An Executive Director's point of view


September 30, 2015: Self-promotion

Association conflict of interest forms usually require Board members to disclose affiliations that may put them in conflict, or create the appearance of conflict, with proposed organizational policies.

Regardless of how the conflict policy is phrased, though, the general aim is to always put the organization first.

Still, it's not unusual for some Board members to promote themselves or their colleagues by dishing out praise in minutes or committee reports. They may even list themselves as authors of association proclamations or reports, seeking public credit for what should be viewed as organizational actions.

You need to prevent that from happening. Those Board members may not realize (or may not care) that their actions make the association look less professional.

You could speak privately with them, invoke a procedure in the conflict policy, or send them the document they signed, with the relevant portion underlined. If you have the opportunity, you may simply edit out the information that you think does not belong, and deal with the complaints later.

Whatever path you follow, do whatever is possible to ensure that all association leaders (including you) put association needs ahead of their own needs.

September 28, 2015: Action, not position papers

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
If your organization seeks to influence a decision - public or private - it needs to determine how that decision will be made and how it can be influenced.

Announcing a policy position or publishing a journal, magazine, or newsletter article may be part of a larger advocacy strategy. But those activities, alone, are not enough.

To succeed, you must TAKE ACTION. Simply voicing your opinion is insufficient. You need to engage in activities that are likely to persuade decision-makers to adopt your position. And you need like-minded individuals and groups - including those outside of your industry or profession - to do the same.

Making speeches and issuing declarations is just not enough.

September 25, 2015: Fund-raising motiviation

Category: Fund-raising
Posted by: David M Patt
A recent article in Chronicle of Philanthropy claimed that a desire for "surprise" was the reason many donors contributed to organizations with whom they were unfamiliar.

I doubt that. It's more likely they wanted to give to organizations they didn't feel had established sources of financial support.

September 19, 2015: It's not about logos

Category: Sponsorship
Posted by: David M Patt
It's about connecting sponsors with your audiences.

Here are some activities that will benefit sponsors, associations, and association members.

September 16, 2015: Resolving staff conflict

When two employees or two departments are in conflict, don't stand aside and let them resolve the conflict themselves. If they could have done that, they would have.

If you are the CEO or supervisor, you need to step in and resolve that conflict in whatever way you think is best.

The two conflicting parties need to be working toward the same goal. If they are not, it may be because you, or somebody else, issued directives that are in conflict. Or, they may have interpreted their respective directives in ways that put them in conflict.

Whatever the reason, you have to ensure they are working toward the same association goal. So, intercede, say or do whatever you think will correct the problem, and then step back and let them do their jobs.

But don't wait for the conflict to resolve itself. You'll just be wasting time, fostering an environment of conflict rather than of cooperation, and possibly lose a valued person who was vanquished by a more aggressive colleague.

September 13, 2015: Moms with kids

Category: Meetings
Posted by: David M Patt
It may be easy to argue that professional conferences are for professionals, not for children.

But many professionals (especially women) often have no choice but to bring their kids to conferences.

Here's how some associations have dealt with that.

September 12, 2015: No gifts

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
Colleagues on ASAE Collaborate continue to discuss the issue of gifts (and differentiate them from bribes). They talk about when they think it is appropriate to accept gifts, and when it is not.

The same issue has been raised about bonus points and frequent flier miles.

I'm amazed at how many people think it is appropriate to accept gifts and that they even develop criteria to determine when to accept and when not to accept.

I don't think anybody should accept anything that is offered to them as a result of their association activities. If they can't turn down gifts, they should donate them to the organization and tell the giver of the gift that they've done that.

If a gift is accepted, it should accrue to the association, not to any individual.

September 09, 2015: You don't look busy

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
But I am. I'm thinking.

If you have to write a letter or a report, edit a newsletter, create a new project, or conduct any of a multitude of association tasks, you are likely to do a much better job if you think and plan first.

You don't have to "look busy." You can pace, stare out the window, bounce a ball off the wall (unless that disturbs your co-workers), play a video game, or do whatever stimulates your brain.

Don't start writing or creating until you're ready. The end product will be better.

September 08, 2015: Most and least liked industries

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
A recent Gallup poll asked respondents their opinions of specific American industries. These public perceptions often influence groups' lobbying, public relations, and fund-raising efforts and should be treated with importance.

I was surprised by the low ranking of the health care industry (I'm guessing people rated medical companies, not physicians or nurses) and the somewhat higher ranking of the automobile industry.

September 04, 2015: The price is right?

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
But what's the price?

I received an invite to an event that did not state the price. So, I assumed it was expensive.

I clicked "register now" and it took me to a page that provided more details about the event. But still, no price.

Normally, I would have deleted the invite at that point, but I was curious, so I continued, even though I no longer had any intention of registering.

After clicking "register now" (again), I found myself on a page that promised to tell me the price for the entire event and for individual portions of the event, in case I didn't want to attend the whole thing.

Only when I clicked one of those choices, was I given the price.

If you don't state the price up front, it gives the impression you are hiding it because you know it's too high.

If your event has value, you won't have to hide the price.
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