Association Management Blog

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

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

The Three “I”s of Successful Tech Associations

Posted by Greg Kohn on 5/1/14 2:43 AM

As someone who's worked around technology associations for a long time, I often get asked: "So what are the secret traits of the groups that are the most successful?" Quite honestly, these secrets traits aren't really so secret. In fact, I like to call them the three "I"s. All of the better-performing organizations I have worked with have had at least one of these traits; some of the great ones have had all three.

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Topics: Operations, Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Technology, Management, Membership, Leadership, Standards, Association Management Company

Your Choice: Change or Irrelevance

Posted by Andy Freed on 4/15/14 2:20 AM

One of my favorite quotes was when Eric Shinseki, then the Army Chief of Staff, now Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, said “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

I love that.

But boy, is it tough for a lot of associations to heed this advice. Many organizations are well on their way to irrelevance.

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Topics: Operations, Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Association Management, Technology, Launching an Association, Membership, Leadership, Association Boards

Old soldiers never die, they just fade away. So goes the adage.

Posted by Andy Freed on 4/2/14 2:00 AM

Well, for many Board members, “fading away” means unceremoniously dropping them off the Board. That’s why former Board members are often a trouble spot for organizations—someone goes from being “in the know” to “out in the cold.” The result: a one time key member—and often still influential one—becomes disenfranchised.

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Topics: Operations, Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Management, Board of Directors, Membership, Leadership, Association, BOD

Meetings 5.0: Five Ways to Improve Your Events

Posted by Andy Freed on 1/14/14 6:34 AM

This week I’m speaking on a panel at the New England Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what the session title is. But I know it has something to do with “innovations in meetings and programs.”

And while I’m not entirely sure of the topic, I’ve got some thoughts on how meetings are changing. Here’s my “high five.”

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Topics: Organizational Development, Governance, Association Management, Technology, Board of Directors, Conference Planning, Membership, Training, 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

Simple Truths About Strategic Planning for Your Professional Association

Posted by Andy Freed on 11/20/13 3:32 AM

Too many professional associations function without a strategic plan. And whether they know it or not, they suffer major consequences. Without strategic planning, an organization lurches from priority to priority, depending on who has the loudest voice at the Board table; volunteers are frustrated, and critical goals go unmet.

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Topics: Operations, Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Management, Conference Planning, Membership, Association, Association Management Company

Why Your Professional Association Needs a Strategic Plan…Right Now

Posted by Andy Freed on 10/2/13 5:00 AM

What’s an eight-letter word for association management? Strategy. And even though it should be the driving force behind your professional association’s agenda, strategic plans are often lacking in their most basic elements—including the imperative to stay current.

Meg Whitman once described the evolution of eBay’s strategic mission in observing that strategy meetings went from being

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Topics: Operations, Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Governance, Membership, Technical Process, Association Management Company, Hiring an 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

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Andy Freed
President & CEO

Greg Kohn
Executive Vice President

Bruce Rogers
Founder & Chairman

Terry Lowney
Senior Vice President, COO

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