An Executive Director's point of view


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.

October 05, 2014: Using skills differently

Posted by: David M Patt
All CEOs need to be strategic thinkers.

In staffed organizations, they also need to be skilled at supervising and directing the people who carry out the details of the work.

In one-person offices, though, they need to know how to carry out those details because they're often the ones who have to do the work.

In one-person offices, the "staff" are volunteers - sometimes Board members - who may or may not always be available, may or may not do the work on time, and may or may not be good at what they do.

The CEO does not supervise or direct them, but instead coordinates (or tries to coordinate) and facilitates their activities. And the CEO cannot discipline them or fire them.

In staffed organizations, CEOs need political know-how to deal effectively with media, government, and other groups.

In one-person offices, CEOs need political know-how to deal effectively with volunteers so those folks will do what needs to be done, the way it needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

Same skills, different audiences.

October 01, 2014: Too many days

Posted by: David M Patt
A colleague was thinking of stretching the association's annual meeting from five days to six. I advised not to. I felt that attendees were already fatigued and many left before the end of the closing day (or even earlier).

Jack Wayman, founder of the Consumer Electronics Show, always kept his event short, despite the growth of the industry and the popularity of the show.

"Everybody used to ask, 'Why can the show be a full week?'" he related. "Because everybody has to go home and make a living, and fish, guests, and tradeshows smell after four days," he answered.

(Thanks to ASAE for pointing to the quote).

September 23, 2014: Don't build it

Category: Technology
Posted by: David M Patt
"...regardless of whatever math you've will always cost you more to build than to buy. You might just be paying the piper in a different way," says Andrew Ryan, CEO of MemberSuite, advising associations not to try to build their own AMS.

September 18, 2014: What's the WIG idea?

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
...Say no to good ideas so you can focus on great ideas...

That was the message of today's webinar hosted by Association Forum of Chicagoland.

(WIG = Wildly Important Goals)
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