An Executive Director's point of view
June 27, 2016: Intern or volunteer?
The organization should be helping the student, not the other way around.
Unfortunately, interns are all too often assigned grunt work that won't teach them anything at all - stuffing envelopes, answering telephones, cleaning pantries, running errands.
Or, they may be assigned tasks that should be performed by paid staff, but no such staff exists. So, inexperienced students fill professional positions and work for free.
An internship should benefit the student, not the association. And it should not relieve the organization of the responsibility to pay for services - even if it can't afford to and even if the group pursues a "worthy" mission.
What is really happening in these situations is that students are receiving academic credit for volunteering (not for learning), and the organizations are lying by calling these arrangements internships.
June 16, 2016: Don't lie
Don't say your expo attracted 12,000 attendees when the truth is around 4,500.
Don't brag that your annual special event drew 2,000 participants when the real number was 700.
Don't report a magazine circulation of 50,000 when it is really a lot less - and can't be verified.
People often inflate figures - slightly.
But blatant lies will be uncovered quickly, and people will soon learn not to believe anything you say.
June 04, 2016: Pro bono attorneys
They should not cancel meetings with you because they have to meet with paying clients, and they should not ask for continuances in court cases because they are too busy to help you.
Also, put procedures in place for an orderly transfer, in case you have to replace them. Often, attorneys who work as in-house counsel (as opposed to working for a law firm) are not allowed to do pro bono work.
You need to be sure another attorney can pick up where the previous one left off, so your needs won't simply be dropped.
May 09, 2016: Freebies for VIPs
If the group is small and unlikely to grow quickly, such as past Presidents, founders, or a particular political leader, that may not pose a major problem.
But if you want to offer such a benefit to members over a certain age, long-standing members, judges, elected officials, or all former Board members, you make be taking a big financial hit.
It may be better to find other ways to honor these people.
April 19, 2016: Dump the grace period
You should do that for publications, too.
March 29, 2016: Investing in customers
"It is a philosophy to be embraced by every employee, from the CEO to the most recent hire."
And adopting that policy is a good investment for the association.
March 20, 2016: Quality, price, and service
I don't want to be wined and dined, offered gifts or perks, or given other incentives.
I don't want to hear the salesperson's personal story (even if it's true).
I don't care what school the salesperson attended, where that person grew up, or any other personal "connections" we may have.
I do not want to become the salesperson's friend.
I just want high quality, a reasonable price, and excellent service.
This is a business transaction, not a social encounter. So I stick to business.
February 12, 2016: Change your cell number
February 03, 2016: Out of sight, out of mind
Be sure to communicate with remote employees, traveling employees, part-time employees, independent contractors, and maybe some vendors or consultants, too.
Password changes, office closings, reimbursement processes, technology repair, travel policies, and myriad association matters need to be communicated to a whole lot of people.
Be sure to remember them all.
October 28, 2015: Early payment (too early)
Ask the member if the early payment had been intended. It often wasn't. The member may have forgotten the payment had already been made, and paid a second time.
Offer to refund the payment or add it for another year of dues - even if your group does not offer multi-year memberships. The member may actually opt for the extra year, rather than admit having made a mistake.
But always ask. It is fairer than simply pocketing the cash, and the member will appreciate having been asked.