Thursday, March 27, 2008

Unsubscribing

Somehow, I find many enewsletters in my inbox that I never signed up for. As I was just unsubscribing from one, I had an interesting wrinkle. The web page I used to unsubscribe asked me what state I was in. This is the first time I have had to put in any info (besides the address to unsubscribe) in order to get off a list. Does this now mean I will be on a different list for just my state events/news? Who knows? However, I did find it an interesting way to get more info from your list. I believe most people would answer at least 1 demographic question in order to unsubscribe, probably a few.

Fast Company

I am a big fan of Fast Company magazine. In their latest issue, with Barack on the cover, they mentioned launching their new website complete with social network on www.fastcompany.com. I had to check it out.

Looks like it will be cool when enough folks get on board. I joined the group: Nonprofits & Associations - Company of Friends.

I guess they built it using open source Drupal, like what I used in starting ANPMP. I know, I haven't done anything more with it, but I just haven't had time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How you treat your members

I went into a bank for the first time in I don't know how long. I always use ATMs and online banking, but today I needed a cashier's check. As I waited in line, watching the tellers shuffle back and forth behind the counter (wondering who they were helping), it made me think about how associations treat their members. If you have an eMembership or a large number of members who do a majority of their association stuff online, what is the experience you give them when they do come to you in person? Is it just like the experience your other members have (the folks who come into the bank every week)? Should it be?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Understanding

Seth Godin has a great post/challenge about learning new things. Could your association provide a quick daily/weekly nugget helping members learn something? I bet this would be easier than you think and get members to check your site daily/weekly.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Legal Stuff

Everytime I hear people talk about social media, liability issues are raised. Thanks to Ben for his Craigslist update. I have linked to other sites as well.

What drives me nuts right now, is that I haven't seen or heard about any definitive rulings with regards to social media liability. If everyone's so worried about it, why isn't there a magic bullet ruling/terms and conditions/waiver/how-to?

Or is it everyone's worried, but no one has sued, so no one has done anything about it? Yes, there was a Craigslist suit, but any out there in association land? Any law associations want to step up and take a stab at this?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Back From Travel, Again

I am now back from my short, 3-day Florida trip. Ah, the sun and nice weather. We held a quick regional meeting for our members. We have been doing these with good success for a few years now. Nothing beats a chance to ask your members what their industry issues are, and how you as an association can help. They love it. You get great info, and they leave feeling like you care. Plus, you have faces with member names, and they now know your face. It is beautiful.

Luckily, I have no travel in April as I wait for child #1 (due date April 5). So, if things get slow around here, it is because the baby is keeping me away.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Association 3.0

I just got a chance to read Jeff's article "Beyond Today".

One paragraph stands out to me:

In a long-tail world filled with an infinite number of niches, choice is now a paramount business consideration for all organizations. If Association 3.0 is going to be an attractive and worthwhile opportunity for diverse people and perspectives, we must make it easier for those individuals and ideas to find a home in our organizations. By creating more choices for how that can happen through new forms of collaborative engagement, we can increase the total surface area of our associations and, in the process, make them more inclusive. Rather than being all things to all people, Association 3.0 can be a trusted community in which all interested contributors are welcome to follow their inspiration and pursue their aspirations.


I think this is the single hardest thing facing association professionals right now. How do I avoid trying to be all things to all people, but still create an environment where a diverse body of members can get the information, opportunities, benefits and services they want? And, how do I do this while simultaneously trying to grow my membership? It seems to be a bit of a paradox.

I hear people like Seth Godin talking about pushing past the Dip. Sometimes you have to know when to quit, or when to drop a program. But then how do you stay relevant to the few members who joined just for that program? Yes, you would hopefully have sold them on other valuable member benefits, but sometimes people join for one thing, and one thing only. As you continue to add new programs and benefits, they become harder and harder to manage. But if you don't add new things, you lose members because you aren't relevant any more.

The vicious cycle continues, and we must find a happy medium.

I am App'd Out, but not Blogged Out

Here are some other places you will find me lately:

PITV - with fellow bloggers Ben, Jeff and Maddie.

ANPMP - my open source association experiment.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I am getting app'd out

Maddie and Ben have posted recently about Twitter and other applications.

I think I am officially app'd out. I am signed up for way too many different web-applications. I can't remember if I joined some of them or not. I test drove some for a few days, then forgot about them. I keep reading blog posts about new, cool ones. I even had a co-worker show me bubbl.us yesterday. Very neat.

However, I think I have reached my limit. Anyone else feeling that way? How do you keep track of all the apps you have out there? Oh wait, someone is going to respond with another app that brings them all together for you, right?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thoughts from the Doctor's Office

I went to the doctor today, nothing serious, just needing a little check up and prescription. Anyway, I had two thoughts that came to mind, and I think I can apply them to the association world.

1) There was a magazine among the usual suspects in the waiting room, called Garden and Gun. What? Excuse me? Where is Fish and Bicycle? Two seemingly unrelated things in one magazine. Why? It has a subhead, which mentions something about the South. Ah-ha. Garden for the women. Guns for the men. A magazine that both can enjoy (part of).

Could you do that in your association? Put two seemingly different items together to reach a broader audience? Maybe someone won't come for just one, but if there was a second thing, even something they were only remotely interested in, would it be the clincher?

2) I waited at least 30 minutes before I was seen. That is 30 minutes after my appointment time. Why do they make appointments then? There were 4-5 other people waiting with me. The killer was that during my 1 hour total visit, I saw at least 5 drug reps visit. There may have been more that I missed during my 10 minutes in the exam room. 5 in one hour. Does that happen all day? If so, when does the doc see anyone? (I think he is a one man shop.) Oh wait, that is why we all have to wait so long. He has twice as many appointments - his patients and his drug reps.

Associations - be sure you know who your real customer is. Know who can wait and why you are really there. That may be my last visit to that doctor.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Your Meetings

Mike posted about lessons learned from his annual meeting. He mentions AV. I did this post back in July, but it still holds true.

1) If you are recording your sessions, don't chain your speakers to a mixer by using a hard wired lav mic. Spring for the wireless. Your speakers will thank you, and so will your attendees. No one likes to watch speakers who can't move more than 6 feet, and who are carrying a thick cable so they don't trip over it.

2) Make sure screens are places high enough so that people in the back of the room can see them. I was in a session where the speaker kept showing New Yorker cartoons, but unless you were in the first 2 rows, you couldn't read the captions at the bottom. Only 30 people out of 500 got the jokes.

3) Many times, you get what you pay for. Just because a computer rental company says they do AV and will bundle your package for a better price, doesn't mean it is the best deal. There is a big convergence going on between AV and IT, but they are still two distinct things.

Good luck with your meetings. And be sure not to forget the AV!