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Strategies for Increasing Non-Dues Revenue

For many associations, the ability to face and overcome the many challenges brought on by the global pandemic centered on maintaining and building new revenue streams. Those most successful continued to prove their capacity to adapt and embrace novel and innovative approaches beyond the usual sources of income.

Association revenue has typically focused on membership dues and annual conference registration revenue, even in periods of stable economic growth. The lessons of the past year have taught us that these may not be enough to sustain the organization over the long-term.

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Establishing Board and Committee Synchronicity

Partnerships are built on trust. Trust comes from gaining synchronicity with your boards and committees. Here are some tips to solidify your relationships with key leaders:


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Creating Successful Business Connections Virtually – an IRL ‘how-to’

In today’s climate, business as usual and 2020 are terms that go together about as well as oil and water. The COVID-19 outbreak forced associations to assess the status quo of how to deliver value through events. The Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors, a.k.a. “The Southern,” was no exception. Last August, this 97-year-old organization maintained its annual meeting goal and created virtual connections. Here’s how.

As the trade association representing convenience wholesale distributors in the southeast United States, The Southern’s membership spans from Texas to Virginia. Member companies have an annual gross revenue of $50 billion and represent nearly 50 percent of all convenience stores in the United States. In other words, The Southern means business - its Annual Meeting is a place where business gets done.

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5 Virtual Ways to Celebrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

It’s easy enough to find ways to celebrate and learn together when you’re able to gather in person, but what happens when everyone is still working remotely? As many of us have discovered since the start of the pandemic, virtual events take a bit more creativity and planning for attendees to feel engaged and connected. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate DEI events virtually, give these 5 ideas a try.

1. Family & Cultural Recipe Swap
Food, especially cherished recipes, has a way of taking down walls and bringing people together. To kick off a DEI week, hold a virtual family and cultural recipe swap and share. Staff can share recipes, photos, and stories about the dishes that bring their families and friends together and the ones they make again and again to celebrate special occasions and holidays.

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A New Association Partner: Artificial Intelligence

By Rob CareySr. Content Producer, MeetingsNet
This article was first posted here

2020 was the “year of technology” in the meetings industry, given the near impossibility of hosting in-person events during the Covid-19 pandemic. But with association-event planners strongly focused on virtual-event platforms, there’s one tech element that hasn't gotten the attention it deserves: artificial intelligence.

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Don’t Burn the Furniture, Please

by Dave Bergeson, PhD, CAE, Vice President of Client Relations, Association Management Center

It would be cliché and perhaps too obvious to say that for nonprofits and associations, this year is unlike any other. And yet, here we are. Most of our in-person conferences have been canceled. Many, if not most, of us, are implementing virtual meetings and conferences. Our traditional forms of content delivery and revenue streams have been disrupted.

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Virtual Governance: Making the Move Swiftly, Nimbly, and Effectively

By Association Management Center 

For many associations, the chaos that COVID-19 brought meant rereading bylaws to obtain clarity around the authority to conduct business virtually, moving large governing body meetings to later in the year, or even amending governing documents to delegate authority back to the board.

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Drivers of Success in Times of Disruption Perspective from a European Association

For ESAE, Lucas Boudet, Director General of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), explains how associations, despite what many people may think, might be in the best place to embrace change and be future-ready.

It is commonplace in management textbooks to state that, in the age of disruption, businesses live and die by their ability to adapt. I would like to take a step back from theories of changes and take a stance in the context of European associations. Unlike companies, which can reinvent their business to safeguard their profit-making, associations cannot change their purpose at a flick of a switch. They are bound by their raisond’être; it is the cement, the affectio societatis, bonding all their members together. Any substantial change to it may jeopardise their sheer existence.

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Best Practices for Virtual Event Experience Design

Beth Surmont, CAE, CMP, Director of Experience Design, 360 Live Mediaa wholly-owned subsidiary of SmithBucklin

It is a stressful time to be working on events right now. We hope this article makes your life a little bit easier.

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COVID-19 – A Time for Refresher on Basic Board Member Duties

Bennett Napier, CAE, President/CEO, Partners in Association Management

2020 as we all know has been a “test” for not-for-profit organizations. The short and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on traditional revenue streams, membership needs, and program delivery have created some interesting dynamics relative to board staff/roles.

I have heard countless stories this year from peers that serve as CEO of a number of associations where volunteer board members, while well-intentioned, have placed themselves and potentially the organization in harm’s way, for example, having unauthorized ex parte communications directly with hotels related to contract negotiations on meeting cancellations or postponements.

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Financial Sustainability in Troubled Times

Kelly Meiners, Director of Accounting, Diversified Management Services

When thinking about financial sustainability, who would have ever envisioned the economic environment that we have endured in 2020? Who would have planned for a pandemic and the economic conditions associated with it? But it has happened, now what do we do?

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Can Working with an AMC help You Save Money?

There are three common ways that associations are managed.  Some are managed by volunteers.  This is most common in small, start-up associations and usually gives way to non-volunteer management as the association grows.  Many associations are managed by full-time staff employed directly by the association.  Perhaps the most common of all forms of management, there are thousands of associations employing their own staff.  The third method of management is for the association to contract with an association management company (an AMC).  I should mention that there are hybrid models that mix elements of these three, but these three approaches are the most common.

For an association to be managed and managed well by volunteers requires an unusual set of circumstances to come together.  First, the association has to be small enough that the required amount of work can be handled by volunteers.  Second, there has to be available a number of people who have an abiding commitment to the association and who have the talent necessary to do the work required.  Usually, there is one key person with a passion for the organization who drives the volunteer effort.  Since the financial considerations around management is the thrust of this article I will say right up front that as long as you can get volunteers to manage your association and as long as they do a good job, if you want the cheapest management alternative you can’t beat free!  However and as I alluded to earlier, volunteer management is usually not a permanent solution for a growing, successful association.

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Furthering Your Clients' Mission

PMG works closely with an association’s leadership to understand the needs of the professionals they serve to provide value-added benefits for their members or, in this case, board-certified pediatric dentists.

Managed by PMG since January 2016, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) values a health professional’s commitment to lifelong learning and has developed a Renewal of Certification program to continuously validate each Diplomate’s knowledge, skills, and experience for delivering quality patient outcomes. For years ABPD awarded CE credits for successful completion of components within their annual renewal. However, this was without any formal CE accreditation recognition.

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Virtually Painless – Tips and Tricks for Speakers in the Virtual Conference Environment

Elizabeth Maynard, Executive Director, McKenna Management, Inc

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many associations are turning to virtual meetings and conferences to continue their professional education and member networking programs. We are all discovering that there are plenty of opportunities for connecting with attendees online and, while this channel looks and feels different than in-person engagement, we’d like to share with you some easy preparations that can ensure success.

Lights, Camera, Action! or Location, Set Up, and Backdrop

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The Show Must Go On

Michaela Sawicki, MSc, Program Coordinator, McKenna Management, Inc.

For the coming months, it seems that event planners will continue to be saddled with the task of transitioning in-person events to virtual or hybrid options. Although virtual events are not entirely new, the busy Fall Season might be the first time many associations experiment with online alternatives. Some events can be held using robust virtual meeting platforms. Others can utilize more creative approaches to holding a virtual “event”. For the New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCo) this year was the first time their awards ceremony was “hosted” via their social media platforms instead of in-person.

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Thinking Outside the Box Creative Society Outreach Projects

At PMG, excellence is our minimum standard.  We want to get better every year and make our clients better, so innovation is a specific goal for all our staff.  We ask each staff member for at least one example of an innovative new idea, or program, or service, or a new and better way of doing our work that they have implemented, as a part of their performance evaluation each year.  I am consistently amazed not just by the innovation of our staff, but also of the organizations we manage.

One area I think is unique about PMG and its management of societies, is that we encourage our boards in strategic planning to think outside the norm for ways to grow the society and make an impact in their field.  We challenge them to think about opportunities for new growth in revenue streams that can help them in achieving their mission as well as opportunities for public outreach and education.  Below are a few stellar examples.

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Success Through Member Recruitment

Andrew Cronin Finn, MSc, MBA, CAE, Executive Director, McKenna Management, Inc.

Membership recruitment is the key to building a truly sustainable membership base for your association. That was a key takeaway from one of the many educational sessions at the American Society of Association Executives’ 2020 Annual Meeting, held virtually in August.

Several members of the McKenna Management team participated in the virtual meeting, with the goal of learning new strategies to help our association clients remain successful during this challenging time.

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A Quick Pivot Leads to Learning and Success

Kelly Braniff, Project Manager, Parthenon Management

As a non-profit executive for more than twenty years, I joined the Parthenon Management Group (PMG) team having coordinated almost every type of event. I have planned and executed festivals, galas, golf tournaments, walkathons, dinners, fashion shows, auctions, product sales, fireside chats, recruitment weekends, and reunions. So when the COVID-19 global health crisis caused travel bans and a State of Emergency that threatened the future of my association’s revenue-producing scientific conference, I enthusiastically said, “A virtual conference will be exciting, and I am ready to tackle a new professional challenge.”

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Is There an AMC Behind That $5 Million Association?

Jonathan Lurie, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Smith Bucklin & Associates, Inc.

Picture this. A successful association with an operating budget of $5 million known as “the” source for industry knowledge with a board of directors that is strategically focused. The organization is humming on leading-edge technology, providing for efficient operations and supporting a solid financial foundation.

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Performing Due Diligence: How an Association Board of Directors Should Evaluate its Association Management Company

By Mike Dwyer, CAE, Association Headquarters & Paul Hanscom, CAE, Ewald Consulting

It’s not uncommon that an association board of directors will decide to take a harder look at its relationship with its association management company partner after a significant change has occurred. This could be a change in staff leadership, management fee adjustment, or shift in the scope of service. Some associations have governing documents that stipulate that a level of review is required on a given time cycle, e.g. every three years. And occasionally a particularly fastidious board member will ask when the board last performed such a review, claiming that it’s the board’s fiduciary duty to perform its “due diligence” to ensure the resources invested by the association in the services provided by its AMC are well spent.

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