10 Tips to Successful Exhibit, Sponsorship or Advertising Sales at Your Association

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Scott Oser, Scott Oser Associates

13 September 2013

1. Know your product(s) and audience(s) inside and out

2. Know your prospects and their needs

3. Hit the low hanging fruit first and often

4. Create a strong media/sales kit

5. Develop partners, not purchasers

6. Think creatively and create urgency in your offers

7. Market aggressively but respectfully

8. Make saying yes easy or try not to say no

9. Trust your salespeople

10. Keep things simple

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10 Things Members Want from Your Association Website

This week our speaker was Ray van Hilst, of Vanguard Technology. Download the attached summary with 10 Usability Tips to Improve Member Experience.

10 Things Members Want Handout

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 Mix-up the Media for Your Association

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Mix-up the Media for Your Association:
10 Things You Need to Know About Association Publishing
Presented by: Amy E. Lestition, Associate VP, Coulter
May 10, 2013

1) It’s all about content
2) Mix-up the Media: Develop an integrated publications program
3) Customer Driven: Identify key audiences and know their needs
4) Repurpose and recycle content
5) Define purpose of publications for both readers and advertisers
6) You are not your target audience
7) Design for Readability
8) Where’s the tipping point?
9) Financial Management: Clarify financial goals of a publication
10) Publications: Legal Issues

Bonus tips:
11) Delivery is Key: “If content is king, easy-to-use is queen.”
12) Don’t feel overwhelmed by all the technologies. Focus on the content.
13) Next Generation of Content Delivery
14) Invest in your content.
15) Invest in great writers and designers.
16) Collaborate as a team: Don’t keep communication/editorial/PR/sales staff in silos.
17) Educate your association on new technologies/delivery vehicles.

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Follow Up Questions: 12 April 2013

Working with the Board of Directors: 10 important areas of focus to insure optimum relations with, and service to, your Board

1. How does one solve the problem of a conflict between one board member with the ceo based on lobbying by a staff member wanting to grow in the society, but the ceo does not agree?

A: I am interpreting this question to mean that a member of the staff team and a member of the board together have a different vision for the society’s future than does the CEO. If this is the case, the key to a successful resolution will be open communication and straight talk. Each party should let the others know where they stand, without manipulation or distortion and give honest explanation for their point of view. In the end, the CEO, hopefully working with the Chief Elected Officer, will be responsible and accountable for making the final decision.

2. What is the title of this Steven Covey book you mentioned during the event?

A: “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey. http://www.speedoftrust.com

3. On the topic of troublesome or difficult board members, should the staff or chief staff officer be the “cops”? Who is the right person to approach or confront a troublesome board member?

A: Without question the Chief Staff Officer should take the lead in resolving the issue and finding the solution but not necessarily be the lead in approaching or confronting. The Chief Elected Officer would typically be the person to take the issue to the troublesome board member. And he/she may need some coaching or handholding from the CSO. However, peers will react much differently and be far more receptive when confronted by fellow board members (peers) than by the staff.

4. On the topic of Board’s role versus their committees, as a committee liaison to several association committees, what do I do if my committees don’t not have a written charge from the Board and the committee chair is not really sure what is expected of them by the board?

A: The Chief Staff Officer, working closely with the Chief Elected Officer will want to make sure each of the nonprofit’s committees and task forces have a specific charge. This will ensure everyone understands the desired deliverables. A committee’s charge would normally come from the organization’s strategic plan. If there is no plan, then the charge would come from the current budget. If the organization’s most senior officers can’t find a charge, then that committee or task force should not exist.

5. On the topic of board meeting minutes, should action items (things the board wants staff to work on) be a part of the official minutes?

A. No. Minutes are a record of the actions taken (or not taken) and the decisions or policies made. They should not contain action items. Instead, an action item list should be a separate document that can be appended to the minutes or stand alone to record staff or volunteer “to do” items.

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Working with your Board of Directors: Session Summary

Working with your Board of Directors Ten important areas of focus to insure good relationships with…and service to the Board

The four primary keys to successful board staff relationships are:

Trust, Performance, Communications, Professionalism

1. Role of the Board versus Role of the Staff – Board responsibilities and staff responsibilities – there are significant differences

2. Role of the Board versus Role of the Committees – The only purpose of any committee is to extend the work of the board. Committees have no power or authority beyond what is granted to them by the board.

3. Board Meeting Minutes – Minutes should simply record actions taken during meetings and convey a complete and precise understanding of these actions with a minimum of words, interpretations, or explanations.

4. What belongs in the Board Manual – Documents to support the board.

5. Strategic Planning – Board creates and sets the plan/staff manages and implements

6. Dealing with Difficult or Troublesome Board Members – a role best suited for the chief staff officer of the nonprofit

7. Staff interaction with Board Members – should always present the opportunity for staff to shine!

8. Tools for Good Board – Staff Communication – The importance of working in sync with your board

9. Board Meeting Best Practices – What the Directors expect from staff

10. Board Rosters and Calendars – How staff can make life easier for your board

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Follow Up Questions: 8 March 2013

I’m Afraid of Advocacy: 10 Things to Help you Understand Government Relations in Association Management

1.) What do you do if association members have conflicting ideas on what industry issues are top priority? What do you do if different parts of the association have conflicting ideas on what issues are the top priority?

That can be a challenge for any association. Ultimately, an association should trust its government relations staff in making the decision (in consultation with the CEO) based on what they’re hearing on Capitol Hill, the political climate, etc… They will be the staffers with the best intelligence on what will move during a congressional session and what may not. Most associations will have at least two or three issues as their top priority.

2.) Tips for getting primary staff member responsible for advocacy to speak in laymen’s terms (so that I can better share updates with members)?

Government relations staff should be aware that they communicate with different audiences all of the time. What may work with congressional or administration staff may not work with your membership. Have them explain the issue to you as if they were talking to the general public who has no prior knowledge of your association.

3.) At what point do you get your membership involved with a fly-in or phone call campaign?

From the beginning. You need to have your members understand the purpose for the fly-in or action alert. They won’t participate if they don’t have a clear understanding for the action being taken. Also, getting your most active members on board early can help spread the message to those who may not typically respond to your action alerts or fly-ins.

4.) Have you talked about incorporating social media into your advocacy efforts?

Great question! I think association government relations have only recently started utilizing social media into their advocacy efforts. I’ve seen associations use Twitter and Facebook to promote their priority issues, congressional briefings, etc… My organization has used Twitter for this purpose. My department recently started a blog and one of the first posts was about our government relations team. As more GR offices become comfortable with social media, we’ll see its use in advocacy grow.

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I’m Afraid of Advocacy: Session Summary

10 Things to Help you Understand Government Relations in Association Management

A. Advocacy refers to influencing policymakers. Lobbying refers to influencing policymakers in the support or defeat of a particular measure. Government Relations activities include advocacy and lobbying. Lobbying→Advocacy→Government Relations.

B. What happens on Capitol Hill will affect you either a staffer in an association or a member of one. Don’t ignore it.

C. Despite how you feel about politics, you must get involved. If you don’t advocate for your issues, who will?

D. What does a lobbyist do all day? Attend hearings, meetings with congressional staff, draft support letters and action alerts. Lobbying involves relationship building, strategic planning and community outreach.

E. Association government relations departments should not exist as an island onto itself. Collaborations with your membership or research department can prove to be valuable in a meeting on Capitol Hill.

F. To decide which issues your association will work on, you must develop a plan. That plan should prioritize the key issues you will work on while retaining flexibility to add or eliminate certain projects.

G. Yes, Congress can be a mess at times. The lack of compromise to continues to threaten the ability of association lobbyists to get any traction on their key issues. This is where grassroots advocacy (getting your association members involved in the legislative process through Hill visits), is important.

H. Technology has created a number of opportunities for association lobbyists. Through technology, lobbyists can get up to date information on what’s going on in the House or Senate while in meetings or out of down. Apps for smartphones and tablets can do everything from identifying our Member of Congress to finding the building cafeteria.

I. Social media use by Members of Congress continues to grow. Many use it to communicate with colleagues and their constituents. Social media is also an important tool for association government relations staff as we seek new ways to bring Congress’ attention to our issues.

J. Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take YEARS for the vast majority of bills to become law. Practice patience.

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