inspiration - Cascade Canyon Trail in Grand Teton National Park

I hope you’ve been able to take advantage of some of the free, quality education offered by the association community. With all the challenges faced by associations these days, these webinars help us hear new perspectives and learn about new practices and technology. If you can’t make the live webinar, register anyways. Sometimes, you’ll receive a link to a recording you can listen to while eating lunch at your desk.

Mon 2/29 at 11 a.m. Eastern*- The Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016

Research firm Gartner presents the trends they believe will drive the greatest disruption to the IT landscape over the next three years and the technology needed to become a digital business. Learn how these trends and technologies are evolving and the actions you can take today. Register.

Speaker: David W. Cearley, VP & Gartner Fellow

*all times are Eastern

Mon 2/29 at 2 p.m. – The Completely Revised Guide to Great Board Recruitment

Learn a practical set of steps you can take to enrich and improve your governance while minimizing the possibility of bringing nonfunctional or negative forces into your board room. Register.

Hosts: BoardEffect and Nonprofit Quarterly

Speakers: Vernetta Walker, vice president of programs and chief governance officer for BoardSource, Ruth McCambridge, editor-in-chief of Nonprofit Quarterly and Anasuya Sengupta, board member of Nonprofit Quarterly

Tue 3/1 at 2 p.m. – Website Analytics

The ASAE Technology Council takes over Association Chat this week to talk about website monitoring and analytics. Join live or view the recording on Blab.

Wed 3/2 at 12 p.m. – Integration Celebration: The Automation Ecosystem

With the continued expansion of digital channels and the ability to capture data at every user touchpoint, the immense amount of data now available can be used to better understand and target your members/customers. Learn how associations are building ecosystems where data can flow freely between application databases to allow for automation and analysis. Register. (1 CAE credit)

Hosts: ASAE and HighRoad Solution

Speaker: Suzanne Carawan, Chief Marketing Officer at HighRoad Solution

Thu 3/3 at 1 p.m. – Ultimate Member Engagement: The Power of Data-Driven Decision Making

Learn how to leverage visualizations and analytics to better understand the data in your AMS, mine the right data to improve your member’s experience, and determine a successful ROI on your collection and analysis of member data. Don’t just sit on a vast amount of untapped member data, find out how to start making data-driven decisions. Register.

Host: Impexium

Thu 3/3 at 2 p.m. – Breaking Free of Conference Learning Myths

In an effort to improve conferences and help attendees, associations have pushed the existing conference model into hyperdrive, offering more and asking attendees to consume as much as possible. These overly-scheduled events negatively affect attendees’ learning and quality networking in the long run. This webinar will help you break free of myths about conference experiences, learning and networking and find ways to hardwire conferences to organically develop the natural intelligence of your attendees. Register.

Host: Velvet Chainsaw Consulting

Speaker: Jeff Hurt, EVP, Education and Engagement at Velvet Chainsaw

If your organization offers professional development for association executives, please send me the link via email or Twitter. Every Friday morning, I publish an Association Brain Food Weekly that lists the coming week’s events.

Inspiration - Colorado River, Horseshoe Bend, Page AZ

Have you invested in yourself this week? Set aside an hour next week to attend one of these webinars or get some reading (and thinking!) done. Thanks to all the companies in the association community that provide free professional development. You are appreciated.

Tue 2/23 at 1 p.m. – Engaging Your Members

Learn about proven member engagement tactics that effectively communicate and compel members to renew and buy more of your services and products. Register. (1 CAE credit)

Host: Marketing General, Inc. (MGI)

Speakers: Ian King, Executive Director of Membership for the American Psychological Association, and Erik Schonher, MGI Vice President

Wed 2/24 at 12 p.m. 5 Tips to Drive Mobile Event Sponsorships in 2016

New event tech is delivering more relevant experiences to attendees and savvy planners are using their mobile apps in innovative ways to attract event sponsors. Learn four ways to bring value to sponsors and five best practices for integrating sponsors at events and thereby boosting your revenue. Register.

Host: Lanyon

Speaker: KiKi L’Italien, Social Media Strategist, Founder and CEO, Amplified Growth LLC

Wed 2/24 at 2 p.m. – The Latest Trends in Instructional Design 

Members look to their associations now more than ever to be the one stop shop for all their professional development needs. This virtual lunch will summarize the latest trends in instructional design including microlearning and credentialing, binge learning and ever-evolving social spaces, and explain how you can prepare your association for next level learning. Register. (1 CAE credit)

Host: ASAE

Speaker: Ben Kotenberg, Instructional Designer, National Association of Tax Professionals, and Associate Lecturer, University of Wisconsin

Thu 2/25 at 2 p.m. Bridging the Association Membership and Content Gap

In the ever-evolving association landscape, the gap between your membership, content, and systems keeps growing wider. Explore the shift in member needs and expectations; system alignment and integration strategies; and tactics being used by three associations today to successfully bridge the gap. Register. (1 CAE credit)

Host: Abila/Peach New Media

Speakers: Ryan Graham, Vice President of Sales, Abila/Peach New Media

Thu 2/25 at 3 p.m. – Leading Member Engagement from the Outside-In

Discover insights that will radically shift your understanding of engagement to one based on your members’ perspective and focused on the outcomes they want to achieve. Learn how to redefine engagement as a value-generating partnership; refocus engagement efforts on what matters most to your stakeholders and advancing the association’s goals; and shift your perspective on engagement to understanding its role at the heart of your business strategy. Register.

Host: Wild Apricot

Speakers: Anna Caraveli, PhD and Elizabeth Weaver Engel, M.A., CAE

If your organization offers professional development for association executives, please send me the link via Twitter. Every Friday, I publish Association Brain Food Weekly with the coming week’s events.

Bryce Canyon NP start of Fairyland Loop

Next week, schedule one hour for professional growth. Attend one of these webinars or catch up on reading. If you want to learn more about association technology, check out the DelCor blog. Or, if you’re in the generalist mood, Associations Now is your one-stop shop for news and information.

Wed 2/17 at 2 p.m. – CMS and AMS Integration Tips for Creating Member Happiness

Most website projects include integration between the association management system (AMS) and the content management system (CMS) so members can login and access members-only content. Learn reasons to integrate your CMS with your AMS and 3rd party systems, tips for leveraging these integrations to drive member value, and common hurdles in the integration process. Register.

Wed 2/17 at 12 p.m. – Looking Forward 2016: Association Business Environmental Scan

Dean West, FASAE, President of Association Laboratory, will present findings from his company’s annual benchmarking scan of the association business environment so you can understand trends, shifts, challenges and opportunities every association will face in 2016 and what the future will look like. Findings address the economy, the information environment, changes in the relationship of associations to state and federal government, as well as factors important to workforce and global issues. Register. (1 CAE credit)

Thu 2/18 at 1 p.m. – LMS Selection: Mastering the Process, Avoiding the Pitfalls.

Great content is only part of the equation for successful online education—you also need a way to effectively deliver the content, track participation, and manage credit and certificates. The right technology can mean the difference between a big success and a big headache, but the selection process can be daunting. In this session, Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele of Tagoras will discuss their time-tested process for selecting a learning management system and highlight the pitfalls to avoid. Register. (1 CAE credit)

Thu 2/18 at 12:15 p.m. – Success of Failure: Through the CEO Lens 

Join Kerry Stackpole, CAE, FASAE, to talk about the importance of learning from failure. Kerry will share decision-making strategies, and explain how to approach mistakes as successes in the making. Register.

If your company or organization offers professional development for association executives, please send me the link via Twitter. I publish a post every Friday with the coming week’s events.

webinars and chats for association executives

Schedule one hour next week to attend one of these webinars, read ASAE Collaborate, or skim the #assnchat hashtag on Twitter for good reads. You can’t get ahead if you’re always behind!


Tue 2/9 at 3:30 p.m. – eLearning Strategy, Tactics & Responsive Planning

Pave a clear pathway to building better eLearning programs for your association with this free, monthly webinar series from iCohere Academy, a worldwide professional community of practice dedicated to the evolution of webinars, web meetings and courses, and hybrid/virtual conferences. Register here. (1 CAE credit)

Wed 2/10 at 3:00 p.m. – 5 Tips for Maximizing Non-Dues Revenue from Your Communications Vehicles

Learn tactics to maximize your non-dues revenue earning potential: analyze communication gaps, engage members with advertising, meet advertiser needs, arm your sales team with the right tools, and invest in resources that provide maximum return. Register here. (1 CAE credit)

Thu 2/11 at 3:00 p.m. – How to Build an Amazing Volunteer Recruitment Strategy

Discover the difference between traditional recruitment strategies and the volunteer attraction strategy. Find out how to create the perfect mix of appreciation, recognition, incentive and reward to push volunteers to the next level. Learn about powerful organizational strategies that cultivate future leaders and long-term success. Register here. (1 CAE credit)

Fri 2/12 at 2:00 p.m. – Be Their eLearning Valentine: Capture Your Members’ Hearts in 3 Steps

The Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s marketing manager will share tactics to improve your learning catalog and member experience, while also driving membership and revenue numbers in the right direction. Register here.

Fri 2/12 at 3:00 p.m. – Promoting Online Education & Certification

Explore who’s doing online education effectively, the criteria to make it successful and how you can succeed too. Register here. (1 CAE credit)

Online chat

Have you tried Blab yet? Blab is a live-streaming video platform that’s really taken off in the last several months. A lot of its user-generated content, like on every social media platform, is self-promotional garbage, but there’s good stuff if you know where to look. For example, every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., consultant KiKi L’Italien hosts Association Chat on Blab. This is the same chat (#assnchat) that used to take place every Tuesday on Twitter – it’s moved to Blab.

Blab is easy to use. You can watch and listen to the hosts and guests who appear in four large boxes on your screen. You can chat in the sidebar with the hosts and other viewers. And, you can even request to go on camera yourself by taking someone’s seat. Social Media Examiner explains Blab in more detail.

This Tuesday, February 9 at 2:00 p.m., the chat topic is: How Associations are Attracting Millennial Members. This time, consultant Amanda Kaiser is hosting with association execs Karen Hansen and Amalea Híjar who, according to Amanda, are doing some really cool things and will bring both small and large association perspectives to the chat.

You can see (and suggest) future topics on the Association Chat Facebook group.

That’s it until next week! If your company or organization is hosting a professional development opportunity for the association community, please let me know by giving me a shout-out on Twitter.

icy morning 1-24-16

The strong will survive, the smart will thrive. Even busy professionals must set time aside for reading, listening, and learning. Schedule it. Maybe 20 minutes a day, maybe an hour or two a week. You won’t evolve, and your organization won’t evolve, unless you’re regularly feeding your brain with new knowledge and ideas.

One of the ways I’m contributing to the Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC), as a member of its professional development committee, is by compiling a list of professional development opportunities that’s shared in AENC’s weekly newsletter. We only started doing this last week, so AENC’s role (and mine) as an educational curator is still a new one.

This morning, I thought, why not share it here too? So here goes. This week’s list is light on the webinar options-last week’s list included four webinars-so I added a podcast and an online conference. In the future, I’ll also include websites, blogs, and books.

Webinar: Driving Engagement and Retention through Multichannel Personalization

Wednesday, February 3 at 2:00 p.m.

Are you challenged with serving a diverse audience that has different needs and wants? Did you know your audience is leaving behind “digital clues” that reveal what they’re most interested in? Learn how to leverage your website, AMS, and email marketing platform to personalize the audience experience. Learn how to turn website analytics into actionable insight providing constituents with a customized experience. Hosts: Informz, American Eagle. Registration and more information.

Podcast: Leading Learning

The Leading Learning podcast is the only podcast created specifically for leaders and aspiring leaders in the business of lifelong learning, continuing education, and professional development. It’s a ‘must-listen’ for anyone involved in association education. Hosted by Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele of Tagoras, each week they offer perspectives and actionable insights based on their own extensive experience and interviews with a wide range of learning experts and association leaders. List of episodes and subscription information.

ASAE Online Conference for Small-Staff Associations

Save the date: Tuesday, February 23 – Thursday, February 25

You don’t have to spend money on travel, you can get a full conference experience at your desk: three days of sessions tailored to the needs of small-staff associations covering governance, technology, HR, marketing/communications, leadership, and education. (12 CAE credits)

If your organization offers professional development for association executives, please send me the link via Twitter. I’ll publish a blog post on Fridays with the coming week’s events.

I have a question for association, membership and marketing execs: How often do you pick up the phone at the front desk or in the call center?

nina simon tweet re working at the front desk

Nina Simon is the Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and blogs at Museum 2.0. Her “guilty pleasure” is a smart idea. She also told me she spends about ten hours a month in the galleries with visitors. That’s like a free focus group!

Imagine how those visitors feel when she talks with them. The museum is no longer an intimidating institution – although I’m sure her museum has never been considered that during her watch – her friendly face is the face of the museum.

Those of you who work in a small associations, you’re excused from this exercise since you probably answer the main line as much as anyone else in the office. But if you work in an association that has a dedicated call center or member service team, you probably only receive calls that are direct-dialed or forwarded to you. That’s a shame because you’re missing out on a convenient, cheap way to understand what’s on the mind of your members and other stakeholders.

If you don’t have the time, budget, or inclination to spend a day in the life of your member, then spend 30 minutes every few weeks in your call center. The experience will give you an opportunity to listen, ask questions, and even lay the foundation for further conversation with members you probably don’t know.

You will also set a positive example for your staff by spending time getting to know members. Let them see you on the frontline making the effort to learn about member needs and concerns. Your example could convince them to build similar activities into their week, like calling new members to welcome them to the association and learn more about their expectations, needs, and aspirations. Or, calling “old” members to find out what’s on their mind.

This simple 30-minute task is one you can put into your schedule right now. And it’s a small step that can nudge your organization’s culture into a new direction.

phone calls with members

For many years now, Mitch Joel, president of marketing agency Twist Image, has been manning the lookout post for the rest of us. His blog, Six Pixels of Separation, is a constant in my RSS feed and his podcast is a regular on my phone. Mitch dedicates each podcast to a conversation with someone interesting from marketing, media or another connected world. If you speak at conferences, you’ll like his recent shows with Nick Morgan and Nancy Duarte.

Mitch was a keynote speaker at the recent digitalNow conference in Nashville. In his keynote, as in his book, Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It, he described five massive movements that have changed how we interact with organizations. Unfortunately, many organizations, including associations, haven’t done much to change how they interact with us.

The power of direct relationships

The battle for direct relationships with your members involves everyone else who offers value to them, including your vendor members, media, consumer brands, thought-leaders and others on their screens. Mitch introduced us to someone who might change how we think about connecting with members. Bethany Mota is a teenage video star who shares her shopping “hauls” with 2-3 million fans every day. She’s successful because she knows her community and gives them what they want. Traditional media can’t even compete.

Do you have a Bethany Mota? Partner with people who know how to connect and communicate with your audience — people who can create direct relationships with them and give them what they want. These people may be on your staff or in your membership, but most likely they’re not. You’ll have to create new relationships (and new budget lines) to get them on your team. But you want them on your team.

disruptions facing associations

Mitch Joel at digitalNow 2014 in Nashville
(photo by Bill Sheridan)

Sex with data

Don’t be standoffish. Get cozy and intimate with your data. You can now capture two types of data:

  • Linear data – transactions, searches, email open rates and clicks.
  • Circular data – the social data we willingly put online that paints a picture of our behavior, interests and needs.

The magic begins when you put both types of data together for a deeper understanding of your members and a more personalized experience for them.

Amazon is the personalization king with their website recommendations and their PriceCheck app which tells you how much the product you’re looking at in a store will cost on Amazon. In the process, they’re learning more about you – your location, interests and shopping habits. In return for your data, they provide a better shopping experience. Check out what the Project Management Institute is doing for their members and website visitors. You don’t need an Amazon budget to do that.

Utility or death

Mitch said today’s prime real estate is the smartphone screen. “What are you doing that makes you valuable enough to be on your member’s home screen?” Members don’t really care about you and your promotions, but the old “what’s in it for me” is one marketing cliché that remains relevant today.

Successful for-profit online communities like Doximity for doctors and ResearchGate for scientists focus first on creating utility – tools and services that help their members do their jobs more effectively. That’s why these hugely successful communities have attracted millions in venture capital and millions of members.

Passive vs. active

Know when to make the distinction between passive and active media, and when a member is passive or active online. Press releases don’t belong on Facebook. Members don’t want to be hounded to like or +1 everything they read on your website.

But members do want the opportunity to be active when they’re online in a way that provides value to them. Give them regular opportunities to provide feedback, share an opinion or idea, help make a decision, or participate in a discussion.

One-screen world

No wonder we’re all distracted. Think about how many screens we have going at times: our phone, tablet, laptop and TV. And the Internet of things may bring even more. Yet, we can only watch one thing at a time. The screen in front of us is the only screen that matters. And soon perhaps all these screens will integrate into one screen.

He closed his keynote with a hopeful message: associations are pioneers who will decide how the future of associations will look. Will your association have a cozy relationship with your member in the one-screen world? Come on out of purgatory and into the light where you’ll find plenty of opportunity for those who can keep up and move onward.

disruptions to associations - fade away or become a pioneer

Emigrants Crossing the Plains (or The Oregon Trail), Albert Bierstadt, 1869, courtesy of the Butler Institute of American Art