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Much More than Bean Counters

Posted By Murphy Pickett, Thursday, August 4, 2016
Updated: Thursday, August 4, 2016

Much More than Bean Counters

By Tommy DeMartino; Client Accounting Specialist


The Finance Department here at Ewald Consulting is not your typical bunch of bean counters. To best serve our clients, we wear a few different hats. One of our major responsibilities is processing the vast majority of event registrations and membership dues. This task alone involves multiple steps — first, entering the information and payment specifics into our database system; second, entering the payment information into our accounting system (QuickBooks, a financial tool commonly used throughout the world).


YourMembership is our online database system — it’s the world inhabited by our clients’ members and many of our co-workers, and it is the face of our clients seen by the rest of the world. The secondary database, QuickBooks, is restricted to members of our Finance department only. Making sure the data entered into both systems are identical is extremely important to the success of our clients.

Yet another system our Finance department uses on a daily basis is our credit card processing website. We partner with Affinipay and have had a successful relationship for many years. Affinipay also has a strong relationship with YourMembership, making our lives much more efficient and easier. The communication between YourMembership and Affinipay is so seamless that our clients’ members don’t even know it exists. Affinipay also works extremely well with QuickBooks. Each month our Finance department downloads credit card payment information into QuickBooks for recordkeeping purposes.

The credit card payment information, along with check payments we receive in the mail daily (then entered into both YourMembership and QuickBooks), combine to provide the income produced by our clients.

Another major aspect to our department’s responsibility is recording as well as paying expenses — bills, invoices, reimbursements, and other types of check requests. These are typically paid via check after being entered into QuickBooks. The other types of payments are recurring monthly credit card payments and wire transfer (money moving from one bank account directly to another electronically). Our Account Executives review these forms of Accounts Payable to indicate where they will be entered and flow into their monthly financial statements. Check payments are mailed weekly for each client.

The final major obligation our department undertakes is compiling our clients’ monthly financial statements. Creating these documents is a more conventional task performed by Finance/Accounting departments across the business landscape. These financial statements, which include the Balance Sheet, Profit/Loss Statements, and Income Statements, provide a numerical view of the client’s health. It also helps our clients’ leadership to plan for the coming years.


I hope this post has helped provide an inside look at the Ewald Consulting Finance Department.


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Meet the New Employee: Arzu

Posted By Murphy Pickett, Thursday, July 14, 2016

Meet the New Employee: Arzu


Ewald Consulting is proud to introduce one of our newest employees, Arzu Alimohd.


Arzu recently graduated from the University of Minnesota with a double major in International Relations and Political Science. Arzu plans to contribute everything she can to Ewald and make the most out of the opportunities she encounters along the way.


Q: What is your title here at Ewald Consulting?


            A: Membership Specialist


Q: Now that you are a full-time employee, what, if anything, do you expect will change with your work?


            A: As a part-time employee, I did not make many connections across departments. I am excited to work with more employees across departments to not only perfect the membership process for every association, but to collaborate with others to improve membership retention rates and the overall membership quality for all associations to ensure members see the value of joining.


Q: What do you love most about your job?


            A: Do I have to pick just one? I love that I am a part of a growing department. With the membership department being fairly new (just added in January 2016), I love that I am included in how the department will be structured in the future. Membership is one of the foundations of associations, so it is great to see how much we are doing as well as establishing a solid foundation for Ewald and our clients.


Q: Who is your greatest role model? And why?


            A: My parents, especially my mother, are my greatest role models. Coming to the United States over 30 years ago with nothing except their desire for a better life, they built their successes from the bottom up. They have gotten three children through college, and always remind us to be thankful for the access to good education. They are the most hard-working people I know.


Q: What is one thing most people do not know about you?


            A: My parents spelled my name wrong on my birth certificate. My name is supposed to be Arzu, which means wish or desire in Persian. I guess an O and a U can look similar!


Q: What made you come to Ewald Consulting?


            A: I learned about Ewald from a current intern, Natalie, who raved about how great a company it is. She informed me of a position that was opening, and I worked part-time as I learned the ropes of Ewald Consulting. From the beginning, I learned how unique and driven the company is, so when I found out about a position that was opening in the membership department, I could not help but apply! I talk to someone every week who shows me their dedication to their position and to Ewald. That assures me every week that I have found such a great company with dedicated employees who strive for their goals.


Ewald Consulting is lucky to have Arzu as a dedicated and loyal employee. We are confident she will do great things!



If you’re interested in an employment opportunity here at Ewald, take a look at our postings at http://bit.ly/1Jgh7VQ.



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New Member Onboarding

Posted By Jason Acord, Membership Specialist, Thursday, July 7, 2016
Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2016

So you just spent the last couple of months preparing materials and strategizing a new member campaign. Now what? Running a successful campaign is just the first step; understanding that the first year of membership is a critical time and can have a strong effect on retention is what follows.

Having a solid new member communication plan is vital and can make or break your chances of retaining a member beyond the first year. Developing key messages that are engaging, effective and actionable and knowing the right time to send them all play a key role in your organization’s success.

When a member joins, respond within 24 hours. A simple email, thanking them for their investment and letting them know an organization leader will be contacting them within the coming day will provide a stronger connection and make the member feel important, because they are. Making sure a new member receives an immediate response will encourage them to open and react to future communications.

Here is a list of best practices for engaging new members throughout the first year:

  • Week one: A welcome email from the membership director or board president.
  • Week two: An email introduction to all membership benefits.
  • Week four: A welcome phone call from a board member or local representative. Use this as an opportunity to encourage them to get involved and attend a local membership networking event or conference.
  • First month: A new member packet describing in detail the membership benefits, local leadership, and upcoming networking and educational opportunities. The packet should also include a welcome letter signed by the board president and vice president.
  • Month Three: A new member survey – two or three questions focused on why they joined.
  • Month Six: Personal invitation to the upcoming conference or other event, highlighting certification (if applicable) and networking opportunities.
  • Month Nine: Reintroduction to member benefits.
  • Month Twelve: New member first year survey — focused on the benefits and opportunities the member took advantage of during the first year and how the organization can enhance the benefits for future members.

During the first few months after joining, new members will determine their level of involvement and decide whether or not an organization is right for them.

For more information regarding new member engagement and developing a new member communication plan, please contact Jason Acord, Membership Specialist for Ewald Consulting at: jasona@ewald.com.


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2016 Legislative Session

Posted By Murphy Pickett, Thursday, June 16, 2016

2016 Legislative Session

By: Jess Myers, Media and Public Relations Specialist


It’s been said that the legislative session is a marathon, not a sprint. And with meetings over the course of several months, it certainly feels like a 26.2-mile slog at times. Until the final weekend of the session, when that marathon morphs into a mad sprint to the constitutionally-mandated finish line.


Such was the case again in 2016, as months of meetings and negotiations boiled down to a frantic final hour before Midnight on the Sunday night in May when, by direction of the state constitution, the legislature had to adjourn.


After voting on and passing a capital investment package worth $800 million, the House adjourned Sine Die (the constitutional term for the end of the biennial legislative cycle) at Midnight. But the Senate passed a slightly different version of the same bill, and due to the differences, it cannot become law.

But the session was not devoid of accomplishments. For example, the legislature passed a $182 million budget that included the following:


•                $75 million for jobs, energy and equity (including $35 million for broadband expansion and $35 million for racial equity programs)


•                $45 million for state government operations


•                $25 million for E-12 education


•                $25 million for the Department of Public Safety


•                $7 million for environment and agriculture


•                $5 million for higher education


•                $70 million in tax provisions (separate from the funds for the tax omnibus bill)


The tax provisions in the budget will provide a one-year extension for the angel investment tax credit, an exemption for military pensions from state taxes, a $2,000 credit for families who have a stillborn child, and eliminates sales tax from modular homes. The supplemental budget bill was passed by both the House and Senate on Sunday, and awaits Gov. Dayton’s signature before becoming law.


There were also important changes in education policy that became law, including a universal pre-Kindergarten pilot program for four-year-olds which was a priority for the governor. This proposal establishes a funding formula for school districts that receive this pre-K funding, which will be split between urban, suburban and greater Minnesota school districts, awarded based on poverty rates and the lack of other quality early learning programs in the area.


The teacher shortage problem was the focus of many committee hearings this session and the governor, the House and the Senate included efforts to quell the shortage in their priorities. In the end, $7.5 million has been appropriated to a number of initiatives including a loan forgiveness program to individuals who teach in shortage areas, incentives to paraprofessionals to seek their teaching license, and a program to support teachers of color.


Another significant provision is the establishment of a six-year, $12 million competitive grant program to help school districts hire additional student support services staff such as school counselors, school psychologists and school nurses.


But the failure of the capital investment legislation, a small wording error in the tax bill that could cost the state $100 million in revenue, and the lack of an overall agreement on transportation funding and policy, means there is much work that was not finished, and a special legislative session may be called by the governor sometime during the summer.


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Meet the New Employee: Jordan Rezac

Posted By Murphy Pickett, Thursday, June 2, 2016

Meet the New Employee: Jordan Rezac

Ewald Consulting is excited to introduce one of our newest interns, Jordan Rezac!

Jordan is currently a senior at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Communication Studies, planning to graduate in December 2016. Jordan is fun, kind, and has already made a great impact at Ewald.

Q:  What are you most excited about as you start working for Ewald Consulting?

A: I have always wanted to be an event planner, so I am excited to be working in the field I had hoped for. I am also excited to work for a company that values its employees.

Q:  What is your greatest accomplishment to date?

A: I don’t really have any significant accomplishments at this point in my life, besides the typical getting my driver’s license and graduating high school. I would say my biggest accomplishment in the near future will be graduating college a semester early in December.

I have always kept pretty busy. I had two jobs in high school, while also being in sports. I guess that was kind of an accomplishment for me to be able to juggle all of my different schedules. I also have consistently worked about 25-30 hours each week while being a full-time college student.

This semester I am working, taking 20 credits, and commuting an hour to school/work each day. Completing this semester will be a personal accomplishment in itself; only 3 weeks left!

Q:  What hobbies or passions do you practice outside of work?

A: I love spending time with my family and friends. I love when the weather is nice and I am able to be outside. My most recent obsession is my puppy, Laila, a Yorkie. I love taking her for walks and playing with her. I also love doing all sorts of crafts. I am currently in the process of knitting a very large blanket. I started making it over a year ago, so it has been a long project.

Q: How do you plan to make an impact at Ewald Consulting?

A: I hope to make an impact by helping the Event Department further its productivity and take some tasks off of the busy plates of our event planners.


If you’re interested in an internship here at Ewald Consulting, feel free to reach out to Kate-Madonna Hindes at katemh@ewald.com.



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Changes and Trends in Association Management: Technology

Posted By Murphy Pickett, Thursday, May 19, 2016

Changes and Trends in Association Management: Technology 
By: Mary Le, Intern
There are many changes and trends that affect association management, but none more than technology. Technology is changing how associations engage and communicate with their members in a very real way. Bryan Mowry, an Account Executive at Ewald Consulting, explains how technology is affecting association management.
Most notably, technological advances make it easier to engage with members. These advances impact emails, newsletters, and social media. By triangulating these three marketing channels, it makes it easier for associations to bridge the gap between the plugged-in inner circle of staff and volunteers with the otherwise less-connected member. Critical to this outcome is the creation of a two-way conversation. Technology allows organizations to keep members in the loop about what’s going on and provide input and feedback along the way. 
Technology also enhances the member and meeting attendee experience. “I see people bring tablets and type notes on their laptops or phones in meetings,” mentions Bryan. “Technology makes it both more convenient and more efficient to communicate for both parties: your members and your leadership.” However, some individuals can be uncomfortable with new technology at first. 
“There are some people who are more comfortable with traditional ways of communicating. They miss getting mail, magazines, and newsletters in the mail,” explains Bryan. These same members may feel that by communicating through a screen, there is a loss in personal connection. This is why it is important to add an even greater customized, personal connection when engaging with members electronically. Bryan reminds us that going the extra mile and offering everyone a personal connection goes a long way.  Associations can do this with volunteers and member inquiries by responding with a phone call instead of by email, or thanking volunteers face-to-face at meetings and events.
When you have one group that prefers everything be done electronically through technology and one group that prefers everything directly mailed to them, take measures to accommodate both. For example, have a few paper copies of meeting materials on hand to give those who don’t like to use devices. This can allow everyone to feel more engaged and comfortable in a meeting. 
If you are interested in learning more about engagement, association management and our services, please visit us at www.ewald.com.

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Meet the New Employee: Murphy Pickett

Posted By Mary Le, Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Meet the New Employee: Murphy Pickett

By: Mary Le, Intern


Murphy Pickett is one of newest interns to join the marketing team at Ewald Consulting. Murphy is a sophomore at St. Catherine University studying Communications with a minor in Sales. Some of her responsibilities are social engagement, scheduling posts, and reporting social analytics.


Q: What are you most excited about with your internship at Ewald?


A: I am most excited about learning new things and getting to experience marketing and communication in a workforce environment.


Q: If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?


A: I would definitely travel to 1862 to meet Abraham Lincoln. To me, he is one of the most influential and inspiring presidents our country has seen; he made many decisions that only bettered our society.


Q: If you could bring someone back from the dead, who would it be and why?


A: I would bring back my family member Tom Burnett, who died during 9/11 on flight 93, sacrificing his life to try and save others.


Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?


A: In five years, I hope to be thriving in a career I am passionate about and want to succeed in. Five years from now, I hope to be moving toward a more permanent position and aspect of my life so I can position myself for a fruitful future.


Q: What are your top five strengths?


            A: Harmony, Intellectual, Restorative, Discipline, and Adaptability.

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Content Content Content

Posted By Mary Le, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Content Content Content

By: Drew Kelsh, Marketing Research Associate


If you have spent a second perusing blogs, or taken a moment to scroll through and read your LinkedIn feed lately, then you can’t escape the endless “Content Marketing!” headlines that clutter the stream.  I believe it’s time we expose the myths and facts of content marketing once and for all. First, let’s find out what it is.


There are endless definitions for content marketing, but one struck me as the most useful and correct. According to the Content Marketing Institute:


“Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”


Imagine for a moment that your marketing department was transformed into a top-of-the-line Hollywood production agency. Instead of office professionals, your workplace is filled with incredible scriptwriters, directors, and producers. The result would be, wellinteresting. One thing is for sure, the content would be amazing.


The content would be valuable, relevant, and outright fantastic, but your marketing department can be just as fantastic. As Forbes says, the idea behind content marketing is that organizations no longer just market to sell to consumers, but market to inform, engage and educate consumers.


Content can quite frankly be anything, from digital and print graphics and infographics, to blogs, webinars, videos, and publications…as long as the purpose of the content is to inform and communicate with the customer in a meaningful way, and not simply sell to them.


As associations, you’ve been doing this for quite a while longer than the moguls on LinkedIn would have you believe. Trade magazines, blogs and webinars are all examples of content marketing. It is valuable and relevant information that engages a target audience consistently. Aside from this, content marketing has become more prevalent in the past years, especially among large companies. You may have noticed lately that some blogs and articles say “sponsored” next to them; that is content marketing in the flesh. However, sponsored content is content paid for by an organization to be at the top of a webpage, preferably one with high traffic, and is created with the goal to market something for the given organization. Organic content may also be created in order to market something, but relies on its inherent quality in order to reach the top of a webpage, rather than paying to be there. Though it very successful to market via content, it’s important we dispel some of the common myths associated with the strategy.


It’s not about just creating more content, it’s about quality content, and consistency. Many organizations disseminate a large amount of information and most of it ends up in spam folders. This is one reason I like the Content Marketing Institute’s definition, which also states, “information must be ‘valuable, relevant, and consistent’ in order to be considered content marketing. This is one thing separating your marketing department from a Hollywood production agency.


Of course, it’s not just about creating content; there’s another wonderful word as well: curating. Curating content is merely the process of distributing and crediting another organization’s/persons content that is relevant and valuable to your audience. Curating content is much easier, and doesn’t involve converting your marketing department into a production agency.


Let’s tackle the 3 biggest myths of content marketing…



Myth 1: Content marketing is centered around social media.


Though social media is a very valuable tool for finding and distributing content to your audience in a relatively simple way, it is not what content marketing is all about. Social media is a great tool to promote your content, but it’s important to keep in mind, social media itself is not your content, and shouldn’t be. It is simply a vehicle for your content. Content comes first, social media comes after.


Myth 2: Content marketing is a side project, while other marketing functions should remain at the forefront.


Content marketing is at its most valuable when it’s tied into all the rest of your marketing functions. Trying to improve your organizations SEO? Quality content is more likely to be engaging, improving your SEO. Looking for a public relations strategy? Addressing an issue your customers care about will garner more attention than just addressing your business. Developing a social media strategy? Create content that people care about and they will look to you on social media more often. If content is put at the forefront, it supplements the rest of your marketing functions that come after.


Myth 3: I don’t have time to constant create quality content, so I can’t do content marketing.


As mentioned before, content marketing is not all about creating content — it more often involves curating content. If you aren’t the most creative person, or don’t have time to constantly create blogs and graphics, then find someone who is. Credit them, and push that content to your audience instead. Making sure the content is of good quality and is relevant to your audience will help it receive the most reads and engagement. The reality is, there’s loads of content out there just waiting to be shared, so much of it may go unnoticed by your audience. It’s a bit like going out to a fantastic restaurant. You can’t cook an incredible meal for all of your friends to enjoy in a timely fashion, so taking them to that hole in the wall they never would’ve gone to will give everyone greater satisfaction. They’ll still appreciate the experience, and appreciate that you shared a great restaurant with them. The restaurant owner will appreciate it too, because now your friends may tell their friends about it. It’s not stealing if you distribute other people’s content, or let someone else cook for you, as long as you credit them.


This gives you the basic understanding to go out and begin developing your content marketing strategy. And remember, it’s all about the quality.


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Key Tips to Social Media Engagement

Posted By Mary Le, Monday, April 18, 2016

Key Tips to Social Media Engagement

By: Mary Le, Intern


One of my main responsibilities is to do social media engagement for a few different clients. I log into their Facebook and Twitter accounts to like articles, share articles, and thank followers. Sometimes finding the right thing to share, like, and engage on social media can be difficult — especially when you do this for multiple clients with varied interests. Here are few helpful tips to keep in mind when it comes to engaging on social media.


Come up with a profile: What helps me with doing engagement online is having a profile of each of my clients to look at. This profile provides me with the client’s tone, target audiences, what sites and resources to use. Take some time to come up with a profile for your client.


Stick to the Tone: This is very important to keep in mind when liking and sharing content on social media. I sometimes have a hard time staying focused on my clients’ tone when I look for content to share on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to keep your own personal interests out when doing social engagement. Instead, try to focus on the client’s tone and who their target audience is. That is why it’s very important to create a profile to help guide you.


Experiment With Different Sources: Don’t like and share content from only one source. This was a bad habit I had when I first started doing social media engagement. I found great content to share from one source and began to only share content from it. This makes it seems like your client is favoring a certain source. Instead, try searching key words or hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, or Google to find content to share from different sources.


Thank Followers, Shares, and Likes: People love it when I thank them for their shares, likes, and follows. You want people to like and share things you share on social media, so it is important to thank them back. Also, this will help increase your client’s presence online. 

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Why Ewald is the Best Place to Work

Posted By Mary Le, Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why Ewald is the Best Place to Work

By: Mary Le, Intern


Ewald Consulting is competing in the Star Tribune’s 2016 “Best Place to Work.” As a survey circulates asking employees why they like working for the company, who better to ask than Laurie Pumper, Ewald’s Communication Director, why Ewald is the best place to work. Laurie has been with Ewald Consulting for 25 (and a half) years. She has seen Ewald grow from 6 employees to about 70 employees.


Accepting mistakes: Laurie mentioned that it can get a little chaotic here at Ewald because people handle a number of different clients and some take on a number of roles. In times of chaos, you may make mistakes sometimes, and that’s okay. Here at Ewald, we understand people can make mistakes, especially as we learn new technology and new ways of thinking. We strive not to make the same mistakes twice and have quality controls in place to help avoid mistakes — but we grow by not always playing it safe.


The Ewald family: “I think Eric, Amanda, and especially David really set the tone here at Ewald,” said Laurie, adding, “They are strongly committed to their employees.” From offering pay and benefits that are significantly above the minimum required to getting to know every employee, the Ewald family knows how to treat people well. Laurie says the attitude goes deeper, “Going back to my first days on the job, the company leaders have also demanded strong ethical standards from themselves and their employees.”


Everyone has the same goal: All employees at Ewald have their own jobs and duties that they are responsible for. Despite those different roles, everyone shares the common goal of working in the best interest of the company and is willing to be a team player. “I think we all want to be the best at what we do — and make the company the best at what it does,” Laurie said.



Interested in opportunities at Ewald? Check out our site at www.ewald.com for job opportunities.



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