Monday, July 30, 2012

Ice Breaker: AE (Association Executives) Bingo

At an event today, there was a fun ice breaker event:  AE (Association Executives) Bingo.  There are 5 squares across, 5 squares down, and each indicates something that could apply to those attending - plus a free space in the middle (for your name.)  Attendees could only include a person's name ONCE on the grid - and the first to get a bingo was the winner.  Could also be done with black-out of entire grid to extend the game.

A great way to get to know something about others in the room.

Here is what the squares for this particular bingo game included: (applicable to REALTOR associations, but could easily be modified for others):

* Has increased their affiliate membership this year
* Has attended at least 10 AE workshops
* Is a REALTOR and an AE
* Has been an AE less than 2 years
* Has less than 200 members
* Had increased their non-dues revenue
* Has a president under 30 years old
* Is attending the NAR leadership summit
* Has their RCE
* Lived in more than 3 states
* Knows the name of The Landing mascot (I think this is an association website?)
* Has an indoor pet
* Free space - your name
* Has grandchildren
* Is attending the NAR Convention in Orlando
* Owns a boat or RV
* Has their EPro designation
* Sends thank you notes weekly
* Has uploaded their picture to The Landing
* Has more than 600 members
* Has an association that crosses a state border
* Is an RPAC Major Donor
* Office is located in the same town as the state association building
* Has taken an online course
* Has used a My REALTOR Party Resource

(Thanks to Missouri REALTOR Association Execs!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Association thoughts on returning to the gym

I haven't gone to a gym regularly in years, maybe decades. But now I am going regularly.  A few thoughts on associations reflected through my gym ...

1. You have to improve. If you want results, whether it's with exercise or with association management, you really have to make the decision to improve.  Even if you only turn up the notch a little, turn it up.

2.  Success is painful.  The biggest accomplishments can take a lot of sweat and a lot of work.  Decide to own that at the outset, so when you start to sweat and you see it's a lot of work, you're really just confirming what you thought it would be like all along.

3. If there's something members need, put that right out front.  Often associations over-analyze why their members joined or they put the things the members aren't looking for in more prominent locations than what they are looking for.  My gym has a giant case of bottled water right out front - and it only costs $1.  Every time I walk in or leave I see exactly what appeals to me - the water.  Why spend valuable web or newsletter space overly promoting programs no one wants to attend when you could instead focus on or promote the things they all want?  And everything does not have to have a profit.  Sometimes if they're paying dues let them have something for a low price. 

4.  When you're interacting, look like you enjoy it.  Everyone at the front desk is cheerful all the time.  Enthusiastic greetings, waving goodbye.  Do you ever listen to staff complain while a member might be able to hear them - or bring gloomy attitudes into an interaction with a paid member?  That has to stop.  As the customer, I frown my way all the way to treadmill - but I do smile on the way in and on the way out.  Because gym staff still tried to make it cheerful.

5.  You really might not know how to do everything - take the time to ask.   All the things you do that you never actually ever had instruction to do - it's not too late.  Find out how to do something you do all the time the correct way.  Maybe there's a way to do it better, or save time, or get better results.  Your teacher might be another association executive who can help if you just take the time to ask, a personal trainer, or someone teaching a class.

6.  Hydrate.  Over a year ago I learned a big lesson about coffee and dehydration (note: if you don't already know this, coffee will dehydrate you.)  Drink more water and less coffee and see if you feel better.  You just might find you skin, your hair and your sleep patterns change too.  When you work, or you work out, be sure you hydrate.  I know someone who sets their phone alarm to remember to take a hydration break during the day.

7.  Don't take for granted that membership is really optional and it's an expense.  Whether it's a gym or an association, a member pays for membership.  You have to keep them interested or they can just walk away.  The long economic downturn keeps many people really predisposed to considering all their costs.  Don't take any membership for granted.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Add your press release to a blog ...

If you email or fax your association press release to the media, consider what else you should do with it:

1.  Post it to your association blog ... and include your blog address in the press release.  Add pictures of whoever you quote on your blog to make it easy for the media to grab a picture if they need one ... tell them pictures are there. By using pictures and names on a blog it makes those who are quoting findable in Google searches too.  Link to the business site of those you are quoting so the media (and others) can see their expertise.

2.  Post your blog link on Facebook ... and tag the ones you quote in the status.  Take every opportunity to give your volunteers additional recognition.  The tag will likely show up on their own Facebook page, which means their friends, family, business acquaintances, others will enjoy seeing their name/picture (and read your press release too.)

3. Post a super short summary on Twitter ... and include the link to the blog.  Add at least one hashtag to further promote your press release to the intended audience ... such as a #location.

And special thanks to a blog reader who sent me this to add ...

4. Send to other Associations.  If press release information extends to other industries or vendors who support your association, share the news. Many of your peers will pass the word to their memberships and help broaden your audience.