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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.



          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.



          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.



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

Tags:  associations  culture  millennials 

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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 

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The President’s Role at Conferences

Posted By Ewald Consulting Staff , Wednesday, August 12, 2015

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.



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Fair Use: Can I Use this for My Association?

Posted By Laurie Pumper, CAE, Communication Director, Thursday, August 6, 2015

If a newspaper runs an article that mentions your association in a positive way, can you share it with your association members in a printed newsletter or magazine? If a member sends you an article that she wrote for a trade journal, can you reprint the article in your own association journal? If a member shares photos from your association’s event on your Facebook page or Instagram account, can you publish those photos in your newsletter or post them on your website? The answer is not always an easy yes or no.


In deciding whether its publication can use an article or photo, some associations say, “We can do that — it’s fair use.” They’re referring to the fair use doctrine, which has been in use in the U.S. since the 19th century and written into U.S. copyright law since 1976 (17 U.S.C. § 107). The fair use doctrine is intended to allow for limited use of copyrighted materials — but not as widely as some people think. It doesn’t allow you to reprint an article from a trade journal in your own publication, unless you make arrangements with the original publisher. It doesn’t allow you to use a photo or artwork from another organization’s website, unless you get permission. But the fair use doctrine does allow publishers (including associations) to use copyrighted material in a variety of ways, including criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching and research.


The doctrine includes four factors that courts will use to consider whether use is fair:


  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;

  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    Merely saying that your use of an article in an association publication is educational doesn't mean that you will avoid problems. Publishers have successfully used the fourth factor, “potential market for or value of the copyrighted work,” to argue that they should be paid for reprinting an article.

    The easiest way to avoid trouble is to ask upfront. Major newspapers and magazines have policies that allow non-profit organizations to reprint articles. You’ll probably have to pay a fee to reprint that kind of article, but the fee may be quite reasonable (depending on the size of your publication’s circulation, whether you plan to keep it on your website indefinitely, and how important that particular article is to your readers). If you want to use an article written by another association, there is a reasonably good chance that the association will allow you to use the article without a fee, as long as you include a statement about where the article originally appeared. If your member wrote an article that appeared in a different publication, he may or may not hold the copyright to the work; it’s best to check with the publication prior to re-using it.

    Sometimes, you can get into trouble unintentionally. On two separate occasions, I’ve seen volunteers who didn’t know about copyright law turn in articles that were later found to substantially copy another piece (in one case, almost word for word). To help protect yourself and your organization from this situation, it’s very helpful to have each author sign an agreement with language such as, “I have written this material myself and have not copied it from another source.” Your association attorney can draft something, and ASAE has several model author agreements too.

    If you really are using another author’s work for commentary or as the basis of news reporting (rather than simply reprinting an article), it’s easy to include a link to the original work. In this way, your readers can access the original material and the copyright holder maintains control of the work.

    Photos and works of art have copyright protection, too – and again, not knowing the rules doesn’t mean that you’ll be absolved from paying royalties if the owner/author finds that you’ve used their work. If a volunteer submits photos that she has taken at your annual conference and understands how you intend to use them, you should be safe…but having it in writing protects your organization from misunderstandings. Again, check out some model policies at ASAE’s website and/or have your association’s attorney help to draft language for you.

    Please note that this article is intended to provide general information, not as legal advice. Consult with legal counsel on specific issues.

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We're Hiring: Member Services Specialist

Posted By Kate-Madonna Hindes, Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Ewald Consulting, Inc.

Member Services Specialist Job Description



Job Title:                    Member Services Specialist

Department:               Member Services

Reports to:                 Vice President – Member Services/Department Manager



Purpose of the job:

To serve as a first point of contact for members, potential members, and others who do business with our client associations and with Ewald Consulting.


Essential functions and responsibilities:

  • Support Member Services key competencies including:

                * Answer phones per schedule established by department manager

                * Contribute to the accurate and timely processing of client membership information, including new member registrations and renewals

                * Perform data entry projects as directed by department manager

                * Support department initiatives

  • Support projects in Events, Communications and Account Executive departments as directed by V.P. Member Services.


    Knowledge and skills:

  • Excellent oral communication skills

  • Excellent customer service skills

  • Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously

  • Good written communication skills

  • Accurate data entry skill

  • Detail oriented

  • Acute understanding of deadlines

  • Excellent interpersonal skills

  • Time management (must balance and prioritize multiple projects)

  • Ability to use computer programs including Access, Word and Excel and databases specific to Member Services (current website-database system is YourMembership


    Other duties and responsibilities:

  • Tasks as requested by the President or direct supervisor.


    Supervisory responsibilities:

  • None


    Technology Requirements:

  • Personal Computers and software including Microsoft Office Suite

  • Internet and e-mail programs

  • Multiple-line phone system

  • Copier, printers

  • Fax

  • Mail machine


    Working conditions and environment:

  • Fast-paced environment working with a variety of professional trade associations

  • Business casual attire



If interested, please email: billm@ewald.com

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Top 5 MN Government Relations Twitter Accounts

Posted By Mattie Roesler, Wednesday, July 22, 2015

For many people working in or with government relations, the invention of Twitter appears to have been a welcome development for receiving news updates. Lobbyists and policy makers no longer have to be in front of a desktop computer, radio or TV to get breaking news. Wherever they are, they simply click the blue app on their smartphones and scroll. However, the government relations team at Ewald has found that people don’t always know how to access this vast but efficient pool of information. It can be a bit overwhelming, as there are hundreds of Minnesota reporters and journalists to potentially follow. Because of this dilemma, we asked our team to list the #topfive people to follow for great political updates in Minnesota. This may not be where the Ewald GR team receives the bulk of their daily news, but these five Twitter personalities keep them in on the action of the capitol even when work brings them elsewhere. 


Tom Scheck - @TomScheck

Tom Scheck, government and politics reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, has become a favorite Twitter presence among many politicians and lobbyists. His tweets range from comical testimonies to full news story links, with the addition of helpful live tweeting from the Minnesota State Capitol. Scheck even received Twitter shout outs from other media sources for his  thorough coverage of the June 2015 #MNleg special session. His educational yet witty feed lands him in our #topfive Twitter feeds to supplement your newspaper or television sources.


Brian Bakst - @StowyDad

As a St.Paul correspondent for the Associated Press, Brian Bakst has the perfect Twitter account for any Minnesota political junky. Similar to Scheck, Bakst received praise for camping out at the June 2015 Special Session and live tweeting. Bakst's tweets are great for veteran followers of Minnesota politics, as he provides in-depth discussions and coverage of issues in the legislature. He often includes links to laws, reports, and additional news sources, helping his followers to see all aspects of a topic. Brian is another great Twitter resource in our #topfive.


Rachel Strassen-Berger - @RachelSB

Rachel Stassen-Berger is the capitol bureau chief for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She also spent seven years reporting for the Star Tribune. As self-proclaimed "Political Journalism Cheerleader", Strassen-Berger breaks down complicated issues from the capitol, giving the Twitter world an efficient update on all things related to Minnesota government and politics. If you are looking for accessible language and consistency, @rachelSB is a must-follow.


Patrick Condon - @patricktcondon

According to the Star Tribune, Patrick Condon is their go-to reporter for all aspects of Minnesota politics, the state budget, the administration and state agencies. The Ewald team loves following Condon, as the majority of his tweets are live coverage of all capitol events and legislation news. No matter what's happening in St. Paul, Condon always seems to be in the heart of the action. It helps our lobbyists be in numerous places at once! He also links to great Star Tribune photography at the capitol, adding dimension to your Twitter timeline.


Briana Bierschbach - @bbierschbach

Brianna Bierschbach is an award winning journalist for MinnPost. She covers higher education, public affairs, and general politics. Her Twitter feed reads similar to Condon's, as she is often tweeting on-site at the capitol. Bierschbach's Twitter reporting is clean, easy to follow, and informative for Minnesota legislative updates. She was even mentioned by our other #topfive pick, Rachel Strassen-Berger, for her reporting work! Another big thank you goes to you, Brianna, for giving us great news updates. 

Tags:  Government Relations  social media  twitter 

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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 

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Get To Know: Ewald Consulting's Professional Development Team

Posted By Kate-Madonna Hindes, Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Professional Development Team is collaborative and creative” – Jessica Truhler, Director of Learning and Performance, Ewald Consulting

This week, we’re hosting a Q & A with our Director of Learning and Performance, Jessica Truhler. Learn a few of her secrets to the Professional Development team’s success.


Q. What are some of the hotter projects on your plate at the moment? Can you share a recent win, or something you’re working on?

A.  Our department oversees over 250 professional development programs per year as well as manages seven certification programs. As a department, we are implementing a model professional development assessment to better understand and plan for our clients’ members professional development needs. We are also working on a model to deliver educational content based on adult learning principles, learning style, brain science and blended learning in a variety of formats.

Another big client project that is rolling out is an on-demand webinar for the Minnesota Chiropractic Association regarding ICD-10 training. ICD-10 affects many professionals in healthcare and will affect insurance reimbursements starting in October of this year. The on-demand webinar will be rolled out not only to MCA members but to all Minnesota chiropractors. We will be creating more models like this to meet our clients’ specific needs for their professions.


Q. Can you name 5 ways to engage members or potential members with professional development?

1.            Make it relevant. If the content isn’t important or they don’t know how they can use it, members won’t value it.

2.            Consider experience. Make sure whatever professional development you’re providing is at the level the members are at.

3.            Create something interactive—open people’s minds. Most people don’t like to be lectured to but if they ask questions or participate in any way, you will engage the learners and hold their attentions.

4.            Make it pretty (aesthetically pleasing). If people are going to sit through an hour-long presentation or webinar they want pizazz. A content heavy presentation without stories or pictures with leave people with no engagement.

5.            Size matters. People are busy. Bite-sized learning or micro learning is the new shift in professional development. Members might not have 4 or 8 hours every month to commit to PD, but an hour or even broken up into 10 minute chunks is easier and more effective. There will be times where more time (depth) is needed—one just needs to be frugal. There is a fine line you must walk. The ultimate goal is learning that is retained and applied.


Q. What’s the secret to creating professional development materials that are engaging and fun?

A. I recently learned that fish have longer attention spans than humans. Fun fact, right? Therefore, in order to engage a learner you have to create materials that are visual and always find ways to pull their attention back in. Visuals, infographics, stories and scenarios are all ways to engage learners and make the experience a positive one. I also used to give participants a black piece of paper to doodle on. There is actual scientific research that says doodling engages the mind and makes participants retain more information.


Q. What’s one thing we should know about your team?

A. The Professional Development Team evolved into a new department at the end of 2014. We have team members who have been in the events department and three who were in the Communication & Technology Department. We then created a new position of Learning and Performance Director to take the department to the next level in applying adult learning strategies and improve program performance. The team is working well together as we sort out new responsibilities and opportunities for our clients.

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Fresh Perspective: Takeaways from the Anti-Sex Trafficking Forum

Posted By Mattie Roesler, Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Ewald Conference Center hosted a Google forum on Monday, June 29th discussing Sex Trafficking in Minnesota and the nation at large. Powerful forces including U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Malika Saada Saar of Rights4Girls, Cindy McCain of The McCain Foundation, and representatives from the Polaris Project, among others, gathered to detail their research on the topic.

Jess Myers, Ewald’s media and public relations specialist, asked me to help out with marketing, outreach, and event facilitation because he knew I had a passion for the anti-sex trafficking cause. Having done a fair amount of research, I thought I was well-equipped for the conference. Still, when I stepped into our events center on Monday, I found myself surprised and in awe of what took place. Below, I have detailed happenings in the conference that taught me what books and articles could not.

·         Diversity. The first thing that surprised me was the diversity of the attendants and speakers. My research never told me how many different people this issue has touched. I saw a young twenty-something with dreadlocks sat behind two elderly women with a walker, while a Dominican group conversed beside a Catholic Charities representative. The big lesson here? Sex trafficking doesn’t discriminate. Though the size of the impact may differ, the issue touches every race, age and religion. This is everyone’s issue.


·         Technology. Something I hadn’t discovered in research was the role of technology in the issue of sex trafficking. Almost every panelist spoke about technology, both the pros and cons. Audrey Roofeh of the Polaris Project detailed her use of technology to help victims, as she allows them a hotline to text questions and locations, simultaneously building one of the largest compiled data systems on sex trafficking markets. Audience members also raised concerns about technology with Craigslist ads, which have increased the ability for pimps to market young girls to “Johns” or buyers. The biggest question about technology seems to be: Can we turn it around on the pimps and use it as a weapon? The panelists seemed to think so.

·         The Word. It’s difficult to understand the impact our words have without hearing the pleading in Cindy McCain or Sen. Klobuchar’s voice as they call for an end to all use of the words child prostitute. Time and time again, the panelists would repeat that, “there is no such thing as a child prostitute” there is only a child victim of prostitution. If we get the media to describe victims as such, we will be one step closer to protecting them under the law. The thunderous applause following these pleas drove home an intense sense of unanimity on this point.  

·         Passion. Best of all, I came away from the conference on June 29th extremely motivated by the passion for the anti-sex trafficking cause. When Saada Saar of Rights4Girls gracefully took the stage, a silence overwhelmed the crowd. In Saada Saar’s heated and strong voice, I could hear her belief and desire to push each and every person in the room towards one common goal: keep fighting. This communal passion-almost tangible in the air- cannot be learned in a book.

If there is an opportunity for you to experience a conference like this, I urge you take it. As much as statistics and graphics can tell you, nothing compares to a face-to-face interaction with people who have devoted their life to the issue at hand. 

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Top Association Management Professionals on Twitter

Posted By Erik Hillesheim, Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Many association management professionals aren’t successfully leveraging a huge pool of knowledge that is just a mouse click away. Are you in the association management world but can’t find that content? Here’s your in! As more of us are getting on twitter, some individuals have gone above and beyond to produce and share useful content in the Association industry.


This quarter, Ewald Consulting’s Marketing Department came together to see who some of the major influencers in our online community were. We define an influencer to be someone who carries a strong and valuable perspective for the association industry and shares their wealth of knowledge with the online community. They are people making a big difference in associations through the dispersion of knowledge on Twitter. If you’re involved in associations and feel like you’ve been missing out on this community of knowledge here are the top five people you need to follow on Twitter.


Now that we’ve done the searching, go out and get reading. These accounts and Ewald’s twitter are excellent resources for any topical You’ll be able to take back much of their advice to your association! Let’s see what knowledge you can contribute to the online community!










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MANAGEMENT | View all Management articles
A Successful Year Starts with a Solid Budget by Bill Monn
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9 Marketing Ideas for Your Organization by Kathie Pugaczewski
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MEMBERSHIP | View all Membership articles
A Holistic Approach to Membership Recruitment by Darrin Hubbard
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Three Ways to Stronger Volunteer Engagement by Paul Hanscom
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