In January 2002, Peter and I, on something of a whim, opened Mariner Management & Marketing. We had just both left our “day jobs” (Peter as EVP and me as Membership & Marketing Director for a trade association) at the close of 2001. We had a vision to create a new model for supporting association chapters. In came out of a belief that chapters are a critical link in the member value equation that too often falls short.
In 2004, there were 86,054 trade and professional associations, and 1,010,365 philanthropic or charitable organizations. Based on ASAE & The Center’s benchmarking data, we can predict that slightly less than half of the associations have some sort of component: that is a sub-entity which offers members a place to “gather” that relates to their location, discipline or interest within the overall organization.
That seemingly simple question related to association member chapters sparked what I hope will be a discussion around the real issue. The question was posted on the ASAE Component Relations discussion group by an association exec looking to bolster a case to her board to charge components for the cost of collecting their dues because it utilizes resources without reimbursement and incurs – again without reimbursement – credit card charges.
I propose that the wrong question is being asked.
A NY Times blog on the risks of continuing to apply an “industrial-age mind-set to 21st-century professionals” made me think of how we’re doing that to our chapters and member communities.
I have been working out with a trainer for several years now, but it wasn’t recently that I really began to see the results…I’m stronger, have more energy, and happily a bit thinner. How did I do it? By focusing on what I really wanted to achieve and on what I needed to do to get there
One of our clients is in the process of revamping its website. During this process, they also need to be re-thinking their communication and content strategies including their blog. So when I came upon Social Media Examiner's 5 Tips to Becoming a Top Blog in Your Industry, I jumped right in eager to see what Examiner had to say.
So I call the bank/ phone company/… to ask a question about my latest statement, for example, and I get a voice mail prompt to enter my account number. After several more auto-queries (and often quite a few expletives), I get a human on the other end of the line. The first question they ask is…”What is your account number?”
Volunteer-managed chapters often struggle with the question, “At what point do we need to hire outside help?” The answer depends on several factors including an honest, accurate assessment of what needs to be done. (Note, a full discussion of the latter is another blog post on the propensity of chapters to mis-define themselves simply as mini-versions of the national association and thus burden themselves with far too broad a task list.) The decision to outsource is driven by three questions that get at financial and human resources.
In the November issue of Popular Science (yes, sometimes I do more than look at the pictures!), there’s a great article about one of the world’s foremost network theorists, Albert-Lazlo Barabasi. He recently developed a program, which using cell towers as nodes, allowed him to predict, with 93% accuracy, an individual’s location within one square mile.
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