An Executive Director's point of view
February 27, 2015: Understand your members
But you do have to understand what your members want, why they want it, and how they can be successful at it.
So be an expert in your business - management, marketing, meeting planning, editing, etc. - and use your expertise to help your members succeed in their business.
February 24, 2015: Direct mail benefits
Plus, direct mail often drives people to your web site. Watch for spikes in unique visitors after you've mailed.
February 19, 2015: Hotel perks
February 17, 2015: Avoiding contact
A recorded welcome invites people to leave a message or be directed to a specific staff person. But it does not allow anybody to contact a department or to identify a person responsible for a particular organizational activity.
So, the choice is - know the name of the person you are calling, or just leave your message in a general bin and hope for the best.
But your answering system should not be built around evading people whom you don't know and may not wish to speak with.
Perhaps a media representative or government official is trying to call and doesn't want to be dumped into an anonymous inbox. Or a colleague from another association wants to chat with you about collaboration on a future project.
Always make it easy to be contacted.
February 12, 2015: Words to use in email subject lines
Here's what researchers have found that works and doesn't work.
February 10, 2015: When women speak
February 05, 2015: How to meet with members of Congress
Remember that a meeting may only last 15 minutes, so be focused and quick. And a printed leave-behind should be simple and short. Otherwise, it won't be read.
One more thing. When seeking support for your issue, tell how the member of Congress will benefit by voting a certain way, not how you or your organization will benefit.
And recognize that your meeting is only one part of an effort to gain support. Representatives are subject to a variety of influences, and the subject matter of the bill may not even be one of them.
January 29, 2015: Tricking customers (and members)
Sales campaigns often utilize exaggerated claims, misleading representations, and sometimes even false "facts" to grab customers' attention and to persuade them to buy things they might not have bought if they knew the truth.
Such tactics as implying a success rate that is very unlikely to be achieved, listing an irrelevant title on the subject line of an email message, hiding the price of a product until the final page of an online sales pitch, disguising mailings by making them appear to have been sent by "official" sources, posting fake testimonials, and deliberately confusing the organization with a similarly named one, are just a few of the many deceptions employed by dishonest sales people in both profit and not-for-profit settings to pry money from the hands of their targets.
If you are selling something that has no value, those shady strategies may suit you.
But if your product (or association) does have value, you should not have to lie or mislead people to make a sale.
Tell prospective customers what they'll receive for their payment and tell them how they really will benefit.
If you can't make a sale that way, then you should create more value - not cheat people.
January 20, 2015: The seat of power
It will enable you to better communicate with the Chair during the meeting, pass notes, discreetly offer direction, and interject comments when you feel it necessary.
It will also allow members to observe you as part of the leadership team, and help them recognize and accept your authority in the association.
If you don't get along with the Board Chair, sit far enough away so you cannot easily be interrupted or prevented from speaking, but close enough to command attention when you want to participate.
When you sit at the front of a meeting table or room, it is clear that you are in charge (even if you are not chairing the meeting). When you sit somewhere else, it lessens your importance in the eyes of others.