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Strategy  Meltdown —The screen play INT. The corner office of the Association for Ad Hoc Planning – Afternoon The executive director and membership team are seated at a conference table. They are hunched over laptops. The executive director is frowning. The membership manager looks like a deer in the headlights. Executive Director These numbers are (pause) a surprise. Are you sure the report’s correct? Membership Manager Well, we haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact number of members due to glitches in the AMS that we’ve been working to fix for a while. But yes, I think the five-year downturn is accurate. Even if the numbers are off by ...
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This article is reprinted from  VantagePoint magazine , the quarterly publication of WSAE. Most professionals have attended educational and professional development events in their careers. And the goal for these events is that attendees leave with a take-away to bring back and implement at the office. Often, the change is within the attendee’s control to make, but many other times, the boss is mandating or expecting certain behaviors and the attendee is afraid to ask for a change in procedure, if they even have any idea how to present the proposal. As a young professional, I often come back from conferences and events with new ideas or suggestions on ...
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This article is based on key take-aways from the WSAE Association Health Plans webinar on October 2, 2018, and is reprinted from  VantagePoint magazine , the quarterly publication of WSAE. If you are interested in accessing the webinar recording, please visit www.wsae.org>Events>Webinar Series, and click “Self-Paced Online Seminars” near the bottom of the frame. Association Health Plans (AHPs), under the Department of Labor's rule, are group health plans that employer groups and associations offer to provide health coverage for employees. In short, AHPs are groups of self-employed individuals that “band together by geography or industry to ...
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Is snagging an article in the Wall Street Journal a superpower? Do you need a genetic mutation to catch a reporter’s eye? If the media keeps turning up its nose at your association’s newsworthy accomplishments, it might seem that way.  Getting your organization in print (in a good way) doesn’t require magic. During her recent .orgCommunity webinar, Actionable Steps Garner Media Attention , Adele Cehrs , media magnet and CEO and Founder of When and How Agency (formerly Epic PR Group), gave practical advice and tips that you can use to develop a robust presence in the press.   Adele is a regular contributor to both the Wall Street Journal and Inc ...
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A book review of  Pivot Point: Reshaping Your Business When It Matters Most by Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE This year, one of the highly anticipated book releases announced at the ASAE 2018 Annual Meeting was Pivot Point: Reshaping Your Business When It Matters Most by Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE. As the Meeting Technology Manager for AMPED Association Management, I was curious to read what recommendations Jacobs had with regards to competing markets and investing in association technology to keep pace with industry trends. As the president and CEO of Avenue M Group, Jacobs brings her experience from helping over 100 associations assess their challenges within ...
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Closed office doors, break room gossip and a CEO who gives Tony Soprano a run for the money—culture gone wrong is easy to spot. Where work moves forward and employees treat each other civilly, culture may be the caboose on a long train of priorities. Hiding somewhere in the cloud’s dark recesses is a values statement, but no one has actually read it. Culture may be invisible, but it should never be illusive. That’s why I was excited to have Nancy MacRae , CEO of the Emergency Nurses Association , as a speaker at the Innovation Summit, .orgCommunity’s recent signature event. Nancy has made the deliberate choice to put culture front and center at ENA. This ...
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Technology creates paradoxes that are as upside down as Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. Aimee Pagano’s recent 30 on Thursday webinar , Survival Kit for Building Your Buyer’s Journey , brought this message home. Machines are giving us the ability to understand and communicate with members more personally than ever before. If you seek to deeply engage constituents (And, who doesn’t?), marketing automation software offers tools to lift those relationships to a new level. Aimee, who is senior digital marketing advisor at HighRoad Solution, gave an insightful overview on building successful member journeys. Automation is the genie that creates this trajectory, ...
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I’ve been thinking, writing and talking a lot about Association 4.0. That’s how I describe best practices in a game-changing time for the association community and across the business world. Technology is driving the most visible disruption. So, it’s easy to forget that the new online community or e-learning platform you just launched is not going to make or break your success. But the members who use those systems will. Dr. Karen Bartuch’s recent presentation at .orgCommunity’s Solutions Day event, Making the Unreasonable Happen: The Art of Customer Service in a 24-Hour World, was a great reminder of the need to put our members first. No matter how we ...
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What would you expect a conference called Solutions Day to deliver? Answers to tough questions, strategies to tackle challenges and new perspectives. Our speakers made good on that promise. In the next few posts, I’m highlighting some of my personal aha moments from the November 15 event. If you’ve been considering how to make the most of new data that’s available from your association management system, Thad Lurie, number cruncher extraordinaire and vice president business intelligence at Experient, had some great recommendations. Thad’s presentation was a fascinating discussion on the practical and psychological impact of big data. Data is the Foundation ...
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Presenters who illuminated the future. Industry partners who are inventing tomorrow. And, the best and brightest colleagues in the association community—that was Solutions Day. .orgCommunity’s year is book-ended by two signature events. The wrap party for Solutions Day is over. But before we roll up our sleeves for the Innovation Summit (February 28, 2019), we’re taking a moment to recap the exhilaration of a great learning experience. When I needed help with the Solutions Day launch video, I turned to the techie I can always count on to get me up-to-speed in a hurry—my twelve-year-old. Watching my kids dive fearlessly into the deep end of technology ...
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The board is the cream of the crop, and there is an A-list staff to match. Financial and volunteer resources are plentiful. All the elements for success are in place. But the association is not winning. Instead of accomplishing goals, the management team spends their time putting out fires, running interference and quelling frustration. What is the missing ingredient? An effective organizational culture is that powerful energizer that can mean the difference between progress and stagnation. It’s the invisible, but potent, force that makes the office either a place where employees develop what’s best in themselves and others or a situation so broken that negativity ...
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Are you looking for heart-pumping thrills, bold challenges and a totally unforgettable experience? Pass on the skydiving. Skip ziplining the rainforest, and nix the heliskiing trip to Patagonia. Writing a book will give you all that excitement and more. My business partner Kevin and I never imagined what an incredible journey our work on Association 4.0--Positioning for Success in an Era of Disruption , would be. The book was inspired by changes that we were seeing in our consulting business. When we were new entrepreneurs, you could fit the scope of technology into the same neat boxes that contained the hardware and software that made it ...
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A Better Burger?

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A classic branding lesson from a four-year-old Which is better? Pepsi or Coke? Mac or PC? McDonald’s or Burger King? Actually, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. And here’s why. Before consumers establish loyalties to brands they love, they first have to be drawn to that brand. And like “baby duck syndrome”—where a duckling imprints itself on its mother or the first mother substitute that it comes in contact with—our brand loyalties are often formed in the same way. According to Charlie Hughes and William Jeanes, authors of  Branding Iron , “Consumers admire and gravitate to companies that display a compelling vision—a vision executed in ...
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Readers are too busy and have too many choices to invest in content that isn’t relevant or targeted to them—no matter how great the content may be. To be the valued and preferred source of information for your customers, it requires developing a comprehensive communications plan—and making this a priority for your organization.   During the  Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting , June 25-27 in Washington, D.C., I’ll reveal what it takes to create a comprehensive communication plan. I will co-present on this topic with Meg White, managing editor of REALTOR Magazine.  Can’t make the session? Here’s a sneak peek on the 7 steps it takes to achieve ...
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Have you been through a system implementation that took significantly more time or money than expected? Or that pitted team members—maybe even entire departments—against each other as the new system couldn’t accommodate everyone’s wish lists? Perhaps your less-than-ideal experience was due to duplicative work or efforts. While these experiences are fairly common, they don’t have to be the norm for your organization. During AMS Fest , June 6-7 in Chicago, we will present on “Frictionless Implementation: A Case for Early and Ongoing User Adoption and Change Management.” (AMS Fest is where association executives, AMS consultants, and AMS vendors will ...
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Attending the 2018 DigitalNow conference in Austin was a great experience. I was surrounded by the uber game-changers, innovators, and disrupters in the association industry. Artificial intelligence, eco mapping, and voice interaction played supporting roles, but digital transformation was the star. If you’re not as immersed in all things technical as I am, you might be wondering what that means. Are associations migrating to a digisphere where cyborgs and bots will replace us lowly humans? Well, not yet, at least. Conference thought leaders describe digital transformation like this: . . .the convergence of digital technologies applied to organizational ...
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Even if your desk is a kitchen table and business casual means PJs, your company’s communications can still impress like Madison Avenue. Technology has made this the age of the entrepreneur. Whether you are a small business or association or just anyone trying to use their budget wisely, you can take advantage of an array of free or inexpensive software designed to give a dowdy marketing program a Hollywood make-over. I have used many of these low-cost options both in my work as a consultant with .orgSource and in my passion project .orgCommunity. Some of these tools have helped me to grow businesses beyond what I imagined was possible. Get Your ...
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It may be tough to imagine your association creating a 21st Century breakthrough product or services like Oculus Rift, Spotify or the Kindle. But it’s a reality that association business models are facing pressures that require innovation. These challenges come from many areas, including the impact of technology, changes in consumer behaviors, and more competition for customers’ attention, time and money. Through my experience with clients of all types and sizes, the associations that are “innovation ready” are the most likely to remain relevant and to continue to meet customers’ evolving needs. Being “innovation ready” means having the ...
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We’re celebrating AAPD because it has committed to a cavity-free youth through community-based initiatives in underserved areas and kid-focused programming. Association and history:  Founded in 1947,   the AAPD   is a not-for-profit professional membership association representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry and is the recognized authority on children’s oral health. As advocates for children’s oral health, the AAPD promotes evidence-based policies and clinical guidelines; educates and informs policymakers, parents and guardians, and other health care professionals; fosters research; and provides continuing professional education for pediatric ...
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When asked about writing for digital platforms, three “Fs” always come to mind: fast, front-loaded and friendly content. “Fast” means making information quick to find and digestible; “front-loaded” refers to revealing up front what the topic is about and why it’s valuable to the reader ; and “friendly” indicates writing in a conversational tone. But perhaps most important these days is a fourth “F” – “findable.” Content that gets noticed on search engines is successful content. With Google processing 40,000 queries every second, according to Internet Live Stats, you must ensure your content rises to the top of online searches. How can you get your content ...
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