Posts tagged #nonprofit

CSAE Annual Association Compensation Study Open Until May 6!

Should I ask for a raise? How much should we pay the new Membership Manager? Would offering flex days help us draw stronger job candidates?

Knowing how to structure staff salary and benefits can be a challenge for any association. Associations are unique, after all - It can be extremely challenging to find comparables that truly reflect your unique realities. 

The CSAE annual compensation survey closes Friday May 6! Participate today for big savings on the report and for the opportunity to pre-order your copy! 

Whether you are a national trade association with 20 staff or a small professional association with a part-time administrator, the annual CSAE association compensation and benefits study is a valuable tool that offers Canadian associations a unique opportunity to measure compensation against similar organizations across areas such as:

  • Staff Level and Experience
  • Age, Gender and Level of Education
  • Organization Type, Size and Geography

The survey is only open for a few more days. Don't miss out!

 

 

Back to The Future: Associations in 2010

The Associations 2025 Summit is coming up next week! http://bit.ly/1MnbCmG

It is a collaboration between The Portage Group, CSAE and a group of inspiring leaders from associations and businesses across Canada. Together in a fun and interactive format, we will explore the landscape of associations today and discuss what trends will shape the sector in the years to come.

I found this article from Carol-Anne dating back to 2010 where association professionals were asked to weigh in on what they think a successful association would look like five-to-six years into the future. Well that future is here. Lets explore if those prophecies have turned into reality.

I think that while tactics will evolve and achieving success will become more of a challenge than ever before, the things that will take an association to the top and keep it there will be the same as what they are now: In my version of the future, differentiation, innovation, value and engagement will continue to be the factors that make or break not-for-profits of all shapes and sizes.

Here are a few of the most crucial ways your Association should adapt to thrive: 

Customized Membership

The survivors will be those who are truly able to stand out from the crowd by being able to deliver value in a world where the term means something different to each member. In order to provide a unique experience that members can’t replicate elsewhere, membership and all that it involves will become more customizable. 

New Revenue Models

Increased competition from sources such as the internet and social media are allowing people to access networks and resources without having to pay a membership fee. Associations will increasingly have to give away for free a lot of what they have until now leaned on as their main sources of revenue.  Some real outside-of-the-box thinking will be needed to help associations figure out how to generate enough revenue to be able to achieve their mandates.

Flatter, Less Hierarchical Structures

Many associations today have structures that are left-over from the days when boomers joined right out of school and stayed until retirement. This multi-layered and bureaucratic structure doesn't fit in a world where people need access to information, resources and decision-makers immediately without having to jump through multiple hoops and gatekeepers. Future associations structures will be flatter so as to be more accessible, responsive and nimble.

Evolution of Volunteerism…and Engagement

The reality is that people are busier than ever before and have more things competing for their time. Social media will be a great tool for the innovative association looking to recruit, retain and engage.  The markedly ‘un-linear’ and transparent nature of this medium has real potential to help boost engagement among all stakeholder groups, from members and volunteers to staff, board members and donors.

Transparency Will No Longer Be An Option

As social media moves more into the foreground, non-transparency just won’t be an option anymore.  When associations mess up, they will have to face the music.  If you haven’t followed the Kiva.com saga, this charity is a great example of how social media makes this happen.  Here’s an article on the debate from the New York Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/09/business/global/09kiva.html?_r=1&src=tw)

The Great Age Divide

The baby boomer generation is retiring and will continue to have a significant impact on not-for-profits.  All of the stakeholder groups will start looking a lot younger - from association staff, board members to volunteers and donors. 

Helping members to attract ‘young blood’ to their industries, adjusting to the new leadership styles of a younger generation, and finding ways to transfer tacit knowledge between seasoned executives and young leaders are just some of the challenges associations will face in this arena.

So what do you think? Are these still the most relevant challenges happening in your association? How have you adapted?

We look forward to seeing your top leaders and up and comers in Toronto on April 19th. At Associations 2025 Summit!

Get ready to explore solutions and create change!

 

Your Association Will Look Very Different Ten Years From Now: What Are You Doing About It?

Reading this article on technology trends for 2016 got me thinking: It's hard to believe that just a decade ago, most of us had never heard of the term 'smartphone.'

Personally, I am always a little panicked when my phone is not within arm's reach. Also, I will admit that I have a slightly dysfunctional relationship with my GPS - which I have named Sneaky Suzy - and without whom I would (literally) be lost. I'm not proud...but I'm also not alone. Seventy-one percent of you sleep with your cell phones. Over sixty percent of you call, text or email from the washroom (!) You know who you are.

Did you know that by the end of 2016, nearly 2 billion people will have one of these little devices? We all know how much of an impact information technology is having on our society but how is your association translating it into new and innovative ways to deliver tangible member value?

Here are just a few of the ways some of the associations we have worked with recently are leveraging technology to meet member needs and solve member problems:

  • Using big data to truly understand current and prospective members so that associations can offer customized programs, services and communications
  • Mobile apps with easy and immediate access to tools, templates, information and other resources members can use on the job
  • Offering a ‘storefront’ on the association’s domain for smaller business members who want a web presence but who otherwise might not have the resources or know-how to develop one
  •  Easy-to-use systems for procurement and bidding
  • ‘Match-making’ applications that connect members to potential employees with a strong potential ‘fit’ to their needs and culture

The above is just the tip of the iceberg: What would you add to the list?

Beyond the continuous stream of disruptive innovation taking place, associations are facing a perfect storm of change in the environment inside which they operate. Leadership. Staff. Structure. Membership. Programs and Services...it's all going to look very different ten years from now.

Technology and member value is just one of the questions we will be looking at in April at the Associations 2025 Summit in Toronto - an opportunity not just to hear about what other leading associations are doing to position themselves for success into the future but to engage with your peers to address todays' evolving association environment.   Registration is open- don't miss this great event!

 

"Trend-Talk" - Young Professionals on The Future of Associations/Non-Profits

by Jack Shand; Executive Partner of The Portgage Group

In April, the Canadian Society of Association Executives (www.csae.com) will present a Summit on "Associations 2025". What must not-for-profit organizations be doing to ensure they thrive over the next decade and beyond? What will be the attributes of the successful association leader in 2025?

Is mastery in managing change a pre-requisite?

What will change...if anything?

Will cultural diversity be a factor in engaging future support? 

Is the sector a "sunset industry" being overtaken by more nimble, better-resourced competitors?

Building on the successful 'Ted-Talk' concept, the future leaders of associations and non-profits - current young(er) professionals running associations or aspiring to leadership roles - are being asked to identify those trends they think will have greatest importance and influence. It's called 'Trend-Talk'. 

What say you?

Posted on January 22, 2016 and filed under Trends, Leadership.

Using Big Data to Understand What Your Association's Members Are REALLY Thinking

Have you ever wondered what each of your association's members was really thinking?

Meet Jane, the association executive who was able to better target member segments at both a strategic and operational level by streamlining and making better use of big data and other member information...

Understanding What Nonprofits Do

By Jack Shand, Executive Partner. The Portage Group

In an earlier article on The Characteristics of Executive Leadership, I outlined what employees in the nonprofit sector do. But what do nonprofit organizations do?

First, two observations: Observation one is that many nonprofit organizations feel they are unique. Board leaders tell me this frequently when they are starting a hiring process for a new chief staff executive. Observation two is that many working in the nonprofit sector have struggled at some point in explaining exactly what it is their organization does, and how it adds value. Is it about reciting the mission statement perfectly?

So let's try and build understanding of what goes on in this sector and the "business" nonprofit organizations — associations and charities — are in.

Advocacy is a universal aim for organizations in the sector. Advocacy can focus on a myriad of audiences; it is not only about (and in some cases is not at all about) lobbying governments. Advocacy can be directed to promoting a profession, shaping legislation, engaging stakeholders, dialogue with and through media, or mobilizing a community.

The health charity advocates for better health, quality care, and an early cure. The social welfare organization advocates for better lives and better communities. The business association advocates for the conditions that are catalysts for jobs, investment, and a strong economy. The professional association advocates for better practices, higher standards, and quality performance. Think of an NGO, philanthropic cause, regulatory body, business or professional association and they are doing advocacy.

In my experience, the leaders and stakeholders of all nonprofits are asking that their interests be given influence, put on the map, and have a voice at the table.

Connectivity is the second universal goal shared by nonprofits. Since centuries before the Modern Era, in ancient Egypt and earlier, there is a rich and empowering history of people coalescing around an interest whether it be the arts, culture, or a trade. Indeed, isn't the principal aim of all nonprofit organizations to provide a forum for individuals to engage on matters they share in common? Look at the community cable television station announcements for local events. From places of worship, to sporting pursuits, to clubs, to fundraising events, in all cases it reinforces that the bringing together of people is alive and well. Networking in all its forms — B2B, social media, mentorship — is growing.

Education is the third business nonprofit organizations share. Organizations gather, house, produce and share knowledge. In the United States and Canada, associations and charities are a leading source of adult education and training, possibly second only to private and public educational institutions.

Consider the sizeable resources every city of consequence in the world devotes to attracting conventions, conferences, seminars, symposia, and workshops — events owned in many cases by associations.

For members of professions, from architects to zoologists, there is the impressive business of professional publications, accreditation, and certification that is developed and delivered by nonprofits. In fact for some time there has been a trend where professional associations and educational institutions are forming strategic alliances, including MBA programs, with curriculum in specialist tracks geared to human resource professionals, management consultants, insurance brokers and others.

There is a combined effect of this activity, recognized in constitutions and by democratic governments throughout the world. Nonprofit organizations are special, not in the unpleasant nuance of special interest, but because of the value associations and charities bring to society. Unconvinced? Then think of the tax-exempt status enjoyed by all organizations in this sector. Consider as well the privileged access the sector has to governments. Governments recognize that the organizations comprising this sector add real value to good policy making and to bettering society. Simply, nonprofit organizations contribute to and are needed by society, and their special role has been validated by governments. When you are next asked about what nonprofit organizations do, what your association or charity does, remember the valued work that we have in common:

Advocacy

Connectivity

Education

If you work for an association or a charity, here is our universal business card. It is a membership card we all share because it well symbolizes what nonprofit organizations do, our lead position doing it, and the passion we bring to our work.

© Jack Shand and The Portage Group 2015.

Toot Your Horn: Communicating Effectively in Member-Based Organizations

If you lead an association, you know its important that your members play a role in shaping your strategy and priorities....but being member-driven is just half of the battle. The other important and often overlooked piece has to do with communication.

It can be hard for organizations to make 'tooting their own horn' a priority, but the ability to communicate successfully to members about the results they are achieving on their behalf can spell the difference between good and outstanding in the association world.

Following are a few rules of thumb to consider when you're wrapping your head around how best to educate your members about all of the great things your association is accomplishing.

1. Show members that you are listening and that you actually care about what they have to say.  Let them know that you've heard them and plan on taking action based on their needs:

Example:  “The membership survey told us that you think we’re doing a great job providing relevant professional development programming but that we’re falling short in providing you with enough opportunities to network with your peers.  We’re listening and are working on a plan to raise the bar in this critical area.”

2. Demonstrate how you are taking action. Tell members in specific terms how their input is going to be used to turn their vision of the association into a reality:

Example: "Based on your input, we’ve updated our education program to include opportunities that are more relevant to your needs.  These will be launched this coming January and will include X, Y, Z."

 3. Show members the measurable results you have achieved: Keep your members up-to-date with your progress related to the goals you have set. Celebrate your accomplishments when you reach your targets and be honest and accountable when you fall short.

Example: "It has now been six months since we asked you to speak your mind in our member satisfaction survey. Since that time we set several ambitious goals designed to address your key concerns. Here’s an update on what we’ve achieved so far.

Government Relations Goal: Get a seat on X regulatory board by 2012.

Status: Achieved

Media Relations Goal: Members and/or representatives of the organization to be called on for expert advice at the national media level 12 times per year.

Status:  Ahead of schedule for 2015 with the association and its members appearing in national media 8 times in the first quarter.

Education Goal: Develop and fill six new workshops on the impact of the economy on our profession.

Status: First three workshops have been completed and were a great success. All were sold out. The remaining three sessions for this year are already 75% full."

4. Do your homework.

Make sure you understand what balance of communication works with your members. In other words, not only do you need to know what channels your members want used (email, social media, snail mail, MMS etc.), but how often they want to be touched by your association (once a month, weekly, daily). You also need to understand what type of messaging is most effective for the different segments of your membership.

 5. Tell them, tell them often and tell them again.

Communication to your members about what is happening in your association cannot be something done once or twice yearly. Depending on what you learned from #4, communication needs to be sent on a regular basis using different channels and with variety in the messaging to make sure the message ‘sticks’ to your various member groups.

Carol-Anne Moutinho is a Senior Consultant with The Portage Group

Turning Your Nonprofit Strategy Into A Reality: The Implementation Plan

As the saying goes, "failure to plan is planning to fail."  Just as important as your association or nonprofit's strategy is an implementation plan to put all of those great ideas into action! Here is a simple implementation plan template to help get the ball rolling in achieving your strategy.

First This, Then That: Why Your Association’s Team May Not Be Working to Its Full Potential

As leaders and contributors, we want to make things happen.  We need to make things happen.  On our watch revenues should be ramping, membership should be growing, and our organization’s influence should be expanding.  We develop strategy, equip the ship, and set sail.  And things go well… until perhaps they don’t.  Then, it seems, we have more questions than answers...