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I hate to see COVID-19 give remote work a bad rap. The ability to do business from anywhere gives you the superpower to slay disruption in its tracks. But only when you learn the rules.   Over the last few months, more than a few people feel as though work sabotaged their lives. The office abruptly moved into their homes along with school and the playground. It would be hard to imagine a worse scenario for making the switch to an online association. Organizations with long-standing remote work initiatives were islands of calm in the chaos. Those fortunate groups already had the opportunity to discover how to take their operations virtual.   Transitioning ...
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We’ve all had the feeling—You click to leave the Zoom meeting and your brain needs a refresh along with the computer screen. Here’s some not so surprising news. Zoom fatigue is real.   A study from Microsoft’s Human Factor’s Lab demonstrates that brainwave patterns associated with stress and overwork are higher during remote than in-person collaboration. But there is an interesting twist. The reverse is also true. People who first collaborate online seem to register more stress when they begin working together in person.   Enforced change is almost always uncomfortable. Work, an activity which for decades has been characterized by predictability, has ...
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As an entrepreneur who works in the association community, I’m always aware of the differences in these two worlds and the circumstances that influence their distinct perspectives. Associations are cautious diplomats. They try so hard to avoid a misstep that sometimes they don’t see the edge and fall off the cliff despite themselves. On the other hand, us entrepreneurs are bold upstarts. Our willingness to grasp at straws of opportunity can prove equally disastrous.   Neither group is immune to an extreme approach to risk; but, as the digital revolution continues destabilizing the business environment, it’s clear that to keep their balance associations need ...
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Did your organization leap or crawl into the virtual realm? The pandemic’s challenging circumstances demanded a quick transition that left many associations carrying unnecessary baggage to the other side. Trying to manage an analog culture in the digital marketplace requires heavy lifting. The new year brings an opportunity to lighten that load.   You may have acquired new software and added skills but having and using that technology does not equal integration into the digital environment. It only gives you the tools to get there. There is a significant difference between being digitized and digital. Gartner, the information and technology research consultancy, ...
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Are You Listening?

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It’s one thing when you choose to do your job at the kitchen table; It’s another to be stuck there without an alternative. By choice, the kitchen seems cozy.  When it’s the only space available—not so much. I make that distinction because remote work shouldn’t take all the fall for the perfectly understandable cultural stress occurring in many organizations.  Now more than ever, the need for listening comes to the fore.   If you are a leader who understands the connection between a positive culture and success, you’re probably communicating with your staff with greater frequency and intention than ever. And, undoubtedly, you’re listening more often than talking. ...
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Can you guess the answer to this question? Virginia (Ginni) Rometty, Executive Chairman of IBM, recommended making these critical marketing shifts within the next 18 months or risk being left in the dust: Move the focus from market segmentation to the individual customer. “Create systems of engagement” that go beyond reaching out to tracking brand and customer interactions over time and using that information to “maximize value creation at every touch point.” Promote authenticity and transparency by aligning brand and culture.   What year was it?   Surprisingly, Rometty made these remarks in February 2013. She was speaking to CMOs and CIOs ...
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This message appeared on my phone the other day: Hi Kristina: I’ve been waiting for you. I’m Rose Resident Mischief-Maker at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. As your virtual hook-up, just text me for housekeeping requests, restaurant reservations, room service orders, guest services, and more. Just reply Rose and I’ll show you everything I can do. Aside from the fact that an imperfectly programmed human missed a digit in Kristina’s phone number and sent the AI on a futile mission, this was a good example of pandemic adaptation. It signals what the future holds not only for hotels but for industry across the board. Rose will only grow smarter and smarter ...
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Most of us won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving as usual. Gatherings will be a slimmer version of the traditional mega feast. There’s no need to hunt down the extra table leaf and chairs. The good news is maybe Uncle Harry, who you love to hate, won’t be there. The bad news is that you’ll probably miss him more than you think. You might even imagine yourself saying, “Sure, Harry, enjoy that cigar. Nobody minds a little smoke.”   We’ve had eight months to get used to separation, but it remains stressful and difficult, perhaps more so than ever. Like me, you’ve probably found your bright spots and moments for gratitude. Although I would be thrilled if my daughters ...
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This article originally appeared in the  Fall 2020 issue of VantagePoint magazine , the quarterly publication of WSAE. Author Amanda VanNatta, CPA, is Senior Manager at Wegner CPAs, a WSAE member. Net income received by a tax-exempt organization may be subject to federal corporate income taxation if the income is generated by the performance of an activity that is a trade or business, is regularly carried on, and is not substantially related to the organization’s tax exempt purpose. One area of debate has been whether an organization’s production of a convention or trade show was an activity that was substantially related to the organization’s tax-exempt ...
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Networking is one of my favorite conference activities. Meeting someone who expands my horizons or helping a colleague make a critical connection, is satisfying in a way that’s hard to beat. It’s not as easy to experience that glow in cyberspace. Nowhere is the gulf between an in-person and a virtual encounter more important to bridge than with the sponsors whose financial support is a critical component of association meetings. Results of a recent .orgSource survey highlight the challenge that many organizations have producing robust ROI in virtual venues. Respondents reported that although online participation has increased, those gains were not matched ...
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The pandemic ended breakroom chats, Friday happy hour, and pizza around the conference table. But there is a bright side. We are learning to be remote together. We can draw on each other’s ups, downs, and sometimes sideways experiences to grow stronger and smarter.   .orgCommunity , .orgSource’s networking and educational partner, is hosting a series of “Critical Conversations.”  These events are an opportunity to discuss how .orgCommunity members are coping with the intersection of work, home, family, and adjustments that are necessary to lead their associations through this uncharted territory.    I’m sure there are other leaders wrestling with the ...
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Why did I use this cute pup to illustrate my post? You know what they say about babies and dogs, they get people to pay attention, and this message is important.   Several weeks ago, I wrote about the results of a survey .orgSource conducted. That’s another reason for the dog. Survey results tend to make readers’ eyes glaze over. But stay with me. I want to talk about bringing a breath of fresh air into stale scenarios and looking at routines through new eyes.   The survey goal was to learn how associations are being impacted by the pandemic and how they are preparing for the future. Based on the responses, most groups are navigating through this disruption. ...
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There’s low-fat, chipotle-spiked, lime-laced, dairy-free, and enriched with avocado. Mayonnaise isn’t alone in its overwhelming diversity. An explosion of products can make selection, especially something as significant as a new association management system, a black hole that drains organizational resources. For small associations (10 employees or less) that don’t have the bandwidth or the budget to spend on power shopping, the array of choices can be especially frustrating.   Back in the olden days, say ten years ago, choice wasn’t a problem because the options were limited. Much of the software designed for associations was high-ticket (think at least ...
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Bugs and ghostly echoes are fun on Halloween. But don’t let unanticipated hauntings turn your virtual conference into a scare-fest instead of a success. On October 22, my business partner, Kevin Ordonez,, and I will host a webinar to tell you how to stop the vampires and ghouls from invading your online event space.   Our panel which includes, Joanna Pineda , Founder, CEO and Chief Trouble Maker, Matrix Group International, Inc. .,   Arianna Rehak , CEO, Matchbox Virtual Media , and Dan Stevens , President, Workerbee.TV , are experts at virtual communications, marketing, and events.   The program comes on the heels of Solutions Day, .orgCommunity’s ...
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Is it déjà vu? Back in 2018, my business partner, Kevin Ordonez, and I wrote a book. It was the result of months of thinking about how associations would need to change in the digital age. When we named our work , Association 4.0: Positioning for Success in an Era of Disruption , little did we suspect, that in short order, our entire community would be living that title.   Fast forward to Solutions Day 2020 , .orgCommunity’s signature event. I presented the results of a survey that .orgSource conducted to assess the impact of that disruption. The pandemic has accelerated many of the trends .orgSource was already seeing on the horizon and has brought challenges ...
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The pandemic has elevated trends that were bit players to the big screen. This phenomenon was highlighted in the presentations at .orgCommunity’s recent Solutions Day . If you weren’t able to attend our signature event, no worries. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be writing about what I learned.   Associations stake their relevance, as well as large slices of budget pie, on providing quality professional development. So, staying in tune with the evolving education marketplace is critical. Sharon Rice, .orgSource’s Director of Business Strategy always has a finger on the pulse of the digital landscape. During her presentation, she shared her perspective ...
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“Your financial metrics can be great, but if dragons are all over your organization, eventually the village will burn.” Jon Wolske , former Culture Evangelist at Zappos, Zappos Tours Lead, and international speaker  I think, talk, and write a lot about organizational transformation. But I’m not always sure that the people who need to hear my message recognize themselves. Without a crisis looming, change may not seem worth the investment of effort, expense, and political capital. Unfortunately, by the time you discover the dragons, the village may have already gone up in smoke. So how do you know when to shift directions and which way to turn? The .orgSource ...
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Is your association— Offering education that’s in sync with the digital marketplace? Increasing ROI and engagement with video platforms? Using pandemic-proof technology to keep the connection with members strong? Following critical industry trends? Join innovators, problem-solvers, and opinion makers to discuss these and other compelling questions at .orgCommunity’s 2020 Solutions Day . Planning the Solutions Day program is always exciting. But this year we felt special urgency. So many organizations are struggling to adjust to new ways of doing business. Everyone’s time is precious. We wanted to offer effective recommendations and insights that ...
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“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . .” (at least that’s how March 2020 now feels), eyes tended to glaze over when I talked about business integration. Although the challenges of a global pandemic have made people listen more closely, I’m still not sure that everyone understands what this term means and why I evangelize the concept at every opportunity.  If associations are plagued by silos, it is because their leaders have seen them that way. That’s not due to poor judgement, it’s the result of an embedded system of operations that is difficult to shed.  But now we have been forced to look through a new lens.  Beyond Individual Systems Technology ...
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“Imagine a future where you have the information you need to answer your most critical business questions. A time when you have the confidence to address challenging problems and thrive. And, a culture where you can embrace change, and anticipate a positive result.” Sharon Rice, .orgSource’s Managing Director of Business Strategy, described that vision to participants at the organization’s September 2019 Solutions Day. Even light-years ago when we could actually attend a conference in person, Rice was contrasting this optimism with concern for the vulnerability of the association industry. Her recommendations have greater urgency than ever as more groups are ...
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