An association paid tribute on their blog to a past president who passed away. Because his tragic death made national news, a few quotes from those posting comments on the blog were included in national media reports. For example, CNN online relayed, "On a memorial blog set up by the Chicago Association of Realtors, for which [Steve] Good once served as president, friends and colleagues described him as a gregarious man with a big personality. He was a savvy businessman who built his company into a major national real estate company that did deals with Donald Trump, they said."
1. Associations should do immediate online tribute, especially for past presidents;
2. The association focus is him as a person, with his industry and association contributions;
3. Posted comments included association staff, his company colleagues, other members, friends, and the public. When you post on public sites do you consider CNN might be reporting too? In this instance, both the post and the comments provided positive information for the media about someone who made a significant difference to the industry and association.
Beware the political hot potato! As someone who has spent years working on association publications, I'd advise some caution or at least deliberation.
A tribute is something that always sounds good. And I don't discount the point of Cindy's post, which is that it can create positive PR.
However, before ever doing a tribute, in print or online, you should develop criteria for who the organization will do tributes for. The criteria needs to be as fact-based as possible: every past chair and every exec. dir. with 10 years or more of service in that position, for example. And then stick to the criteria, and don't tribute the volunteer who everyone would acknowledge is a long-serving and deserving member but was never the chair.
If you think fact-based criteria are too restricting, then another idea would be to have a group of volunteers who select who should receive a tribute and who shouldn't.
I realize all of this may sound way too much ado about issues that arise only rarely. My experience is that there will be dozens of requests of varying merit, and they come at times when emotions run high.
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