I’m live blogging from TEDx Raleigh this morning. I’ll be posting notes as each speaker finishes. I’ve never done this before and will probably get distracted, so bear with me.

TEDx Raleigh is an independently organized TED-like event. TED’s annual conferences in California and Oxford UK are described as “riveting talks by remarkable people” and “ideas worth spreading.” Here are some of the ideas I’m hearing, as I’m hearing them.

Dean Hering, OVO Innovation, Chief Innovator at NetCentrics

By engaging their own passions, his company created an experience for those visiting the Michelin exhibit at the Detroit Auto Show. They knew that no one would visit a tire exhibit when new concept cars were being rolled out in other exhibits. Their visitors felt what it was like to experience the ride of different tires through history. Engage through experience.

How to get people engaged. Get them to bring their whole self to work:

  • Encourage appropriate fun.
  • Arouse people’s passion and tie it to something your organization provides.
  • Get people comfortable with taking risk and failing forward faster. If you’re comfortable with risk, you can change the world, or someone’s life.


David HwangThrive and Managed Data Group(MDG

Statistics was never my best subject so I’m sure I’ll miss a lot here. His company deals with big data. Statistics and big data can tell us stories about our world, like which urinal at the airport is used the most. Useful data for his clients. But you can’t always focus only on the data. Data can fool you if you don’t know what other factors are affecting it, like the World Cup going on. We’re not as smart as we think we are – J is for Jackass. Big data is often beyond our cognitive ability to understand — why we need tools to make sense of it.

What’s happening with data? It’s now more accessible to all. It’s also being used by non-humans — computers, robots. We’re in the era of Big Answers. Honestly, this presentation didn’t do much for me, as you can tell by my lousy interpretation, but I’m more of a verbal gal.


Liz Bradford – Scientific Illustrator

The collision of art and science. Art is a tool we use to learn about past civilizations. Art has always been a teaching tool — Leonardo da Vinci, for example. His study of science made his masterpieces possible. Darwin’s illustrations helped him to understand evolution. Pollock’s work as maps of inner reality. Modern art emerged at the same time as the scientific leap into quantum physics. Paradigm shift.

Drawing as meditation. The tiniest things can have infinite complexity – you can get lost in that. She definitely is “in the zone” when she’s drawing. She still remembers drawing sea shells long ago — memories of drawing stick with her. She really sees, in a way that I think many of us don’t, with both aware artist’s and scientist’s eyes.  I remember taking a drawing class years ago, and during that time, I did see the world in a different way, aware of space and contours and shadings. I miss that.

She made a trompe l’oeil painting in homage to Albert Einstein. Beautiful work. Trompe l’oeil is fool the eye, hyper-realistic paintings.

She spent a summer at Dinosaur National Monument – cliff with layers of dinosaur bones. She created a mural based on the bones. She makes educated guesses as to how they really looked. Hardest part – coming up with the whole picture, the big idea. How her mural will affect the views of kids — her favorite part. Artists have created every single image we’ve ever seen of dinosaurs – never thought of it that way.

Art is a tool to discover the world around us, to express outer and inner realities we face, a spiritual and meditative practice. Pick up a pencil and see the world.

My FAVORITE presentation so far. Loved it!


Matt KopaciContact

Convergence is happening between for- and non-profit organizations to solve big problems in innovative ways. Many for-profits are focusing more on purpose — social responsibility, green business — triple bottom line of people, planet and profits. Non-profits using revenue-generating programs and other business strategies to achieve their missions. Hybrid organizations are being created — for-benefit corporations.

Triple bottom line of people, planet and profits are not mutually exclusive, in reality, it’s just the opposite. Certified B corporation – focus on stakeholder interests and using the power of business to change the world.

B corps as a marketing opportunity: Employees are seeking meaning in their work. Consumers are more aware of who’s socially responsible. Managers believe there are factors as important as profit. Tax incentives. Investments are flowing to socially responsible companies. You can take a B corp or Green Plus assessment to see how your business is doing.

Legislation is pending in NC to make B corporations a legal structure. NC already has 15 B corporations, second highest in country, only behind California. We vote with our dollars, our purchases — that’s how we can support B corporations.


Phew, live blogging is hard. Fingers don’t always keep up with the ears and brain.

The second session starts with a video of David Blaine’s talk about holding his breath. What a freakazoid, but fascinating. Very dead-pan delivery about dying and being brought back to life after lots of other exploits. It’s amazing what this guy has put himself through, for what? To break a record? Fame? Because he’s a performer and magician. But he has great observation skills about what’s happening in his body while he’s in the process of dying. A New York magician’s version of Jill Bolte Taylor experiencing a stroke.

Josh WhitonTransLoc

Josh, who in the brochure is described as a CEO who is “working on an electric car startup, an urban farm, and a lecture series that he hopes will nourish many an intellect in his neighborhood,” presents us a “carefully crafted portrait of a healthy successful man,” but says that it rings hollow. He spent many years living with severe depression. A psychiatrist prompted him to recall if something happened to him before he became depressed. It had. He lost his religion and became convinced that life was meaningless. It almost sounds like he overthought his way into depression.

His “grand ephiphany” came one day. What if he didn’t know the real truth about the world and life? Life was a mystery again. His depression ended.

We are not alone in our minds. He talks about the monkey mind that happens when you meditate — assailed by thoughts, images, etc. His depression was a disagreement between his conscious and subconscious minds. For him, his depression was a necessary process for him to self-actualize. I’m thankful I don’t feel the need for depression to self-actualize. It seems that choice is missing in this talk, but I guess choice is not an option for someone who’s depressed.



Bob Davis – Backyard Chicken Advocate, founder of the Tour de Coop

Chickens to the rescue! Chickens can save the planet! Chickens can help restore our connection to the earth – get us back in touch with natural cycles.

When in England he saw that many people kept chicken coops at home. Back in Raleigh, one mile from the Capitol, he built a coop. Then he started teaching chicken keeping 101 — 700 people have taken his class. Why is there a revival of chicken coops?

Chickens can change you. A guy he knows sits by his chickens at the end of the day. All his troubles fall away as he becomes present. He found a connection to the earth. Bob does not look stressed.

Home-raised chicken eggs are healthier than factory eggs. Chickens eat insects, weeds and weed seeds. They turn your compost daily and add their own “black magic” to it. Make fishing flies from the feathers of your own chickens.

Industrial Revolution gave us a linear process with which we messed up the planet. Compare that with nature, which runs well without our intervention. Nature is circular — web of life. Birds respond to nature — they sense the change in the length of days.

Chickens might be a good substitute for yoga — being present, connection to breath/nature, stress reducer, plus eggs!

Chickens don’t have an odor. In nature, they sleep in tree limbs — an odor would make them prey. Factory chickens are stinky, but backyard chickens aren’t. They’re not noisy. Hens cackle at about 60 decibles; a dog’s bark is 100. Chickens live into their teens.

I’m learning a lot about chickens. We do have room for them, hmmm. The next Tour de Coop is May 21. I’m intrigued. My second favorite presentation so far.


Richard HolcombCoon Rock Farm

Rich grew up farming and has always loved it. When he came of age, the farming mantra was “Get Big or Get Out,” so he did. He went on to become a software entrepreneur. He was getting tired of that and saw that his kids weren’t having the same childhood experiences that he had; they were watching tv, staying indoors and fighting. He bought a farm out in the country and they spent weekends on it. Soon the kids didn’t want to return to Raleigh. They weren’t fighting anymore.

He talks about how farming has become an industry — big factory farming. Monocultures. What used to be manure that served as fertilizer for crops is now industrial waste. Farmers who don’t have animals purchase fertilizer made from petroleum. Nature never intended cows to live the way they do in factory farms. They’re sick cows; their milk has to be pasteurized. Factory cows live knee-deep in their own poop, side by side in huge lots. 80% of ground beef is doused with ammonia before you eat it. Oh yum. Same deal with factory pigs and chickens who live in fake environments.

There’s a better way, we can fix this — farm to fork movement. Farms can have chickens pecking around in the grass, imagine that! Farms don’t have to be monocultures – his farm is home to cows, pigs, sheep and chickens.

The real cost of factory food – pollution, carbon, water (the Central Valley is an irrigated desert), health care, farm bill (federal subsidies – 40% of factory farm costs come from these subsidies), and military costs (lives/budget) to keep the oil flowing.

Question he gets all the time: but can you feed the world on organic non-factory food? Rodale Institute study – organic farming produces exact same yields of corn and soybeans as conventional farming with less energy expended.

The choice is yours — what are you buying? I just wish organic and real food wasn’t as expensive as factory food. I wish it was in my local supermarket — that depends on the demographics of where you live. I’m conflicted about this all the time.


I had to leave the conference at noon.

working on an electric car
startup, an urban farm, and a lecture series
that he hopes will nourish many an intellect
in his neighborhood.

I can’t help myself. Whenever I go anywhere for more than a night, I have to check out my neighborhood and find out the locations of the nearest grocery store, good beer selection and cheap eats.

However, I’ve learned that when I attend conferences, even if I bring a Word doc full of beer and food recommendations, it’s rare that I get to more than one of them. Usually because I’m going along with the flow from sessions to receptions to pre-planned dinners and then convenient watering holes, and my list stays tucked away in its folder. But, I’m always prepared, and now you can be over-prepared too!


During #asae10 I’m staying at the Westin Bonaventure in the downtown financial district at 404 S. Figueroa St. The Convention Center is about eight blocks away at 1201 S. Figueroa St. There’s a Ralphs market about six blocks away at 645 W. 9th St. If there is time to venture out of the neighborhood, the 7th Street Metro Center is only two blocks away. I’ve learned that there’s an exercise circuit on the 2nd floor, food court on the 4th, a Subway on the 6th and a revolving restaurant and lounge on the 35th. How retro!

Apparently the hotel is a modernist nightmare that’s worn and in desperate need of renovation. No big deal because there’s a brewpub, Bonaventure Brewing Company on the 4th floor. I haven’t read any decent reviews on the beer sites so I don’t have high expectations. I confirmed with the Director of Operations Suzanne Melson that they have free wifi. Beer? Wifi? My LA office! Happy hour is Monday-Friday 3:30-7:30 p.m. Their current seasonal is a Hefeweizen.

You might have flashbacks when walking into the Bonaventure. It’s where True Lies filmed the chase scene where Arnold rides a horse into the elevator.


Coffee & Wifi

If you can’t find free wifi in the hotel, here are some nearby places.

  • Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf – 601 West 5th St.
  • Starbucks – 445 S. Figueroa St. (Union Bank), 505 S. Flower St. (Arco Plaza), 444 S. Flower St. and 400 S. Hope St.
  • 7th & Fig shopping center – few stores, several food options, open Sat 10-6, Sun 12-5, M-F 10-7


There are many sources for beer reviews (Beer Advocate, Pubcrawler and more) but I like Beermapping the best. All locations are plotted on a map so it’s easy to figure out what’s nearby. Their reviews are limited but usually thoughtful.

  • Bonaventure Brewing Company – I found a video of their patio.
  • BottleRock at 1050 S. Flower St., east of and in the same building as the Rivera Restaurant at the corner of 11th and Hope. In addition to their huge wine list, they have an extensive beer list with a dozen microbrews on tap.
  • Yard House at 800 W. Olympic Blvd. They have 100 taps, mainly American craft beer, but also Belgian, German, Czech and others.
  • Library Bar at 630 W. 6th St (6th & Hope, enter on Hope), has a large beer menu.
  • Wurstkuche at 800 E. 3rd St, has 25 beers on tap, mostly Belgian and German. They describe themselves as an “exotic sausage grill located in the downtown historic arts (warehouse) district”. The menu is in fact limited to sausage and Belgian fries, yum. I read that it’s not clearly marked so a little hard to find, but well worth the hunt.
  • If you’re in Hollywood, the Blue Palms Brewhouse is at 6124 Hollywood Blvd.


It’s true that I am usually thinking about my next meal. Here are some good resources to learn about what LA has to offer for good eating.

I like eating fresh real local food whenever possible, but I’m not against going to places that are city icons, especially when there’s maple bacon donuts involved. I had enough 5-star expensive meals in my earlier years that I’m not really interested in that anymore, something my wallet is happy about. Here are some regular places that caught my eye.

For mid-day eats, the menu at Mendocino Farms looks fantastic. Real local food. There are two locations: one in the California Plaza at 300 S. Grand Ave. (open 11-3 Mon-Fri) and one in the Citibank building at 444 S. Flower St. (open 11-7:15 Mon-Fri).

Wurstkuche, mentioned above, is on the short list too, open 11 to midnight (Sundays open at 12).

The French Dip sandwich is an LA invention. Two places claim to have invented it and have been serving it for about 100 years – Phillipe’s and Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet. Cole’s is closer to the hotel at 118 E. 6th St, a 17-minute walk according to Google.

If you have time for breakfast, The Pantry, at 9th and Figueroa, is another local institution that’s been around since 1924. Reviews are very mixed, but everyone agrees the sourdough toast is the best in town.

Redwood Bar & Grill at 316 W 2nd St., off Hill St., is said to be a bar with character and good food at reasonable prices. It used to be a Los Angeles Times hangout and still has a red phone that used to be connected to the City Desk.

How can you not want to go to a place that looks like this?

Clifton’s Cafeteria

Another LA institution, Clifton’s Cafeteria at 648 S. Broadway (near 7th) is open everyday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It’s not “pay what you can” like it was during the Depression, but like all cafeterias, it’s cheap. And what an ambiance!

Wood Spoon is a Brazilian restaurant at 107 W. 9th St. (between Broadway and Main) that’s “not to be missed” but it’s closed Sunday and Monday.

You’re still wondering about those maple bacon donuts, huh? They can be found at the downtown Nickel Diner at 524 S. Main St., open 8-3:30 and 6-11, but closed Mondays.

One last food stop is the Grand Central Market where, in addition to the usual market fare, you can find all kinds of amazing Mexican street food. I found these directions from my hotel. Exit the hotel on the 6th floor overpass toward the YMCA, walk past the Y across Hope St., then upstairs (or escalator) across Grand, and downstairs past the water plaza to Angel’s Flight for 25-cents funicular ride down to the market’s doorstep. He recommended Maria’s Seafood’s fresh fish tacos as “the stuff of dreams.”

The Amateur Enthusiast blog recommends the intersection of 6th and Main as the place to go when you haven’t decided on anything specific but want a lot of choices. Sounds like a group from a conference, right? Cole’s of French Dip fame is there as well as a bunch of other restaurants and bars, including

  • The Varnish, 118 6th St. – he calls it the “home of the best cocktails in downtown.”
  • The Association, 110 E. 6th St., next to Cole’s – his “favorite after work spot,” and with that name, shouldn’t it be ours? It has an unmarked door that’s a replica of 10 Downing St.
  • The Edison, in an alley off 2nd near Main, has the “most dramatic setting of any bar in the entire city, and the best and most varied live entertainment in downtown.”

That should be more than enough to get you started. If you’re checking out any of the beer or food places, send me a DM or @, if I’m free, I’d love to join you. Don’t forget to check in on Foursquare so we can ask you about it later. Remember the hashtag for the conference is #asae10. Tweet out any other good finds so we can all make the most of our time in LA.

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I’m taking a brief break from my Twitter Basics series to get ready for the American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting & Exposition (aka #asae10 on Twitter). I fly to Los Angeles on Saturday and return to Raleigh on Wednesday, my birthday. I’ll celebrate by reflecting on good times and great knowledge, treating myself to good airport fare (ha!) and a good book. Next up on the reading list is Heat by Bill Buford, his tale of three years going from “kitchen bitch” to line cook in Mario Batali’s restaurant. It’s been unread in my bookcase since its publication and since I spent over a year as a “pastry wench” in a professional kitchen, I’m sure to identify with some of his experiences.

Today, I’m going to share some good posts by other bloggers about #asae10. In posts later this week, I’ll share preparation tips for #asae10 and resources to help you eat and drink well while in LA.

But before I do that, a time sensitive task: take a look at your business cards. Are they up to date? Do they include your social media profiles – personal blog or website, twitter username and LinkedIn profile? If not, order some new ones today that include your regular professional contact info but also your personal social info as well. Zazzle has quick turnaround on business cards if you pay for overnight or two-day shipping.

Now for good reading — Maddie Grant starts her Socialfish post with a Twitter fountain – love that! She lets us know what she, Lindy Dreyer and the rest of the Socialfish gang will be up to during the meeting – a full schedule of many events that I’ll be attending as well. Check it out for ideas.

Bruce Hammond tells us the Three Things (He’s) Looking Forward to at the ASAE Annual Meeting – collaboration, community and content. I love that he talks about community – this is a meeting to strengthen bonds with friends you know and to meet others who will go from being strangers to acquaintances to friends. Long live the Twitter hug!

ASAE’s Acronym blog is publishing a series of posts from members that focus on “3 Things” about the conference. Here’s one published today by Marc Mestdagh from Belgium, land of amazing beer and art nouveau!

Elizabeth Engel has written several quick reads about the meeting that you can reference by clicking on her tag “ASAE Annual Meeting.” I also love the fact that she throws around the term “geek” so readily. Hello, my name is Deirdre and I’m an association and social media geek. No intervention required.

Jeff De Cagna tells us about his sessions at the meeting, always good brain food, including a special informal salon about business model innovation scheduled for Tuesday.

Teri Carden shares her excitement about her first ASAE Annual. I can vouch that the excitement continues to increase even when it’s your second time. One of the things she looks forward to is meeting Twitter colleagues. Me too, Teri!

Kiki L’Italien remembers her experiences as a first-time attendee and council member (what an entrance!) and encourages us to follow her lead and get involved as an ASAE volunteer. Great idea! She’ll also be doing a live SweetSpot broadcast from #asae10 on Monday at 12:30 (Pacific time) in the Engagement Lounge.

Mark Bledsoe tells us why he loves fully immersing himself into the association geekfest of #asae10, particularly since he really missed going last year. We all want the professional development, but it’s the people and relationships that keep us coming back.

I’m sure there will be many, like me, who will continue to write this week about their preparations and thoughts for the conference. If you’re one of them, please share a brief blurb and link to your post in the Comments. Thanks!



Of course there will be updates! Eventually I’ll stop but here are some additional posts from bloggers attending #asae10 that were published after I wrote this.

Mickie Rops shares some of what she’ll be doing. If you want to learn more about credentialing and certification, she is the one to follow.

Jamie Notter will be “pushing the envelope” at #asae10, what we gratefully expect from him.

Shannon Otto of MemberClicks shares what they will be up to during the show when they’re not in Booth 332.

Maggie McGary, although not attending #asae10 (unfortunately!), shows how social media makes a positive impact on association membership and community.


Update: Part 2 – Getting Ready for #ASAE10: the Do and Bring List

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SmartBlog Insights recently published a two-part post I wrote — Upward-Facing Associations (part 1 and part 2) — about what we can learn from innovative companies like Lululemon. I wrote these posts for a readership of association professionals, but all of these ideas are ripe for picking by for-profit companies as well.

Innovative companies can be a source of new perspectives and ideas about organizational culture and customer (or member) experience. Lululemon Athletica makes hip high-quality clothing for yoga and other “sweaty pursuits” for their 100-plus stores. Last year their sales increased by 50%. Some of this can be attributed to the growing popularity of yoga, particularly among those willing to pay $98 for yoga pants, but there’s more to it.  Lululemon has been very intentional in how they brand their stores as community hubs where customers can learn about fitness and healthy living, take free classes, and, yes, buy cool tank tops. What can we learn from them?

Here are some of the ideas I shared with some additional thoughts:

  • Give staff the tools to grow not only professionally but personally too. Besides offering professional development opportunities, also provide career and personal goal-setting training, and other personal development resources. You may end up with an educated, forward-thinking, goal-oriented, centered and appreciative staff.
  • Encourage staff to have balanced and healthy lives. For example, allow for flexible schedules so they have time to include yoga, fitness classes and other sweaty pursuits into their busy schedules. Anyone who works out or practices yoga on a regular basis can attest to its effect on their energy level and outlook on life, a positive effect that influences productivity and attitude.
  • Review employee handbooks and other rules and procedures, and welcome change into your organizational culture. Step away from  Standard Operating Procedure. Society, technology and our lives have changed. Why are we still doing things the same way they’ve always been done?
  • Always strive to be a community hub that provides members with the tools they need — knowledge, relationships and advocacy — to have successful professional lives. The emphasis here is on ‘community’ — social media can be a useful tool to do this.
  • Use education to build trust, demonstrate your position as the preeminent source of knowledge and ideas in your profession or industry and develop relationships that result in recruitment and retention — content marketing. Again, social media is an excellent way to share and spread what you excel at already.
  • Check in regularly with your members about their current and future needs. Research the possible needs your members (and their customers) will have in the future. Eliminate stale committees or programs regularly to free up resources for more valuable programs and allow staff to spend their time and energy on things that really matter to members.
  • Consider partnerships with thought leaders, suppliers, service providers or anyone who can provide professional guidance, content or services to your leadership or members. Get creative about how you can bring more to your members. Sometimes collaborating with a competitor can really be a win-win for both of you. Don’t be scared.
  • Have staff spend time each year experiencing what a day (or week) in the life of your member is really like by going on-site or spending time in their office with them. Be open to having that new knowledge and experience inform your member service and programming.

If you know of other innovative companies that I should check out for future blog post inspiration, please let me know.

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On Friday, April 16 I will be presenting a session, Social Media for You and Your Association, at the Association Executives of North Carolina Technology Showcase & Membership Luncheon. Here’s a brief description:

Are you watching the social media frenzy and thinking that you don’t have the time or interest for any of it? Or is your association feeling under pressure to slap up a Facebook page or a LinkedIn group? And what the heck would you even do with Twitter? During this session, you’ll learn some of the benefits of using social media both for yourself professionally and for your association. We’ll cover what you need to consider before you begin, first steps that you should take and the best practices that will make your social media use more effective.

I’m in great company because the session after mine is Cool Tools 2010 with my friend Jeff Cobb. I don’t think there will be any pre-lunch attention deficit with Jeff in the front of the room. I’m looking forward to learning about new tools that will enhance my productivity.

flickr: deltaMike

Earlier in the day Laura Dorner will talk about webinars and at lunch we get Reggie Henry, Chief Technology Officer at the American Society of Association Executives, with a keynote on technology culture and trends and their implications for associations. This will definitely be a stimulating day full of practical information and new ideas.

Jeff is also conducting the 2010 Association Technology Survey to find out how associations are really using technology. This is not just for associations in North Carolina but for all associations across the US. Please take 10-15 minutes to complete the survey. In return you will get the results plus a chance to win one of five Amazon $50 gift cards, and of course you’ll get good social media karma too!

If you’re in or near NC, I hope to meet you at Pinehurst on April 16.

Update: I just realized that the day I published this post, March 24 is the first anniversary of my blog. Happy belated birthday to my blog!


A few weeks ago I gave a presentation to the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (Research Triangle Park chapter) called Embracing Social Media: Using it to Our Advantage. It was an introduction to social media that focused on how to use it effectively for professional reasons – networking, professional branding and professional development. I dispelled some myths about social media, reviewed the characteristics that make someone successful in this space and showed them some best practices for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

It was a fun night — lots of good questions and laughs — a speaker’s dream. I added some explanatory notes to my slides and posted them on Slideshare.

I recently did a presentation on working with committees and sections at the American Bar Association’s Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) in Chicago. BLI is held annually for incoming bar association presidents and their executive directors. I was hired to bring in an outsider and more forward-thinking perspective — that’s always fun! Some of their bar associations have problems with stagnant committees and renegade sections so I addressed those issues in addition to recruiting and working with chairs and volunteers.

I posted my presentation and some notes in PDF format to Slideshare. I was also on a social media panel but we didn’t have slides for that one, just lots of questions. It was standing room only — definitely proof of a desire to figure out how to take advantage of all that social media offers to an association.

The Cluetrain Manifesto, published in 1999, was a call to action for businesses to reckon with a new marketplace influenced by the Internet and Web 2.0. In 2010, we need a new call to action, a New Volunteer Manifesto, for associations. I’ll be diving deeper into this manifesto for the  21st century volunteer in my upcoming weekly guest column, New Insights from a New CAE, on SmartBlog Insights. I hope that you will join me there to wrestle with new perspectives on volunteering and associating.

The Big Picture

Members are strategic assets whose talents can be shared with the association. Invest in the infrastructure necessary to effectively recruit, develop, place, recognize and retain volunteer talent.

Beware the leadership bubble. Leadership can often develop an insular perspective and won’t always see what members really need and value. Cultivate multiple perspectives in your leadership.

Slay sacred cows. Get rid of committees, programs or pet projects that aren’t moving your association toward achieving its goals.

Find new jobs for your deadwood leaders. If they’re not open to innovation and new perspectives, ease them out.

Choose the right chairs. They must be leaders, managers, influencers and recruiters who are willing to share the benefit of leadership, and are forward thinking and receptive to new ideas and perspectives.

Appoint a community officer, perhaps your incoming president, as part of your leadership team whose main responsibility is to develop and retain a huge corps of volunteers.

Don’t just be an association for Boomers. Learn how to be an association for younger generations too. Be willing to experiment and change because you will have to.

Finding Volunteers

Survey all members (new and current) at least once a year to find out their professional development needs, leadership experience, interests, talents and the number of hours they can give to the association per month (or quarter) so you can match them to volunteer opportunities.

Publicize all volunteer opportunities, particularly those requiring a minimal time commitment. Get creative — project them at meetings, include in correspondence, feature a few in each e-newsletter and on your web site, Facebook page, LinkedIn group or Twitter stream.

Demonstrate the value of volunteering. Answer the question, “what’s in it for me?”

Regularly make an obvious connection between what volunteers do and the success of the association’s mission.

Committee involvement may be too demanding for personal schedules. Encourage ad hoc or episodic volunteering — an hour or less here and there.

Cultivate evangelical leaders and volunteers, those with social capital, who will personally ask others to get involved.

Keeping Volunteers

Volunteering is a benefit of membership. Make it easy for your members to find ways to get involved. Eliminate perceived barriers. Open up your committee meetings.

Break down projects and committee work into smaller tasks that volunteers can take on. Tell your chairs to look outside your committee members for help with these. Share the benefit of volunteering.

Chairs must always share the benefit of leadership — delegate delegate delegate. Train many others to do your job.

Make meetings matter. Use a consent agenda. Build in time for strategic thinking and discussion. Don’t waste time on minutia that can be handled offline.

Make meetings enjoyable. Aim to be the highlight of someone’s day.

Encourage committees to explore new ways of meeting and working – new venues, online collaboration.

Thank every volunteer who helps in even the tiniest way.

Learning Culture

Create a culture of learning, not only through your educational programs, but also within your leadership and your committees.

Deepen the reach of your leadership development programs. Include any member who leads up a team or project. Partner with other organizations to offer more programs.

Teach your leaders to build learning moments into committee agendas. Conduct ongoing training for leaders on how to recruit and work with volunteers.

Recognize those leaders who have led well by delegating and involving others.

New Ways of Associating

Build social networks that connect members with one another and with your association.

Give members the encouragement and tools to self-organize informal member meet-ups.

Make it easy for members to organize working groups to explore new ideas and projects.

Give younger members the means to contribute their talents and their voice.

Keep a spirit of entrepreneurial innovation alive in your leadership.

This Manifesto is my work in progress. I hope you’ll join me in sharing it with our colleagues in the association world. Let’s help our associations truly be 21st century associations.

Update: I expanded on this post in a series that I wrote for SmartBlog Insights. You can find those posts here as well — Part 1: The Big Picture, Part 2: Finding Volunteers, Part 3: Keeping Volunteers, Part 4: Creating a Learning Culture and Part 5: New Ways of Associating.

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