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Top Posts on The Membership Engagement Blog

2014 was a big year for The Membership Engagement Blog.  Thank YOU to all of our readers to check out our posts on association membership, leadership, tips & best practices, and updates on Greenfield Services Inc.  

Here are the top rated posts from 2014:
  1. Associations Presence on Social Media [Infographic]: This infographic was produced in January 2014, based on the 2013 results from our Pulse Report on membership marketing & engagement.  Want up to date stats?  Check out our 2014 Pulse Report.
  2. Member Recruitment Gone Wrong:  This February 2014 post was based on a piece of marketing material we received by mail, what was wrong, and what could (or, should) be done differently.  
  3. Etiquette for Tradeshow Organizers, Exhibitors, and Attendees: With the rising costs of vendors to exhibit at a tradeshow, we offered some suggestions in Feburary 2014 on what you, as a tradeshow organizer, can do to increase ROI through etiquette.
  4. Sponsors Matter!  Associations need to better engage...:  Without sponsors, many associations could not achieve what they have to do.  But are you engaging your sponsors in the right way?  In May 2014, we offered up some suggestions on what to do, and what to get rid of.
  5. Six Big Questions on How Associations Engage Their Members:  In an era when member priorities are shifting, generational expectations vary widely, and anyone with a free Internet connection can get the benefits that used to come with paid association membership, what’s the future of member engagement?  We discussed this in June 2014; in preparation for our inaugural Engaging Associations Summit.
  6. #Association Concerns - And What To Do About Them:  This blog was written with our 2014 Pulse Report in mind, in September 2014.  What can you, as an association executive consider (or, implement) to help combat these issues?  We discuss it here.
  7. The Engaging #Association Summit:  THE highlight of my year....Greenfield Services took on events this year - with the Summit being our inaugural event, which was officially announced on our blog in February.  Want to learn more?  Sign up for updates!
  8. #Association Goals and Objectives [Infographic]:  In August, our infographic on goals and objectives based on our 2014 Pulse Report was released.  
  9. [Infographic] Member Relationships: In October; our infographic on member relationships was released (again, based on our 2014 Pulse Report).
  10. A-HA! #Engageassn E-Book is Here!: Finally, and to wrap up our highly successful first event, we produced and released our e-book in October 2014, based on "a-ha" moments we uncovered with association executives at the July 2014 event.  Want your own copy?  Download it here.
Thank you ALL once again for visiting our blog!

My favourite posts of 2014 for #Association Executives

There was several great posts that were published this year.  Here is a snapshot of the thought-leadership that came out this year (my Top 10):

  1. What members want: The new meaning of value - The problem with your young association members is that they’re always changing. Each generation is a little bit different; they value experiences differently.  Thanks to XYZ University for this post!
  2. Your non-members: Friends or Foes? - this post divides non-members into four categories; and suggests that non-members are very definitely our friends and a careful, measured and thoughtful approach to engaging with them will bring tangible results, perhaps not today or tomorrow, but in the future.  This was posted on the CSAE Ottawa-Gatineau blog.
  3. How to Develop a New Product Pipeline For Your Association - Innovation is scary for many organizations because it is not something many are in the habit of doing. Create a practice or a habit of innovation and it becomes much much easier. This post provides 11 key steps in the process.  Written by Amanda Kaiser (Smooth The Path).
  4. Why You Need to Tell Your Association Members`Stories Before Your OwnGuilty by association. We are the company we keep. If your association is the sum of your members, you need to be telling their stories first.  Originally posted on the MemberClicks blog.
  5. Your Choice: Change or Irrelevance - This post is short and timely.  It suggests that many organizations are well on their way to irrelevance, and provides three things you can do now to avoid it.  Thanks Andy Freed for your thought leadership!
  6. Facilitation: plan, and have faith - what can we do – facilitators and clients alike – to make it more likely that a facilitated session will go well? Meredith Low provides some thoughts, tips, and best practices here.
  7. The Death of the Mall and Other Association Lessons - great analogies here on the Association Subculture blog - You don't need to obsess about entropy but you do need to challenge your ethos in the face of it.
  8. Membership Practices of Associations with High Retention Rates - this post, featured on the Abila blog, offers up 12 practices that associations who have high retention rates are currently doing.
  9. When Opinion by Committee Can Lead You Astray - how could I have a top 10 list without Jeff Hurt?  In this post (which, by the way, is one of many of his posts that I think are great) says 'When we are designing a conference or planning the next steps of an organization, we need to be aware of the challenges of relying only on the opinions of a committee. Especially if everyone on that committee has the same belief. We need to seek diverse thought that challenges our conventional thinking. And encourage honest open discussion.'
  10. ROI to R.O.M.E - What is R.O.M.E.?  Return on Member Engagement.  Only when board/staff engagement and member engagement are high do innovative solutions surface through a “we” collaboration. Moving to a “we” focused community is about inclusiveness and being open to the possibilities that might surface.  Thanks Dan Varroney for sharing!
What blogs did you see this year that changed the way you think?

Why aren't we all treated the same?

This Fall has been a pretty busy time for conferences for me this year.  In five weeks, I attended three multi-day conferences across Ontario & Quebec, and had the following experience(s):

Conference #1:

This particular conference I attended as a business development opportunity.  While I know well in advance, and based on past experiences, that attending this I will be treated differently right from the outset, the following became very noticeable for me this year:

  • I was driving to this out of town conference, and during one of my stops, I called the hotel to inquire about parking.  The hotel asked me if I was coming in with a particular group, and when I mentioned the conference, they told me that it was complimentary valet parking.  FANTASTIC, right?  Nope.  Upon check out, I had to fight with the hotel to remove the $70 charge to my hotel room.  Why?  Because while I was attending the conference, I was not the right kind of attendee.  They removed it, but it took some effort on my end.  Perhaps they should have educated their team about the different attendee types for these kind of inquiries.
Conference #2:

In this situation, I was hired to be temporary staff of an association who was holding a conference in Toronto.  My role was to cover their social media networks for the weeks leading up to and for the duration of the conference.  This particular conference would be considered a hotel/convention centre's typical "bread and butter":
  •  Upon check in at the hotel, they had not added my room to the master account.  It took three days to rectify this between the front desk, the association and the Sales Manager.  Not that I minded charging this to my credit card, but they were provided the list of rooms to be charged to the master account weeks in advance - and when you check in, are tired, and have a hundred things to do to prepare, do you really want to be dealing with something that should be SO simple?  
  • While customer service at the hotel was "OK" in many other areas, nothing really stood out. There were no extras, and no thank you's.
Conference #3:

My final conference was fantastic; well staffed hotel, exceptional customer service, sponsored events that didn't include any restrictions for the "wrong" attendee:
  • There was a wide-variety of food & beverage options; essentially entirely complimentary to each participant;
  • There were no issues at check in or check out;
  • Hotel staff were consistently friendly & helpful;
  • You were made to feel that you belonged, no matter who you were.
My question to the industry is:  While I understand that you are trying to put your best foot forward to increase future business, why would you set restrictions in so many cases on what you do and for who?  

Example #1 is a very similar conference to example #3.  And yet, I was treated with a significantly different mindset.

And, under example #2, if this business was won based on someone attending a conference similar to #1 & #3; would it not make more sense to continue the same level of customer service that the planner experienced in the first place?

What are your thoughts on conference equality? 

Image courtesy of nongpimmy at