1800 READERS: THE MAGAZINE FOR MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION PROFESSIONALS MSAE.ORG | MAY/JUNE 2017
J. SCOT SHARLAND
Making Decisions that Matter
MEMBERS SHARE WHY THEY ATTEND MSAEâ€™S ANNUAL CONFERENCE SIMPLIFYING INSURANCE WHAT COVERAGE DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION NEED?
MOBILIZING MEMBERS ADVOCACY COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUES PSYCHOLOGY OF VOLUNTEERING
MICHIGAN SOCIETY OF ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVES
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TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
MAKING DECISIONS THAT MATTER — AN INTERVIEW WITH J. SCOT SHARLAND
The SPARK Interview Series
AIAG's J. Scot Sharland (left) and Leadership Team
Throughout 2017, Association IMPACT will be interviewing select association leaders about key concepts from the book SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success. This issue, J. Scot Sharland, executive director of the Automotive Industry Action Group, engages in a frank discussion about associations that take important actions on behalf of the industries they serve.
W H AT ’ S TRENDING
P R E S I D E N T ' S M E S S AG E DO YOU LOVE WORKING FOR YOUR BOARD?
And if not, what needs to change?
A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE SIMPLIFYING THE INSURANCE QUESTION What insurance coverage does your organization need to protect the association and its directors and officers?
ORGPRO 2017: DIFFERENT BY DESIGN
Members share why they attend MSAE’s annual conference.
I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G DIGITAL CALLS-TO-ACTION: HOW’S THAT WORKING FOR YOU? 20
In today’s climate, where elected officials are overwhelmed with electronic communications, the most powerful communication technique may be the oldest one.
Have you visited Third Thought® Digital Library? You can search through more than 1,200 MSAE magazine articles, MSAE podcasts, and sample documents all tagged by subject area. Or find resources categorized by the following areas: ▸▸Personal Awareness — improving your leadership abilities and self-awareness
▸▸Association Knowledge — gaining expertise in all aspects of association management
SECRETS TO RECRUITING & KEEPING ASSOCIATION VOLUNTEERS
# As Associations work to M A X I M I Z E THE USE OF VOLUNTEERS
they find increased engagement in political affairs.
# CREDIBILITY is the foundation of your leadership style. Everyone is building their credibility.
#INSURANCE — you don’t want too much or too little.
On the cover: Automotive Industry Action Group Executive Leadership Left to right: David Lalain, vice president member services, J. Scot Sharland, executive director, Joel Karczewski, vice president commercial services, Lorraine Goodrich, chief financial officer, Russ Ortisi, vice president information systems Photos by Open Box Photography
▸▸ Industry Understanding — understanding the importance of the industry, profession, or cause your association represents
Have you taken the Self-Assessment?
The Self-Assessment will help you identify what you know and what you don’t know. You can take it in segments. Visit www.thirdthought.msae.org to enhance your membership experience. ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 3> 2017 3
P R E S I D E N T ' S M E S S AG E
Do You Love Working for Your Board? …And if not, what needs to change? By Cheryl Ronk, CAE, CMP
Cheryl Ronk, CAE, CMP
(firstname.lastname@example.org) is the president of MSAE. President's Message is a regular feature in Association IMPACT magazine. If you’d like to stay up to date between issues, follow her blog posts on LinkedIn at http://bit.ly/2nrYCGX.
Board Orientation on December 12
love working for a board. One of the unique attributes of an association is to have a board that represents members. The CEO/president/executive director has as an element of their scope of work to mentor, advise, and care for the board. For some, this is a challenge; for others, it is a treat. I am in the latter group. I really do love working for a board because a board gives me and the organization a diversity of perspectives. Board members also tend to be more innovative on how to advance the industry and the association. They balance each other to provide strengths and insights when we need them. The certified association executive (CAE) content outline indicates that an association chief staff executive usually spends more than 15 percent of their time on board and governance issues. Doug Eadie, author of The Board Savvy CEO, espouses that a nonprofit executive should spend 20 percent on governance. Wow! That is a full day a week. This is because it is essential to have good leadership system-wide. MSAE’s Leadership Identification Committee just met. It used to be the Nominating Committee, but now has a broader role. These committee members not only recommend the next board leaders based on the direction of the strategic plan, but also they are working on a program to build the future leaders. As a result, the MSAE board is comprised of thought leaders. They are some of the most successful association executives in the state because of how they think and treat their members. I grow just being able to work with them. The leaders over the years have made sure that MSAE has services available to support associations. For example, MSAE has been assisting organizations with executive search assistance for nearly 20 years. I am proud that 90 percent of the searches we worked with still have that executive in place today. One
4 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 34 > 2017
of the most important questions the search committee and I ask is about the perspective of the candidate on their philosophy regarding boards. This tells us a lot about the candidate’s leadership. Those who have had issues with a board and carry that baggage are eliminated. A good association chief staff executive maximizes the value of the board. The services include a suite developed to help CEOs and the board. The Extraordinary Board Orientation training offered twice a year — this year on June 13 and December 12 — is an affordable training opportunity for the members of the board and the CEO. The full-day workshop transforms boards from ordinary to extraordinary. Participants learn the difference between governing and managing, innovative ways to orient new board members, and how to assure accountability and transparency. I also have conducted personalized board training for a host of boards based on what they need to be better at governance. Our new program of helping with environmental scanning in a Preferred FutureTM exercise and report has been revolutionary for members. It focuses on what the industry can expect and how the organization can play a role in creating the Preferred FutureTM. It has energized the organizations and made the role of the board clearer. It takes strategic planning to a new level of looking at the impact the association can have on the industry and the environment the industry works in, rather than just being association centric. Do you love working for a board? What needs to be changed to make your board more effective? This is your job, so make the most of it. If you need help, call on us. We want you and the board to be the best you can be.
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A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE
Simplifying the Insurance Question What insurance coverage does your organization need to protect the association and its directors and officers?
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6 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 34 > 2017
here are significant differences between directors and officers (D&O) coverage and errors and omissions (E&O) coverage. At first glance they may seem similar, but they protect you from different risks and should not be confused. If you have directors and officers in your business, whether nonprofit or for-profit, you need to cover them for financial liability in the event of a claim. D&O coverage: ++ Protects the company’s decision makers. ++ Protects the directors and the officers of a company from financial liability in the event of a claim regarding their performance and duties. ++ Is necessary because such claims are made against both a company and against the directors of the company, making directors personally responsible for acts carried out by the company and financially liable in the event of a claim. If your association provides members or customers with professional services such as store design or database
management, endorsed services, or member benefits, you may want to purchase errors and omissions (E&O)/ professional insurance. This protects the organization from service-related lawsuits. Research projects generated by the association that others use to make decisions could also be a liability area. One of the distinguishing differences of professional liability and/or E&O insurance is that it covers the realm of intellectual rather than physical damages. For instance, if a lawsuit arises from negligence on your organization’s behalf that resulted in financial damage to a member or customer, it could be covered under your E&O/professional insurance. E&O/professional insurance helps cover the cost to defend yourself, which could severely impact your financial wellbeing if you’re not adequately protected. E&O coverage: ++ Relates to the provision of a company’s product and services ++ Is generally required by people who provide services directly to clients ++ Covers negligence of failure in the provision of products or services and is generally for those who provide services directly to clients
A S S O C I AT I O N K N OW L E D G E
So when is E&O coverage needed? E&O/professional insurance covers a third-party grievance that does not involve bodily or property damage. This type of insurance protects people from things they did (errors) and/ or things they didn’t do (omissions). E&O/professional coverage can be tailored to the specific needs of your members’ profession and can be a program you offer members. It is time to consider the risks you have with all the great products and services you offer members and other customers. More often than not, directors will only serve on a board of an organization that has D&O insurance coverage (even though some homeowner policies might have a clause to cover their volunteer activities). What activities are you offering that could lead to a disagreement? Have you sufficiently protected the organization?
No one wants too much coverage — or not enough. You need professional assistance from your insurance provider regarding coverage. MSAE’s new program on insurance risk is helping organizations through a coordinated approach to making sure that you are aware of the risks and can determine when to reduce or transfer the risk. Noel Parsons is business development manager at 44 North, an insurance company with a variety of products and services. He can be reached at 855-306-1099 ext. 1051 or email@example.com.
Keep Learning in Third Thought® Search for the resources listed below in the digital library on MSAE’s knowledge management platform: www.thirdthought.msae.org.
Download & Complete
▸▸Association Annual Risk Assessments: Procedures & Practices or Insurance
▸▸Legal Trends That Involve Associations Read
▸▸Risk Management for Directors and Officers
Contact Denise Amburgey at firstname.lastname@example.org for the Association Annual Risk Assessments: Procedures & Practices or Insurance created by MSAE or to discuss an appointment to review risk management.
▸▸Who Needs Directors and
Officers Liability Insurance?
▸▸Law Symposium on October 30
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 3> 2017 7
F E A T U R E STO R Y
here’s a distinctive and vivid learning experience waiting to capture you at ORGPRO 2017. With our revitalized conference format, you’ll grasp innovative ideas that will elevate you and your organization to new heights.
X Me Off! Why You’ll See Me at ORGPRO AMY BAHS
D I R E C TO R O F M A R K E T I N G M I C H I G A N C H A M B E R O F CO M M E R C E “When deciding whether or not to go to a conference, I look for a balance of networking and educational opportunities that ends with me walking back into the office with at least 10 new ideas — big or small — that I can implement. Over the years, ORGPRO consistently met my expectations.”
ORGPRO is the only convention where association professionals across Michigan share and learn from each other. This year, ORGPRO is “Different by Design.”
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We’ve purposefully restructured the conference to include high-energy and inspiring keynotes, niche networking opportunities, and culinary experiences. Breakout sessions will feature a variety of formats, from workshops to bite-sized learning to hands-on learning labs.
“I believe in the value of training for employees and myself. The opportunities with MSAE have always been there, especially at ORGPRO. It provides a chance to expand your association education, network with peers, and connect to those vendors that serve our associations in so many valuable ways. ORGPRO has been my personal association revitalization every year I have attended. My most special moment came when I had the privilege to do my CAE “walk.” There is little more that says “I’ve made it” in our association world. I have brought tangible knowledge back from every annual conference and have been able to do my job more effectively and with greater confidence.
V I C E P R E S I D E N T , P R OG R A M S M I C H I G A N A S S OC I AT I O N O F B R OA DC A S T E R S “I love attending ORGPRO. It’s a great mix of education, networking, and hands-on learning. The content is always on-point, and you can tell the speakers are carefully and thoughtfully curated. I also learn so much from other attendees who have similar positions to mine in their organizations. The relationships you build at ORGPRO can become great resources when you have a question or need a second opinion. I always leave the event tired, but inspired!”
MICHIGAN SOCIETY OF ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVES
▸▸VISIT MSAE.ORG/ORGPRO FOR MORE INFORMATION 8 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 34 > 2017
M AT T B A C H
Register by F E A T U R E S T O R Y Monday, June 26 and save $50!
D I R E C TO R O F CO M M U N I C AT I O N S M I C H I G A N M U N I C I PA L L E AG U E “Attending ORGPRO is one of the highlights of my year because I always return with great ideas and even greater memories and experiences. The education sessions are second-to-none, and the networking opportunities are unlimited. I also greatly enjoy the events and trainings that take us out into the host community to learn firsthand how others tackle challenges and are working every day to make their business, organization, and area better for themselves and the people they serve.”
A S S I S TA N T D I R E C TO R A N D M E M B E R S H I P M A N AG E R A S S OC I AT I O N O F O U T DOO R R E C R E AT I O N & E D U C AT I O N “The people is what gets me to attend! Aside from the great educational sessions offered at ORGPRO, I go to network, make friends, create connections, and get inspired by other association leaders in the state.”
New to ORGPRO 2017 A S S O C I AT I O N L A B S — H A N D S - O N L E A R N I N G Association Labs are ORGPRO’s newest education opportunity. During these deep-dive sessions, we’ll improvise, experiment, and explore solutions pertaining to membership, meeting planning, sales, or team building. You’ll leave feeling revived with several nuggets of helpful information in your notebook.
THREE KEYNOTES AND A POST-CONFERENCE This year, MSAE has three fantastic keynote speakers and a must-attend postconference. Red Katz, entrepreneur, Red Inspires, will inspire attendees to build resiliency and overcome real-world challenges with real-world strategies. Chad Paalman, co-founder and managing partner, Nuwave Technology Partners, will share the cybersecurity risks facing associations and their service providers, why you should care about them, and most importantly, how to minimize the chances of a cyberattack occurring under your leadership. Comedian Juanita Lolita will show you how to stand out in a crowd using humor and the ability to laugh at yourself. Timo Anderson, trainer, ZingTrain, will provide an insightful the post-conference on visioning for greatness in your professional and personal life. Using Zingerman’s model, Anderson will demonstrate how this fresh approach differs from a strategic plan.
Save Money off Registration 1 0 % O F F F O R F I R S T - T I M E AT T E N D E E S In addition to the Group Rate Discount ($50 off per person for groups of three or more from the same organization), MSAE is offering first-time association attendees a 10 percent discount off any registration package.
More Continuing Education Credits EARN UP TO 15.25 CEUs CAE participants can earn up to 10.25 CEUs for the full conference. CMP participants can earn up to 9.25 CEs for the full conference. Both CAE and CMP participants can earn an additional four to five hours by attending one of the EduTours. ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 3> 2017 9
C O V E R STO R Y
J. SCOT SHARLAND
Making Decisions that Matter Acting with intent is important, but even more important is that your team consistently makes the right decisions for the members you serve.
By Carla Kalogeridis
ontinuing its 2017 article series on the key concepts from the book SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success, Association IMPACT connected with J. Scot Sharland, executive director of the Automotive Industry Action Group, and engaged in a frank discussion about associations that take important actions on behalf of the industries they serve. Written by entrepreneurs, business consultants, and military veterans Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch, the book explores how anyone can become an extraordinary leader by embracing certain key behaviors. AIAG is comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders — including retailers, suppliers, automakers, manufacturers, and service providers — who work collaboratively to streamline industry processes via global standards development and harmonized business practices. Established in 1982, the organization was founded by visionaries from the three largest North American automotive manufacturers — Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Today, membership has grown to include Japanese companies such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan, and many of their part suppliers and services providers. At the heart of AIAG are more
10 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 34 > 2017
than 900 industry volunteers who provide subject matter expertise to AIAG initiatives. Member companies donate the time of volunteers to work at AIAG in a non-competitive, open forum that develops recommendations, guidelines, and best practices for the good of the industry. As a leader of an association known worldwide for its ability to take effective action, Sharland is perfect for this issue’s discussion on making decisions that matter and acting with intent. In 2005, he was selected to lead AIAG’s collaborative industry initiatives as its new executive director. The organization recently celebrated the joining of its 2,100th member company. Here, Sharland reflects on how AIAG identifies which activities and initiatives are right for the membership as well as the role of collaboration and selecting the right partners.
The authors of SPARK write about how the best leaders are “the thinkers and doers who envision what a better future looks like and take actions that lead themselves — and others — toward it.” How often do you go through the exercise of envisioning where the automotive industry needs to be heading?
SHARLAND: It’s not about waiting for a strategic epiphany…it’s about process. At AIAG it started with engaging our board to answer three basic questions about the organization: 1. Who are we? 2. What do we do? 3. How do we do it? Once we defined our strategic true North, we began crafting some Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for both the board and the staff to measure the impact or value the organization should contribute to the membership.
How do you determine where the industry is heading, and what actions we should be taking to positively impact that outcome? SHARLAND: As is the case with most successful businesses, the answer is simple: Get closer to your customers. Listen carefully to what they have to say, and deliver products and services that make their lives easier. At AIAG, the identification of emerging industry risks and improvement opportunities are provided by senior leadership from our member companies annually. We have implemented what we refer to as our 3D process. Admittedly, it’s a gratuitous rip-
Back row, standing (left to right): Joel Karczewski, vice president commercial services, David Lalain, vice president member services, Tanya Bolden, director corporate responsibility products & services, Scott Gray, director quality products & services, Lang Ware, director supply chain products & services, J. Scot Sharland, executive director Front row, sitting (left to right): Lorraine Goodrich, chief financial officer, Russ Ortisi, vice president information systems, Mitzi Julian, executive assistant, Ashley Claus, project coordinator Photos by Open Box Photography ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 3> 2017 11
C O V E R STO R Y
How do you make sure that AIAG staff doesn’t fall into “routines” when serving your members and the industry, routines that may slow down your ability to take action? SHARLAND: First and foremost,
Sharland says the AIAG staff has three responsibilities: work hard, work together, and challenge the logic. off of the traditional human resource’s 360-degree employee evaluation. In each of our key business units — Corporate Responsibility, Quality, and Supply Chain Management — we engage our members’ senior leadership teams and ask them to identify the five or so pain points that keep them up at night. Their inputs are aggregated —without attribution — and then reviewed, force-ranked, and further discussed and verified by the teams. We repeat this process independently for each of our three key stakeholder groups — automakers, Tier 1 suppliers, and sub-tier suppliers. Once complete, we overlay the force-ranked pain point lists, and where we find alignment with each of the stakeholder groups, we know we have identified a salient industry risk or improvement opportunity that requires action be taken.
How do you involve the staff in this process, and how important is that in your ability to serve the industry? SHARLAND: The staff owns the process. It starts with a focused effort to maintain and nurture relationships with key decision makers at increasing levels of responsibility within our member companies. We refer to the practice as strategic verticality. The staff then manages and facilitates the 3D process. Once they extract the aligned industry-wide pain points from the
12 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 34 > 2017
process, they organize a membership call-to-action and recruit volunteers to begin working on the solution. It’s important to note that if the pain points keep the C-suite leaders up at night, we’re pretty confident that they will be willing to provide the Spark-type leaders — aka subjectmatter expert volunteers — to support the development. Lastly, we provide a suite of comprehensive program management tools and resources to effectively manage the development, and then globally socialize and distribute the output to the industry at large. This ongoing commitment to customer intimacy and forwardfocused emphasis on emerging risk is mission critical to AIAG’s ability to take our industry service to the next level, stay relevant to our current members, and attract new members.
“Get closer to your customers. Listen carefully to what they have to say, and deliver products and services that make their lives easier. ”
we subscribe to the fewer/better organizational development philosophy. We work very hard to recruit the brightest and the best. We then clearly define the roles and responsibilities of our leadership team and staffers, give them the tools they need to succeed, and try to stay out of their way. The leadership team has three primary responsibilities: 1. Set priorities aligned with the KPIs 2. Allocate resources consistent with those priorities 3. Challenge the logic When we successfully hire the brightest and the best, we don’t have to tell them what to do or how to do it. They already know how — that’s why we hired them. Our staffers also have three primary responsibilities: 1. Work hard — which means do your best every day, even though we understand that some days are better than others 2. Work together — which means be part of the solution and not the problem 3. Challenge the logic
Challenge the logic shows up on both leaders’ and staffers’ priority lists. Why is that so important? SHARLAND: In their 1981 book Critical Path, Buckminster Fuller and Kiyoshu Kuromiya introduced the concept of the Knowledge Doubling Curve. They argued that until 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, they claimed that knowledge was doubling every 25 years. It is now widely held that global access and utility of the internet of things will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours in the not-so distant future. Folks,
“When we successfully hire the brightest and the best, we don’t have to tell them what to do or how to do it. They already know how — that’s why we hired them.” we’re talking an exponential rate of change in our lives and businesses. As such, unless you make a relentless, organization-wide commitment to always challenging the logic in all aspects of your current business practice, you can’t possibly make the structural/cultural/strategic changes necessary to sustain any sort of competitive advantage. Challenging the logic is what catalyzes continuous improvement — which is change — and helps guard against complacency and the temptation of simply mailing in our individual and/or collective contributions to the organization.
“Action” is part of your organization’s name — and yet, the industry you serve is large, conservative, and sometimes slow-moving. How does AIAG encourage and support its members to move ahead on key initiatives? SHARLAND: Great question — and always a challenge when your output is based on multi-stakeholder consensus and endorsement, and your subject matter expertise is fueled by industry volunteers where you find yourself fighting for your unfair share of their very precious time and attention. Given the accelerating rate of new technology deployment, the growing
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complexity of globalization, and the ferocity of industry competition, most of our members subscribe to the new commercial reality that the fast eat the slow. As such, if we identify the right emerging risks and/or performance improvement opportunities — validated
by industry leadership — trust me, all of us at AIAG will be asked, tasked, and expected to have a sense of urgency to make it happen, and fast. I’m pretty sure we coined the phrase “The Fast and the Furious” long before our friends from Hollywood did.
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 3> 2017 13
C O V E R STO R Y
It’s all about family enjoying what you do and the folks you do it with,” Sharland says.
How does AIAG find the courage to act with intention when the path may not be clear, versus charging ahead and hoping things work out? SHARLAND: At AIAG, we do three things: First, we work very hard at strategic verticality every day, listening carefully and extracting as much input as possible from our members’ senior leaders who have an eye on their businesses’
Sharland credits AIAG success to the staff’s can-do attitude. horizons. Second, we hire the brightest and the best and trust their judgment. And third, we are not afraid to fail.
What role does collaboration play in your ability to take action for the industry? How do you determine which groups or organizations to collaborate with? SHARLAND: There are a number
of associations you can join to get together with your peers and colleagues and commiserate. For 35 years now, original equipment manufacturers, suppliers of all sizes, service providers, government, and academia have come together at AIAG to collaborate. Industry-wide collaboration is the very essence of the AIAG experience. The mission-critical standards, guidelines, best practices, knowledge, and enterprise assessments developed at AIAG — by the industry and for the industry — help our member companies mitigate risk, manage uncertainty, and more effectively transfer institutional knowledge. As long as partnering with other associations helps get us there faster — and we can collectively add value for our communal memberships — we’re open to working with any group or organization worldwide.
What qualities do you look for in a potential collaborative partner? What are the warning signs that a partner may be less than desirable? SHARLAND: AIAG is a NAFTA-centric organization working to support our members’ global supply chain challenges and risk — no small task. As such, our first selection criterion tends to be geographic. Secondly, we look at the organization’s portfolio of products and services and how they complement or align with ours. Lastly, we look for common members. Warning signs include contracting membership, financial hardship, endemic employee turnover, and poor reviews from our common members.
There is a great deal of proprietary knowledge and activity in the auto industry, and yet, AIAG’s ability to act with intent often includes informationand idea-sharing. How do you facilitate the sharing of information among members working on behalf of the industry? What is the association’s role in creating a safe environment for sharing and collaboration?
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SHARLAND: AIAG supports our 2,100-plus members by providing an open, neutral, professional, and legal collaborative infrastructure to support all industry stakeholders’ input and engagement experience. We provide our members and volunteers with meeting facilities and facilitation, program management services, access to e-community and other virtual engagement tools, and expense reimbursement for travel on behalf of the organization and industry. Most importantly, we ensure that while working together at AIAG, all our volunteers are cognizant of our anti-trust guidelines and are dutifully compliant with them. As for intellectual property, AIAG members either donate their IP for the good and benefit of the entire industry or provide access to their subject-matter experts to provide multi-stakeholder input that is melded into a consensus industry standard, guideline, best practice, and/or allied training or performance assessments. AIAG drafts, edits, copyrights, or trademarks the output on behalf of our membership. AIAG then works to provide suppliers worldwide with pervasive access and utilization of the content — in language, virtually, or via an authorized network of distributors and training providers.
How do you make sure that any actions taken by AIAG always have a clear intent? SHARLAND: We have a very comprehensive business case development process that is reviewed and approved by our volunteer leadership teams and a cross-functional team of AIAG staffers. The industry need, project scope, resources required, vetting and approval requirements, target audiences, languages, project timing, and commercial output/input impact assessments are well documented in advance of any action taken.
AIAG relies heavily on industry volunteers. How do you deal with burnout or potential burnout among
people who spend a significant amount of time working on AIAG initiatives? SHARLAND: It’s all about family and enjoying what you do and the folks you do it with. We’re a service organization, so it starts with a staff that always has a positive, can-do attitude. We provide a professional work environment, making it easier for our volunteers to engage virtually or in person. Don’t laugh, but the quality of food and refreshments we provide allows us to schedule working lunches more than once. Most importantly, we make sure to provide ongoing recognition of the volunteers’ individual and collective contributions...it helps to keep everyone excited to stay involved. Additionally, we organize and execute a growing number of appreciation events each year for our volunteers and their families. Ball games, theater outings, concerts, zoo events, etc., are
hosted on a quarterly basis. On May 5th, we had a great turnout for our 35th Anniversary Party and Cinco de Mayo Casino Night. Ole! What made the evening truly memorable for all our attendees was our partnership with Kristyn Balog and her team from Camp Quality — Michigan. The event generated sufficient proceeds to send 10 pediatric cancer patients to a week-long camp this summer at no cost to their families. In short, we genuinely enjoy each other’s company and view ourselves as an extended family with a singularity of purpose — working together to make our companies and industry better — and not just another trade association. Carla Kalogeridis (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Association IMPACT.
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ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 3> 2017 15
F E A T U R E STO R Y
SECRETS TO RECRUITING & KEEPING ASSOCIATION VOLUNTEERS Understanding the psychology behind volunteering helps associations motivate more members to engage.
By Amy Gitchell 16 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 34 > 2017
F E AT U R E STO RY
“I don’t have the time.”
IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES
“I’m doing things with my family.” “I have a full-time job.”
From simple to extravagant and everything in between.
“I already have too many priorities.”
ou need volunteers to keep your association humming. Recruiting them can be tough. Retaining them can be even tougher. However, if you unlock the secret to the psychology behind volunteering, you’ll have the formula that works.
Why Don’t People Volunteer? According to a recent GrowthZone survey, recruiting and retaining members is one of the top five challenges faced by member-based organizations. So it’s no surprise that the list of reasons for not volunteering may be infinite. Some of the more common ones cited by survey respondents include: “I don’t have the time.” “I’m doing things with my family.” “I have a full-time job.” “I already have too many priorities.”
Why Do People Volunteer? According to renowned psychologist David McClelland, people have three motivational drivers regardless of gender, culture, or age. 1. Achievement: People want a sense of accomplishment and to learn new skills. 2. Affiliation: The ability to meet and connect with others is huge. So is having a sense of belonging and feeling part of a worthy cause. 3. Power: People thrive on status and recognition. They love making an impact on others and playing to win.
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ASAE conducted the Next Gen 13 Millennial study to learn more about young professional association members. When the young professionals (aka Millennials) were asked why they volunteer in an association, 61 percent said it was to gain professional
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expertise, and 51 percent responded they participate for networking opportunities. When respondents were then asked why they don’t volunteer in an association, 45 percent said they simply weren’t asked to volunteer.
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 3> 2017 17
F E A T U R E STO R Y
“I would volunteer a lot more if it meant I was able to connect with higherup members in the organization. Often though, you don’t meet anyone except the volunteer coordinator,” shared one respondent to the Millennial Impact Project by The Case Foundation.
What Do Volunteers Want? Volunteers want to:
++ Feel welcome, be communicated with regularly, and feel like you’re prepared for them ++ Be thoroughly trained and know up front how much time the job will take ++ Do interesting work and learn something new ++ Be socially connected with other members ++ Be appreciated and know they’re making a difference
I would volunteer a lot more if it meant I was able to connect with higher-up members in the organization.
Keep Learning in Third Thought® What to know more about this topic? Search for the resources listed below in the digital library on MSAE’s knowledge management platform: www.thirdthought.msae.org
▸▸Volunteer Opportunities with
What does this mean to your association?
Member Engagement (podcast)
By understanding what motivates people, you can assign tasks that meet their motivation driver. Suddenly, you have happy and fulfilled volunteers who keep coming back for more.
▸▸Making Volunteers Realize Their Importance to the Success of Your Programs
Amy Gitchell is a marketing and research specialist at MemberZone, providers of association management software with integrated sales funnel management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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18 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 34 > 2017
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I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G
Digital Calls-to-Action: How’s That Working for You?
In today’s climate, where elected officials are overwhelmed with electronic communications, the most powerful communication technique may be the oldest one.
By Joel Blackwell
s angry citizens swarm town hall meetings and the nation eagerly awaits the launch of President Trump’s next 140-character missile, association executives may wonder: “What’s it mean for our advocacy program?” Not much, it seems. First, let’s look at social media, then at “town hell” meetings, as they were called in 2009 when the first wave of anger washed across the United States. As I talk with association executives around the country and in Michigan, no one has yet found a way to influence elected officials to take action on specialinterest legislation using email, Twitter, Facebook, or anything else electronic. As a method to activate action alerts, electronic messages have a mixed record. Here’s Kim Pontius, CAE, executive vice president of Traverse Area Association of REALTORS®: “We hear every night on the news what Donald Trump tweeted, but the media pays a lot more attention to social media than voters or association members,” he says. “I’ll bet I could ask 100 of my
20 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 34 > 2017
members, ‘Who follows Donald Trump on Twitter?’ and I’d be able to count them with the fingers on one hand. The rest of them could care less. “If we didn’t hear about it in the mainstream media, a lot of it would go unnoticed by my demographic because my members are mostly Baby Boomers,” says Pontius. “They use Facebook for their friends and family. They email, but they prefer text messaging. They want to deal with it immediately. Their attitude is: ‘Tell me in 10 words or less what I need to know.’ “As for mobilizing our members with action alerts, we’re lucky to get 10–15 percent response from emails,” he continues. “At the state level, sending emails to legislators has been somewhat effective, but I question the effectiveness at the national level. Social media is great for social, but when it comes to using it for political advocacy, it hasn’t come of age yet.” I agree. If you have the impression that social media has energized people, especially young people, it’s
because it does work when you have a charismatic personality running for office. However, I don’t see much in the way of results mobilizing association members on narrow special-interest legislation, though that may be evolving. Barry S. Cargill, CAE, executive director of Michigan HomeCare & Hospice Association, says, “Social media is changing how grassroots mobilize and communicate with legislators. At the federal level, as you put together a grassroots effort, it’s important to include social media in your communications strategy.” Part of the reason, he explains, is that “just about every Congressional office has Millennials in it, often interns. Most of the offices monitor Twitter on a regular basis.” Facebook is old technology. There are other mechanisms readily available like Twitter and Snapchat. It’s a moving environment for social media as a strategy. “We need to recognize the best way to get through to decision makers. It used
I N D U S T R Y U N D E R S TA N D I N G
to be you needed to send a postal letter. Then, after the anthrax scare, a letter would take four to five weeks,” he recalls. “The legislature in Lansing is in some ways a mini-Washington, but our legislators are easier to reach in person. While many of the state legislators don’t have offices, many of them have coffee shop hours each week,” Cargill says. Those coffee shop meetings are probably the best way for an association to put members together with legislators. Just as one example, you can view Michigan Rep. Abdullah Hammoud’s upcoming “Coffee and Conversation” opportunities online. A good example of how an association encourages this is on the website for Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA). You can see a statewide list of legislative coffee meetups that is updated weekly. As for town hall meetings, the current emotional climate is making those less useful than in the past, but still worthwhile. They’ve never been a good venue for substantive conversation, but getting your members to attend can be one way to energize them and motivate them for a deeper discussion with legislators in person. It’s also a chance to make a positive impression with an elected official by giving them support and thanks, if only by shaking their hand and thanking them for being on the job. They don’t get much of that. In all of this, your association will be most effective when you target each legislator individually and find out what’s the best way to reach them. Not long ago I worked for a dental association that wanted to mount a maximum effort on a specific piece of legislation. My role was to reach out to dentists and coach them to communicate with key decision makers in the legislature. I started with the association’s list of email addresses for members in the key districts. It was a chore because the database did not include members by state house and senate district. The association had been sending emails without much luck, which is typical in
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my experience. I quickly learned one reason is that the email addresses were wrong, either from typos, or they had changed, or the person had retired. This confirmed my more general experience that email lists require significant resources to keep them accurate.
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The next thing that happened was that, even if I had a good email address, it might go to an office general box such as firstname.lastname@example.org, which no one monitored or the person who monitored it was on vacation. Also, most association members are focused not on
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 3> 2017 21
I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G
their role as volunteer advocates but on their business or profession and family, and an email is really easy to ignore. I finally realized the only thing that worked was to call each office and work through the staff screens until I could speak with the dentist. Then I had to send them information to their personal email, coach them how to deliver it, and follow up to make sure it happened. Because elected officials are overwhelmed with electronic communications, I’m recommending the most powerful communication technique is the oldest one, whether you are trying to influence Congress or the legislature: ++ Coach your advocates how to write a good letter on letterhead. ++ Get them to deliver it by hand and ask for a response. ++ Meet face-to-face and tell a story from the district that illuminates the issue.
Keep Learning in Third Thought®
++ Emphasize the importance of following up, politely and persistently, until they get a response, which is then reported to the association.
What to know more about this topic? Search for the resources listed below in the digital library on MSAE’s knowledge management platform: www.thirdthought.msae.org.
Using Social Media for Grass Roots?
What’s your experience using email to activate your members in a call-toaction? Do you use Twitter, Facebook, or other social media in your grassroots operation? What successes have you had? What’s your advice for other association executives? Email your experiences and ideas to email@example.com.
▸▸Member Engagement Through Advocacy
▸▸Low-Cost Ways to Motivate
Association Members to Participate in Grassroots Advocacy
▸▸Government Affairs Academy
Joel Blackwell has worked since 1985 in 47 states and Washington, DC, helping associations mobilize members to lobby. His book, Keep On Voting After The Election, a grassroots manual, was published in 2009 and will be updated and published again later this year.
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BOARD OF DIRECTORS MSAE STAFF Mike Wenkel, CAE, Chairman Executive Director Michigan Potato Industry Commission Barry Cargill, CAE, Chairman-Elect Executive Director Michigan HomeCare & Hospice Association
Cheryl O. Ronk, CAE, CMP President Denise E. Amburgey Chief Financial Officer Stephanie Wohlfert, CMP Meetings Coordinator Shawnna Henderson Marketing & Communications Manager
Denise McGinn, CAE Kimberly Gools, CAE Secretary Membership Director President Edward Woods III Association Guidance
Director of Learning &
Lorraine Goodrich Leadership Experiences Treasurer Angela DeVries CFO Executive Assistant Automotive Industry Action Group
Kelly Chase, CMP
Amy Smith, CAE, AAP, Past Chairman Meetings Assistant Vice President and Kristy Carlson, CMP Executive Director Virtual Meetings Coordinator The Clearing House Payments Authority ASSOCIATION IMPACT® Rochelle Black Carla Kalogeridis VP for Government Relations Editor Oakland University
Steve Carey, CAE Graphic Design Executive Director National Truck Equipment Mark Stiles Association Advertising Sales Paul A. Long BRD Printing President & CEO Printing Michigan Catholic Conference Cynthia H. Maher, CAE Executive Director Michigan Plumbing & Mechanical Contractors Association
CONNECT WITH NEW PEOPLE THROUGH ASSOCIATION IMPACT MAGAZINE Did you know associations represent most industries, from homebuilders to healthcare? Take a second to think of an industry and we bet there’s an association for that! There’s even an association for associations — MSAE is proud to be Michigan’s. Our publications represent the most effective, inexpensive way to market to the association sector in Michigan. Contact Mark Stiles at firstname.lastname@example.org for a personalized quote or complete marketing plan.
Steve Mitchell Chairman Mitchell Research & Communications , Inc Dave Moulton Member Services Manager SME Andi Osters Assistant Director Michigan High School Athletic Association Jack Schripsema, CTA President & CEO Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau Jared Burkhart Executive Director Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers Kimberly R Pontius, CAE Executive Vice President Traverse Area Association of REALTORS® Richard P. Seely, CAE Account Executive Member Insurance Solutions, Michigan Dental Association
Association IMPACT® is published bimonthly by the Michigan Society of Association Executives, 1350 Haslett Road, East Lansing, MI 48823, (517) 332-6723. Subscribers should direct all inquiries, address changes, and subscription orders to that address. Articles written by outside authors do not necessarily reflect the view or position of the Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE). MSAE’s position on key issues will be clearly stated. Manuscripts are accepted at the approval of MSAE, which reserves the right to reject or edit. Appearance in Association IMPACT® does not constitute endorsement of the advertiser, its products or services, nor does Association IMPACT® make any claims or guarantees as to the accuracy or validity of the advertiser’s offer and reserves the right to reject any advertising deemed unsuitable. Advertising rates available at www.msae.org.
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J. Scot Sharland, executive director, Automotive Industry Action Group, engages in a frank discussion about associations that take important...