An Executive Director's point of view


May 27, 2015: For men, too

Category: Culture
Posted by: David M Patt
When women are offered high-level, time-consuming jobs (especially those that require relocation), they often think first about the impact that position will have on their family life, specifically on the lives of their children.

Men should think about that, too.

Family matters are the responsibilities of both mom and dad.

May 26, 2015: Media contact

Even if you are knowledgeable about industry or professional issues, there may be situations in which the association can benefit from somebody else responding to a media request for information or for an interview.

A Board member (maybe even a non-Board member) may be an expert in the field, hail from the town where the media contact is based, or possess relevant experience dealing with the issue at hand. And sometimes, a member, rather than a staff person, will be better received by readers and listeners.

When handing off a contact to somebody else, be sure that person understands that s/he is speaking for the association and is not stating a personal opinion. Select somebody who is informed, articulate, and loyal to the organization.

Note: The Board Chair may not always be the most appropriate person for the task. And be aware that some Board Chairs are prohibited by their employers from speaking to the media.
Entrepreneurs often like to identify themselves as a "Founder." They want to showcase their accomplishments and let others know they have a serious stake in the organization. They want it understood that they aren't just employees who may work somewhere else tomorrow.

In not-for-profits, however, calling yourself the "Founder" is often a big, big negative.

It gives the impression that you are the sole decision-maker, that the Board of Directors merely rubber-stamps whatever you want, and that you are absolutely determined to ensure that your vision - perhaps the same one you conjured up years ago - will guide the organization.

The title "Founder" in a not-for-profit does not convey prestige and open-mindedness. Instead, it suggests dictatorship and inflexibility.

May 20, 2015: Run like a business?

Association professionals often strive to run their organizations "like a business."

But many, many businesses are not run in a "businesslike" fashion.

Many are managed ineptly, by inexperienced, untrained people. Some discriminate against those who are not white, Christian, or male. Others are dominated by one person (perhaps an owner), engage in inconsistent and (sometimes) unethical practices, or don't earn a profit.

So, what part of "like a business" are these association professionals thinking of?
Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
There's been a lot of criticism of Whole Foods Markets' new strategy targeting millennium shoppers.

Find out why.
Posted by: David M Patt
If your association provides exhibitors with a list of conference attendees, include an email address for everybody on that list.

Don't omit email because you don't want registrants to be inundated with messages they don't want. They can delete those, just as they can discard mailed flyers they don't want.

Providing exhibitors with an attendee list but making it difficult or expensive for them to contact the people on that list is hypocritical. You are telling them they can contact attendees when you know most of them really won't be able to.

So, if you don't want your people to be contacted, just don't give a list to the exhibitors.
Category: Employment
Posted by: David M Patt
If you search for jobs online, beware of the gimmicks employed by some job recruiters:

1. Charging applicants a fee to apply online for jobs. Most sites are free to applicants and only charge a fee to companies and organizations that are posting the jobs.

2. Not listing the names of the organizations that post jobs, only using generic terms to describe the groups. That makes it difficult to find other application venues (like the organization's web site) and forces applicants to apply for jobs from that site - and first pay a fee to view listings - without knowing to whom their applications are being sent.

3. Not mentioning the name of the organization within the job description, either.

4. Not identifying new postings, forcing applicants to repeatedly click the same posts they've already decided they don't want. That may generate more click-throughs for the recruiter, but wastes the applicant's time.

5. Belatedly posting old job ads (that may no longer be active) that have been copied from other sites.

It's fine to scour online job ads for opportunities, but you should also rely on contacts secured from colleagues or passed on from known sources.

When possible, apply for positions on the sites where they were originally posted. For association jobs, that is often through ASAE or allied associations, or on industry and professional job sites.

May 14, 2015: What's generation Z?

Posted by: David M Patt

May 13, 2015: Kid tech

Category: Technology
Posted by: David M Patt
Some people feel that too much tech use limits children's speech and language development.

May 12, 2015: Because it's cheap

Category: Technology
Posted by: David M Patt
An article about techniques for better managing the flood of electronic communications suggests that email is so useful for "its ability to work across various devices and integrate different services..."

But that's not the primary reason people use it. They use it because it's cheap and it's fast.

An email message can be transmitted instantly for free. You merely have to pay for a device (which you probably already own) and an email account (which is often free).

Unless you need an immediate response, it's faster and cheaper than a telephone call, cheaper and easier to send than a text, cheaper and more likely to be received than a fax, and cheaper and more timely than a mailed piece.

Cost (or lack of it) is the primary benefit of email.
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