An Executive Director's point of view


September 23, 2016: Still more job titles

In an effort to eliminate negative perceptions of certain groups of people, one organization renamed a position, "Coordinator of Diverse Learners."

I think that used to be the "Special Education Coordinator."

September 22, 2016: Relationships

Category: Sponsorship
Posted by: David M Patt
When signing a sponsor, securing a donor for a fund-raiser, or developing any other type of relationship with a corporate entity, be sure the company is the right fit for the organization. Don't just make a deal for the money.

Ask yourself these questions before you approach a company for support:

1. How is this company related to the work of my organization?

2. Will a relationship with this company anger any of my members?

3. Is this company identified with any activities, causes, or advocacy efforts, or does it espouse any beliefs that are in conflict with those of my organization?

4. Is this company identified with any activities, causes, or advocacy efforts, or does it espouse any beliefs that could negatively impact the public perception of my organization?

5. Will my organization have to say or do something it doesn't want to say or do?

When evaluating the answers to these questions, always put your members' needs first. And don't compromise your organization's integrity just because you need the dough.

September 21, 2016: Traveler pet peeves

Category: Travel
Posted by: David M Patt

September 15, 2016: Making certification cool

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt

September 12, 2016: The (non) performance appraisal

Category: Employment
Posted by: David M Patt
Association professionals are frequently entranced by fads, and one of the latest is the elimination of annual performance appraisals.

Some critics claim that too much time is spent by employers and employees preparing for a process that generates hard feelings and does not yield timely information that is useful for either of them.

That may often be true.

But it is absolutely necessary to evaluate employees, provide instant feedback, ensure they are doing their jobs appropriately, help them feel their roles are important to the association, and let them know their talents are appreciated.

So, call it whatever you want and structure it a different way than has been done in the past.

But don't abolish the process. You still need a method of evaluating employees, providing them with useful feedback, and understanding their concerns.

September 03, 2016: Listen!

Category: Membership
Posted by: David M Patt
Do what members want, not what you think they should want.

They may not want to participate in the activities you believe are best for them.

They may not want to opine on social media, ask questions at educational conferences, or attend meetings you think will be helpful to them.

They may not want to be "engaged" in the way you think they should.

So, don't wrack your brain for new and "innovative" programs (unless that's what members say they want). That won't improve member satisfaction, retention, or recruitment.

Just listen to your members and do for them what they want you to do for them.

September 02, 2016: Beware for-profit strategies

When scanning the for-profit world for management or planning ideas, keep this in mind:

For-profits exist to earn money. Their primary loyalty is to those who invested in the company (stockholders and investors) and expect a return on their investment.

Not-for-profits exist to deliver services. Their primary loyalty is to the people who purchased a service (members, conference attendees, customers) and want to benefit from the ability to utilize that service.

They are different types of organizations with different measures of success.

Don't allow yourself to be seduced by whatever makes the other one seem successful.

September 01, 2016: A downside of sponsorship

Category: Sponsorship
Posted by: David M Patt
Here's an explanation of how sponsorship may negatively impact charitable organizations.

August 31, 2016: Managing online stuff

When designating managers or administrators of web sites, social media, or other online venues, name at least two people to the position - and give both of them access - even if only one of them does all the work.

If only one person is named and that individual quits, is fired, leaves the Board, or just gets angry at the organization, there is a danger those sites will be managed inappropriately or not managed at all.

Those sites belong to the association, not to the webmaster, committee chair, Board, staff, or any other person. Make sure the association is in control of them.

August 30, 2016: Bad location

Posted by: David M Patt
Association employees whose offices move from suburban locations to urban downtowns will now be subject to increased costs and greater inconvenience.

Free parking may no longer be an option. Highways, streets, and public transit may be seriously congested during their commutes.

The association has harmed them economically and badly messed with their work regimens.

A better choice for association relocations may be to establish offices near the border of major cities. Select a site that offers easy access to suburbanites, free parking, and a public transit connection for city dwellers.

That will serve existing employees while also enabling the association to expand its connection to the local labor force.
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