Association Management Blog

Eye Chart

Posted by Andy Freed on 4/15/15 7:30 AM

One of the best things about having a great staff is that I find that I’m wrong more than I’m right. Often I have a belief about something, but my team has better information.

One great example of that was recently when we were working on a client web site. I saw the design and thought that too much material was “below the fold” of the first screen. Turns out my thinking was entirely wrong. 

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Topics: association management

Spring Cleaning

Posted by Andy Freed on 4/10/15 7:00 AM

After more than nine feet of snow in Boston, I saw something I haven’t seen a while this week. My lawn. And it wasn’t a pretty sight. All that snow brought gravel, matted leaves, trash and who knows what else on to my property. 

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Topics: Tech Consortia, Technical Process

The Right Tools for the Job

Posted by Joan Jacobs on 4/2/15 1:51 PM

Technology associations based on standards efforts share many common goals and challenges.  Over the years, through the shared experiences of literally hundreds of such efforts, a set of best practices has emerged, including strategies on:

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Topics: association management, Associations

Mobile Messaging Wildfire

Posted by Bruce Rogers on 3/25/15 7:00 AM

One of my favorite urban legends (actually a true story) concerns my business partner’s next-door neighbor’s teenage daughter and the quiet “little party” she planned to have while her parents were out of town. Now, bear in mind that the party was completely sanctioned and pre-approved by her parents.

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Topics: Operations, Technology, communications, Association Management Company

What happens when the magic is gone? And how to get it back!

Posted by Joan Jacobs on 3/17/15 8:00 AM

New organizations have an energy, an excitement, related to a new technology that has the promise to open up new global markets and significantly change or enhance the way companies or individuals use technology-based products or services. During the start-up phase, the founders likely have a clear vision as to the technology’s value, what benefits it will provide and a sense for how to differentiate the technology from both existing products and from other approaches being brokered by competitive coalitions. They want to build a collaborative organization that provides a role for large and small companies alike to contribute to the development of a standard(s), agree on a specification and get the word out quickly and effectively using all available communications tools. There is a sense of urgency: the more time that passes, the more likely it is that another solution could gain the competitive edge. Given a compelling message, competitors, contributors and adopters will come on board ready to write a check and volunteer resources to ensure that the technology gains maximum traction and that needed standards are in place to allow individual companies to develop and differentiate their products. The world can be a wonderful place for a new alliance or consortium.

Fast-forward three to five years down the road: the initial standards work has been completed and rolled out to the marketplace. There’s been some turnover in the leadership; some energetic founding Board members have left to pursue newer, more exciting areas. It’s become hard to get volunteers to sign up to head committees, working group attendance is down, membership renewals are lagging. Everyone agrees that a decision needs to be made on the future of the organization. Can it be resuscitated or is it time to shutter the doors?

This is a time when the leadership needs to take a good hard look at the organization and decide the best course of action, by working out the answers to tough questions like these:

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Topics: association management, Membership, Life Cycle, membership value

Think QUICK for Better Board Members

Posted by Andy Freed on 3/11/15 7:00 AM

I’ve written before about how Boards need to be willing to drop bad members from the Board. Deadwood can kill a Board.  But what makes a good Board member? Think QUICK. 

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Topics: association management companies, Association Boards

Nonprofit: Just a Tax Status

Posted by Andy Freed on 3/5/15 12:35 PM

If there’s one thing I’d like to change about working with nonprofits of all kinds, it’s the belief that nonprofits are somehow the “minor leagues” of organizations—that it’s ok for them to have deficits in leadership, operations or strategy that you wouldn’t see in a for profit corporation.

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Topics: Organizational Development, Association Management Company

Agenda Setting

Posted by Andy Freed on 2/10/15 7:00 AM

Ever really think about the agenda for a meeting? Often, agendas aren’t created with a lot of thought, they’re just a list of things that an association or consortium needs to cover in its meeting. But a properly structured agenda can be the difference between an effective meeting and one that drifts.

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Topics: Meeting, Associations, Association Boards

Demonstrate member value by frustrating your members

Posted by Greg Kohn on 2/4/15 7:00 AM

You’re right, that title seems really counterintuitive. Let’s be honest, it’s really never a good idea to frustrate your members. Ever. But a recent experience on my home front brought that concept to mind. Let me explain. 

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Topics: association management companies, membership value

Keep your Board members off email (at least during your meetings)

Posted by Greg Kohn on 1/21/15 12:50 PM

Are your in-person board meetings the ideal environment for your directors to do their email? (Or, worse, play the latest Angry Birds release?) Does your Board struggle to be conversational around critical or strategic topics? While every board is certainly different, below are some methods that have moved the needle within some of the most engagement-resistant groups: 

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Topics: meetings, association management, Board, Association Boards

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CONTRIBUTORS

ANDY FREED

President
Virtual, Inc.

GREG KOHN

Vice President of Client Services
Virtual, Inc.

BRUCE ROGERS

CEO
Virtual, Inc.

TERRY LOWNEY

COO, Senior Vice President
Virtual, Inc.

JOAN JACOBS

Director, Business Development
Virtual, Inc.

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