Ewald in Practice
Blog Home All Blogs

Branding: Visual Standards & Style Guides

Posted By Brian Fewell, Thursday, August 15, 2019

Branding

When people hear the word “brand,” they usually think about a logo, but a brand is so much more than that. Think about some of the biggest brands in the world and the first thing that comes to mind is not the logo, but the experiences people have with those brands. For example, Apple’s brand conjures images of sleek, minimalist product design, software that “just works,” and highly devoted customers.

Whether you realize it or not, your association has a brand too. Your brand comes across visually through emails, print collateral, and in the member experience: your value as an industry thought leader, your conference experience, and the quality of member services interactions.

A comprehensive visual standards and style guide is a fundamental part of your branding strategy. It provides direction on logo usage, color palette, and typography, as well as general guidance on use of taglines and writing style including brand voice.

Logo and Logo Usage

Logos provide an instantly recognizable means of identifying communications. A good logo is simple, distinct, and appropriate for your association. It should be easy to identify at multiple sizes and in different settings. You might have multiple versions of your logo: one with a tagline and one without; a version that includes just a graphic element and excludes your association name; and different formats for vertical and horizontal uses. For each of these, you need to have specific color variants: one for full-color applications, a grayscale or black-and-white version for single-color applications, and a white version for use against dark backgrounds.

Logo usage guidelines provide instructions for how the logo should be used and are intended to ensure that your logo isn’t altered in any way and that you control how it is used by both your organization and others who may be granted permission to use it.

Color Palette

A consistent color palette reinforces your brand. Your color palette should be appropriate for your brand identity. Different colors elicit different emotions, so think about what you want to convey. For instance, blue conveys feelings of calmness, trust, and professionalism, while orange feels energetic and outgoing. A good color palette should contain two to three primary colors (which may appear in your logo), as well as secondary colors that complement the primary colors and provide a broader set of colors for specific uses where a limited palette may not be adequate.

Once you’ve chosen your general color scheme, use the Pantone Matching System (PMS) to identify the exact colors you want to use. This system provides specific codes for thousands of colors. While the human eye is limited in how precisely it can perceive color and won’t notice subtle variations, using Pantone colors ensures that you are always using your brand’s specific color. Pantone colors are standardized for use in print and digital applications and allow you to communicate with printers and designers without having to guess about exactly how your colors will appear. After you’ve chosen your Pantone colors, you should also include the HEX code value for web use, and CMYK and RGB values for reference.

Typography

Official association communications, both print and digital should use consistent typography to reinforce your identity. Choose two or three fonts and outline specific uses for each typeface and style (e.g., serif/sans serif, bold, and italics).

In print applications, it is easy to ensure that everyone sees the font as intended, but digital fonts present some challenges. Font display can vary on some email clients and may depend on fonts that are installed on the reader’s computer.

Web fonts can make it easier to ensure that users are seeing the font you want them to online, but it’s recommended that you include widely available fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman in your visual standards as backups for situations where your chosen fonts are not available.

Additional Design Elements

Defining additional graphic elements for use in communications can create a more robust sense of your brand identity. This could include guidance on usage of stock photos, specific imagery choices, and basic graphic elements for use in headers and footers.

Written Content & Style

You may want to provide specific language for use when referring to your organization. This could include slogans, mission statement, and a description of your organization.

You should also choose a style manual for your written communication. A style manual provides detailed information about word usage, punctuation, abbreviations, and more. You may choose to supplement this style manual with your own details about the tone of your language or brand voice — for example, do you use exclamation points in your emails, or is your tone more reserved? These sorts of details help ensure that multiple writers can create copy that fits your organization’s brand. Commonly used style manuals include the AP Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style.

Additional Materials

Finally, you may want to specify the design of letterhead, business cards, and other print materials. This allows for consistent use of these materials in the event of staff turnover or if you change print vendors.

Your brand exists whether you realize it or not. If you aren’t putting effort into it, your brand might be “disorganized and detached from membership.” Creating a visual standards and style guide is a first step to codifying the details of your brand as it’s presented in your communications.

Don’t have a brand manual? Ewald Consulting can help you create one! Contact us at info@ewald.com.

Tags:  branding  logos  visual standards 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Analytic Trends in Associations Part I: General Trends

Posted By Mei Li Brown, Thursday, August 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Analytics can be confusing, but they don’t have to be. As we learned in our previous post, “How associations can use analytics to boost membership,” web analytics are vital to associations when it comes to retention and recruitment. Once you are utilizing your analytics to help retain and grow your membership, the next step is to determine if your association’s site is performing well.

According to Neil Patel, measuring the success of your webpage’s analytics will vary due to several factors including your business type, industry, and audience. To get this data, you need to consistently monitor your analytics to set your sites baseline averages and then work from there.

We conducted our own case study on association websites to help us measure association analytics. We pulled analytics from a sample of 42 associations from July 2017to August 2018 to gain insights into what the baselines were and gain perspective on trends. Here is what we discovered:  


association analytic trends


Users vs. New Users
We discovered that, most web visitors are new to the website and have lower engagement than returning visitors. It is important to keep in mind that a new visitor is counted as someone who accesses your site from a new browser or device. Visitors will also be counted new again if they clear their cache and cookies. While determining if a visitor really is “new” is not completely accurate, this data indicated that associations needed to focus on being more welcoming to non-members on the site instead of only advertising to members or people familiar with the association.

Sessions & Pageviews
The case study showed that most web visitors will only visit once or twice, but they engage in multiple pages per single session. Considering most web visitors are new, the session to visitor ratio was not surprising and roughly correlated with a ratio of 1:1. Pageviews, however, demonstrated that the average visitor engaged with the site since they are visiting multiple pages per session. This was a great data point and an indicator of drive on the websites.  

Avg. Session Duration & Avg. Time on Page
Throughout the study, we found that web visitors who stayed on the site have terrific time durations of engagement. For average durations and times on page, we recommend aiming for least 1 minute, 30 seconds per session and 30 seconds per single page. These time stamps created a nice baseline that indicated some sort of interaction occurred.

Bounce Rate
A hard truth was confirmed by the study, associations tend to have higher bounce rates.
In the Brafton 2017 Content Marketing Benchmark Report, they calculated the average bounce rate across sites to be 58.18%. In their data sample, they found that B2B had higher bounces than B2C. Our study calculated that the sample websites were averaging a bounce rate of 55.12% –very similar to the findings of Brafton.

So why do association sites have higher bounces? In general, these sites are loaded with multiple calls to action (CTAs) meaning they require the web visitor to have a strong actionable item (e.g. Read our Blog, Register Here, Join Today). Not many associations are selling products outside their events and membership, unlike most B2C websites, so visitors will either decide to engage with that they see or leave if it’s not what they’re looking for in the current moment, thus creating a bounce.

What does this all mean?
Don’t let all of the options and metrics overwhelm you so nothing is measured. Start with a few analytics, understand the implications and expand into deeper data after starting with key metrics.

One of the first places a potential member will look for information is on the website, so it is critical the website layout & content is reviewed and updated on a consistent basis.

Remember less is more! You don’t have to take away the feeling of exclusivity of your members. There are ways to make both groups feel catered to, including consistently refreshing your content to be relevant and simplifying the user experience. A confusing website will discourage people from exploring the site and can turn off potential and existing members if the messaging is not clear. We encourage you to utilize the baseline data from our case study to analyze your association’s website performance and discover where you can make improvements for your visitors.

TAGS: Analytics, Associations, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Case Study

Tags:  Analytics  Associations  Case Study  Content Marketing  Marketing Strategy 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

4 Marketing Tools You Need to Elevate Your Content

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Updated: Monday, August 5, 2019

If the image above is overwhelming, you are not alone. It is no secret that in the last few years there has been an explosion of marketing technology available. It is estimated in 2011, around 150 tools existed for marketing; in 2019, according to Chief Marketing Tech more than 7,040 marketing technology solutions on the market.


With such a large number of resources available it would be impossible for an organization to test them all, especially considering the multiple facets of marketing. Looking at the first image, you can see that there are generally agreed to be six areas of marketing technology: advertising and promotion, content and experience, social and relationships, commerce and sales, data, and management, all feeding into each other. If you have a strong data tool, you can then create better content and advertising for your target audience. If you have good content, you can build a social presence and create meaningful brand/client relationships online to inspire brand loyalty. No piece of marketing stands alone, but some need more attention than others to get you started, especially when it comes to content marketing. A content marketing strategy can establish your brand as a key resource and authority in the field, inspiring brand loyalty and driving membership. The cornerstone of this strategy of course is strong, relevant content that catches the reader from the start and draws them in. For many, the task of creating the content is daunting and overwhelming.

To help, we have curated some of the top content tools to help you get started. With these tools you can research hot trending topics and even make sure your headlines are optimized to drive traffic, shares and search results!

Quora
Quora is a question-and-answer website where the public will ask and answer questions. Users can collaborate by suggesting edits to answers. It is touted as “a place to share knowledge and better understand the world.” For content creators it is a great starting point to see what questions are being asked about a topic or keyword. For example, a quick search for “content marketing” on the platform returns hundreds of results including “what are some common beginner mistakes in content marketing” that could drive your next blog post, white paper or podcast.

HubSpot Blog Topic Generator
Similar to Quora, marketing and sales behemoth HubSpot has a blog topic generating tool. With a quick search of a noun, for example “analytics”, you can get a week’s worth of blog ideas.

Answer the Public
This search query data visualization tool is a little tongue-in-cheek with a repeating image of a man waiting for you to type right on its home page. Even with this humor, Answer the Public can be immensely helpful in finding the questions you want to answer with your content. Simply type in a keyword or topic in the search field and sit back as it crawls search results for the top questions asked related to your search. The results are then categorized into 5 areas: questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals and related.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
Once you have written and edited your piece, it is a good idea to run your headline through a headline analyzing tool like CoSchedule has created. You have spent the time to make sure your content is perfect — now make sure it has the perfect headline with a balance of keywords, power words and characters while measuring the sentiment of the headline.

Many content marketing tools are available to associations today; these four only scratch the surface of what you can find online. Take them as a starting point on your content marketing journey and go create!

Tags:  association marketing  content marketing  marketing strategy  marketing technology  marketing tools 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Using Technology and Creativity to Drive Association Marketing Strategies

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, CAE, CMP, CRP, QAS, Thursday, August 1, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Associations have a long history dating back to the 1800s. They are the original communities and influencers for professions long before social media became prevalent. This marks my 30th year in association management and I currently am the Vice President of Marketing Communications & Technology for Ewald Consulting.

When I started my career with the Builders Association of Minnesota in 1989, our technology tools were a fax, typewriter, pagers, lots of file cabinets for paper registrations and membership applications and a DOS database with the blinking bright orange text on a small screen, big box computer. No email, no website, no cell phone, no Microsoft Office – they hadn’t been created for the mass market yet. We launched the association’s first-ever website in 1996.

In 2005 when I joined Ewald Consulting, my first major initiative was to find us a new database and migrate our clients to Affiniscape 24/7. After researching limited options, we chose a custom database built in Microsoft Access. Every Friday, I would export the client data into 24/7 so they could have searchable directories and see their data online. A few years later, Affiniscape launched its M360 platform which integrated the website with a database providing a dynamic experience for our members.

A few years later, Affiniscape was bought by YourMembership (YM) and we proceeded to transition our clients from Affiniscape to YM. A few years later, Community Brands bought YM and several other platforms to have a suite of offerings for associations. Which summarizes the current platform environment of technology platforms – thousands of options plus mergers and acquisitions is now the norm.

The marketing technology landscape is one of my favorite graphics that demonstrates the extensive proliferation of tools over the past 8 years. In 2011, there were 150 platforms. As of April 2019, there were 7040. There are plenty of tools to choose from now. So unlike the 1990s, options, access and affordability are no longer barriers to entry for associations.

Choosing a limited set of tools, learning how to implement them creatively and executing value are critical for associations to remain relevant. We are at a critical junction of technology and human behavior that will create our future depending on how we strategically implement our choices effectively with simplicity and clarity key for our customers.

With a plethora of platforms to choose from, our Marketing Communications Team is focusing on executing relevant and measurable marketing strategies for our associations. Key strategies include:

  1. Building out a content marketing strategy for the long haul. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build awareness, generate interest from new audiences and expand our base. Our volunteers are our Subject Matter Experts (SME) for content for our conferences, blogs, social media and have a wealth of insights that are core to building our community. Generating content with context and driving conversations will keep the association vibrant and the go-to resource for professions. Going beyond conference and membership promotion is critical to drive the value proposition of being a part of the association.
  2. Reviewing the business models and clearly delineating the value proposition of being a member and buying offerings from our associations;
  3. Conducting website audits to ensure clarity, clean and creative design and coding for mobile responsiveness and effective Search Engine Optimization;
  4. Creating strong landing pages for our home pages, membership and conference pages to  have a strong and clear Call to Action, concise benefits, bullet points for scanning, original photography and call out buttons to prompt action;
  5. Implementing marketing automation to build awareness and convert prospects to customers and ensure a clear customer journey;
  6. Using an event mobile app platform for our clients’ conferences. With the technology development of Progressive Web Apps (PWA), we are looking at developing year-round mobile apps for our clients in the next year to connect our  members year round.

Other initiatives we are working on include business intelligence, data collection and analysis and the implications of AI (Artificial Intelligence) for our clients. We are excited about the tremendous opportunities that nonprofit organizations now have access to and to implement best-of-class strategies to ensure their success.

We are excited to be implementing our own content marketing strategy based on our research and experience with our clients. Please email me if you have any questions at kathiep@ewald.com.

Kathie Pugaczewski is the Vice President of Marketing Communications and Technology. She has more than 30 years of association management experience with a focus on technology platform strategy, marketing communications, conference management, continuing education and certification programs. She joined Ewald Consulting in 2005. Previously, Kathie worked for the Midwest Association of Association Executives (MSAE) as Marketing Director and the Builders Association of Minnesota as Executive Vice President. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and completed the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Notre Dame. In 2003, she earned her CAE designation. In 2009, she earned her Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) designation. In 2019, she earned her Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) designation and her Qualified Association Specialist (QAS) designation.

Tags:  association management  associations  content marketing  marketing  marketing strategy  marketing technology  technology  value proposition 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Don’t get left behind! Four content trends for associations to stay relevant

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 25, 2019
Updated: Thursday, July 18, 2019

The world of marketing moves fast.

The industry is constantly progressing, and nothing is exempt. Standards, processes, and especially trends may change at any time. In order for organizations to survive, they need to be dynamic, quick, and up-to-date on relevant trends because if they are not able to adapt, they will get left behind.

The same applies for associations, with one key difference; they don’t necessarily require the newest, best, or flashiest tools and technology. As a result, some are far removed from the newest marketing methods and trends.

Associations often ask when faced with marketing challenges becomes, “How can we be a resourceful organization and stay relevant in the fast-changing marketing industry?” The answer is easier than one may think. To stay on top of relevant marketing trends, associations can adopt basic, necessary tools and techniques to deliver meaning and value to members.

To help get you started, here are three of the top content marketing trends associations should consider to keep up in the fast-changing industry.

  1. Writing
  2. Written content is a mainstay in the marketing industry. Even though how writing is consumed has changed over time, for example newspapers vs listicles, writing itself is timeless and serves as a foundation for other content including white papers, long form blog posts, advertisements and webinars. As associations think about the future, it is important that they have a strong, reliable writing base developed as a foundation for that content.

  3. Video
  4. Every day, 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube and 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. Viewers are 95% more likely to remember a call to action after watching a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text form. Video is clearly a form of content that people consistently consume and remember. By producing video associations can increase brand awareness, social reach and engage with a huge number of users. When producing videos, they should be optimized for the platform they will “live” on and their use. For example, videos promoting a certification session should be high-quality and have professional production to guarantee quality sound and graphics whereas videos promoting a social event can be more “approachable” and filmed with a cellphone. Whatever the use of the video, the content should include subtitles and not just for accessibility. At least 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound, make sure to include this overlay text in all of your video content.

  5. Live content
  6. At the end of the day, associations are resources that focus on promoting events and conferences. Whether it’s live tweeting or recording a live Instagram video, live content provides value to members, association and builds event awareness, and also gives the association future content for professional videos, webinars, and more. With the popularity of social media, live content provides too many benefits and opportunities to not capitalize on it.

Staying up to date with content trends should be a fun way to consistently deliver meaningful content to members. While the industry will always shift, adopting basic trends is an easy way to provide value to your members. Go ahead, adopt the trends, and unleash the new possibilities for your association.

Tags:  associations  marketing  marketing strategy  marketing trends  social media 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

How associations can use analytics to boost membership

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 18, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What are analytics?


Analytics are a brilliant tool used to research possible trends that any industry can benefit from using, especially associations. Looking at analytics is all about seeing what is working and what isn’t, and then making improvements.


Associations often have one thing on their mind: increasing membership. How to increase membership, how to provide the best experience and value for members, etc. They want to grow their membership, but analytics as a tool are often overlooked or ignored.




While it may be daunting, analytics can help guide your organization and grow membership. Here are four uses of analytics that can help associations grow their membership.

  1. Auditing
  2. Having a good overall experience with an organization is like a puzzle: many pieces fit together to create the full picture, and a positive online experience is one of them. Associations need to maintain a strong web presence in order to provide a positive online experience as well as gain and retain members. By using analytics, associations can audit their websites and see what is working and what isn’t, such as 404 errors and bounce rates, and then make improvements to provide a better experience for current or potential members.

  3. Monitoring social accounts
  4. Everyone is active on social media these days, including businesses. Social platforms are versatile and an important part of any marketing strategy because of their ability to drive awareness, engagement, and start conversations. Analytics allow associations to start and monitor the online conversation of their brand and gain a deeper understanding of which social campaigns are effective. This understanding can then be applied to create a better experience for prospects and members by targeting content that specifically fits their needs and the online conversation.

  5. Paid Marketing
  6. If an association invests in paid marketing, they want to make sure the campaign is effective. Whether it is A/B testing or promotional content, analytics are a useful tool for evaluating paid marketing because they allow associations to compare options. By choosing the most successful option, associations provide content in the right context for their members.

  7. SEO
  8. So why does auditing, social media, and paid marketing matter? It contributes to improving Search Engine Optimization, often referred to as SEO. At the end of the day, associations strive to enhance the user experience. Search engine bot crawlers read a websites’ pages from top to bottom and rank the site based on the quality fundamental SEO practices executed. Examples include meta tag, fresh content, and alt tags. Bots will determine how high or low a site will appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), which affects the visibility of a site in a search engine.

The use of analytics has transformed the world of marketing, bringing endless growth opportunities to organizations. Utilizing analytics in your strategy and planning can be key to keeping your organization relevant and thriving. So the next time analytics comes up in a strategy meeting, don’t shy away, instead dive right in and help grow your organization.

Tags:  Analytics  Associations  Marketing Strategy  Marketing Tools  Membership  Membership Growth 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

5 Must-Do Content Marketing Strategies for Associations Creating Awareness, Driving Value Proposition

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 11, 2019
Developing effective marketing strategies that drive measurable results can be tricky. It requires analysis, critical thinking and clear Calls to Action (CTA). This is vitally important for associations in an ever-increasing and competitive marketplace.

 

Associations often focus their marketing efforts on conference and event promotion without establishing the organization as the thought-leader in the profession. Before marketing events, webinars and conferences, we need to communicate the Value Proposition of the association to establish credibility and broaden our base and grow our community.

 

While for-profits have much big budgets and financial resources, content marketing can still be effectively executed for non-profits. And associations have a unique advantage when it comes to content marketing – Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the membership who can share their expertise and drive collaboration, conversation and community.

  

One of the biggest challenge’s associations face today is answering key value questions, like “Why should I join?” or “How will this association benefit me today?” As a large portion of our association base of members are nearing retirement which underscores the need to gain early and mid-career member base to remain relevant.

One key marketing strategy that organizations are effectively using is content marketing which can take many forms. With access to SMEs, associations can utilize this strategy to drive membership value and drive engagement. A content marketing strategy will be unique to each organization or association, but they share the same foundation.

 

5 Must-Do Content Marketing Strategies:

  1. Fill in the “gaps”
    Before marketing conferences and product, provide context by creating awareness of the organization with relevant content through the website, webinars and highlighting the expertise of conference presenters. This will prevent a knowledge gaps and drive conversions. Associations provide value to members and stakeholders by being the “go-to resource” through sharing industry articles, writing blogs, developing newsletters, and sparking conversations on discussion boards and choosing speakers who are presenting on the most important relevant topics.

  2. Meet members where they are
    It’s important to keep in mind that not all audiences are active on the same platforms. In order to provide useful, meaningful content and a valuable experience for members, associations must use platforms that are relevant to the audience and adopt a multi-faceted content approach by utilizing different mediums such as social, email, and direct mail.

  3. Be adaptable and flexible Change is constant for our audiences. By listening and adapting to member needs, associations can provide value, creating a better experience that is appropriate for the audience.

  4. Cater to the audience – personalize!
    A crucial part of providing value is understanding who the members are and tailoring to their specific needs. Use a style, language, tone, and even content that is familiar, meaningful, and relevant to them. By giving the audience exactly what they need, associations can show the members their value.

  5. Be consistent
    Consistency is key in content marketing. When content is scheduled and shared frequently, associations can start to build a following. Not only that, but they also gain trust and are seen as a reliable source of information. By consistently posting content, associations both build brand authority and provide value to the audience by sharing useful and meaningful resources.

Through all five of the rules, there is a common theme: a focus on the members, both current and prospective. In order to provide the best, meaningful experience to the audience, associations can adopt this holistic approach to membership. So it is time to refocus and watch your association grow for the better.

 

Tags:  Association Growth  Associations  Content Marketing  Marketing Strategy  Membership 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

ASAE Leadership Retreat Summary: Key Learnings on Member Engagement

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 25, 2019

By Paul Hanscom, CAE

This year’s American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Leadership Retreat focused on methods for engaging members deeper into the professional community. We discussed “the power of purpose” as a compelling way to communicate why a professional should join and engage in an association. Association membership and engagement promotions should have as their underpinning a strong “why” message related to the individual’s ability to contribute to the greater cause being championed by the profession. This connects the individual’s personal mission for having chosen this profession for him/herself to the mission of the organization and its ability to serve as a vehicle for personal/professional fulfillment. If your association has a strong cause-related mission, you should focus on the need for each professional to commit to “advance our profession’s impact on [insert important societal challenge that the profession aims to address].” Associations must go deeper than this as well. A cogent message needs to be accompanied with examples of how your association manifests this message throughout its activities and member benefits. For example, frame the annual conference as a forum to bring together the most influential, innovative, and successful minds in the profession to shape its future. Articulate how participating in part of an online learning series will empower an individual with a clear understanding of the issues impacting practices in the profession and tools to address them. Describe how participants in the online discussion group lead the conversation about topics shaping the next stage/future of the industry and accompany this with testimonials.

The “Staff/Volunteer Dyad”

A strong relationship between staff and association leaders is critical to the success of a member engagement plan. A key component to this relationship is clarity of roles. Associations should have written chairperson position descriptions that include delineation of what the chair/committee is responsible for and what s/he can count on staff to provide (staff will… volunteer will…). Staff need to entrust areas of industry subject matter expertise to the association leaders and association leaders must respect the specialized knowledge, expertise and talent of the staff. Having someone “from the profession” in a staff position comes with positives and negatives. It can be a faster, more dependable source for content and industry perspective but there must be an expectation that the individual has significant time dedicated to garnering feedback from industry leaders and is not the sole source for content ideas, insights and guidance.

A recommendation toward achieving more overt and intentional attention to member engagement on an ongoing basis was to change the “Nominating” committee to the “HR Committee” responsible for identifying resource needs and the recruitment, engagement and assessment of all unpaid human resources to address those needs. The HR Committee is complemented by a “Council of Future Practices” that reviews industry data through the lens of the association. The Council of Future Practices provides a report to the board of directors based on industry data and their individual/combined experience. This report serves as a forecasting guide to portend the impact that trends are expected to have on the profession and what the association should do to address this. Once the board determines the action the association should take and whether to resource with staff or volunteers, the HR Committee begins its work anew.

Assessment

Measuring volunteer performance is the best way to optimize a volunteer-dependent system. That being said, ASAE leadership agreed that insufficient metrics exist for tracking volunteer performance/engagement. A model based on HR best practices would make sense — but none of the association leaders engaged in the discussion had a working model to share.

Rather than attempting to tackle the problem at once, it was recommended that associations start with a “Simple Assessment” solution:

  1. Have chairperson rank each volunteer’s performance on a scale of 1-3
  2. Have staff liaison rank each volunteer’s performance on a scale of 1-3
  3. Average the two and give feedback to each volunteer (most in writing; conversation where necessary)

Six Drivers of a Quality Volunteer Experience:

  1. Quality of staff coordinating their activity
  2. Receptivity of staff to give their input consideration
  3. Quality of orientation/introduction
  4. Quality of the volunteer leadership
  5. Ability to debate/discuss issues
  6. Time and timing

Orientation Questions

  1. Why are you choosing to engage further?
  2. What gifts do you have to offer to the organization?
  3. What do you want to gain through further engagement?
  4. What don’t you want to do as you get more involved in the organization?

4 levels of volunteerism (example from ISACA):

  1. Micro: one-time tasks
  2. Short-term/limited: e.g. support for an event or publication
  3. Annual commitment: serve on the XYZ Committee
  4. International/Local Governance

Below is an example Volunteer Engagement Model that was shared from R.A.P.S. using the Higher Logic online community tool:

Volunteer Engagement Model

 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Innovation from Within: A Focus on Mission-driven Work

Posted By Brian Fewell, Friday, December 14, 2018
Updated: Friday, December 14, 2018

By Arzu Alimohd, Assistant Account Executive, and Paul Hanscom, CAE, Vice President of Growth Strategies

Paying close attention to the strategic plan can help a board or committee reach new goals.

It is easy for a board of directors, committee, or other governing body to fall into a cyclical work pattern year after year. Most organizations operate on an annual schedule that includes budget approval, nominations and elections, orientation, and other essential governance functions. When leaders are caught up in the cadence of addressing tactical governance practices, they run out of time and attention for important conversations about strategic-level goals, industry trends and innovative initiatives that have the potential to augment and perpetuate the organization’s value proposition.

Dynamic Agendas and Meeting Content
While a predictable meeting schedule is practical and efficient for a governing body, the agenda and content of the meeting must be made dynamic. Financial, status and year-end reports are important to ensure the overall stability and growth of an organization, and an innovative board will discuss each of these within the context of whether the activities being reported upon are aligned with and advancing the mission and vision of the organization. Those that succeed in staying focused on the strategy-level implications of the organization’s initiatives dedicate time to assess their efficiency and impact. This assessment can yield gains in both areas.

The Benefits of Introspection
Boards must be willing to remain flexible and adaptable to unforeseen circumstances (be they challenges or opportunities) as they may arise. The board of directors takes a high-level view of the organization’s overall role in relation to collaborative partners and industry trends. This makes it easy to become displaced from operations within the organization. It is rare and too-often perceived as cavalier for an individual or governing body to question the direction/need of a long-standing initiative or introduce something that is completely new or unproven. Innovative board leadership demands introspection about whether to create, continue, or eliminate initiatives that help, hinder or simply do nothing for the organization. This all starts and continues with effective and productive meetings.

Building in consistent time to review, analyze and discuss mission-driven goals will enhance the value of board meetings and, by extension, the organization’s leadership and relevance to the professionals it aims to serve. There are many ways to maintain strategic focus while monitoring and evaluating operational performance. Build a brief strategic plan review into every agenda. Invite a different committee leader to each board meeting to provide an update on progress and strategy alignment. Set aside time each meeting to articulate the connection between a specific initiative and a need the industry is facing; if board members cannot do this effectively in the insulated security of a board room, how can they be expected to do so as ambassadors of the organization when meeting with members in the professional community at large?

Conclusion
In the end, the organization and what it represents are what draw industry leaders and members together. Keeping this in focus throughout the year brings all the important activities of your organization together.

For more tips on how to build an exceptional board, download the 12 Principles of Governance that Power Exceptional Boards.

Arzu Alimohd joined Ewald Consulting in 2016 and is an Assistant Account Executive in our Association Management Department. She can be reached at arzua@ewald.com or at 651.290.7483.

Paul Hanscom, CAE, who joined Ewald Consulting in 2004, is Vice President of Growth Strategies. He can be reached at paulh@ewald.com or at 651.290.6274.

We want to hear from you! Email your feedback to us about Ewald Advantage or any aspect of your Ewald Consulting experience.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Board Member Term Limits: Pros and Cons

Posted By Katie Wallstein, Monday, October 22, 2018

Are term limits a good fit for your organization? These considerations can help you make a sound determination.

Conversation around the pros and cons of board terms is not new to the nonprofit world. While there are strong arguments both for and against term limits, a majority of organizations opt to adopt them. According to a 2017 study, Leading with Intent: 2017 Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, 72 percent of boards have set term limits — with the most common configuration being two three-year terms. Despite these findings, term limits do not work for every association; some find strength in keeping a strong core of tenured board members.

A synopsis of reasons for and against the practice of board member term limits follows:

Pros:

  • Term limits encourage new talent acquisition, which is essential for the long-term health of the organization.
  • Board composition/diversity (skillset, perspectives, networks) is strengthened to meet the current and future needs of the organization.
  • Term limits reduce the likelihood that a board or board member becomes tired and loses vigor.
  • Limited terms encourage focused participation.
  • New board members are more likely to speak up with new ideas.
  • A board with term limits helps to avoid a potential concentration of power among tenured volunteers.
  • When terms are staggered, it provides balance and continuity.
  • There is a respectful and effective system for the exit of inactive, unproductive or potentially troublesome board members.
  • As the board turns over, it cultivates a broad base of dedicated volunteers, involving more of your members.

Cons:

  • Organizations may experience a loss of institutional memory and historical knowledge.
  • Organizations may lose dedicated, highly effective, tenured volunteers.
  • Succession planning takes time (identification, recruitment, orientation, continuous development).
  • Boards need to allocate additional time to build cohesiveness among board members.
  • Network relationships that may have been tied to a specific board member may be difficult to maintain.
  • There may be disruption to the oversight and operations of an organization.
  • Some associations experience difficulty in filling open board seats.

Conclusion

Regardless of where an organization falls on the matter, it is important that leaders are familiar with best practices on term limits to ensure the longevity and relevancy of their organization.

Katie Wallstein joined Ewald Consulting in 2014 and is an Account Executive in our Association Management Department.

We want to hear from you! Email your feedback to us about Ewald Advantage or any aspect of your Ewald Consulting experience.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 13
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  >   >>   >| 
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

© 2019 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