Sunday, June 27, 2010

Email: It's the SENDER and the Subject Line

Many members don't open email because of the Sender name, the Subject Line or both. And the Sender name is as important, if not more important, than the Subject Line.

1. Use a known name as the Sender. Don't create a new generic sender name (or new domain name) for something you may urgently need your members to read - such as comments@, noreply@, etc. If the user has never heard of that Sender, there's increased potential it won't be opened. If you can use the name of a person who has credibility (president, CEO, company owner) it will increase open and response rates.

2. Have a known way to identify it's from your organization. Many email messages I receive that want me to do something (like respond to a legislative call to action) don't make it clear who the message is from - or that there's any urgency. Assuming your organization has a name or acronym, use it somewhere in the subject line to show it's from you. If possible, be consistent with how you identify messages from your organization. Subject lines like "look what they're doing now" read like spam.

3. Members don't know legislative bill numbers. Seriously, stop using numbers in your Subject Lines. Unless all the recipients are on your legislative committee or deeply involved in politics, adding a bill number to a subject line is going to be totally meaningless to the recipient.

4. Tell them it's coming, tell them how to find it if they missed it. If you're sending something important - like a survey, important update, call to action - tell the members it's coming and when to expect it. After you send it - tell the members how to find it every way you can (Twitter, Facebook, login, web site, etc.) -- i.e., what the name of the Sender and what the Subject Line was - so they can find it in their mail file. Or, tell them where else that info might be located (if there's somewhere else).

5. Assume they're reading your message on a mobile device. Send your own message to you and see how easy it is to read on mobile. If you've bombarded an otherwise readable message with too many graphics and attachments, rethink how you communicate by email.

Remember, it's the Sender and the Subject Line that will determine what is opened.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Idea for Group Photo

Need a creative way to say thank you or goodbye? Consider taking a group picture spelling out an acronym or a word. Then blow it up to a large size and have matted or framed. Have those in the picture sign it as added bonus.

Given at a retirement party tonight - letters are acronymn of a division the retiree managed - and his staff.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Council versus Counsel

Another association management word confusion ...

Council is a group or body of government.
Counsel is an attorney, person or advice.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Way to Win: Google the Opposition

In these interesting times of transparency and online exposure, one step to always take in political battles is to Google the opposition. It's somewhat human nature these days to want to brag online about everything you did right to win, without remembering that someday you might need to win again. That roadmap of a past victory you post online might be the roadmap your opposition finds to know your strategy (or to use as their own strategy) in the next challenge.

1. Research your opposition and find out who has been hired - then Google them
2. Go to sites of their strategists and see if you can find anything relatable to you - especially case studies
3. Google their key players and see if they have sites, blogs or Twitter accounts where they brag

We recently won a big political issue and I'd love to blog about ten other things we did absolutely right to win. But I won't. Because might need to win again someday. And if you think you might need to win again, don't publish your roadmap either. But always check to see if your opposition published past victory strategy. Google is your friend.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Improved To-Do List

I can only manage everything that needs to be done by keeping lists. Each morning I organize the list and start by doing the one thing I really don't want to do the most, so that I don't have to think about it anymore; and then work on whatever absolutely has to be done that day next. Then everything else, along with what wasn't at all anticipated, but surfaces any given day.

In the past few weeks what absolutely had to be done was so dominant that it made it fairly clear what is missing from this organizational effort: being sure to actually do something I love or want to do each day.

My poor dog, who loves to go on walks, was finding his outside time cut by about 80%.

So time to improve the to-do list. If you are able to do what you don't want to do, and able to do what absolutely must be done - then at least put on your list things you really want to do - that make you happy. Write them down. Check them off too - just like the bad stuff, the busy stuff and necessary stuff. It changes everything.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

5 Ways to Allow Your Association to be Robbed Mid-Day

I never thought a stranger would actually come into our association office building and rob it mid-day, with staff in the building (including me), until it happened.

A few weeks ago, a man walked into the back door of our association, into my office (steps away from the back door), and stole my wallet and Blackberry. Probably took less than 30 seconds. It was clear it was a man, and a stranger, as there is surveillance tape at local businesses where my credit card was used within minutes of the theft. The purpose of stealing a Blackberry is the first thing most do when they discover it missing is to call their own number - which alerts the thief when to stop using cards.

In talking with local police and local businesses, here are common ways to allow your association to be robbed mid-day, and how you can prevent it:

1. Keeping back doors unlocked. It may be a nuisance to always have to use a key, but it provides the best protection for your office staff and items to have locked doors.

2. Not noticing intentional distractions. One person comes in the front door asking for directions or pretending to solicit something, someone else comes though another door and takes items from offices and spaces.

3. Allowing "guests" to walk through the office solely by mentioning an employee name. Our neighboring office had laptops stolen by someone saying a guest of an employee (but not). It's very easy to find employee names online. Have someone either escort guests to the employee, or ask the employee to come to the front of the office.

4. Reception desk with no receptionist. Imagine how much can be taken if there is no one at the reception desk, and no bell alerting someone is coming through the front door.

5. Allowing (fake) repair people into the office. Very easy to buy branded work clothes at Goodwill, thrift stores, yard sales or online. If there is no knowledge by staff present that a repair has been ordered do not just let someone walk through your office.

Think about how much you leave on your desk, including laptops, iPads, Blackberries; and how much next to your desk, including purses, wallets. Spending a few minutes a day securing your valuables could stop it from theft - should theft be the intention of someone entering your association office building. Lock your back doors. Install notification systems for when someone enters your building during the day.

What we fortunately don't know is what would have happened had staff encountered the thief. There's much more at stake than just equipment and valuables. Take precaution.