The 7 reasons why your members are not renewing and what you can do about it

Bursting out of all the restraints and reticence of the last two years, members of your nonprofit organization or industry trade group are eagerly renewing dues, right? Perhaps. If renewals have dropped or are going slowly, below are the reasons as culled from several very recent studies on nonprofit supporters and members. Yes, they need to feel value but there are other distractions. Read More

Is retaining members and supporters getting harder?

The distraction of the last few years continues. Member acquisition, retention, and continued association vitality are addressed in detail when I give our Board Training module to directors. How you onboard a new member sets the tone for their perception of belonging. It’s clearly at the root of member motivation. Do you just take their money and add them to the mailing list?

The same goes for event sponsors. Do you just take their financial support, put their logo on the napkins and never nurture the relationships? Read More

What no one wants to talk about: Shaky sanity in the workplace.

(Yes, that means you, too.)  Most of our clients are trade organizations made up of many members running businesses. Trade associations are led by good people. But when they took their seat on the board of directors, they really didn’t sign on for the global-to-local effects of COVID or combat or chaos. How do leaders care for others? How do leaders get the care THEY need? Stressed leaders make poor decisions. Duh. Read More

Associations and charities, do you have a soup tureen in your bylaws?

In watching so much HGTV, I’m not sure how I missed it. But, somewhere along the year, all those homes’ master bedrooms became main bedrooms. I imagine this was to counter … well, you know, perceived inequities (master/slave). Wokeness is selective. This reminds us that shifting acceptability and new perspectives apply to managing nonprofits, too. And, that starts with the bylaw content. Read More

So, you think we are going through a “shared experience” as the pandemic lingers?

We have just passed the anniversary of Captain Sully piloting the U.S. Airways flight, successfully landing it in the Hudson River following a catastrophic engine failure from a bird strike. The entire nation, the world, listened to the many grateful passengers and crew who came through the event with little more than soggy passports. A truly shared experience for them. Not so fast. Read More

Company parties are fun again, but what to wear?

“Oh, I am SO sorry,” the handsome young man gasped, looking down. “I guess they haven’t been out in a long time,” he laughed with obvious embarrassment. I’d just met a fellow attendee at an event on top of a downtown skyscraper. He’d just noticed that his quite proper tie shoes were very dusty. What folks were wearing turned out to be a fun topic for some of us.

“Working from home for nearly two years has me demanding comfort,” shared a woman having overheard our dusty shoe chuckle. “I didn’t consider for a second wearing high heels to this,” she emphasized. Indeed, ties knotted smartly at perfectly starched collars seem ancient relics of business attire. Are they destined to be relegated to one of those coffee table books on ‘The History of Clothing?’ Read More

Message to association boards: Are you taking care of your entrepreneurs?

At a client’s board retreat last weekend, I had the opportunity to talk more intimately with one of the new board members. It was a thought-provoking few minutes of a programmed day of robust review, assessment, goal setting, and comradery.

We manage industry associations and, like the others, this one is full of single practitioners as well as members working for very large international conglomerates. As you can imagine, while the education and early work experience may be the same for both professionals, the Real-Life experience every day now is VERY different for a company employee versus a business owner (single practitioner or freelancer). One knows the ‘rent check’ is there and the other hopes so.

How do you program benefits for association members who wake up each day with such diverse perspectives? Read More

Continuing the subject of legacy:  How one board member can lift their association to leave a lasting shadow. 

In my last post, I talked to and about exiting board presidents of associations and what their legacies might be and things they could do in their final months that could set the new president up for success.  But as I’ve witnessed recently, a committee chairperson can set the bar high for all who follow thus making a huge contribution as well.

This rockstar committee chair, I’ll call her Kathleen, took on the Programs Committee that produces all education events. This covers regular webinars and their big statewide in-person product exhibit and seminar event. A novice in an event director role, she took ownership of the calendar, the content and ultimately the unanticipated layers of the annual membership event from sponsorship to selecting turkey for lunch subs. Read More

Our messy conference room and other good signs

There they are – hundreds of golf balls. There are stacks of entry forms and four boxes of lanyards with attendees’ name tags.  There are boxes of pens, tees, rulers, sunglasses, and even bigger boxes of shopping bags. Carefully stacked silent auction items are going to have to sit under the conference table. Yup, we’re back in the business of helping our client associations deliver value and fun to their memberships … in person. Read More