Ewald in Practice
Blog Home All Blogs

The Value in being the last one to leave - GUEST POST

Posted By Gene Sullivan, President of CAI-MN, Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Updated: Thursday, September 3, 2015

As a kid growing up, I remember hating anytime we went out somewhere as a family.  It didn’t matter if it was coffee hour after church, a wedding, a picnic, or the grocery store, we always seemed to be the last ones to leave.

The reason for this was because you could always find my father striking up a conversation with someone he had never met before, and he was always interested in finding out who that person was, what they did for a living, or their views on a sundry of issues and matters.

Consequently, it seemed that people, and I mean everyone loved talking with my father.  At any gathering, he was a very popular man, and always in the center of any gathering.

Watching him as I did growing up, I came to realize the reason behind his popularity, my father had a genuine love of learning, and the sincere belief that he could always learn something from everyone.  That is what I think the satirist Will Rogers meant when he said “I never met a man I didn’t like!” 

That statement is the key to understanding and getting the value of this organization - CAI.

And what a rich resource it is!

From the articles written in our bi-monthly magazine Minnesota Community Living, to our Tradeshow.  From our educational events, to our social gatherings; there is always an opportunity to be a little sharper, a little more knowledgeable, a little more of an expert at the end of any gathering from the time you first walked in.

But the key is to never stop loving to learn. 

Next time you are at a CAI gathering, make it a point to meet someone you have never met before, and take some time to find out what they do, what they know, what is important to them.

That is what networking is really all about.  It is not going through and handing out your cards quickly to everyone and leaving, but trying to find something out you never know before.

The knowledge, the real life experiences of the members in this organization is amazing.  There is a lot we can learn from one another, because once again, in the words of Will Rogers “Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects!”

Tags:  associations  board member  networking 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Summer at Ewald: A reflection and farewell

Posted By Mattie Roesler, Intern at Ewald Consulting, Monday, August 31, 2015

When I started my internship with Ewald Consulting Group back in June, I had no idea what to expect. I would soon discover that at Ewald I had the freedom to develop my own summer learning experience, because the management team at Ewald encouraged the interns to take advantage of any opportunity we could. If we wanted to sit in on a sales presentation? No problem.  Develop a new social media campaign involving the company’s pet fish? Go for it. The more innovative the idea, the more excited our employers would be. I quickly learned that at Ewald, I was not just an intern, on call for coffee runs, shredding files, or moving boxes. I was a member of the Ewald Consulting team, where my ideas and time were just as valuable as the other employees. At risk of sounding like a love letter to all of my employers and coworkers, I simply wish to say thank you for giving me an environment to excel in I also wanted to share some of my favorite lessons and experiences.

1.       Ask and you shall receive

This is the biggest lesson I learned at Ewald. It took a little while for me to understand how to get the most out of my job here. Another intern, Erik Hillesheim, can take a lot of credit for this. He taught me to be assertive with my aspirations at the company by getting involved. At his urging, I asked if I could sit in on a Government Relations team meeting early in the summer. Without that meeting, where I discussed some of my potential career interests, I would not have been invited to the Special Legislative Session, nor would I have been asked to help with Google’s Anti-Sex Trafficking Conference where I met a large network of amazing people. This taught me a valuable lesson: people, especially employers, want you to have a great experience. However, they can’t help you if you are not assertive about your wishes. It will never hurt you to try. Thanks Erik.

 

2.       Business should never be too serious.

I think everyone at Ewald Consulting, especially my boss Paul Hanscom, lives by this motto. Whether it be cackling during a call-a-thon with the “funky fresh” sales-team, Yoga breaks in the Member Services department with Katie Wilkerson, or even just a meeting to plan membership outreach, people are always laughing. In business, laughter acts like oil- it keeps a business running smoothly.

 

3.       Learning isn’t always easy

As previously mentioned, business can be nothing but fun. Sometimes. Other times, I had to learn to roll up my sleeves and learn some hard lessons. Some days were full of database entry or angry members on the other end of a phone call. Sometimes I made mistakes in a document or forgot to send a report. This helped me to engrave Dave Ewald’s “Always Double-Check” policy into my mind forever. Learning is tough, because it is almost always preceded by a mistake. However, Ewald’s Marketing Director, Kate Madonna-Hindes, is the keeper of the Band-Aids for these moments. I heard her say more than once that the most you can do is own up to your mistake and keep on moving. Another sincere thank you goes to you, Kate.

 Along with these lessons, I will walk away from Ewald with an expanded network of business contacts, mentors, and above all else, friends. Thank you to everyone at this company who made this summer so rewarding. 

Tags:  association management  associations  internship 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Understanding Association Culture From The Eyes of a Millennial

Posted By Erik Hillesheim, Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Having worked in the association industry for about six months now, I’ve had the opportunity to see the ins and outs of a variety of associations. One of the most unique parts of associations is their culture. I was struck by an Associations Now article by Joe Rominiecki that says,

“Associations have a unique relationship with organizational culture, as the organization is at once a collection of employees and a collection of members. Though they overlap, that’s two very different scopes, internal and external, in which a culture exists and, importantly, in which it can be influenced. For-profit organizations, on the other hand, likely don’t worry much about changing their customers’ culture (as long as it involves buying).”

Culture is a complex beast that associations have to master in order to stay relevant. While benefits may differ among associations and across industries, a few key components of culture stay consistent across the board. Here’s my take on where they stand and how they’ll need to adapt in order to cater themselves to younger generations.

 

Networking

          Now: Through a few annual conferences and golf outings, associations allow members to connect with one another. This aspect is a big part of sharing industry findings and best practices. Members can make meaningful and lasting connections through sessions, round tables, and double bogeys.

          Soon: As much as older generations think we can’t hold a conversation with anyone without using FaceTime or Skype, it’s simply not true. In an ultra-connected world, networking has taken on an integral role in who we are. Ensuring that annual conferences provide opportunities for small group conversations and that associations offer opportunities for small meet ups outside of large scale events will be a huge benefit going forward. Associations must also integrate networking opportunities with technology. Twitter chats, webinars, and opportunities to submit articles/opinions are all great ways to promote networking.

 

Camaraderie

          Now: Very rarely can you recruit and retain members without a certain level of trust involved. Trust comes through interactions and time, both things that associations need to nurture. By hosting conferences, committee meetings, lunch and learns, and dinners, associations are trying to boost meaningful interactions between members.

          Soon: By offering more ways for members to interact open-endedly and pushing leading them towards these avenues, people will trust each other more, co-creating value within the association. Associations are doing a decent job offering in person interactions, but they must also think to create more roads for their members to drive down without needing a map. One way to boost trust through interactions is to use social media. By posting meaningful and useful content, members will start dialogues and push each other to participate, challenging industry standards and helping each other out. Trust =Retention.

 

Continuing education

            Now: Many associations are offering various courses, virtual and in person, to help professionals retain a wealth of updated knowledge that they can apply to their profession. They have begun to dabble in the ways of Webinars and online courses, in addition to informational sessions at annual events. This is a great first step that only needs some minor additions.

          Soon: Associations are starting to adopt the correct platforms to cater to millennials, they just need to continue promoting these platforms in new ways. Making sure that they are easily accessible and promoted widely on the interwebs is essential to continuing education initiatives. Another important point to make is that younger generations are fascinated about thinking differently and in an innovative way. The cookie cutter continuing education session won’t cut it. Try to think horizontally in your industry. How could you create an interesting session or webinar that is related to something hot in a similar industry and apply it to your member’s day to day? Associations are just like any other business; they must innovate.

 

 

In order to capture millennials and ensure your association stays relevant you must constantly be looking on the horizon for new and exciting areas to explore. I’d love to hear how you’ve been able to adapt as an association to appeal to a wide variety of generations.

 

Sources:

Rominiecki, Joe. "Where Membership and Culture Meet." RSS 20. Associations Now, 07 Jan. 2015. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Tags:  associations  culture  millennials 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The Top Five Infographics for Associations

Posted By Mattie Roesler, Monday, August 17, 2015

As an Association Management group, Ewald Consulting oversees and develops strategy for many of our clients. This means, we get access to some of the most relevant information FOR associations, provided BY other associations! We thought it would be exciting to share some of the helpful findings we’ve come across, and what better way to do it than through our favorite infographics? Special thanks to all the companies and websites that created them, cited below.

 A Day in the Life of a Small Staff Association

The many hats of Association employees

Sometimes it’s hard for members to understand the complications of running an association. This infographic lays out a perfect depiction of the challenges association employees conquer on a daily basis. And who doesn’t love these hats? (memberclicks.com)

What membership benefits do Millennials Value

What membership benefits do Millennials Value?

I’m sure you’re just as sick with this buzzword as we are, but in order for an association to stay relevant it must cater to millennials in addition to their current members. (www.exchanges.wiley.com)

Distanced Association vs. Engaged Association

Distanced Association vs. Engaged Association

Co-creating value within your association is a great way to keep members engaged and ensure your relevance. Nothing feels better than having your members come back year after year praising your association for the value it provides. This infographic does a great job sharing the difference between a distanced association and an engaged association. (Amanda Kaiser, www.smoothpath.net)



Non-Profit Association tax breakdown

Non-Profit Association tax breakdown

Still a little confused on what your finance department is working on? This infographic is a fun way to spice up the topic of non-profit company taxes!  (associationsNOW.com)

5 ways to use promotional products

5 ways to use promotional products

Though many associations have a system for promotional products, this infographic gives some innovative suggestions on the most effective ways to get a bang for your buck with  members and potential members! (www.4imprint.com)

Tags:  association management  associations  infographics 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Fish and Wits - Winston's Words of Wisdom

Posted By Winston the Betta Fish, Thursday, July 16, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

In July of 2015 Winston, a descendant of the first ever AMC Fish, was born into the Ewald family. Winston’s blood line traces back many generations to the creation of associations. His wisdom was lost at some point during the 18th century until he was recently rediscovered in a small river in Thailand. He has come to us to share the best association insight that can be found on the web. Each week he shall select 3-5 articles that prove most useful to association professionals all around the world. Here is what Winston has to say about this week’s articles:

 

1. “Our first article this week comes from a white paper released in May of 2015. ‘Leading Engagement From The Outside In: Become an Indispensable Partner in Your Members’ Success’ is a must read for all association executives. It challenges typical engagement strategies focusing on what association executives value, not members. By turning engagement on its head, Caraveli and Engel are able to give associations new ways to think about engaging their members.” Read this whitepaper here

2. “Another great read this week was an Associations Now article about hiring leaders from within and outside of your organization. It seems as though every association grapples with this tough question. On one hand you have the person who knows the ins and outs of how the association runs and on the other you have a fresh set of eyes and a higher level of understanding of management. Has your association faced a similar dilemma? We’d love to hear about it” Read the article here

3. “Last but certainly not least was an article by Adrian Segar about we are all wasting time being perfect. He introduces the idea of “risky learning”, or ‘[trying] new things with the certainty that we will learn something different, perhaps something important that we would not have learned via a “safe” process, and [being] prepared for the possibility to “fail” in ways that teach us something new and fresh about our process.’ He gives a very interesting perspective that you can bring back to your association!” Check out the piece here

 

If you have any articles that you think Winston may not have seen feel free to email his assistant, Erik, at erikh@ewald.com. They’ll be sure to review your article and share it with the world!

Tags:  articles  association management  associations  marketing  Winston 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The President’s Role at Conferences

Posted By Paul Hanscom, CAE, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, Ewald Consulting, Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Annual Conference is the normally the largest assembly of your members in one location throughout the year. It is an opportunity for exchanging ideas, making connections, and advancing the state of the industry. As the “chief volunteer,” you have a unique role in facilitating each of these elements of the conference experience, all while allowing your conference planning team to take the lead in hosting the event.

 

Chief Ambassador

The annual conference draws new members, first-time attendees, and guest speakers from all over. These individuals likely do not have a well-established foothold in the association community and will seek opportunities to connect with anyone they recognize in the crowd. As the face of the organization, you are uniquely qualified to reach out to these individuals, welcome them to the event, and help them to make a connection with someone. Those who experience an event for the first time and develop a sense of belonging/connection will be much more likely to attend again in the future. Be sure to help these key individuals feel like an integral part of the conference community rather than experiencing it from a distance as an observer.

 

Discussion Facilitator

In the role of president, you become steeped in information and conversation about issues impacting the industry. You know your association members and conference attendees better than most and can serve to facilitate discussion between people who otherwise may not find a connection. Do not underestimate your ability to “grease the wheels” of industry communication by helping build relationships and foster ideas about how the industry you serve can grow, develop, and improve.

 

Steward of Recognition

Make time to connect with each sponsor and exhibitor representative and express appreciation for their support. This is also an opportunity to learn more about their interests and how they hope to continue gaining value from their support of the annual conference experience.

 

Find ways to recognize Past Presidents and industry leaders in attendance. You are one of the few people who know the full scope of contribution these people have made to the organization. Ensure that they are greeted appropriately and find a way to incorporate public recognition of their work as a way to inspire future leaders.

Tags:  association management  associations 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Signs Your Association Won’t Be Around in 8 Years

Posted By David Ewald, Monday, August 11, 2014
Untitled Document

The great advisor to CEOs, Marshall Goldsmith, wrote a book, What Got You Here, Won't Get You There. I have paraphrased that, saying often to my staff: "If we were doing business today the way we were eight years ago, we'd be out of business. And, if we are doing business eight years from now the way we are today, we will be out of business."  Every organization need to change, adapt and improve — associations are no exception. Organizations that fail to do so may not be entirely gone in eight years, but they will be well on the path to irrelevance.

Here are five signs that your association won’t be around in eight years:

  1. Failure by leaders to keep pace with technology (often blaming it on their age or budget).

    I'm amazed when well-paid people who have been in their careers for years admit, "I'm bad at technology". Take a class. Read a book. Hire someone. When the leaders give up on technology, so does everyone else. Problems with technology are one of the greatest morale busters in any organization.

  2. Failure to recognize that the world has changed.

    Unless we stay abreast of current trends and push our own organizations to be faster, better, smarter they will fall behind. The assumption that an organization can continue to do things the way it always has is a losing proposition and one guaranteed to fail. Other organizations are working hard to change, and improve. If you don't pay attention, you just don't realize it.

  3. Failure to confront recurring problems and solve them.

    Time and again, organizations find themselves dealing with the same problems: people, technology, product quality, systems, service quality. They talk about the problems with no resolution while often having their attention lured away by a new, "bright shiny object" — much to the frustration of their staff.

  4. Failure to invest in staff.

    Staffing is usually the largest budget item in an association. Not investing in finding great employees, then training and working hard to motivate them, is like trying to drive an IndyCar on wagon wheels. Those who are content with a weak staff are content with a weak organization. Find the best people you can, then give them what they need to do a good job, and do what you can to reward and retain them.

  5. Failure to harness the power of volunteers while directing the energy in a consistent direction.

    Like a fast-flowing river, volunteers provide the energy for an organization. Unchecked, that energy can overflow the banks and overwhelm operations. Unmotivated, the streambed dries up and the power goes away. Engage your volunteers.  Let them share in the joy of moving an organization forward.

Associations with their finger on the pulse of their members, our economy and world at large thrive and grow well. Those that do nothing more than stay the same quickly go the way of the buggy whip manufacturer. I'm planning on my business being here in eight years – how about you?

Tags:  association management  associations  business  david ewald  ewald consulting  success 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
KNOWLEDGE & RESOURCES

MANAGEMENT | View all Management articles
A Successful Year Starts with a Solid Budget by Bill Monn
Read full article

MARKETING | View all Marketing articles
9 Marketing Ideas for Your Organization by Kathie Pugaczewski
Read full article

MEMBERSHIP | View all Membership articles
A Holistic Approach to Membership Recruitment by Darrin Hubbard
Read full article

VOLUNTEERISM | View all Volunteerism articles
Three Ways to Stronger Volunteer Engagement by Paul Hanscom
Read full article

© 2018 Ewald Consulting | All rights reserved
1000 Westgate Drive, Suite 252 | St. Paul, MN 55114
p. (651) 290-6260 | f. (651) 290-2266

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal