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A Reflection: Takeaways From My Internship at Ewald

Posted By Drew Kelsh, Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Erik Hillesheim



This past year I’ve had the amazing opportunity that is being an intern at Ewald Consulting. Ewald is very unique in the sense that an intern is about the last word you’d use to describe everything that they empower their interns to do. I’m very lucky to have worked here, and am excited to return for Ewald Pt. 2 next summer after I travel around Spain and the rest of Europe :-) I wanted to take the time to highlight some of the bigger stepping stone lessons I’ve learned as a young professional during my time at Ewald. Although I learned tons of tangible knowledge about marketing, sales, analytics, data, social media, and graphics, I think even more important is to focus on some of the intangibles that will be integral to my future. Without further adue, here goes...


1.    I learned how to cultivate, lead, and sustain a culture of excellence

I was very lucky to have landed in a company with such a great culture and sense of community. At Ewald, we are all about developing our employees and empowering them to excel in whatever they take on. As I’ve had the opportunity to train in new interns and teach seasoned staff, I’ve had excellent mentors here that have helped me discover how to teach and develop others. By instilling confidence in my coworkers and helping them maintain autonomy over their work, we have created intrinsically motivated individuals with a deeply rooted desire to succeed that binds itself to our mission. This confidence has helped our employees take risks by thinking outside of the boundaries of their role and helped lay the foundation for new and improved processes. It begs our employees to ask the hard questions that normally are kicked under the table and to not accept the status quo. Accountability and follow through are never an issue here at Ewald. Along with some of the more serious, hard-hitting stuff, everyone here is truly enjoyable to be around and that makes coming to work a blast.


2.    I learned what true, visionary leadership is

Our management team thinks about everything in the right way and does a great job communicating that with all staff. One thing that I’ve become uniquely attuned to is how dialed into the ground level our management is. They are very receptive to criticism and recognize opportunities and problems to exploit them very quickly. They manage relationships within our company, with our clients, with our clients members and volunteers, and with vendors very smoothly. Our CEO, David Ewald, does an exceptional job keeping his mind to the pulse of the external environment and maintaining focus on what is important. They constantly look to refine strategy, mission, and processes so that they best align with what will create organization-wide successes. The team does a great job elevating everyone, including interns, to the horizontal, non-hierarchical structure that exists here. With this mentality, I’ve been able to strategize on company-wide, department-wide, and ground level initiatives. I’ve helped push management to think about and start acting on creating new departments and expanding our service offerings. I’ve been able to think creatively and brainstorm on company strategy and positioning. All of this comes from our management team being open to ideas and investing in the intellectual capacities of their employees.


3.    I learned and refined my emotional intelligence and empathy

Simply put, everyone at Ewald is great at working with people. They have set a bona fide example in their communication, thoughtfulness, and team-oriented spirit. Having created a solid foundation in those areas with the help of my coworkers, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to focus on refining the skills of empathy and emotional intelligence in the workplace, a rare opportunity for a nineteen-year-old kid. I’ve become aware of the smaller nuances that coworkers have and I dedicate myself to picking up on social cues that often go unnoticed. I’ve learned that how people present themselves on the surface level is rarely the entire truth, only the mere tip of an iceberg. Trying to understand what people are going through (both at work and elsewhere), empathize with them, and act in a way that helps my coworkers succeed has been really helpful in building a culture that values other people’s priorities, aspirations, and wellbeing. My investment in other people helps me tiptoe around sticky and tense situations, learn more about what truly motivates an individual, and build incredible rapport. I find myself even more motivated and dedicated to Ewald’s mission, being invested in my coworkers. I hope this all has made me a little bit easier to work with.


I’d like to thank everyone at Ewald for making the past year a great one. I can’t wait to rejoin you later this summer! For now, hasta luego - tengo que explorar España. 

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The Association's New Year's Resolution

Posted By Emily Le, Wednesday, December 30, 2015

With 2015 in the rear view mirror and the Times Square Ball now dropped, about 147 million Americans affirmed some personal goals for 2016. As the new year has arrived, what aspirations do you have for your association? After years of working with associations, Ewald Consulting has come up with a few stellar New Year's resolutions that your association may want to consider adopting and committing to for continued success through next December.

  1. Review and commit your organization to sticking to your budget

With each new year, we must remember that your association’s budget is a great tool to strategically plan and monitor the finances of your organization, if created correctly. One problem that we see many associations run into is that their budget is based on assumptions and not facts. Always build a realistic budget that reflects what is happening in the organization, not around other goals (i.e.: don’t base your budget off of the idea that you’ll be successful in growing membership 20% this year. Base it on your current membership numbers). Once the budget has been created, keep in mind that it must remain flexible and responsive to opportunities and threats that may emerge during the year. Another way to create an involved budget is to include everyone that it affects. By involving board members, program managers, development staff, finance managers, and executive directors, your organization will be much more likely to stick to your budget.

  1. Review your Board of Directors

As the new year kicks in, it might be a good time to take a look at rejuvenating your board. Often times, a board can benefit from new leadership, even if the current board is doing an okay job. Bringing in some fresh faces and perspectives can spur innovation, renew the organization’s energy, and reemphasize your mission and purpose. By disrupting the status quo, you may push your organization back on the path they have been very slowly moving off of. If you don’t think this is the right course of action for your association, consider investing in a leadership retreat to have the same effect on your current board.

  1. Take a look at your events

How did your events go this year? Were participants especially excited about a certain venue or speaker last year? The new year is a great time to reach out to some of your more active members or to revisit the results of last year’s post-conference survey. Planning the venue at a new and exciting location, bringing in new speakers, or changing up your education sessions are all great places to start thinking about implementing change. With your annual conference being the major touch-point with a majority of your members, it’s pertinent that your organization commit itself to ensuring an incredible experience.

We hope your association saw amazing successes in 2015 and that they continue into the new year. By committing yourselves to excellence in these three areas, you’ll be well on your way to doing so. If your association ever wants to augment its events, marketing, professional development, communications, sales, or finances, our team is here to help. Feel free to give us a call at (651) 290-6274 or email us at paulh@ewald.com. We’d be happy to hear about what you want to accomplish and how we can play a role in getting you there.

Here’s to a wonderfully successful and fun 2016 - cheers!

Tags:  association management  budget planning  New Year's 

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Tweeting Video: Why It Matters

Posted By Kate-Madonna Hindes – Director of Marketing, Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Have you ever scrolled through your Twitter feed to see a photo that caught your eye, or even a short video that grabbed your attention? Twitter has been busy in the past few months in taking its platform to the next level.  In early December, they rolled out changes to the way photos appear in feeds. Take a peek: 


Larger and more eye-catching photos mean more views and potentially, better engagement- or so Twitter hopes. In 2014, Twitter surveyed engagement rates for each type of tweet. Look below:

·         Photos  average a 35% boost in Retweets

·         Videos get a 28% boost

·         Quotes get a 19% boost in Retweets

·         Including a number receives a 17% bump in Retweets

·         Hashtags receive a 16% boost

What fuels engagement on Twitter. Is it better photos and video? Twitter believes so. We’ve seen significant increases in our client digital marketing by incorporating a strong voice and the addition of visual elements such as photo and video. 

“The majority of Twitter users (82%) watch video content on Twitter and most watch on a hand-held screen. A staggering 90% of Twitter video views happen on a mobile device, according to our own internal data. But Twitter users don’t just lean back and watch video; they also lean in to create it. Twitter users are 1.9x more likely to have uploaded a video online (anywhere) than the average U.S. internet user.” – Twitter.com

One thing is becoming more apparent with every passing day: Social is ever-changing and ever-flowing. To capture the eyes that text posts received in 2010, we need to adapt our material. 

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Live-Stream or video-catalog your next event with Magisto

Posted By Kate-Madonna Hindes – Director of Marketing, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Have you ever wondered how to take the photos from your annual conference and immediately upload them to a video for a later in the evening event- like a networking mixer or celebration? Thank goodness for Magisto. Magisto is an application for phone or desktop that offers highly-creative video collages, or photo collages.


My Take:

After going to Magisto.com, Set-up was a breeze. I downloaded to my desktop and it searched my files for me. To create an account, I allowed this tool to connect to my Facebook. It asked to see my friends, (I said no.) And it asked to post to Facebook for me. (I said no as well.)


Once the photos and videos were finished, I asked Magisto to create a movie by simply selecting, “Create Movie” on the folder I wanted. To my surprise, it began immediately starting the task- without any input from me. Would I like the result? Absolutely. This application made sharing photos within a video EASY!

Without upgrading to the pro-version, ($4.99 or $9.99) I’d be unable to use more than 10 photos. However, I was pretty satisfied with what happened when I uploaded my family photos, selected my theme and chose my soundtrack. 

It’s Perfect For….

I can see our event planners or marketing team using this to put the photos from an event or annual conference in an easy-to-share video. 

One thing to know…

To download movies, you’ll have to pay $4.99 a month. Without a premium account, movies are unable to be downloaded. Additionally, with the Premium account, my movie was easily shared to Facebook. And now, I look like a pro! 

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Thoughts on thankfulness

Posted By David Ewald, Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November is the traditional time that Americans reflect on the previous year, and give thanks for all that has gone well.


We’re traditionally a thankful lot in November here at Ewald Consulting, and 2015 is no exception, as we look back on a year filled with many more triumphs than challenges. We have never been a group that rests on past success, but rather one that pushes forward, constantly learning from good news and from bad news how we can better serve a diverse array of clients. So as we think about 2015, there’s an air of thankfulness amid our desire to use the experience we’ve gained and the clients we serve to do things even better in 2016 and beyond.


Roughly a decade ago, the sudden collapse of some of the nation’s oldest and best-known brokerage houses was a stark reminder that your future success depends less upon your name, your past and your reputation, and more upon your people, their vision for the future, their tools for implementing that vision, and where they will take you. Those are the thoughts that cross my mind when chatting with Ewald Consulting employees, whether that means the valued team-leader who has served us for two decades or more and brings a vast supply of established relationships and institutional knowledge to the office each day, or the new employee in their first month on job, bringing youth, enthusiasm and a fresh set of ideas to the service of our clients.


Thus far, 2015 has been a year of building our brand and reinforcing our reputation as one of the best in the business. But all of that work is done by great people – our greatest asset, and my greatest source of thankfulness.

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Membership Technologist: Using Data to Enhance Customer Relationships

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kathie Pugaczewski, our Vice President of Communications and Technology, presented to a large association as part of a virtual conference session last week. Kathie has more than 20 years of association management experience and joined Ewald Consulting in 2005. Previously, Kathie worked for the Builders Association of Minnesota (BAM) in a variety of capacities for 12 years including membership development, meeting planner, lobbyist, communications, and executive vice president. From 2001 to 2005, Kathie worked for the Midwest Society of Association Executives (MSAE) as Marketing Director; she has also owned her own marketing firm. Kathie has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Minnesota and completed the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Notre Dame. Kathie earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2003, and the Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) designation in 2009.


Below is the recording of her presentation "Membership Technologist: Using Data to Enhance Customer Relationships". As an industry leader, she reveals her thoughts on leadership and the topic of member engagement.



Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.


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Under-engaged and Under-utilized: A Look at Millennial Volunteers

Posted By Erik Hillesheim , Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. These are the people who know your organization inside and out, the ones who’ve been there through it all. They’re the underappreciated, sometimes invisible, backbone of many of the successes of your organization. Now, how do you go about finding those volunteers?


As I look across the board with all of the many of the organizations that Ewald works for, I see a distinct group of volunteers that are under-recruited and underutilized. Millennials are beginning to fill up our organizations just as they are the work force. Here are some tips and tricks on how to better utilize, onboard, and retain Millennials as volunteers in your organization.


1.      Customization. Millennials are one of the most passionate generations when they’re doing what they love. By allowing them to champion a specific task that they’re motivated to do, you can capitalize on their energy and innovation to revamp old processes, inspire members to become more involved, and expand the reach of your organization.

2.      The tiered volunteer program. Millennials value flexibility. Strategically creating volunteer positions that allow for flexibility in terms of time and scope of work is ideal. By allowing different levels of commitment you’ll be able to better attract Millennials and retain them in those positions.

3.      Project value. It’s important to convey how meaningful what they’re doing is. It’s also very helpful to put them on important projects with seasoned volunteers. The more influential the project is to the organization, the more engaged they will become. By giving them these big opportunities, they’ll feel valued and will come back year after year. This also helps transition out some of your more senior volunteers. By sharing the aspects of your most important volunteer roles you’ll also have smoother transitions when a volunteer leaves your organization.

4.      The importance of learning. I want to make two points here. On one hand, Millennials are much more willing to stick around if you can teach them and help them learn more. Whether this is about the organization, himself or herself, or your industry, Millennials value learning. On the other hand, your organization can learn a lot by employing millennial volunteers. You find out where they’re most effectively utilized, how they can contribute to your objectives, and how to adjust volunteer roles to better fit their style.

5.      Networking. Millennials are still young in their career. They’re building contacts and have the spark your organization needs to continue pushing your membership growth. By getting them more involved, you can use them on your membership outreach teams and grow your member base. (As an added bonus, there may be just a few of them that know a little bit about technology and would be willing to grow your social media and online presence.)


Getting Millennials involved as volunteers in your organization can provide immense benefits to you and your organizational goals. The importance of keeping Millennials front of mind in the volunteer search could bring your organization to new heights in unexpected areas. How has your organization utilized Millennials as volunteers? We’d love to hear about it.

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Marketing to Generations: Membership X, Y & Z

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, CAE, CMP, Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The primary and perhaps the only membership strategy to sustain and grow our associations is gaining membership in generation X, Y, Z, while not losing sight of the Boomer generation who have been the core of our associations through the years. In 2010, 7.3 million Baby Boomers will retire, making a tremendous impact on society and associations.


If we continue to use Boomer marketing strategies, Generation X and Y won’t join or participate because we’re not meeting them where they are at in their career and life. An additional consideration is that Generation X and Y are not exactly the same – each group has its own characteristics to consider and market to.


The differences in generations not only affect the future of associations, but also the future of the workplace. So providing meaningful benefits for different generations in our associations — as well as resources for their employers — is an important consideration.


Understanding differences and developing real strategies to meet those different needs will be a challenge for our boomer-centric associations. Bottom line: Gen X and Y aren’t going to adjust or grow up to become Boomers.


The consequences of inaction are clear. We must transform our organizations into vibrant resources for all generations. If we choose not to deliver real value for all generations, Generation X and Y will create it for themselves through their own Young Professional Groups or other competing organizations.


If we proactively create these opportunities within our own associations, we will transform and create the new association of the future with all generations participating and engaging and gaining real value for them professionally and personally.


Some Key Generational Characteristics:


Gen Z – Born 1996 - ?

  • New silent generation
  • Larger than Gen X
  • Long life span




Generation Y – Born between 1982-1995

  • 1/3 of the US population
  • Will change jobs seven times before early 30s
  • More socially outgoing than X
  • Networking/exchange of info
  • Enjoy collaboration
  • Virtual networking
  • More accepting of different cultures and well traveled
  • Participation is episodic
  • High achievers
  • Interested in mentoring
  • Make a difference in the community
  • Multi-taskers
  • Spend more time online than TV
  • Buzz marketing
  • Rewarded for participation, not achievement
  • Aim for positive feedback


Generation X – Born between 1965-1981

  • Independent, individualistic, self-reliant, work alone
  • Peer-focused – network with their own generation
  • Career building
  • Family first
  • Professional development
  • Training to enhance skill set
  • Very selective on where they spend their time
  • Need trust and belonging
  • More time and effort building a relationship
  • Prefer meeting in small groups
  • Discussions by email


Boomers – Born between 1946-1964

  • Raised with hope and opportunity
  • Driven by desire to succeed
  • Teamwork is a focus
  • Want to help others
  • Socialize and network — more face-to-face than succeeding generations



Membership Strategies by Association Area:


Membership Structure/Strategy

  • Collect year born and gender for benchmarking; additional – hobbies, interests, specialties to connect members
  • Young Professional Groups/Sections/SIGs
  • Student membership
  • Establish relationships with Universities/Schools




  • Mentoring program
  • Invite involvement — contribute in different ways
  • Shorter commitments and focused efforts
  • Review board requirements – get Gen X and Y on the board
  • Task forces v. committees
  • Don’t waste time on long or numerous meetings



  • Podcasts, blogs, RSS feeds
  • Generation-specific resources on web
  • Gen X & Y sections on web – forum discussion groups
  • Online mentoring
  • Focus on creative design and message to get attention, more sophisticated marketing messages, innovative and concise
  • Testimonials – value of membership – all generations
  • Career info and links on web
  • Podcast career tips, interview members on career topics
  • Internships listings/job Boards
  • Send welcome email with podcast of new member orientation
  • Stories/case studies
  • Searchable directory enhancements
  • Polls and surveys — get feedback
  • Distance learning/Webcasts/Audiocasts



  • Public speaking and leadership courses
  • Offer student rates
  • Speed networking
  • Behind the scenes, exclusive programs
  • Assess the length of programs – allow one-day-only options as well as family programs (not “spouse” programs)
  • X, Y, Boomer panel discussions at conferences
  • Mentoring/networking events
  • Job fairs





Definitions of Key Concepts


Wiki “A wiki is a type of computer software that allows users to easily create, edit and link web pages. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites, power community websites, and are increasingly being installed by businesses to provide affordable and effective Intranets or for use in Knowledge Management.”


Social Media – “Social Media is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into content publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between or among authors, people, and peers. Social media uses the ‘wisdom of crowds’ to connect information in a collaborative manner. Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures, and video. Technologies include blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, group creation, and voice over IP. Examples of social media applications are Google (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), Last.fm (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Second Life (virtual reality), and Flickr (photo sharing).”



Resource Websites/Tools:



















The Fourth Turning, Strauss

When Generations Collide, Lancaster, L. & Stillman, D.

Managing the Generation Mix, Martin, Dr. C., & Tulgan, B.

The New Recruit, Sarah L. Sladek

The Decision to Join, ASAE, by James Dalton and Monica Dignam



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Freebie Tuesday: E-Book Edition

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Would you like your association to stand out? What can you do to engage with more members? How to create long-lasting relationships to improve retention? Change the Game: Get exclusive access to our playbook for Game-Changing Association Management. Simply click here and fill out the form: www.ewald.com/playbook


As one of the nation’s 15 largest AMCs, Ewald Consulting provides CREATIVE solutions that are EFFECTIVELY implemented to make your role as an association leader FUN! If you’re ready to start making a lasting impact for your association community, contact Paul Hanscom at (651) 290-6274 or paulh@ewald.com.

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Loyalty: The Dark horse Benefit of Social Media Marketing

Posted By Erik Hillesheim, Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I remember when I was a kid sitting at the breakfast table. I would drool in anticipation as my Mom cracked open a fresh box of Frosted Flakes. Now Frosted Flakes is an amazing cereal, don’t get me wrong, but I was more concerned with what SpongeBob Character Wind-Up I would be oh so lucky to get. I was captivated by the brand because they were able to keep me happy every time I came back.


Loyalty marketing is really cool and really useful, turns out. So useful, in fact, that there’s an entire industry focusing on figuring out how to keep consumers going back to a specific brand. The field of loyalty marketing has changed a lot over the years and is continuing to wind its way into every new outlet that emerges. What started as premiums, boxtops, prizes, and mail orders, has evolved into frequent fliers and card linked offers. But can social media create the same type of loyalty for your association?


So obviously loyalty marketing makes customers happy and we know that it’s profitable. What I don’t think many people realize is that there are ample amount of opportunities where social media can be used to increase your brand loyalty and how big of a difference this can make. Your association doesn’t need a credit card to make people loyal and here are a few ways that you can utilize your social platforms to keep members coming back:

1.       Be actively engaged on your social channels during conferences and encourage members to participate. It’s likely that your members will feel the most connected to your organization while at your major conferences. This is a critical time to ensure they’re engaged and happy. If you can make your members feel valued it’s very likely they’ll not only renew their membership, but also become even more engaged with the organization. By engaging with them online you’ll also be able to continue dialogue with them outside of the event and into the future. One of our clients recently held their Annual Conference and used a conference hashtag so participants could engage with other participants online. Staff members were following the conference hashtag and found a tweet by a member named Catherine who said she was looking forward to her first conference. They replied with this:

You can guess who’ll be seeing Catherine at next year’s conference.


2.       Create a stellar content marketing strategy. Posting engaging content throughout the year is a great way to ensure your members will keep coming back to you. By curating and creating content on your platforms, members will be more likely to engage with you and feel as though you’re adding to their intellectual arsenal. They’ll also make you their go-to when it comes to finding industry information and happenings.


3.       Thank people for putting content online. Did a member of your organization post an article about a current event in your field? Did they post about an event they’re going to? Did they link to your website? Shoot them a quick thank you tweet. A simple “Hey Jim, we really enjoyed your article. Thanks for sharing! #something,” can go a long way. This also works if they retweet, favorite, or like your content as well.

In a hypercompetitive world, it is becoming harder and harder to maintain members. Loyalty is hard to come by, but not hard to create. Make social media your SpongeBob Wind-Up.


If you ever have any questions or comments on how to let social media work for your association feel free to contact Ewald’s Marketing Team at katemh@ewald.com

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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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