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Meet the Finance Team

Posted By Amanda Ewald, Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Our team is all very dedicated to our work and doing the best for our clients.” – Amanda Ewald, VP Finance and Accounting, Ewald Consulting

 

This week, we’re hosting a Q & A with our VP of Accounting and Finance, Amanda Ewald. Learn a few of her secrets to the Finance team’s success.

 

Q. What’s your favorite part about working with our clients?

A.  They’re all so different.  We get a lot of questions on a lot of different things and it’s fun being able to help people and get them answers to their questions.  Working with treasurers and boards who appreciate our work and are fun to work with. 

 

Q. What are some of the trickiest parts of your department’s job?

A. We are one of the few departments where everyone in our department works with every client.  We all need to know and understand the intricacies of each client.  Every client is set up a little differently and handles thing in their own way.  It helps make our job more interesting but also a little more difficult sometimes.

 

Q. Can you share a recent win, or something you’re working on? 

A. We are working on some new processes around accounts payable and accounts receivable that are hopefully going to provide some better clarity on the client financials and cut down on questions.

 

Q. What are some key characteristics you see across the board with our finance whizzes?

A. Everyone in our department is very good at multitasking.  We are all very organized even though a lot of times when you look at our desks there are a lot of papers and piles it all makes sense to us.  We also are good at communicating and working together. 

 

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

A. Our team is all very dedicated to our work and doing the best for our clients.  They are all very determined and when a question comes up they will not give up until they find an answer or solution.

Tags:  finance 

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Building an Association Sales Funnel that Works

Posted By Paul Hanscom, CAE, Tuesday, September 15, 2015

There are myriad sales models designed to build sales revenue in a for-profit company. Association professionals are left to draw parallels for themselves based on these models and what they assume to be applicable. Following is a step-by-step model specifically designed for building and working your association sales funnel. 

Create Awareness – Get the word out about your association to all of the stakeholders in your field of practice. To learn more about finding and assessing stakeholder groups, read this article published by ASAE about association stakeholder analysis.

Build Engagement – Engaged stakeholders are often already members of the association community. They are volunteers, authors, commentators, speakers, and tuned-in consumers of the information your association has to offer. Engage your sales prospects so they have a direct relationship with your organization and care about its success. To learn more about engaging stakeholders, watch this online presentation.

Start the Dialogue – When you are ready to begin a sponsorship campaign, start your sales conversation with the potential sponsors and advertisers that are already engaged in the association. They will be most receptive to you and can help you position the opportunities most effectively. This will be tremendously valuable when approaching potential sponsors/advertisers that are not yet fully engaged.

Set Expectations – When securing agreement from a sponsor, make sure there is mutual clarity about the exchange of resources and benefits offered. Clear expectations, in writing, that you revisit regularly, will go a long way to ensuring your sponsor and association leadership are happy with the relationship.

Exceed Expectations – Everyone likes getting a little something extra and your sponsors, exhibitors and members are no different. If sponsors get what they pay for then their sponsorship is like the thousands of other transaction they make throughout the year. Surprise your sponsors and advertisers. Make sure they feel like they are getting something more than they expect when they sign up to support you.

Nurture the Relationship – Make sure conversation with your sponsors and advertisers continues over time. Ask for their feedback and ideas on how the association can improve the way it builds connection all year between members, sponsors, and key stakeholder groups.  To learn about how to build and grow a nurturing sponsorship program, read this e-book on maximizing sponsor value.

 

 

 

 

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What is the “right size” for a non-profit board of directors?

Posted By Eric Ewald, CAE, Tuesday, September 8, 2015


This is a common question that cannot and should not yield a single number for an answer because there are variances in state law requirements for minimum size and the size, scope and culture of nonprofits varies greatly.  The average in the United State according to the most recent BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index is 16.  However, the best answer to the question about size is: whatever is the right size to meet the needs of your organization.

Here are some considerations:

State law regarding minimum number of directors
All states with the exception of Mississippi (which does not specify a number) requires either 1 or more members or 3 or more members.  The laws do not specify a maximum number.

What’s right for your organization?
So there are state law requirements for minimum size and the national average is 16.  What about your organization?  There are a variety of things to consider in establishing the right size of board for your organization including:

Scope/workload: Think about how many are ideal to effectively lead, manage and do the required governance work without board members burning-out.

Diversity: How many do you need to have an effective mix of individuals on the board?  The idea here is not to think of every possible element of diversity that you think needs representation (geographic, professional interest area, racial, age, sexual and other) but to assure you have an effective combination of perspectives sufficient to yield good deliberation and decision making.

Logistics and Cost:  The logistics and costs associated with orienting, training, informing, calling-together, feeding and housing boards increases with size.  What is ideal for your organization from a budgetary, staff support and overall “bandwidth” perspective?  As groups get larger, the governance skills required to lead and coordinate also increase.

Recognize the need for change
As boards and organizations progress throughout the lifecycle of founding to maturity to rebirth the organization’s needs might call for changes to the size of the Board.  Don’t assume that once the number of directors is established that it must stay that way in perpetuity.  Start-up boards tend to be smaller.  As organization’s mature and their operations expand boards tend to get bigger.

Conclusion
There is a Boardsource tenant that succinctly summarizes the question around board size “The optimal size for a board is not defined by a number buy by the composition of the board that achieves desired accomplishments.”

 

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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 

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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 

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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.

 

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 

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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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KNOWLEDGE & RESOURCES

MANAGEMENT | View all Management articles
A Successful Year Starts with a Solid Budget by Bill Monn
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MARKETING | View all Marketing articles
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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VOLUNTEERISM | View all Volunteerism articles
Three Ways to Stronger Volunteer Engagement by Paul Hanscom
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