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turning vision into action

We’re Not Like a Regular Association - We’re a Cool Association

Emily Lane, Program and Brand Manager, National Association of State Chief Information Officers

For those who may not recognize the word play, the blog title is a nod to an often-quoted line by Amy Poehler’s character in the teen comedy Mean Girls. Poehler’s character tries desperately to be the “cool mom”; a friend who dresses like her teenage daughter and knows all the teenage gossip. In the end however, she just seems desperate.

The fear of appearing desperate or, more likely, unprofessional, prevents many associations from adding personality to their communications and instead falling back on a sterile, just-the-facts style.

The reluctance is understood. Will members equate levity with a loss of credibility? Could a joke unintentionally and unknowingly offend? But, having a little bit of fun in communications can break through the clutter and better engage our members. So, how can associations strike the right “cool” balance?

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has used holidays and widely recognized pseudo-holidays to shake up messaging and interact with members. More than just a gimmick though, the use has been purposeful. With this intentionality, messaging doesn’t stray into a cringe-worthy zone.

Fulfilling your Fiduciary Duties? 10 Tips for Nonprofit Leaders

Megan Smyth, JD, Senior Policy Analyst, National Association of State Procurement Officials

A nonprofit organization is one that, as a matter of law, does not have shareholders, and the profits of the organization are not distributable to the corporation’s members, directors, or officers. Nonprofit association members often take on great responsibility when they become directors and officers. These people are very passionate individuals who believe in the mission of their organization, and seek to serve those organizations well, working toward the common vision of the membership. Channeling that passion and desire to serve into the association’s leadership is what helps propel nonprofits into new and better places. Members who desire to lead shouldn’t be afraid to step into a leadership role—rather, they should educate themselves about how to govern their nonprofit in an ethical and legally sound way.

Innovating a Better Conference: Part Four - Using Design Thinking to Enhance Association Conferences, Meetings and Events

Molly Marsh, AMR Director of Education and Engagement Design

Design thinking has emerged as a major force for transformation in the association industry (don’t believe me, see how pervasive it is in industry publications, conferences and research). When you see the results, it should be no surprise that this is where we’re headed. Applying principles of Meeting Design to conferences can transform a meeting from a list of activities on an agenda to an immersive experience that drives learning, professionalism and ongoing engagement.

Incorporating design-inspired steps, questions and considerations into conference planning empowers organizers to innovate new and better conferences. Each part of this series will explore a different aspect of the design process, demonstrating how the conference experience is enhanced by one simple shift in planning methodology: do everything with the end in mind.

Part Four – The Lesson