Posts tagged #npo

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

Breaking Through the Status Quo: Challenging Your Organizational Limits

By Alan Ward We don’t know our limits until we push past them.

Is this true?  It sounds like it could be true.  If you asked me, though, if I knew my limits my automatic thinking answer would be “Yeah, pretty well.”  I more or less know what I can and cannot do.  Ergo, I probably know my limits.

My deeper thinking process, however, would question that conclusion.  All I really know is what I have done, what I have done well or not so well, and what I stay away from doing.  I know my experience, but not my limits.

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...

Stuck in a Rut? Four Ideas to Get the Juices Flowing at Your Next Association Staff or Board Meeting

Whether your association, charity or not-for-profit staff or board is on autopilot, or whether you are just stuck in a rut when it comes to coming up with an effective and creative way to address an opportunity, challenge or niggling problem, here are a few approaches you could try at your next meeting or board retreat.

New Beginnings: When to Quit Your Job

Applicants for a job will recognize that common interview question: “Why did you leave your last employer?”

In my consulting work I have discovered a number of valid reasons why one should consider moving on from a job. Years ago I did research on why good employees get fired and heard from executives on reasons why they should have left a job sooner. I've continued to talk with individuals who have exited a role because it was no longer the right job for them.

Here is a suggested list of factors that may point to the need to get on with that next chapter in your professional career.

Connecting the Dots: Communicating Association Strategy to Your Members

Most associations seek member feedback. Many take this feedback into account in their planning activities….but if this information doesn’t get back to members, all that hard work will have been for nothing. This in mind, there are a number of effective ways to communicate your association’s strategy as an ongoing means to keep members in the loop about what is happening and how their needs and priorities drive the agenda...

Do You Need A Survey to Tell You What Your Members Think?

Like many folks, you probably do a lot when it comes to gathering stakeholder feedback: You see and make a point of talking to members at association events. Perhaps you make it a habit to pick up the phone or drop in on members periodically to talk to them one-on-one. Maybe you even survey or poll them internally on their satisfaction with events, programs or new issues coming down the pipe.

These are all very important tools to keep your association connected to members on an ongoing basis...but what about when it comes to your planning activities?  Typically, member feedback is used as a peripheral driver of the process, if it's used at all.