusers, improve your onboarding process, and refine your membership model to grow your association. Hear case studies from associations and nonprofits that turned around declining membership and built successful and thriving organizations. More info. (CAE credit)

Host: Wild Apricot

Presenter: Robbie Kellman Baxter, Author, The Membership Economy

Save the date: Thu 4/21 – Sat 4/23 – digitalNow Conference

The best value conference in the association community—excellent program, optimal atmosphere for learning and connecting, and always great food. Registration is limited to association CEOs and team members they bring along. More info. (lots of CAE credits)

Location: Hyatt Regency, Orlando FL

If you can’t attend a live webinar, go ahead and register if the topic interests you. Most webinar hosts send a link to the recording to all registrants.

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

(Creative Commons licensed photo by tivolatman)

along the road last weekend in Harnett County NC

Many of you have thanked me for putting together this list each week so I’m going to keep doing it. If your organization offers professional development for the association community, please send me the link via email or Twitter.

Tue 3/29 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern DT* – Educating Volunteer & Professional Trainers

Your speakers are subject matter experts, but they’re probably not trained in adult learning. Here’s your chance to find out how to develop your knowledgeable SMEs into star trainers and educators. The webinar will cover: knowing your audience and respecting their existing knowledge, creating opportunities for active learning, preparing to lead training sessions, handling silence, and instilling a mindset of continuous improvement. More info. (1 CAE credit)

Host: Web Courseworks.

Presenter: Elaine Biech, president of ebb associates

*all times are Eastern Daylight Time

Tue 3/29 at 2 p.m. – Association Chat on Blab.

This week, Beth Brooks, CAE, President & CEO of the Texas Society of Association Executives, will join host KiKi L’Italien to discuss her new book, The New CEO’s Guide: Advice for the First-time, Aspiring, or Current Association Executive. Join live or view the recording.

Wed 3/30 at 12 p.m. – Secrets to Communicating Technical Topics to Non-Technical Audiences

If you need to convert technical material into information that’s quickly and clearly understandable to non-technical audiences, this conversation is for you. Learn how to understand your audience, simplify and organize content, and design memorable and engaging presentations and handouts. More info. (1 CAE credit)

Host: ASAE Marketing Section


  • Christina Garneski (moderator), VP Marketing, Communications & Events, National Parking Association
  • Shelley Row, P.E., PTOE, MBA, President , Shelley Row Associates LLC

Wed 3/30 at 1 p.m. – How to Select an Association Learning Management System (LMS)

Learn what you need to know to make a smart LMS selection: differences between corporate and association systems, requirement identification, and the appropriate level of implementation services required. Hear about a three-step LMS selection process and real life case studies. More info.

Host: Talented Learning


  • John Leh, CEO & Lead Analyst, Talented Learning
  • Linda Bowers, CTO, WBT Systems

Wed 3/30 at 2 p.m. – Working with State Association Government Affairs Committees for Effective Advocacy 

Panelists will share best practices for managing state government affairs committees, including: assessing the impact of proposed legislation, visiting legislators’ offices, providing committee testimony and writing model letters for grassroots advocacy. More info. (1 CAE Credit)

Host: ASAE Government Relations Section


  • Anne DarConte (moderator), Principal, Beyond K Street
  • Peter Calcara, CAE, Vice President, Government Relations, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Marcie McNelis, Chairman and Principal, Multistate Associates
  • Chuck Willmarth, CAE, Director, Health Policy and State Affairs, American Occupational Therapy Association

Wed 3/30 at 3 p.m. – Email Marketing: The Workhorse of Online Communications

Uncover ways you can immediately improve your email marketing results. Topics include: establishing a practical, focused email strategy; elements to consider when sending emails, and interpreting and applying what you learn from email metrics to improve your campaigns. More info. (1 CAE credit)

Host: Naylor Association Solutions

Presenter: Kelly Clark, Online Marketing Manager, Naylor Association Solutions

Thu 3/31 at 1 p.m. – How to Build a Nimble Culture (#culturechat on Twitter)

Everyone wants their organization to be nimble and agile these days, so what kind of culture do you need to actually get that agility? What specific parts of your culture would you need to change if you wanted to move more in that direction? Join us for this month’s #culturechat where we will dig into the link between culture and agility and nimbleness.

Hosted on Twitter by the folks at WorkXO: Maddie Grant, Charlie Judy and Jamie Notter. They’re doing exciting things in the culture space–an area of great concern to associations. To participate, search for the #culturechat hashtag–here’s a post that explains how to do that using Hootsuite.

If you’re in the DC area: Thu 3/31 at 4 p.m. – Association Open House at the Institute for Organization Management (IOM)

Location: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1615 H Street, NW

Networking reception at 4 p.m., followed by a legal presentation at 4:30 by Institute faculty member Dave Goch of Webster, Chamberlain & Bean. Open to current attendees, graduates, or those interested in learning more about the Institute program. I must admit I have IOM envy but one credential is enough. Attendees have the chance to win a first-year full-tuition voucher. More info. (1 CAE credit)

Save the date: Thu 4/21 – Sat 4/23 – digitalNow

Location: Hyatt Regency, Orlando FL

The best value conference in the association community is the digitalNow conference—excellent program, optimal atmosphere for learning and connecting, and always great food. Registration is limited to association CEOs and team members they bring along. (lots of CAE credits)

If you can’t attend the live webinar, go ahead and register if the topic interests you. Most webinar hosts send a link to the recording to all registrants.

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

four truths about the future of associations

“Innovation” is such a buzzword now that I wouldn’t blame association execs for tuning out when they hear it. But I like Jim Carroll’s slant: “Innovation is all about adapting to the future.” Now that’s something we can work with.

Jim Carroll is the opening keynote at the digitalNow conference which will take place in less than a month (April 21-23) in Orlando. Carroll will talk about:

  • technologies and innovations that will affect association business models
  • strategies for reacting to these innovations with greater speed
  • challenges associations will face ahead

Innovating is not about surviving, says Carroll, it’s about thriving. Surviving, like relevance, is a low bar. Associations must aim higher—aim to thrive and become indispensable to their community.

Carroll lays down ten truths about the future. Let’s take a look at four of those truths and think about how your association is handling them.

The future is incredibly fast.

How can you, your staff, and your board keep up? Can you adjust your business processes quickly? How long does it take to discover a need, develop a solution, and roll it out to your community?

Guillermo Ortiz de Zarate’s session at digitalNow, The Lean Startup Changes Everything, is bound to give us some ideas on how to experiment with and speed up program development. Get a sneak preview of his thinking in the white paper he co-authored with Elizabeth Engel: Innovate the Lean Way: Applying Lean Startup Methodology in the Association Environment.

The future involves a huge adaptability gap.

This one blew me away because it’s so true:

“Earlier generations – boomers – have participated in countless change management workshops, reflecting the reality that many of them have long struggled with change. Gen-Connect – today’s 15 and under – will never think of <the> change management issue. They just change.”

Change management experts say it isn’t the actual change we resist, it’s the psychological transition we have to make to accommodate change, that’s the tough part. Adapting to change is a skill set, one you can teach your staff and your members. Today, knowing how to develop new skills is the most important skill of all.

The future is being defined by renegades.

Nearly two years ago, I wrote two articles for Avectra (now Abila) about for-profit online communities: The New Competition: For-Profit Communities with Deep Pockets, part 1 and part 2. Since then these “renegades” have become even more popular and profitable. They saw an opportunity to deliver value to markets long served by associations, and they went for it.

“Increasingly, the future of many an industry is being defined by industry expatriates. When a real innovator can’t innovate within a company, they step outside, form a startup, and spark massive industry change on their own. Before you know, they’ve reinvented you.”

Keep an eye on innovators and hold them close. What if associations had been part of these ventures? What if associations were agile enough to play the game at that level?

The future involves partnership.

How can you help your members—both professional and vendor members—become more successful? Associations have always declared themselves member-centric, but too often their perspective is inside-out rather than outside-in, as Anna Caraveli points out in her excellent book, The Demand Perspective. The value proposition has always been based on what the association says is valuable, not what members believe is valuable. Crazy, right?

Partnering means regularly listening to members (and non-members) and involving them in the early stages of discussions about value delivery—behaving like a real partner in their success. Don’t assume you know what members need, instead be guided by member behavior (data) and conversations for your direction.

To do this, you’ll have to schedule more member interaction than you’re used to, and not just interaction with the usual suspects, but interaction with “regular” members and non-members too. But think about all you’ll learn—they call this business intelligence for a reason.

Don’t ignore those other members—you know, the vendors, consultants, affiliates, associates, or whatever you call them. Here’s what you should call them—partners. How can they help you become more successful and, in turn, how can you help them become more successful? What can you learn from each other? What access and resources can you provide each other?

Associations and their boards need to get over themselves and treat vendor members as partners in their success. You can help each other succeed if you get together and figure out how to deliver value to members in ways that help both of you.

The future requires rethinking value.

This bonus truth is from me. Many associations are still struggling financially and would benefit from rethinking the whole non-dues revenue issue. Heck, rethink the whole value issue. If you’re struggling, it’s a sign you aren’t delivering value to your community. If you were, they would be joining, renewing, registering, sponsoring, and buying.

The digitalNow conference is a great opportunity to get away for a few days to rethink everything in the company of curious association execs who don’t accept mere relevance. The speakers from outside and inside our industry poke at our assumptions and introduce us to new ideas. I can’t wait.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Rennett Stowe)

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