Association Management Blog

Winning Lessons from the World of Sports

Posted by Andy Freed on 5/14/14 4:00 AM

In Boston sports, these are “the good old days.” With the Sox winning championships, the Bruins contending for the Cup and Tom Brady slinging passes, it’s pretty fun to be a sports fan here. In honor of Boston sports, here’s what our four teams can teach associations:

From the Red Sox: “Know your role.” When a ball is hit up the middle in baseball, you never see the shortstop and second basemen collide as they both go for it. That’s because they know exactly where the other one will be.

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Topics: Operations, Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Governance, Association Management, Membership, Leadership, Experience, Standards

Scouting for Talent within Your Association Membership

Posted by Andy Freed on 12/4/13 3:41 AM

New York Yankees pitcher, Mariano Rivera, retired at the end of this baseball season. After all the years Rivera he’s spent in the league—he’s retiring at age 43—it’s easy to forget where he came from. But I won’t make you look it up. Rivera is a product of the New York Yankees farm system. (If you’re not a baseball fan, the farm system is a network of minor league teams that supports the major league teams—it’s where talent is developed).

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Topics: Operations, Governance, Association Management, Board of Directors, Membership, Experience, Association Management Company, Hiring an Association Management Company

Lessons in Association Management: How to Communicate Your Group’s Vision

Posted by Andy Freed on 11/27/13 3:38 AM

I recently read a great article in The New York Times about how challenging it will be for Microsoft to find its new CEO, given the diversity of businesses that the company represents. The article ends with a quote from Harvard Business School professor, David Yoffie:

“I think the fundamental question for the next CEO of Microsoft is, what is his vision for Microsoft?”

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Topics: Operations, Organizational Development, Governance, Board of Directors, Membership, Experience, Association Management Company, Hiring an Association Management Company

November 1963 Through the Lens of the Internet Age

Posted by Andy Freed on 11/22/13 2:00 AM

Walk past a newsstand and you can’t escape it. The 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination is on the cover of every magazine from Time to People. It’s a tragedy that I still can’t get my head around. And with everyone from Tom Brokaw to Kennedy’s former aides offering perspective this week, there’s little I can add to the commentary from a historical perspective.

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Topics: Technology, Leadership, Mobile, Experience, Association Management Company

Association Board Advice: 3 Rules for Strategic Service and Less Stress

Posted by Andy Freed on 11/13/13 3:30 AM


Some would say I’m a glutton for punishment. Others would say I must have some kind of a PowerPoint fetish. A small handful think I’m trying to do something good. But whatever the motivation, the reality is the same: in addition to attending dozens of monthly association Board meetings for Virtual’s clients, when the day is done I sit on several Boards myself.

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Topics: Operations, Membership, Leadership, Experience, Association Management Company

Conference Services: How They Can Improve Your Association Events

Posted by Andy Freed on 10/9/13 5:00 AM

Today’s remote conferencing tools and virtual events are great for going green and reducing travel spend—particularly if your working groups, association executives, or Board members are geographically dispersed. But there’s no real substitute for in-person gatherings. When you need to unite key people in your association—for training, strategizing, or promoting new initiatives—professional conference services can help.

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Topics: Operations, Meetings, Launching an Association, Increase Membership, Membership, Experience, Association Management Company

Will it Fly?

Posted by Greg Kohn on 3/19/13 7:20 PM

One of my favorite business books is Will it Fly by Thomas McKnight, who among other ventures helped create the popular newspaper USA Today. As a serial entrepreneur and investor, McKnight decided to publish a book to guide new business owners around common missteps and pitfalls when starting a new venture. Someday I'd like to write a version of this book just for associations [after all, just because you can create a 501(c)(6) organization, it doesn't mean you should.] Until I get around to that project, I've boiled my "Will It Fly -- Association Edition" list to four main topics:

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Topics: Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Launching an Association, Conference Planning, Membership, Association, strategic counsel, Budgeting, Experience

Who’s Running This Place?

Posted by Andy Freed on 3/4/13 6:18 AM

Last week, one of our clients, SAFECode, announced the hiring of a new Executive Director. Howard Schmidt, formerly the White House Cybersecurity Czar, has taken the helm. I have every confidence Howard will be a great success.

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Topics: Executive Director, Leadership, Association, Experience

Top Six Things to Look for in an Association Management Company

Posted by Andy Freed on 2/7/13 7:17 AM

At Virtual, half of our business is organizations we helped launch. And the other half comes to us from another AMC. This gives me a bit of a jaded view of other AMCs—after all, no one would be looking to switch if they’re current AMC was doing a great job. But it has given me a great window into some of the challenges that organizations face in working with AMCs, and as a result a good idea of some of the things that someone should look for in hiring an AMC. Here’s my top six.

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Topics: Starting an Association, Management, Launching an Association, Leadership, Experience, Association Management Company

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Andy Freed
President & CEO

Greg Kohn
Executive Vice President

Bruce Rogers
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