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11/15/2022

DataAssociations inevitably like to collect huge amounts of data about their members, but are they actually using this data to directly support the association’s mission?

With all the new privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) instituted in the European Union, people are leery about giving anyone their personal data.

Wes Trochlil of Effective Database Management offers an example of his insights into data collection. “Many associations are focused on DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) issues, and as a result, are asking their members for lots of personal information (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation). But if the association isn't absolutely clear about how that data will be used, members will be less likely to provide that data.” You can read his full article online.

Building trust with your members starts with not abusing your role by asking for information that isn’t relevant to your organization. Perhaps now is the perfect time to do a deep dive into your current member data and eliminate data points that aren’t necessary - and perhaps add some that are critical in moving your mission forward.
08/31/2022

VolunteerVolunteers are an invaluable resource for associations, especially small organizations that don’t have staff to manage the day-to-day administrative processes, so they have to rely solely on volunteers to complete these tasks. 

But, volunteer burnout is too often a real thing that associations have to deal with. Because fewer people are volunteering these days, perhaps because of the pandemic, that leaves more work for those who are actually volunteering. 
 
Whether you have one or ten volunteers who are actively involved in your organization, you need to show them that they are valued and that you appreciate them. Show them the direct correlation between what they are doing and how it impacts your organization’s mission. Don’t emphasize what volunteering means to the organization, but instead emphasize what volunteering means to the volunteer. Making flexible, bite-size volunteer opportunities available for those people who don’t have a lot of time to volunteer might keep them involved, but on a smaller scale.
 
Otherwise, you just might lose them. And then what?
 
Ernie Smith, senior editor at Associations Now, offers more tips and tricks in his Volunteers Get Burnout Too—But You Can Help Prevent It article.
08/09/2022

The pandemic forced associations to go virtual with their events (including virtual tradeshows), but in person events are finally making a comeback. However, instead of the typically crowded aisle after aisle after aisle of vendors, organizations should consider getting creative by offering their event attendees something fresh and safe by designing a space that maximizes physical distancing, which is a necessity in today’s world.

 

Ernie Smith, senior editor for Associations Now, offers Three Ways to Refresh Your Event Layout.

 

A hub-and-spoke-style “wagon wheel” layout could replace the aisles with a number of offshoots for exhibits as well as a centralized common area where attendees could network with one another.

 

Alternatively, placing four exhibits together in an island-style layout where you can potentially create aisles going in both directions could lead to less congestion of attendees because not everyone is moving in the same direction.

 

Making your attendees feel safe is important, so they could also benefit from wider aisles and setting up specific directions for people to travel through aisles.
 

Learn how MemberLeap's exhibit booth editor allows you to set up an interactive map for your tradeshows. Exhibitors can select booths, upload their logo/picture, and see what other booths have been taken and by whom.

06/23/2022

Everyone has heard the saying, ‘Garbage In. Garbage Out.’ When it comes to member data, organizations need to be very strategic when collecting data. Cluttering up your database just for the sake of having lots of data on each member isn’t a good idea unless you can take action on it.

Wes Trochlil of Effective Database Management suggests asking yourself a simple question - "What action will I take on this data, either immediately or in the long-term?" If you can't answer that question clearly, then you don't need to collect that data. (Note: An answer of "Well, we might use it in the future" is the same as answering "We will take no action on this data.")

For example, suppose during a given event registration, you ask for the following data: 
 

  • dietary restrictions
  • accessibility needs (ADA)
  • select which sessions you will attend
  • tell me your highest level of education (e.g., bachelor's, master's, Ph.D.)

 

06/06/2022

Event ManagementFinding new members can be a tedious task; however, converting non-members who have already attended one or more of your association events is a great place to start. They have obviously already found value in your organization by attending an event and hopefully gathered some helpful insights and resources. 

 

Now you just need to reel them in. Samantha Whitehorne, editor-in-chief of Associations Now, recommends how to achieve this in her How to Convert an Attendee to a Member article.

 
  • Host Association 101 sessions or networking events just for these non-member event attendees, so they can learn more about the benefits of your organization and give them a chance to mingle with your board members and staff.
 
  • Contact them after your event and extend a special discount on a new annual membership, a 30 day free trial membership, or perhaps just a discounted fee on an upcoming event.
 
  • Continue reaching out to non-members via email after your event to continue letting them know more about your organization and other upcoming events that might interest them.
 

It is much easier to convert a non-member who has attended one of your events than a non-member who doesn’t know about your organization and what you have to offer.

06/03/2022

Should you continue to use a one-time recruitment or renewal campaign, one that may have been successful but seems to not be working like it once had? Do you have any real plan in place if that lone effort were to fail? The sad news is that at some point, it will fail. Should you continue to stick to the same recruitment or renewal program year after year and lament when overall renewals are down? What you need is a dedicated system that allows for many different sources of renewal, joining, and participation that leads to new memberships and renewals. Would you be interested in a system that automates many of these steps as well?

To be fully successful as an Executive Director or Membership Administrator, you can't rely solely on the “same ‘ole” system to recruit new members or renew current memberships, especially in today’s membership market. You must have a plan, and the plan needs to include automation systems that can reduce administration time, increase renewals, add new memberships, and increase participation in the organization all while controlling the costs associated with these types of campaigns.

To start with, you need to know how many new prospects you must recruit each year to a paid membership and how many current members need to renew to show year-over-year real growth—if that is your goal. There just are not that many organizations out there that are not looking for growth of some sort; membership is the most wanted growth element, in the overall membership realm of organizations (associations, societies, etc.). The second most wanted growth is in event participation (more on that later). Almost every organization wants to do more for its members and that takes money.

You also need to calculate how much you can afford to spend to get a new member or renew an existing one and what they are worth to you once you have them—not only from a dues standpoint but also any add-on or participation purchases they might make given the right incentives to do so. Event participation, training, continuing education, certification or recertification participation, networking participation, volunteering participation, sponsorship participation, advertising participation, mentoring participation, donor participation, and Committee or Board participation, all hold value to the organization. This is their lifetime value as a member.

 
05/04/2022

Who doesn't love happy hour?

You should encourage your association staff to host a virtual happy hour and invite new members, so they can meet your staff and network with each other. It’s a great opportunity to learn what these new members are looking for from your organization.

Lisa Boylan, senior editor of Associations Now, introduces an organization which emails a six-part video series to its new members, including an invitation to participate in a virtual happy hour. Additional emails can include a welcome video, information about your organization’s benefits, introductions to your staff, and how to use the member portal. These emails can be automated in our MemberLeap system using our drip marketing program.

A lot of members who join an association are looking for social connections, and this is a great opportunity to accomplish while adding value to their new membership.

To learn more, please read the full article: Membership Pro Tip: Virtual Happy Hour for Newbies

 
04/13/2022

Question: How will associations be economically impacted in 2022 by the challenges of the past two years?

Answer: Marketing General Incorporated shared the answer in its recently released 3rd edition of the Association Economic Outlook Report.

The current research provides insight into a powerful economic rebound that associations anticipate for 2022 and what changes in staffing, meetings, and spending they plan to continue as they recover from the challenges of the past two years.

Key highlights from the survey indicate:

  • Over the course of 2021, 71% of associations saw increased member engagement and 85% of associations expect an increase in member engagement in 2022.
  • Associations have returned to pre-pandemic messaging and are emphasizing benefits of membership such as networking opportunities.
  • Throughout 2021, 56% of associations report that their membership marketing budget did not change from 2020, while 25% saw an increase in their membership marketing budget in 2021. For 2022, 44% of associations expect an increase in their membership marketing budget.
  • Overall, associations have a positive outlook for 2022, with expected increases in membership, renewals, and engagement; an optimistic financial outlook for the end of the year; a return to in-person events; and anticipated increases in their marketing budgets.
03/08/2022

No one likes to take minutes at a board meeting; however, they are essential in understanding a board's past so they can navigate a successful future.

Properly drafted minutes should include the following:
  • Names, titles, and affiliations of all participants
  • Call to order and adjournment times
  • Decisions and their rationale
  • Directors who declare a conflict of interest
  • Amendments to previous minutes and confirmation that the minutes have been approved
  • Motions, including the mover and seconder
  • Dollar amounts of contracts and expenses
  • Assigned tasks or action items
  • Status updates of ongoing items
  • Major concerns
They should be stored in the board's committee file archive, so current and future board members can easily access them.

Read ASAE's The Ins and Outs of Taking Effective Board Meeting Minutes to learn more.
12/09/2021

As Web Trochlil of Effective Management Database says, "Use it or lose it." He continues on, 
 
I'm referring here to the data you collect. If you are collecting data that you're not actually using (and I bet you are!), stop collecting it, and clean it out of your database.

Almost every client I've worked with has identified data in the database that is no longer being used. Often it was collected for one-time use (e.g., a point-in-time survey) or was being used and managed by a staff person who has long since left the organization. But the data remains in the database because no one has bothered to clean it out.

You should set aside time periodically (e.g., once every six months) to review your data and get rid of data no longer in use. I call this kind of data "noise" in the database. And the more noise you have, the less faith your users will have in the data (e.g., "Look at all this garbage in here; this data was collected years ago and is no longer being used, but it's still IN here!").

When it comes to your data, use it or lose it.
11/17/2021

Your board members are critical to the success of your association. Their primary role is to collaborate on decisions that serve the best interest of your association and your members; therefore, communication between them is key. Our committee management feature offers simple tools to successfully accomplish this - broadcast email messages, surveys, and document library.

Before each board meeting, you should create an agenda where you assign different speakers for various topics and estimate how long each topic should be discussed, so you can stay on task. You can send out the agenda in advance using our broadcast email message module as well as uploading it into your board's document library for easy access.

When voting on key issues during a board meeting (whether in person or during a Zoom meeting), you can properly document and standardize your voting process by using our surveys module, which offers a private tool for each board member to vote yea or nay.

After the meeting, you need to send our meeting minutes to remind board members of action items assigned, to be informational for board members who missed the meeting, and to offer a starting point for the next meeting's agenda. While these minutes should be emailed to all board members, they can also be uploaded into the board's document library for reference later.

If your board members can successfully implement these communication tasks, it can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your board.

To learn how to prevent communication mistakes, please read the American Society of Association Executives' Prevent Three Common Board Communication Mistakes article.

11/02/2021

The cost of everything (including salaries, printing, and postage) seems to have increased during the pandemic causing a lot of associations, especially smaller ones, to face economic challenges.
 
Has your organization opted to increase membership dues strictly to supplement your revenue? While about 25% of associations raise their member dues annually, the majority only increase them as needed. The pandemic is a great example of 'as needed.'
 
A Guidance on Raising Association Membership Dues article posted by Membership Marketing Blog indicates that benchmarking suggests a 5% increase is acceptable, while a 10% increase generates a less favorable renewal rate.
 
However, an organization needs to be very clear in communicating their justification for the increases, which should include supporting new programs and services, public awareness, and advocacy efforts.
 
 
09/02/2021

When emailing your members, write an enticing subject line that tells them exactly what they will get out of it when they open it.

Then, get to the point using bulleted items, so they can get the information quicker.

Lisa Boylan, a senior editor of Associations Now, shares a Membership Pro Tip on how to make your communications short and sweet.

*Photo credit: (Artur/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

08/05/2021

The task of asking members to renew their membership in your association during a pandemic can be a delicate and tricky thing. Everything is so uncertain right now.

You should let them know that you recognize the challenges they are facing and that even though money might be tough right now, you truly appreciate their continued support.

You will want to remind them that their commitment allows your association to continue focusing on its mission, communicating relevant industry specific content, providing valuable member only resources, and offering educational programs and events.

Often it's easier to keep your current members than recruit new ones, so be sensitive to their current situation.
07/19/2021

While we are building a website for a new client or a website redesign for a current client, they should both be maximizing their time to conduct a content audit of their current website. Defining their goals, taking inventory of their content, and assessing their content's value is important.

Carrie Hane, coauthor of Designing Connected Content and Association Content Strategies for a Changing World, offers some great tips on how to achieve this

Then, when it comes time to add content to their new website, they can be strategic about including only the most relevant information for both their current members and prospective members. 

After their website goes live, we can perform an advanced SEO analysis to determine if their audit was successful. This analysis will also provide them with a detailed monthly report of their search engine rankings and recommended strategies to improve their results.

06/22/2021

Many years ago, I served on the board of an association, and carried a red folder with slips of paper containing contacting info for prospective members.  Each slip of paper would sometimes have multiple other pieces of paper attached and sticky notes with additional info on when the prospect attended an event or when we had contacted them.  This was the paper-version of the modern prospect database and CRM system that I later built in the form of MemberLeap, with the aim of providing tools to make membership work easier.
11/17/2020

Why the Bee Gees?

At the time of writing, I happened to be listening to a few Bee Gees tunes in my distance-running mix (don’t ask), and somehow made a few connections in the back of my mind.  It’s part humor, but part learning tool, and I hope you’ll bear with me.   So, let’s quit our Jive Talkin’ and begin our adventure in music and membership management…
 
10/16/2020

In the face of Covid 19, many associations have sustained significant disruption in revenue due to the cancellation of events (conferences, conventions, and training sessions). Many have made a transition to virtual events, and this has helped those organizations recover a portion of the cash flow.  

One additional possibility that associations might consider is the usage of Online Learning to provide a value-added service to members, and a new source of revenue for the organization. Here at MemberLeap, our product includes a Learning Management System that is designed to allow an association to offer online courses and to monetize them...

 

03/02/2020

National Old Stuff Day is observed annually on March 2nd and is all about getting rid of the old and trying something new. Today is a great day to considering upgrading from an Excel spreadsheet, Access database, or insufficient association management system to MemberLeap!

Out with the old... In with the new!
 
MemberLeap is an all-inclusive and flexible membership management solution for small, medium, and large organizations. Everything is built into this all-in-one association management system around a core database with tools for:
  • Member Management
  • Communication
  • Website Content Management
  • Event Management
  • E-Commerce
  • Donations
  • Fundraising
  • Education
  • Mobile Application
  • Web Hosting Services
All of its modules and their respective features are cloud-based to assist in efficiently managing their organization.
02/03/2020

February 3-7 is International Networking Day! 

One of the best ways to encourage engagement (whether networking internationally, nationally, regionally, or locally) and build a strong community is to encourage your members to communicate with one another via a message board. 

The message board (forum) is organized into boards and topics. The boards correspond to a category of conversation, and within each board are different topics relevant to that board (category). Once a topic is posted (typically a question), members can then start the discussion and reply to the question (or to other members' replies).

Our message boards offer an email list service, so members have the opportunity to opt-in/opt-out of various boards. If opted in to a given board, they will receive emails when new topics or responses are posted within that board.

PLEASE NOTE: We are excited to announce that will be updating our message board module soon. 
 
02/01/2020

February 1st is National Get Up Day!

So, get up and start looking for a new membership solution like MemberLeap that can help streamline your organization's day-to-day administrative processes.

Have you checked out all of MemberLeap's many features and their respective benefits yet? If not, today's the day.
 
01/30/2020

Your privacy is important to us. To better protect your privacy we provide this notice explaining our online information practices and the choices you can make about the way your information is collected and used.

The Information We Collect

This notice applies to all information collected or submitted on the Vieth Consulting/MemberLeap website. On some pages, individual members can enter member data, make requests, and register to receive materials or participate in events, and more. The types of personal information collected at these pages are:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Credit/Debit Card Information
  • (etc.)

On some pages, administrative level users can submit information about other people. For example, if you are editing your organization’s member data, you will need to submit the member's address. In this circumstance, the types of personal information collected are:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • (etc.)
01/28/2020

January 28 is Data Security Day, and security is of great concern to us and to our clients. At Vieth Consulting/MemberLeap, we work very hard to ensure that your data is protected.

System Access

  • Password-Protected Members Area - the heart of MemberLeap is the members area. All updates to your data are done through the member's area. Access to the member's area is limited to users with a username and password. After several minutes of inactivity (90 minutes in most cases), a user's session is 'timed-out'. The user then has to log-in again.
  • Password Reset - in the event that a user loses their password, they have the ability to re-set it. This allows them to re-gain access, without sending a password in clear text via email.
  • Access Log - we keep a record of who logs in and when, recording the IP addresses of each user's access.
  • Change Log - in the critical parts of MemberLeap (members, events, billing), we also keep record-change-logs to track when a given piece of member/attendee/event information was changed.
  • User Permissions - MemberLeap has a highly flexible way to grant access to users:
    • Member-level: This is for general members. They have the ability to change their own information and view whatever information the association chooses to allow them to view.
    • Admin-level: Admins have full access to all areas of the system.
    • Custom: Member-level users can be granted specific permissions to specific areas, as designated by an admin user.
01/24/2020

January 24 is National Compliment Day, and we want to compliment our amazing clients!

We absolutely love our 600+ clients that have partnered with us and are using MemberLeap to help streamline their administrative day-to-day efficiency!

These clients have a combined total of more than 1.3 million members throughout eight countries using MemberLeap. 

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ️

We also love it when they compliment us back!
 
05/15/2019

One of the ways to prevent your organization’s staff from feeling burnout and potentially leaving is to give them the tools they need to help streamline their day-to-day administrative tasks… in other words, provide them with a powerful association management system like MemberLeap.

Rebecca Hawk suggests the following ways to re-energize your staff in her American Society of Association Executives article called ‘Four Ways to Re-engage Burned Out Staff:’
 

  • Increase transparency about workload
  • Give employees more control over their calendar
  • Practice the work-life balance you preach
  • Give consistent feedback
04/23/2019

In a recent article by Wes Trochlil of Effective Database Management, he points out that “Every organization should have some type of data management schedule”.  Mr. Trochlil inspired this post and we thank him for his inspiration and knowledge!

The staff at MemberLeap and Vieth Consulting (the parent company of MemberLeap and several other divisions of specialty products) try to adopt some of the same principles pointed out by Trochlil when we work with our clients and prospects and their data. Data integrity is very important, no matter how it is used. It is one of, if not, the most important asset an organization has in its arsenal.