Blog

August 2019

There’s no doubt technology has transformed the way associations – and everyone else – conduct business. For the most part, that’s a good thing.

Email allows us to connect instantly with members and supporters while saving postage and trees. Research can be completed with the click of a mouse instead of a trip to the library.

With video and phone conferencing, boards and committees can conduct business without the expense of time and money to meet in person. When face-to-face events do happen, conference apps enable attendees to find one another and organizers to make last-minute program changes.

Connectivity makes it possible for employees to work from anywhere. Social media present a wealth of opportunities for marketing, member engagement, event promotion and more. Online analytics give us feedback at our fingertips on how well our messaging is working – or isn’t.

As with all good things, however, too much digital has its downside.

July 2019
Association boards are made up of volunteers who are donating their time to the organization, so dealing with a problematic president, churlish chair or disagreeable director can be tricky. Unlike employees, they can’t just be taken off the payroll – they aren’t on it.

One place to start is by focusing on the positive aspects of our relationship with these disruptive folks – the way they have forced us to develop the skills that make us more effective association executives. Here are a few disruptors you’ve most certainly met. We’ve assigned each prototype a gender, but they come in all sizes, shapes and sexes.

June 2019

Ten years after “There’s an app for that” became a household phrase, there really is an app for just about everything, including things the folks at Apple probably hadn’t thought of when they coined the slogan.

Not only are apps everywhere, they’ve become more versatile – and so have their users.

This is especially true of event and conference apps. Once considered an expensive extra, they’ve become as essential to many associations’ event plans as name badges and sponsorship packages.

If you’ve used a conference app, you know what’s in them: the schedule, presenter bios, venue map, attendee list, sponsor and exhibitor information, and the all-important post-conference survey. Depending on the event and the budget, the app might also have functions for rating presenters, voting on “people’s choice” awards, and earning points in a scavenger hunt or similar game.

May 2019

The rules of member engagement are changing. “Everybody does it” is no longer a strong enough reason to compel people to join your association. That’s why membership incentives are more popular than ever.

In today’s world of social media and the tools that surround it, anyone can form a group or a following. If so, should people have to pay to belong?

A recent, bold incentive that some professional and trade associations have tried is free membership – who doesn’t love a freebie? While it sounds cutting edge, ADG went on a mission to find out who is doing it and how they make it work.

The end result of our search? We have yet to find an association that charges no dues at all. Even those with mostly free memberships have one or more premium options.

April 2019

Even if you’ve never heard one, you probably know about podcasts – downloadable audio files on a variety of topics, from crime to comedy, politics to pop culture. A recent New York magazine cover story on the podcast phenomenon estimated there are now about 660,000 podcasts in production, reaching more than 60 million listeners.

Podcasting was born in the mid-2000s, shortly after the first portable mp3 players hit the market. The word “podcast” is a portmanteau of “broadcast” and “iPod,” making it a somewhat archaic term, as nowadays most of us listen to them on smartphones, not iPods.

Associations have begun discovering the power of podcasts as a tool to reach members, other stakeholders and the public. We don’t expect them to replace other communications media, but they can go places where others can’t – literally.

Unlike videos and webinars that are best watched, and newsletters that must be read, podcasts don’t require eyeballs – just ears. They can be consumed in the car, on the job, at the gym and anywhere else a smartphone can go.