MSAE.ORG | ISSUE #4 | 2018
10 THINGS GREAT BOSSES DO EVERY DAY REBUILDING A CULTURE OF ATTENDANCE
Rising Leaders: What Are Their Expectations? RISING LEADERS DISCUSS CAREER PATHING & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MODELS
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TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
RISING LEADERS: WHAT ARE THEIR EXPECTATIONS?
P R E S I D E N T ' S M E S S AG E
EMERGING PROFESSIONALS ARE OUR FUTURE 4
Emerging professionals are the association professionals who will carry the legacy. They are committed to the profession and better it by sharing their ideas, passion, and energy.
A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE 6
REBUILDING A CULTURE OF ATTENDANCE Trends show Gen X, Y, and Z desire more in-person activities.
THE QUESTION This month’s question deals with payment of multiple open invoices from members.
P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S
10 THINGS GREAT BOSSES DO EVERY DAY Top 10 list of how great bosses change us for the better.
Pictured on cover (l to r): Greg Rokisky, marketing manager, Michigan Association of School Boards; and Brittany Williams,membership specialist, AIAG Not Pictured: Jason Scramlin, field training specialist, Michigan Farm Bureau
SPONSORSHIP MARKETING: EVALUATING THE PLATINUM-GOLD-SILVER-BRONZE STRUCTURE 16
Third of a three-part series, this article questions whether a popular association marketing strategy might actually be sending the wrong message to your sponsors, members, and event attendees.
Cover Story Photos | Matt Mitchell Photography
P R E S I D E N T ’ S M E S S AG E
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.
Meet the 2018 Rising Leaders
This year’s impressive group of Rising Leaders are Issue 4’s cover story. Turn to page 10 to read more about them.
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Emerging Professionals Are Our Future I
love that Issue 4 has become an annual recognition of the industry’s future leaders. I commend every organization that nominated someone from their team. The Rising Leader program aims to spotlight aspiring leaders for their skills today and promise for tomorrow. Up to 15 recipients are selected each year by a panel of industry professionals. They are recognized during ORGPRO, MSAE’s annual convention, and featured in Association IMPACT magazine. Additionally, only past and current Rising Leaders will be considered for the Emerging Leader Diamond Award. The recipient will be announced at our annual Diamond Awards Ceremony on September 20, 2018. Rising Leaders are the association professionals who will carry the legacy. They are committed to the profession, and better it by sharing their ideas, passion, and energy. There is a value in making a concentrated effort to actively invest in emerging professionals. That can mean: ++ Financially supporting professional development, ++ Mentoring or finding a mentor, ++ Allowing and encouraging time away from the office to participate in networking events and/or ++ Entrusting important decisions/tasks. I was a new 32-year-old professional when the board of MSAE selected me to be the first president and full-time staff member. I was fearless but very trainable. A number of excellent mentors helped me, and I listened. Mike and Carol Frank, Bonnie V’soske, Lou Monticello, Geri Cherney, CAE and, of course, Kevin A. Kelly top the list. Before and during my MSAE tenure, I had great career mentors such as Jim Hallan, Bob LaBrant, Jim Barrett, Dennis Muchmore, and Larry Martin. They trusted me in my 20s to oversee projects like
Cheryl Ronk, CAE, CMP, as an emerging professional. forming the Michigan Chamber Foundation, raising funds for mini-societies in schools, starting an intern program for road building companies, and writing a book on the value of contracting work out. These projects along with others gave me the experience in project management and collaboration. This foundation allowed me to say “no” when needed, and listen and allow others to create. There was so much potential at MSAE, and the members saw it. I have a host of fun stories, especially the black, three-ring notebook I was handed on my first day. Each goldenrod page included a handwritten list naming the 100 or so members and when they paid their dues. The board had allocated $10,000 to open the office. I spent it on two Macintosh computers and a printer, and as members paid their dues that October, they were entered into the FileMaker database. Most of what MSAE is and does are not my ideas. They come from members. But I help make their ideas come to fruition. I was an emerging professional. So, these emerging professionals are people to watch over the coming years. They will make a difference in our industry just as you and I have done. To read about this year’s impressive group of Rising Leaders, turn to page 10. Nominations officially open for the 2019 Rising Leaders Recognition Program in February 2019.
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A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE
Rebuilding a Culture of Attendance Trends show Gen X, Y, and Z desire more in-person activities. By Shane Johnson, JD, CAE
s a young boy, when school was out in the summer, Thursdays were for lunch with Grandpa at the VFW. After a flurry of handshaking in a sea of bobbing green garrison caps, we’d pray, salute the flag, and eat. One thing that has not faded through the years is the strong sense of welcome and camaraderie at each gathering. Grandpa rarely missed the weekly meetings. When they closed the lid on his coffin, his VFW cap was tucked under his arm. What compelled a busy father-of-four and business owner to eat a ham sandwich and potato salad with the same group every week? Perhaps patriotism, but I believe it was more. Grandpa was equally adherent to regular calls by Kiwanis Club and Zion Lutheran Church. He was a “joiner,” part of the GI and Silent Generations that regularly attended meetings as an accepted — almost dutiful — role in society. In large measure, associations were built on this societal norm.
Six American Generations GI/Greatest Generation (1901-1926) Silent Generation (1927-1945) Baby Boomers (1946-1964) Gen X (1965-1980) Millennials/Gen Y (1981-2000) Post Millennials/Gen Z (2001-)
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Quandary: 6 Generations
Baby Boomers were influenced by both parents and grandparents, but the technological wave has created an addictive alternative: online. Associations have struggled in recent decades with attendance. Amidst the digital onslaught, many questioned the way forward. How should nonprofits deal with six different generations in the American pipeline? “Seven or eight years ago, in the face of declining attendance and new norms, industry leaders began looking at ways to address an apparent shift online for community building,” said Reggie Henry, chief information and engagement officer, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). “Members appeared to be abandoning in-person experiences for digital touch. Many organizations adapted accordingly, with some overcorrecting, during this period.” Wilmington, North Carolina, had not been immune to this national trend. Hosted annual events with a rich history of strong attendance at Cape Fear REALTORS® (Cape Fear) began to falter. Instead of regularly drawing 15 to 25 percent of membership as in earlier decades, only five percent
would attend by 2010. The same thing was happening 160 miles south in Charleston.
Approach: Segmentation and Value “To boost attendance, we have reworked most of our programs to build value for the diverse audiences that make up our membership,” said Charleston Trident Association of Realtors® (Charleston) CEO Wil Riley. For example, attendance at the annual Residential Market Update was around 350 in 2012, but by 2017 had nearly doubled, welcoming 650 guests to this year’s event. Riley notes that content is key to connecting with members. For example, to attract Millennials, the value proposition needs to include both a philanthropic component and a business or personal improvement piece. “New member attendance has increased, which I believe is a result of both an improved value offering and focused marketing.” That same approach has allowed Cape Fear to grow a culture of attendance. As Jim Collins notes in his bestseller, “Good to Great,” those efforts gain momentum each year creating a flywheel effect. In 2013, the average attendance at annual
A S S O C I AT I O N K N OW L E D G E
events was 146. By 2017, that number almost tripled to 418. One positive side effect includes additional revenue. During the same period, Cape Fear’s net assets increased by almost $1,000,000. Granted, the real estate industry has improved during that same cycle, yet an increasing percentage of event seats are being warmed by 20- and 30-year-olds. This is contrary to what many professionals have been led to believe about the “non-joining” generations. A Harris Poll of millennials in 2014 revealed 82 percent had attended live events in the past year. Comparatively, older generations came in at 70 percent. Further, 72 percent of millennials desired more live events, which is good for associations, as it is a core strength.
Chart listing Cape Fear Realtor’s registration growth over a 5 year period.
Results: Attendance Boon
Tapping into this little-known desire for live events and adding a dose of “giving back,” Cape Fear launched REALTOR® Action Day© in 2015. The first year’s goal was 300 participants — we had 400. Each year the event has grown — flywheel style — and this year, the goal is 750 with 25 activities ranging from planting sea oats to stabilize coastal dunes to visiting senior centers. The Charlotte Regional REALTOR® Association (Charlotte) began REALTORS® Care Day© in 2009 to repair homes in neighborhoods through its foundation. Mobilizing 500 members in the inaugural year, this year, they expect 750 to pick up hammers to build community. “We’ve found that younger generations are highly interested in participation,” said Charlotte CEO AnneMarie DeCatsye. “They do things differently than their parents, value time differently, and look for specific end results. We’ve had a great response by listening to members of various generations, and then creating activities that address these needs, sometimes together, sometimes separately. A couple of years ago, we began a 5K called Strides for Shelter to raise money for housing, and while most of last year’s 450 participants were younger, it engages an important segment of membership.”
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ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 4> 2018 7
A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE
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“Meeting Trends and How They Are Changing” “Engaging Your Audience During Meetings”
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8 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 35 > 2018
People of all ages want to engage, meet, and have a positive result. As the years pass, demographics change. Millennials now comprise 25 percent of the American population according to the U.S. Census and are now the largest generation in America. By comparison, baby boomers make up about 23 percent of the population.
Outlook: Nimble Relevance
“Maintaining relevance takes maximum effort,” said ASAE’s Henry. “It’s not online or in-person, it’s both. It also requires leadership to re-evaluate its view of membership, offering new ways to engage with members beyond the old committee structure. This includes innovative approaches such as micro-volunteering for an hour or two and half-day quick retreats.” FaceBook, Twitter, and SnapChat will continue to be part of the membership
equation. Clearly, both young and old understand that there is no replacement for face-to-face encounters. Not only are they desired, they help with mental attitude. So, while we may not see the return of rooms brimming with garrison caps, the future of in-person meetings is thankfully not in jeopardy for the association world. Create the right environment, and momentum will fuel an irresistible return of members to in-person experiences. Online does not beat in-person. Both are needed in the makeup of a nimble, relevant association, with or without potato salad. Shane Johnson, JD, CAE (Shane@capefear. realtor), for REALTOR® AE Magazine. Reprinted with permission from REALTOR® AE Magazine, a publication of the National Association of REALTORS®.
A S S O C I AT I O N K N OW L E D G E
“Your organization receives a check from a customer who owes you for multiple invoices. The check indicates that it’s for the most recent invoice. Do you have to apply it to that invoice or can you apply it to the oldest invoice first? If the check does not specify what it is for but matches a dollar amount for the newest invoice, can you apply it to the oldest invoice first?”
Olga DuBois, CPA, CHRS VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE, HR & IT
Michigan Manufacturers Association While I understand why one would want to apply payment to the oldest invoice, I would advise against it. It always helps when records in your accounting system match to records in your customer’s accounting system. If they say that payment X is for invoice Y, that is what they have in their system, and that is what you should have in yours. If the customer doesn’t specify which invoice a payment is for, apply it to an invoice that
What would you like to learn from peers? MSAE will feature a question of the month, and you can submit your question to email@example.com.
matches the exact amount. Having partial payment or overpayment on your books, issuing possible refunds, or invoicing for a balance complicates reconciliations.
Edward J. Castellani JD, CPA SHAREHOLDER
Bradley M. DeVries, CPA, CAE SENIOR MANAGER
Yeo & Yeo CPAs & Business Consultants A best practice for an organization would be to have a policy for these situations in its Accounting Policy and Procedure Manual to ensure consistent application. Absent a policy on this, in both cases, the appropriate action is to apply the payment to the most recent invoice since the payment can be identified either directly or indirectly to that invoice. The most vital step in both scenarios is to reach out to the customer to determine why the other invoices are outstanding. More often than not, when a current invoice is being paid before a past due invoice, the delayed payment is the result of oversight, lost invoices, or customer disagreement. Situations do arise, however, where the past-due invoices may signal more severe systematic issues on either the customer or the organization’s end that cannot be brought to light until the issue has been raised with the customer. Therefore, communication and follow up is the most proactive way to resolve the issue and minimize cash-flow disruptions from the customer in the future.
Michigan law allows a debtor to direct to which invoice a payment should be applied and the creditor must follow the debtor’s designation. If the debtor does not indicate how to apply the payment, the creditor can apply it to the oldest invoice. This assumes the parties did not have an agreement that addressed how payments would be applied.
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 4> 2018 9
C O V E R STO R Y
Pictured (l to r): Brittany Williams,membership specialist, AIAG; and Greg Rokisky, marketing manager, Michigan Association of School Boards
Not Pictured: Jason Scramlin, field training specialist, Michigan Farm Bureau Photos | Matt Mitchell Photography
10 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 35 > 2018
Rising Leaders: What Are Their Expectations? By Carla Kalogeridis
Continuing its 2018 article series on the Top 12 Trends in associations, Association IMPACT tapped into insights from its three new Rising Leaders to address the next two trends: •Millennials and other emerging professionals entering the association sector are expecting career path training. •Professional development models are including badging and other forms of recognition to designate success in incremental learning and skill acquisition, and to establish qualifications. Congratulations to the 2018 MSAE Rising Leaders: Greg Rokisky, marketing manager, Michigan Association of School Boards; Jason Scramlin, field training specialist, Michigan Farm Bureau; and Brittany Williams, membership specialist, AIAG.
TREND 8: Millennials and other emerging professionals entering the association sector are expecting career path training. ROKISKY: Young professionals are growing
up with more opportunities to self-teach and learn outside their discipline to become better employees. There are expectations to discover a trajectory within their organization that they fit into, as well as encouragement to pursue training that goes beyond their industry. For example, as a marketing manager, I want to learn about business operations, finance, and business law so I can become a better communications professional as well as a more well-rounded professional. The more I can think about how what I do affects the organization as a whole, the more effective it is for everyone.
Quality and breadth of career path training certainly play a part in attracting rising stars to the association sector. One of the biggest ways associations can attract the best talent is to offer flexibility — and that definition can vary by organization. Given the advances of technology and tools allowing employees to accomplish work from virtually anywhere, associations must look at how they could reward young talent with the ability to take advantage of the modern advances. It’s just not realistic that sitting at a desk from 9 to 5 is the most effective way to work anymore. Associations don’t need to offer ping pong tables and Segway races around the office, but as work follows us everywhere on our smartphones and during evenings, there should be some flexibility as long as the work and benchmarks are being met. Young professionals, when given that flexibility, are often more willing to put in more than what’s expected. The Michigan Association of School
GREG ROKISKY: TRANSFORMED COMMUNICATIONS AT MASB Greg Rokisky is described by his peers as someone who embodies the drive, talent, and determination to succeed and make the organization stronger. He has lead numerous new initiatives at MASB, including the launch of a new podcast, MI SoundBoard, and improving the association’s candidate recruitment campaign by increasing its digital presence and expanding it to a year-long initiative. Greg is active in several organizations, including the Public Relations Society of America, where he is presenting at the national conference this year. He is board secretary for the Central Michigan Chapter of PRSA, served as membership chair of Grand River Connection, and graduated from the MSAE Academy in June. “Greg has transformed the way we communicate with our members and market our products, services and events,” says John Tramontana, director of communications, PR and marketing, Michigan Association of School Boards. “In associations, so much of our success relies upon how we respond to member needs and how quickly we do so. From day one, Greg came in and immediately got to work on figuring out who our members are, what they want, and most importantly, what they need.”
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® <ISSUE 4> 2018 11
C O V E R STO R Y
Quality and breadth of career path training certainly play a part in attracting rising stars to the association sector. One of the biggest ways associations can attract the best talent is to offer flexibility ... — Greg Rokisky
Boards (MASB) places high emphasis on education offering tuition reimbursement up to a certain threshold for education pursued while working for the organization. In addition, each department has a workalike group with which they can network and learn. MASB staff is encouraged to look for professional development opportunities and bring back ideas for
12 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 35 > 2018
the betterment of our organization. Any type of management and/or leadership training is incredibly valuable for rising professionals. As you rise in your career, there is a transition in the type of work you manage. To ensure professionals are equipped with the skills to manage people in addition to projects and programs, I would say those
can prove the most valuable. The caveat with this, however, is finding quality programs to teach those skills effectively.
SCRAMLIN: Young professionals coming
into our organization have a lot to offer and a lot of ideas. As such, they have high expectations of being heard and being a contributor to the team. Young professionals today are coming to the table with more experiences and global perspectives than the previous generation. These experiences drive young professionals to want handson training that provides opportunities for growth. They want to know “why” and “what” more so than “how” and “when.” That said, I’m not aware of anyone pursuing a career specifically for the training program. Young professionals want a job that allows for lifestyle, identity, and personal fulfillment. Michigan Farm Bureau has been investing significant time and resources in new
So, is career path training a way to attract rising stars to the association sector? Training and growth opportunities — absolutely! Literal career path training — probably not. — Brittany Williams
employee orientation, a program aimed at general overview of the organization and mission. Department-specific training has been getting a much more serious look over the past few years. The newly created position of field trading specialist is focused squarely on department-level employee training and professional development. In this role, I have spent a significant amount of time building a training program that will enhance the roles of all members of our team, regardless of their tenure. The training program that I developed occurs in two stages. Stage one is new employee training that includes orientation and onboarding. It focuses on the basics of job function and organizational understanding. The second phase is career training in that it is a continuous function of employment and professional enhancement. The career training that I focus on falls into four categories: Soft Skills Development, Technical Skills Development, Essential Functions, and Compliance Training & Continued Education. This suite of training provides the skills necessary for meaningful customer engagement as well as opportunities for personal and professional development.
WILLIAMS: Career growth opportunities, and training in general, mean a great deal to the 20- and 30-somethings of the world; however, I don’t believe a specific career path plan is as important. Some experts agree
with me and some don’t, but when it comes to our career growth, we like flexibility, learning opportunities, new challenges, and personal fulfillment in our careers. Literal career path training can be too rigid, and subsequently, a hindrance to these things. So, is career path training a way to attract rising stars to the association sector? Training and growth opportunities — absolutely! Literal career path training — probably not. We dedicate one-third of our waking hours, often more, to an organization. The expectations on what we get in return are higher than they were in previous years. Salary isn’t enough for today’s workforce. Associations must analyze what resources they are offering their staff to enhance skill level, work/life balance, and physical and mental well-being. This can be in the form of good health benefit packages, flexible work schedules, and, of course, frequent training opportunities. At AIAG, career path training isn’t really the focus. Rather, skills training is supported and encouraged in our organization. If you offer a career path training plan, make it flexible, and make employee development the priority. Every time there is an organization or department restructure, which is very common, you don’t want your staff to become discouraged if their career path now has major obstructions. Invest in your staff ’s development so they will be able to switch directions if needed.
TREND 9: Professional development models are including badging and other forms of recognition to designate success in incremental learning and skill acquisition, and to establish qualifications. ROKISKY: Badging and skill acquisition recognition are important to young professionals, but maybe not in the technical terms and showmanship of it. Young professionals want to develop and
BRITTANY WILLIAMS A MASTER AT RETAINING AIAG MEMBERS Brittany Williams volunteers on the emerging professionals group at MSAE. At AIAG, Brittany leads the Charity Committee, which has raised money for Orchard Children’s Services, Forgotten Harvest, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Last Day Dog Rescue, the Empowerment Plan, South Oakland Shelter, and the VFW. Brittany has volunteered for all these groups as well. Brittany leads the Future Automotive Experts events program and serves all AIAG’s large member companies. As a membership specialist, she helped grow the number of AIAG members from 1,000 to over 2,500 in three years. “Brittany has a unique drive when it comes to growing AIAG membership,” says Nancy Malo, AIAG’s membership director. “She is willing to go the extra mile to explain the benefits of joining the association to new prospects, provide information to help new members learn how to take advantage of their membership, and interact with her member accounts to ensure they are engaging in their benefits so they continue to retain their membership. Her attention to detail and commitment to the organization is outstanding.”
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® <ISSUE 4> 2018 13
the state. He creates leadership development tools and ongoing training for regional reps to empower volunteer leaders at the county level to be more effective. Jason Scramlin Jason served as a Field Training Specialist delegate to MFB’s State Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and lobbies members of Congress on issues JASON important to agriculture. SCRAMLIN: He received the Holy LOBBIES Cow Award, a peer recognition for teamwork CONGRESS and a positive attitude. ON ISSUES He is one of the founding IMPORTANT TO board members of the Farmer Veteran Coalition AGRICULTURE Michigan Chapter and has also been active Jason Scramlin improves with the AgriAbility Michigan Farm Bureau’s organization and the daily interactions with Oakland County Fair. regional reps across
“Jason has excellent skills in strategic thinking, coupled with the ability to build relationships with a broad spectrum of personalities,” says Kelly Turner, MFB’s manager, membership development and training. “I have worked closely with Jason on projects that were difficult, politically charged, and timeconsuming and was impressed with his professionalism. He is a notable example of an aspiring leader who strives to make an impact on his co-workers and the organization.”
grow their skillset. Continuing their education and development throughout their career, in the form of badging or otherwise, ensures a relevant and regularly updated toolkit of talent. I plan to pursue my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), possibly my CAE, and something related in the fields of marketing and business. I have pursued some social media and digital marketing courses. For me, it’s not about adding a few more letters to my email signature but about ensuring that I keep myself in check with what are the highest standards in various industries I see myself working within. MASB represents the school board members across the state, and badging, certifications, and credentialing play a critical part in board member development. We’re in the process of launching a learning management system this year that will further
Three Decades of Impact! MSAE's President & CEO, Cheryl Ronk, CAE, is retiring in the fall of 2018, after 30 years of service to the organization. The MSAE Board is requesting your help in raising funds to create a "Travel Fund" that Cheryl can use to vacation or to travel to figure skating competitions around the country. One of Cheryl's passions is serving as a volunteer figure skating coach and mentor. Help us thank Cheryl for 30 years of extraordinary service by making a personal and/or corporate donation. Donations can be sent to: Denise Amburgey, CFO c/o MSAE 1350 Haslett Road · East Lansing, MI 48823 * Please make payments out to MSAE and note in the memo field "Cheryl Ronk Travel Fund”.
The travel fund will be presented to Cheryl at her retirement reception on September 27th. 4:30-6:30 pm · The James B Henry Center for Executive Development · Lansing, MI Please have your donations in by 9/14/18.
Contribution Form ____ Yes, I®would like to donate $ __________ to the Cheryl Ronk retirement travel fund (enclosed). 14 ASSOCIATION IMPACT < VOLUME 35 > 2018
TIME TO PLAN ON PERFECTION For a badge to be important, it should be identifiable by others, the significance must be easily understood, and it should bring pride to the recipient.
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integrate badging and skill recognition into each member’s unique learning plan.
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SCRAMLIN: Badging is another
form of recognition. Recognition for accomplishment is important, especially among peers. Also, recognition can create competitive incentives. I was on active duty in the Marine Corps for eight years. The badges we earned were identified on the uniforms we wear — ribbons, medals, rank insignias, and other badges. For a badge to be important, it should be identifiable by others, the significance must be easily understood, and it should bring pride to the recipient. We currently do not offer any badging system, and I’m not aware of this being a focal point of our management or other leadership. From my perspective, a badging system can have value as long as there is ROI for creation and maintenance in a badge system that staff would be able to connect with.
WILLIAMS: Any study you read about
engaging millennials will tell you that purpose is at the top of our priority list, often above money or other tangible perks. We want to know that what we’re doing is important, that it makes a difference, and that it has meaning. Recognition is one form of confirming that, and it doesn’t have to be big. I’ll add that making recognition practices part of your organization’s routine is a great way to develop a culture of positivity, support, and celebration.
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Not to sound prideful, but I need to know my organization is happy with my performance and growth. And one time isn’t enough. I need to be regularly reminded of that. I’ve received recognition in a variety of ways: certificates, rewards, honorable mentions, or just a simple “good job” or
“thank you.” Each one motivates me to work harder to become better. Our organization encourages managers to recognize people for their successes, and accomplishments. Carla Kalogeridis (email@example.com) is editor of Association IMPACT.
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® <ISSUE 4> 2018 15
A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE
Sponsorship Marketing: Evaluating the PlatinumGold-SilverBronze Structure Third of a three-part series, based on the book, “Secrets and Techniques of Sponsorship Marketing: What every association, conference, convention, and seminar needs to know to effectively sell and grow their sponsorships”
offerings. While varying across associations, the PGSB structure almost always involves precious metals or gem stones denoting a hierarchy among sponsors (with a related hierarchy of prices). Many associations have embraced PGSB with almost religiouslike zeal. In fact, we have seen many signs of extreme resistance to change where PGSB is concerned. However, we strongly recommend that all associations review their use and commitment to the PGSB structure and truly ask whether PGSB is helping or hurting their sponsorship marketing. By James M. Personius No one knows who invented PGSB or where it came from, but the ease of copying ew things appear to be as entrenched in the structure and modifying it for a new the association mindset as the widespread association’s prices and offerings makes it a commitment to the platinum-gold-silversimple and compelling entry-level structure bronze (PGSB) tier structure of sponsorship in sponsorship marketing. Its ® widespread use Read the First Two Articles in seems to validate the 3-Part Sponsorship Series ® it as a useful tool. “Sponsorship Marketing: The Critical It is not difficult Association Roles for Success” THE TOP 12 to understand and “Sponsorship Marketing: The relatively easy to g ing izin imiz axim Max M d and s an s er er te te Challenges Facing Associations” n n u implement. PGSB olu Vol V entt emen agem gag ng + En ntt E ven Eve E has become a de Search for these articles in the digital facto standard in library on www.thirdthought.msae.org. the association
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industry. What is wrong with that? Simple, understandable, easy to implement, and inexpensive are all good things. However, our research shows that PGSB is undermining associations and sending the wrong messages to sponsors and members/ attendees. This is a serious problem and is hindering sponsorship sales for most associations. Where associations perceive PGSB to be successful, we found associations severely underpricing their sponsorships and leaving significant money on the table.
What is wrong with PGSB?
PGSB is association-revenue centric; it says one thing: “We want money.” It places the money discussion front and center of the sponsor discussion. This is a negative start to any business conversation. Prices are set by how much the association wants/needs, not what sponsors want or are willing to pay. PGSB probably scares off more small and medium sponsors than it attracts in big sponsors. PGSB is pre-defined, general, and untargeted. It is more like a restaurant menu of offerings that some (any) sponsor might want, rather than flexible structures that meet the needs of specific sponsors. Most sponsors have unique needs and goals
A S S O C I AT I O N K N OW L E D G E
and are willing to pay for customization that helps them access the audience. PGSB is selling prestige, rather than access. With higher prices and a hierarchy in names (platinum, diamond, etc.), PGSB emphasizes the prices sponsors pay as a sign of sponsor value; it creates a hierarchy of perceived prestige across sponsors based on sales amounts. PGSB is inherently biased toward larger established companies over smaller companies or new entrants. Yet, most innovation and new solutions emerge from the latter category. PGSB insults lower-level sponsors as second-class. PGSB creates a ranking among sponsors that says higher-level sponsorships are more prestigious than lower-level sponsorships. This turns off many potential sponsors who are interested in sponsorship activities but do not want their brand to be diminished by the perception of lower-level tiers. Many potential sponsors fear sending a subtle negative message to the exact audience they are paying to reach, if they buy lower-tier sponsorships. Most associations cannot afford to alienate potential sponsors or damage the messages sponsors want to communicate. Where is the sponsor ROI? PGSB never discusses sponsor ROI and instead focuses on pre-defined offerings of questionable value and perceived prestige. Businesses make an investment when they buy sponsorships, and they want to know that they will get a return on that investment. Sponsors want to be seen as partners to the association, not donors. Sponsors value the implied endorsement of the association sponsorship. Sponsors prefer that the sponsorship process be somewhat discriminating and private (and perceived to be competitive). PGSB prostitutes the association by selling sponsorships to anyone with money and eliminating any potential value of implied endorsement. Where is access? Access is the most important thing to sponsors. Most PGSB structures ignore access entirely and focus on trivial things like banner font sizes, logo positioning, and sponsorship level while striving to increase the prestige of the sponsorship to justify its price. Desirable sponsor access is almost always a unique and negotiated quality
that is difficult to predefine and price. Where are the member benefits? The best sponsors focus on their solutions to member problems and needs. Successful sponsorships help associations, members, and sponsors. PGSB focuses primarily on association needs. PGSB says the association does not understand the value of its membership or what sponsors want to buy. PGSB is a sign to potential sponsors that the association is not business savvy; it does not know or understand its demographics. PGSB does not speak the language of business in discussion with sponsors. PGSB also says the association wants anyone with money to be a sponsor, rather than specific, targeted companies that benefit the membership. Almost everyone intrinsically understands that when buying an ad on TV, you want to know the audience size and demographics. Yet, most associations do not take the first step toward business value
and audience demographics when asking sponsors to “advertise” in their spheres. It is time for every association that wants more sponsorship revenue to take this opportunity to review their sponsorship structures. The recipe for success is simple: Sell what sponsors want to buy. Successful associations solve member problems. Profitable sponsorships should be a major element of associations helping members solve their problems. James M. Personius is the owner of Personius & Company and Smart-Promos.com, a boutique management consultancy and promotional products distributorship. His firm specializes in helping associations with their sponsored logo products for conferences, conventions, and other major events. His book, “Secrets and Techniques of Sponsorship Marketing,” is available on Amazon. He can be reached at 954-529-7117.
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P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S
10 Things Great Bosses Do Every Day By Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.
e’ve all heard the adage, “People don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses.” It makes great fodder for after-work gripe sessions, but is there really any data to back up the claim? As it turns out, there’s a ton. In one study, 61 percent of those working for bad bosses said they were looking for another job, while just 27 percent of those working for good bosses were considering alternate employment. And here’s one that’s really startling: 65 percent of people with bad bosses said they’ve sometimes misrepresented the truth at work, compared to only 19 percent of those with good bosses. Just as great bosses bring out the best in us, bad bosses bring out the worst. Great bosses change us for the better. They see more in us than we see in ourselves, and they help us learn to see
“A good boss is a man who isn’t worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.” –H. S. M. Burns
it, too. They dream big and show us all the great things we can accomplish. Being a great boss obviously has a tangible value other than just being liked,
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but how do you know if you are one? And, if you’re not, how do you get better? When I ask audiences to describe the best and worst bosses they have ever worked for, they inevitably ignore innate characteristics (intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on) and instead focus on qualities that are completely under the boss’s control, such as passion, insight, and honesty. This means that any of us can study the unique qualities of great bosses to learn and improve.
A great boss shares information. Have you ever worked for an information hoarder? Some bosses seem to think that every piece of information they share reduces their power and authority. In fact, just the opposite is true: Great bosses know that sharing information empowers their employees instead of diluting their own power.
A great boss puts a lot of thought into hiring. Bad bosses think nothing of hiring a jerk with great credentials because they’re only interested in how that person will perform. Great bosses think of the entire team. They recognize that their current employees are going to have to work with the new hire every single day, and they look for someone who will complement the team holistically, rather than just fill in a certain skills gap.
A great boss looks for and celebrates wins. Great bosses don’t have a “Why should I praise you for doing your job?” attitude. They look for reasons to praise their employees, privately and publicly, and they take the time to celebrate milestones,
instead of just driving everybody on to the next project or deadline. They understand that getting a paycheck doesn’t cancel out that inherent need to feel valued and appreciated.
A great boss respects your time. Great bosses don’t give you the impression that their time is more valuable than yours. They don’t keep you waiting for scheduled meetings. They show up prepared and get to the point, instead of trying to impress you. And they don’t goof off on your time. It’s not that they’re unwilling to have fun at work, but they don’t do it at your expense,
causing you extra stress or making it necessary for you to stay late to catch up.
A great boss is empathetic. Bad bosses only see their employees from the perspective of how the employees reflect on them. If their employees are doing a great job, they look good; if their employees are performing poorly, they look bad. Great bosses, on the other hand, see their employees as more than just extensions of themselves. They’re able to get inside their employees’ skins and understand things from their perspective. That doesn’t mean they’re pushovers, or that
Keep Learning in Third Thought® Search for these resources in the digital library on www.thirdthought.msae.org.
“The Leadership Challenge: Enable Others to Act” “The Leadership Challenge: Model the Way Inspire a Shared Vision”
“Becoming a Leadership Developer - Radio Interview”
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P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S
they just say, “Oh, sorry you’re having a bad day; don’t worry about that deadline.” But it does mean they recognize their employees are human and that they treat them as such.
A great boss is accountable. Bad bosses are quick to point the finger when something goes wrong. They’ll throw their employees under the proverbial bus without a second thought. Great bosses understand that a large part of their job is being accountable for the team’s performance. They know this just goes along with accepting a managerial role. That doesn’t mean they don’t offer the team feedback on what is
A great boss doesn’t forget that people have lives outside of work.
going wrong, but it does mean they take the blame publicly. Even privately, they see the team’s failure as a failure of leadership on their part, and they act quickly to correct it.
A great boss says thank you. Bad bosses think the work their employees do is something the employees owe them. After all, they’re getting paychecks, right? That’s true — but great bosses look past work as a transactional relationship and realize that people are putting a huge part of themselves into the work they do. They say thank you, even if it is “just part of the job.”
Bad bosses tend to see people as onedimensional: They show up and get the work done, and the boss doesn’t have to worry about them again until the next day. Great bosses, on the other hand, never forget that work is just one facet of their employees’ lives. They never forget that they have families, friends, hobbies, and other interests and obligations outside of work, and they don’t infringe on their “real” lives — by asking someone to work late, for example — without a very good reason. And when they do have a good reason, they acknowledge that they’re asking for a sacrifice and express their gratitude accordingly.
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A great boss is a great communicator. It seems like some bosses will do anything to avoid giving a straight answer. They don’t want to say something they can be held accountable for later. Other bosses just don’t want to be bothered with clear explanations and solid answers. Great bosses say what they mean and mean what they say — and they say it clearly, so that people don’t have to read between the lines or try to guess their real meaning.
A great boss creates leaders. Have you ever noticed how sometimes all the promotions come from within one manager’s team? That’s no accident. Great bosses pull the very best out of their people. They inspire, coach, and lean into people’s strengths, and when their employees are ready for new challenges, they gladly send them on their way.
Bringing It All Together
If you’re currently a boss, is this how your employees would describe you? If not, you’re leaving money, effort, and productivity lying on the table. You’re also probably losing some good employees, if not to other jobs, then at least to disengagement and lack of interest. Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning coauthor of “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” and the cofounder of TalentSmart® the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training serving more than 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries.
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Book 10 rooms or more and receive a complimentary room with meals, plus receive one VIP upgrade to a Named Room. For rates and other availability, contact: Director of Sales, Annie Farrell email@example.com • 517-349-4600 Join our quarterly meetings eNewsletter at grandhotel.com/meetings
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Dr. Bradberry is a LinkedIn Influencer and a regular contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur, The World Economic Forum, and The Huffington Post. He has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune,
Fast Company, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the Harvard Business Review. Artwork Credit: Numbers sourced from Vecteezy.com
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ®< ISSUE 4> 2018 21
A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MSAE STAFF Denise McGinn, CAE Cheryl O. Ronk, CAE, CMP, Chairman FASAE President President/CEO Association Guidance Cynthia H. Maher, CAE Chairman-Elect Executive Director Michigan Plumbing & Mechanical Contractors Association
Denise E. Amburgey Chief Financial Officer of MSAE & General Manager of MSAE Service Corporation Maryanne F. Greketis, CMP Career Enrichment Manager
Lorraine Goodrich Treasurer Shawnna Henderson CFO Strategic Marketing Manager Automotive Industry Action Group Kelly Chase, CMP Jared Burkhart, CAE Secretary Executive Director Michigan Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics
Member Service Coordinator
Taylor Benavente Association Industry Advocate Peter Terry Sales Representative
Barry Cargill, CAE Past-Chairman Ryan Handy Executive Director Association Community Manager Michigan HomeCare & Hospice Association ASSOCIATION IMPACT® Bonnifer Ballard, CAE Carla Kalogeridis Executive Director Editor American Water Works AssociationMichigan Section Shawnna Henderson
Steve Carey, CAE Executive Director Peter Terry National Truck Equipment Association Advertising Sales
Scott T. Ellis BRD Printing Executive Director Printing Michigan Licensed Beverage Association
Carey Goryl, MSW, CAE Executive Director Association of Staff Physician Recruiters Michael Moss, CAE President Society for College & University Planning Donna Oser, CAE Director of Leadership Development and Executive Search Services Michigan Association of School Boards Andi Osters Assistant Director Michigan High School Athletic Association Kimberly R Pontius, CAE Executive Vice President Traverse Area Association of REALTORS® Jack Schripsema, CTA President & CEO Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau
MSC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Debra N. McGuire, MBA, IOM, CAE Chairman CEO Michigan Academy of Family Physicians Jared Burkhart, CAE Treasurer Executive Director Michigan Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics David Moulton Secretary Member Services Manager SME Angela Madden Executive Director Michigan Association of Ambulance Services Mike Wenkel, CAE Executive Director Michigan Potato Industry Commission
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Richard P. Seely, CAE Account Executive /Medicare Advisor Member Insurance Solutions, Michigan Dental Association Ara Topouzian President/CEO Troy Chamber of Commerce
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The 2018 Rising Leaders discuss career pathing and professional development models. Also featured: 10 Things Great Bosses Do Every Day, Rebu...
Published on Jul 24, 2018
The 2018 Rising Leaders discuss career pathing and professional development models. Also featured: 10 Things Great Bosses Do Every Day, Rebu...