An Executive Director's point of view


October 30, 2014: Application fees and late fees

Category: Membership
Posted by: David M Patt
They aren't always justified.

Why should a person pay an extra fee to join an organization? What costs are incurred by the association? What did the member receive for that extra payment?

Why should a member pay a penalty for late renewal? Does the association spend more money to process a late renewal than it does for a timely renewal?

Does it really matter if a person claimed to be a member during the lapsed period? What would they gain? If the association cuts off benefits immediately, then the member did not benefit in any way during the non-paid time.

Is the purpose of a late fee merely to punish members and try to force them to renew on time?

Late fees for re-certification usually make sense. People use their credentials all of the time, so they should not be able to enjoy the benefits of doing so when they haven't paid.

But that situation is not that common in the case of membership. It seems like charging application fees and late fees are just a way for associations to squeeze more money out of members.

October 29, 2014: Micromanagers

Posted by: David M Patt
Here's a quiz you don't want to pass.

October 28, 2014: Overhead

Posted by: David M Patt
Overhead is not a dirty word.

October 27, 2014: Turnover is normal

Don't wring your hands over the problem of retaining quality employees. Many will leave no matter what you do.

Turnover is normal.

Unless your organization is a logical place for people to end their careers, expect your employees to always be moving up and out. Young people, in particular, will almost always move on - and they should. They are still exploring the industry or profession and may be growing faster than your association.

So, instead of trying to think of ways to keep them, make the most of them while there are here and help them hone the skills they'll use during the rest of their careers.

Develop a reputation for providing a high quality employee experience. And don't fret over turnover expenses. That's just the cost of doing business.

October 16, 2014: Better way to multitask

Posted by: David M Patt
Here's how one exec tries to multitask without neglecting those deserving attention.

October 15, 2014: Tell the truth

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
When changing policies about billing, refunds, membership, conference registration, or anything else, tell members, attendees, and customers the truth about why you are making the change.

Don't say you are improving their experience. If they complain about the change, the experience has not improved, and saying that it has makes your association appear misguided, uninformed, and just plain insulting.

Let them know that you database has been changed, or that you want to eliminate collection problems, or that people had abused previous policies, or that there just aren't enough buyers for the products you used to sell.

Always tell the truth.
Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Do many not-for-profits realize they often convey a negative image of themselves? Does that reinforce the stereotype of not-for-profits being unprofessional?
Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
If you are investing in sales and membership development and cutting back on customer and member services, you are making a big mistake.

The promise of great customer service is an excellent way to attract customers and members. And delivery of great customer service is an excellent way to retain those customers and members.

So, don't think of customer service as a money drain. Think of it as one of your association's most effective marketing tools.

October 12, 2014: Online shopping carts

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
Many people fail to complete online purchases. Here's why.

October 07, 2014: Big donor attitudes

Category: Fund-raising
Posted by: David M Patt
Big donors treat each situation differently. And they are often influenced by personal experiences.
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