News

  • 25 Apr 2017 9:55 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Loaded fries anyone? 

    I recently reflected on what a great innovation it was to leverage an existing product by charging more while minimising the additional cost to serve. I’m not sure who (McDonalds?) takes credit for commercialising Loaded Fries, but everywhere you go now, you can have the privilege of paying a bit extra for gravy, cheese, sweet chilly or sour cream. So, it was natural my thoughts turned to how we (Associations) could ‘load’ or leverage our existing products and services. I’ve got a few ideas swashing around which I am keen to test over the coming months. 

    Equally, I’m looking forward to our annual conference (ACE 2017) in Sydney on May 11-12 as an opportunity to step back from the day to day operations, take time out to reflect, hear inspirational stories and grab a gem or two which could lead to more innovations of our own. Like most member based organisations, we rely on a successful conference to re-invest resources back into our membership. 

    If you’re coming along to ACE 2017 I look forward to seeing you there.

  • 25 Apr 2017 9:50 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Millennials: You know them well, those 73 million professionals born between 1980 and 1996 who are now an integral part of the American workplace. They’re working their way up the ladder in organizations across the country and becoming members and leaders in your association. Yet, they still get a bad rap.

    It’s a myth that millennials feel entitled to a better title and more pay for simply doing their jobs. Yes, they have expectations – they expect for a job to present them with opportunities for growth, they expect to be able to learn and gain valuable experience, and they expect to make a difference in the world.

    According to a 2016 Gallup survey, “How Millennials Want to Work and Live,” 87 percent of millennials say professional development is important to them in a job. Millennials want to be in a job where they are challenged and can learn and experience new things – even if they have to seek out those opportunities themselves.

    And while some associations may worry about the frequency with which millennials change jobs, that alone shouldn’t prevent you from offering them new opportunities. In fact, when you invest in millennials and their professional development, they are more likely to be engaged in their jobs and loyal to their company or association.

    Below are five ways in which your organization or association can offer professional development to millennials – but don’t just offer these opportunities to the young professionals on your staff. After all, learning is a lifetime endeavor, which means your colleagues of all ages might appreciate the chance to grow and learn a new skill.

    Encourage continuing education

    Make learning a top priority in your organization. Be supportive of millennials who seek out advanced degrees, industry certifications, in-person training and online webinars. Do that by allowing them the flexibility in their schedule to attend classes. Cover a percentage of the cost. If the budget for continuing education is tight, pass along magazine articles, books or videos that include industry trends, best practices and advice from experts in the field with a note on what lesson they might take away from the piece.

    Attend events

    Face-to-face events are important, not just for the unbridled education they provide, but also for the chance to build and nurture a professional network. In the ASAE Foundation’s research brief “Pathways to CEO Success: How Experience, Learning, and Networking Shape Association CEO Careers,” 90 percent of the association CEOs surveyed said a professional network was key to obtaining their first association CEO role. Events are where millennials are most likely to have the opportunity to talk to leaders in the industry, find a mentor and network with colleagues who are walking the same path. Many associations offer scholarships or grants for young professionals to attend their conferences and events; pass those opportunities on to millennials and encourage them to apply.

    Volunteer for a leadership role

    Whether it’s on an association committee, board of directors or local community organisation, encourage millennials to take on volunteer roles. Not only does volunteerism allow millennials to share their passion and make change in the world around them, it also allows them to hone leadership and problem-solving skills. Plus, they’ll expand on their growing network with leaders who also have a deep connection to your industry and organization, and who value serving others.

    Offer a speaking part

    While there are some people born with a talent for public speaking, many people still find it to be a nerve-wracking ordeal. The best way to overcome those feelings and get more comfortable in front of a crowd is practice. Start by having millennials give presentations at staff meetings or speak at a company event. Give them the opportunity to introduce a speaker or lead a roundtable discussion at your next annual conference. These experiences will teach millennials how to speak confidently about your industry and advance your association’s mission.

    Test new technology

    Technology has been an integral part of millennials’ lives – they don’t know a world without it. Use that to your advantage. Create an open door policy when it comes to millennials and new technology. After all, they may be the ones to bring the next big thing to your attention. Since millennials aren’t afraid of the speed with which technology changes, they can play a key role in gaining buy-in on new tools for your staff and members. You could even have them take the lead on testing out new technology on a segment of your membership, including training and gathering feedback.

    Millennials are the future of the workforce, and they’re here now. By offering them the opportunity to expand their skills and gain essential industry knowledge, you’ll ensure your association has the leaders it needs to succeed in the years to come.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Adviser.

  • 25 Apr 2017 9:37 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Judith E. Glaser, an author, business executive, and self-described “organisational anthropologist,” says science has now proven that the chemical nature of relationships, conversations and collaboration is more than an attraction metaphor: it’s a reality.

    So the quality of our conversations -  especially those participants have with others at conferences and meetings -  has a direct chemical impact on them, those around them, and therefore on the organizations they belong to.

    Glaser, who writes about the topic in her book Conversational Intelligence: How Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results, has done research that identifies three levels of conversations. You want to strive for Level 3 at your conferences:

    Level 1 conversations are transactional in nature. It’s sharing of information. These tell and ask experiences create closed spaces.

    Level 2 conversations are positional and defend a specific belief. The goal is to influence someone to do something specific. Level 2 conversations limit space and usually result in the release of negative brain chemicals.

    Level 3 conversations are transformational and collaborative. They involve sharing and discovering together. They create the space for trust, progress, and positive brain chemistry.

    Quality Conversations Matter

    Your conference success depends upon the quality of your conference culture, which depends on the quality of your participants’ relationships, which depends on the quality of their conversations. Those conversations release specific chemicals in your participants’ brains. Your conference success does not depend upon the quality of the content delivered to your participants, according to current neurological and cognitive research, as much as it depends upon the quality of your participants’ conversations.

    This is important, considering that the large majority of our conference schedule is dedicated to pushing content to our audiences. We want to exert control over their learning, so we focus on providing one-way didactic expert speakers who dispense information. We schedule limited opportunities for our participants to converse about that critical content.

    We need to flip that, and develop conference experiences that nurture collaboration and conversations. Dedicating conference time and creating the space for open and non-judgmental conversions is a critical skill we must master. To best accomplish this:

    1. Adopt and model conversations with regular attendees at the highest level of your organization. A high-sharing culture needs to be part of your meeting purpose.

    2. Coach presenters on how to chunk session content into 10-minute segments, interspersed with thought-provoking audience-discussion prompts in pairs or groups of three.

    3. Design a human library or mentor zone where participants can “check out” an industry thought leader for 10–15 minutes.

    Enable True Conversations

    Conversations are not what we think they are, Glaser says. We’ve grown up thinking they are about talking, sharing, information, telling people what to do or telling others what’s on our minds. A true conversation goes deeper and is stronger than sharing information. A transformative level-three conversation actually releases chemicals that cause us to bond with one another.

    To build trust and empower others, we need to understand the three levels of conversations. We have to develop conference experiences that move from power over others to power with others. It is only then that we can truly help make our participants’ experience at our events transformational.

    This article was originally sourced from Velvet Chainsaw.

  • 25 Apr 2017 9:28 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Our reader poll last month focused on how association members prefer to extend their professional education. Online courses? Webinars? Podcasts? Good old-fashioned books?

    Half of respondents told us their members prefer in-person courses:

    There could be several reasons for choosing an in-person continuing education course over other forms of professional learning. For starters, some credentials and certifications are only offered through in-person courses. Even if a certification is offered online, many people prefer learning from another human instead of a video screen or audio recording. There’s the networking and camaraderie aspect of learning in a group setting. There’s also the ability of a human instructor to gauge your level of understanding, to interpret the intent behind your questions and formulate a more comprehensive answer, and to customize the material to your educational or experiential background. These are nuances in sharing and gaining knowledge that aren’t yet mastered by one-way videos, podcasts, robots or other technology.

    Speaking of technology in education, if you’re the instructor, your job is probably safe for a while longer.

    In-person courses can also offer more of a comprehensive curriculum than other forms of education. As Patti Costello, M-CHEST, executive director of the Association for the Healthcare Environment explains, “[AHE prides] ourselves on offering courses with a curriculum, depth, and amount of interaction that is just as comprehensive and valuable as a full-fledged university.” A couple of books on a subject don’t offer the interaction many professionals want when expanding their knowledge base, and although online courses are becoming more popular, there is still the perception that online courses don’t measure up to the level of rigor, depth or excitement that in-person courses offer.

    This isn’t to say that online courses aren’t worth an association professional’s time and effort. For many professionals who are balancing work, family and extracurricular obligations, online courses can be a convenient option that neatly fit into an already busy schedule. Top-tier online learning platforms offer discussion boards, live video instruction, chat rooms and other features that make online learning as interactive as the participant wants it to be.

    Webinars were the third most-cited option for continuing education. As with online courses, webinars can be a convenient way to pick up continuing education credits or to invest a short amount of time learning about a new or focused topic. Most webinars range between 30 and 90 minutes, allowing attendees to pick up new information and insights with relatively little investment.

    Books and podcasts as a way to continue your professional education received no votes. Maybe association professionals’ formal education has them burnt out on textbooks, or maybe this group wants to reserve time with a book for leisure reading.

    This article was originally sourced from Association Adviser.

  • 25 Apr 2017 9:23 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Most will agree that mentoring is among the most versatile and effective employee development processes. Today, like never before, mentoring is being used to shape a different kind of work culture - one that is connected, responsive, and growth-focused. The motives for why organisations are doing more with mentoring are numerous, including these critical reasons:

    Low cost, high impact

    It costs very little to arrange for people to engage in mentoring relationships, and mentoring relationships don’t need to last years to be impactful. They can be short-lived and still provide positive results. Additionally, because of the strong relational bonds that are forged through mentoring, the impacts to organizational culture and feelings of community can be vast and strong.

    Personal and flexible

    The goals and career aspirations of the mentee are at the center of mentoring relationships. This allows for highly personalized and exclusively tailored development opportunities that can be nearly impossible to get elsewhere. People can also participate in several mentoring relationships at once, helping to have multiple development goals addressed concurrently.

    Virtual and on-demand

    In practice, mentoring helps people with more experience share what they know and guide the development of people with less experience. While this typically took place face-to-face, mentorship can easily occur via phone or computer due to technology. This allows people to adapt mentoring relationships so they are no longer bound by time-constrained schedules or physical locations.

    Communal

    Due to the social give-back factor or “paying it forward” nature of mentoring, the practice creates a high sense of community and unity. Those in the middle or the end of their career find renewed purpose in sharing their strength and experience with mentees who are seeking their wisdom. Organizations are also able to create continuity of knowledge among employees and avoid the dreaded brain drain phenomenon.

    Today’s mentoring can be used for a variety of purposes:

    • Career development – Gain insight and understanding into advancement opportunities within the organization or vocation.
    • Role development – Take on a set of connected behaviors, responsibilities, and norms associated with a specialized position or function (e.g., Head Researcher, Operations Director).
    • Skill development – Acquire complex abilities usually involving ideas, things, and/or people (e.g., budgeting, project management).
    • Technical development – Gain the ability to accomplish duties or other specific tasks through the use of technology (e.g., computer-related skills, engineering, mathematics).

    The way that mentoring happens has also changed; it takes place in group settings, as well as private one-on-one relationships. This variety allows people to learn in ways that can best impact them. For example, people who are newly promoted or hired as managers could be assigned to a mentor who is a seasoned manager. At the same time, these new managers and a selected advisor can come together in a mentoring group to learn from one another and support one another as they apply new ideas and principles of management on the job. This can be an effective and efficient way to gain outstanding results with little cost.

    The Way Forward

    Mentoring is more than instructing workers in expected behaviors; it is guiding their growth through nurturing and supportive interactions that focus on personal experiences and real world circumstances. Mentoring involves personal discovery, experimentation, and crucial feedback that achieve goal-oriented results.

    To help you leverage mentoring to create your desired culture, consider these points:

    • Make a plan of action. Do not leave the practice of mentoring to chance. Informal mentoring is a wish for progress; formal mentoring is a plan for progress. Design a mentoring program that inspires the change that you desire.
    • Assess your need. When determining where to start building your mentoring culture, it is always a good idea to consider the biggest problems that you face. Is it attracting, retaining, or growing talent? Do you need more cross-functional knowledge sharing? Is there a critical operational challenge that mentoring can help with? Answer the burning question and use mentoring to address the pressing organizational problem you face.
    • Rally support. Build a coalition of interested stakeholders that will help you recruit the appropriate participants (mentees and mentors). Gathering the support of the right stakeholders will also help you legitimize the effort and ensure your success.
    • Measure the impact. Measuring the impact of mentoring can take shape in many ways. You can document personal stories that demonstrate improvement, you can note improvements in individuals’ performance over time, and you can even measure how much faster people develop needed skills for critical roles and responsibilities (compared to people not participating in mentoring). The measures will depend upon your need and program goals.

    The practice of mentoring has moved beyond helping a few carefully chosen high performers advance to higher levels of authority. Mentoring can prove valuable to employees at all phases of their careers, from new hires to middle managers to seasoned professionals. The benefits of mentoring can be felt by anyone who takes part in the practice, and with many organizations engaging 30-40 percent of their workers in mentoring, the positive power of mentoring is poised to take root and grow even further.

    This article was originally sourced from Association Adviser

  • 25 Apr 2017 9:14 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    A new survey about the workplace shows that employees are spending more time working outside the office. That has an impact on how you manage your staff - and your members too.

    Like a lot of reports about the workplace, Gallup’s new “State of the American Workplace” study is a good-news-bad-news proposition. On one hand, leaders and workers are both becoming more comfortable with flexible work environments, recognizing that an 8-to-5 mindset isn’t always the best fit for productivity - and that many talented workers actively resist it. On the other hand, that flexibility means people will need better and perhaps unconvenational ways to communicate to help them establish goals and feel engaged at work.

    That’s not just an issue for you as somebody who manages employees - it spills over to your thinking about your association’s stakeholders too. What’s your value proposition to a member or customer, particularly a younger one, who may be engaged in your association’s industry during only half the workday, or a fifth of it? Are you understanding what proportion of them are in that situation, and can you tailor products, services, and experiences that meet those particular needs?

    “Managers are falling down on the fundamental aspects of performance development.”

    The right answers to those questions, as ever, will vary from association to association. But a look into some of Gallup’s findings reveals the scope of the issue.

    For one thing, remote working is now much more prevalent. Between 2012 and 2016, Gallup reports, the number of remote employees increased four percentage points, from 39 percent to 43 percent of the American workforce. Those remote workers were spending more time remotely: In 2016, 31 percent of remote workers were doing so 80 percent of the time.

    This is largely a good thing, in Gallup’s estimation. “Engagement climbs when employees spend some time working remotely and some time working in a location with their coworkers,” according to the report. Fully remote workers have the lowest level of on-the-job engagement, as you might guess - only 30 percent of such employees say they feel engaged. But the percentage is exactly the same for those who never work remotely. Feeling stuck in one place often feels like being stuck in one place, it seems, regardless of where that place is.

    That’s a challenge for any CEO. Last year I spoke with Dr. Robert Rich, CAE, the CEO of the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, which has a largely remote staff, and he explained how it presented challenges for both staffing and management. Employees in that environment need a self-starter mentality and can thrive with a minimal of interaction with coworkers, Rich told me; but the pressure was also on him to communicate regularly with his workers to make sure they weren’t overburdened, and that they understood the organization’s larger strategic goals.

    That balance is important, because for all of its good news about flexibility in the workplace, the Gallup report also suggests that there’s a serious crisis of confidence when it comes to how workers feel about leadership. For instance, only 22 percent of employees “strongly agree the leadership of their organisation has a clear direction”; only 15 percent “strongly agree the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future.”

    The mood is even more skeptical among those fully remote workers. Compared to those who split their time, fully remote employees are 16 percent less likely to “strongly agree their manager involves them in setting goals at work,” and 30 percent less likely to “strongly agree they have talked with their manager about steps to take to reach their goals in the last six months.”

    Gallup doesn’t mince words on this issue: “For fully remote employees, managers are falling down on the fundamental aspects of performance development - those that are based on the manager-employee relationship - and perhaps increasing the risk that the employee will leave for a better opportunity to progress with another company.” But the fix isn’t particularly complex - it’s just a matter of building in more of those conversations with remote workers of all stripes. “Managers have to become more deliberate about when and how they communicate with remote employees,” the report’s authors write. “They should make an effort to connect with them consistently, whether through phone calls, email, instant or text messaging, or video conferencing. Ongoing communication can help establish an environment of trust and accountability while still giving remote employees a feeling of independence.”

    More organisations are moving to an always-on system of employee feedback instead of the annual-evaluation check-in method, and that’s been a boon for employee engagement. But even if you’re not managing remote workers, leaders ought to be mindful of the broader trend. More people are breaking up their professional lives in more complicated ways. That at once makes the need for communication greater, while also throwing a wrench in the conventional methods of communication, in terms of employees, members, and customers. Engagement is what keeps associations humming. The tricky part now is finding new ways to generate it.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now

  • 25 Apr 2017 9:06 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Over time, you might find that your users “check out” of your marketing emails - even letting entire accounts go dormant. That’s a problem, obviously, and email deliverability concerns are definitely one aspect of it, but the real issue could be more foundational.

    Ever have an email address so riddled with junk mail that the only way forward was to get rid of the account entirely?

    Platforms like Gmail, Outlook.com, and Yahoo Mail, of course, make it very easy to create an email address and let it fall into disuse over a period of time. And there are other factors - say, a new job or a transition to grad school - that can lead someone to drop an email address.

    However it happens, it makes an organization’s email marketing a whole lot less valuable over time. And that can prove a big problem.

    Recently, a report by the U.K.-based Direct Marketing Association (DMA) - not to be mistaken for the U.S.-based Data & Marketing Association, which changed its name last year - noted how big a problem this really is.

    The 2016 edition of the association’s Consumer Email Tracking Study found that 62 percent of people have either abandoned email addresses or considered doing so because of too many emails - and that this problem was more likely among younger consumers (58 percent of whom have either done or considered this) versus older consumers (27 percent).

    Furthermore, unused “ghost” accounts are fairly prevalent among consumes - 45 percent of those surveyed say they have dormant accounts that remain open but are never checked.

    “Despite 79% of respondents using special accounts for marketing messages, a significant number of additional ghost accounts remain in circulation,” the report notes.

    There are lots of reasons that this state of affairs is frustrating:

    You’re wasting resources on inactive users: As I pointed out a couple of months ago, email costs money. And while you can minimize the costs of those messages by doing your homework, you’re ultimately wasting resources on people for which there will be a slim chance of re-engagement, at best.

    Dormant accounts can eventually become inactive: If an email goes dormant, large webmail providers are likely to eventually shut down the account if it remains unused by the original owner. That can prove a problem over time, as it increases the number of bounces attributed to your domain, lowering the quality of your sends in the eyes of email providers and making it more likely that your messages are treated as spam.

    It exposes weaknesses in content: If a user really cares about you and your value in their inbox, they’ll keep you around. But if that value isn’t apparent - if the content isn’t living up to its promise - then you’re going to struggle to keep your place as part of a person’s daily routine. Bad content equals weak ROI.

    The last point is the one that the DMA report leans on - both for individual senders and the marketing community as a whole.

    “Brands clearly need to work harder to appeal to consumers and persuade them to open and read their emails,” the report states. “If email becomes the channel perceived to be a stream of irrelevant information, then this will be bad for the marketing community.”

    SO WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?

    The good news is that not every email subscriber is a lost cause. Sometimes, dormant subscribers may not actually be “ghosts,” but are taking other approaches when it comes to ignoring you - by aggressively filtering their messages by using keywords, for example.

    A Litmus post from last year makes the case that there are three kinds of inactive subscribers - people that were never active in the first place, those who were once customers but aren’t active currently, and those who are current customers but ignore your emails.

    Litmus Research Director Chad White recommends handling these emails differently, by putting them on different kinds of leashes over time. But, ultimately, you should attempt to ping the user and ask them to re-verify themselves after a period of time.

    In the case of never-actives that haven’t ever opened a message, he says, it’s good to send a re-permission email after the span of four months or 10 emails, whichever comes first. For inactive customers, he suggests re-verifying after either six months or 13 months, depending on your sending frequency. And you can wait even longer in the case of active customers.

    But White warns that it’s important to know your own readership.

    “There’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer to how to manage inactives,” he writes. “Every organization needs to determine their own risk tolerance and then put in place an on-going process for how and when to deal with each of the three kinds of inactive subscribers to maximize success and keep the risks in check.”

    (That said, your approach likely shouldn’t involve a bulk list cleaning, something MailChimp generally recommends against.)

    And it’s worth keeping in mind that deliverability issues may also be at play - say, if you’re seeing a lot of dormant accounts on the same domain. A good tool to test your email marketing’s technical capabilities is Mail Tester, which offers useful diagnostic information, such as whether your domains are getting blocked by spammers, whether you need to make technical changes to your DNS records, and the likelihood that your message will get to its source without any problems. It’s a good way to triage issues before they become more significant.

    But barring all that, it’s worth going back to the point DMA pounded its fist upon. If your email marketing is getting stale or ineffective, the way your readers are going to tell you this is with their clicks and opens. Look historically at your data. Analyze whether a tactic is working, or if it’s simply growing dull. And use the data you glean to make the case for updates.

    The thing with “ghost accounts” or inactive users is that, when it comes down to it, the problem you’re trying to solve is one of relevance. If your association is sending messages irrelevant to a huge chunk of users, you need to ask why that is.

    The more fundamental your questions are, the more fundamental the answers will be.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now

  • 25 Apr 2017 8:56 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    When Velvet Chainsaw Consulting conducted speaker research with 120 associations with research and consulting company Tagoras Inc. in 2013, we found that nearly 77 percent use a call for speakers/sessions process. Associations value member input. One-third of these organizations accept 60 percent or more of the proposals, indicating either a low number of submissions or very forgiving quality filters. About 62 percent close off submissions eight months or longer before the conference. These longer timelines were created when information moved a heck of a lot slower.

    Widely used by associations as a tool for crowdsourcing the meat-and-potatoes education content for annual conferences, the call for speakers and sessions doesn’t need to be an arduous process. We’ve compiled the current best practices to achieve efficiencies, which, more importantly, result in better-quality educational offerings.

    1. Go blind.

    Some organisations do — and more should — institute blind reviews. This puts the reviewers on more equal ground with the paying attendee in terms of how to evaluate which sessions to attend. When volunteers are asked to score a rubric on a submission, ratings can and will be greatly affected by who the submission is from. Mask the speakers name and company. Add a field so that staff can indicate if they’ve spoken before and the session-evaluation scores.

    2. Be fresh.

    In the submission form, ask if this session has been presented at another industry conference. To differentiate, you want your conference to be the first. Also consider leaving 25 percent of your sessions open for slotting emerging topics two to four months prior to your conference.

    3. Get agile.

    If you’re like most, you receive 90 percent or more session submissions in the last week of the submission timeline. Take a page from agile tech developers who now do multiple sprints for complex projects. Break up the process into several major themes and open submissions for two to three weeks max for each. This will deliver improved marketing value, increase relevance, and chunk the process for both staff and volunteers.

    4. Tighten the timeline.

    For most conferences, the call for sessions or speakers should not open earlier than seven months before the event. Any sooner extends the process and, even worse, decreases the chances of relevant, timely session submissions.

    5. Avoid spin.

    Make it clear that the submission must be made by the person or people that will be presenting. Don’t allow submissions proposed by a corporate marketing department or public relations firm.

    6. Embrace micro-peer review.

    No single volunteer should ever need to review and score more than 25 submissions. Keep the ask to a limited number and encourage them to be more thorough in their vetting. Consider having staff do the first cut to decrease the number of submissions that are peer reviewed.

    7. Curate content.

    We find that most submission processes do not attract the most progressive sessions or speakers. Conference committees should be leveraged to identify the pressing problems to solve or opportunities to seize for the conference’s target market. Identify these topics in your call-for-session communications and curate for any remaining gaps.

    This article was originally sourced from Velvet Chainsaw.

  • 25 Apr 2017 8:49 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Here are five factors to focus on to get the most out of your membership data. Also: How one news organization tackled its digital bugs and upgrades with a hackathon.

    Most membership-based organisations have a treasure trove of data at their fingertips. But figuring out which data points to analyze to gain the most helpful insights about your members can be tricky.

    According to the MemberSuite blog, analyzing these five trends delivers the most impactful insights: demographic data, renewal trends, recruitment information, event data, and the average length of membership.

    Demographic data can tell you all sorts of information, including the location of your members and which generation they belong to. “This information can help your team determine a variety of things from the best place to host an event to the best way to communicate with your members,” writes Graciella Jason-Daubon.

    You can probably spout your renewal rate off the top of your head. But do you know the similarities among your renewing members, like which channels they renew through or if they’re in similar programs? “If your association is able to pinpoint commonalities between folks that choose to renew, you can continue and improve those practices,” says Jason-Daubon.

    The Dallas Morning News had a problem: Over the years, its website built up a cache of bugs to resolve and upgrades to address. It needed new advertising units, author pages, and navigation, among other fixes.

    Instead of addressing each problem one by one over months, the News attacked all of these problems in one fell swoop by holding a two-week hackathon, according to Poynter. Internal and external developers holed up in meeting rooms around the office to fix each issue in a sustained sprint.

    Does your organisation’s website have a host of issues your team has been meaning to address? A hackathon may be something you should consider.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now

  • 25 Apr 2017 8:19 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Australia’s two national mortgage broking associations have expressed their concerns around some of the Sedgwick Review’s recommendations to alter broker remuneration.

    The final report of the review, released yesterday (19 April), was financed by the Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) and conducted by Stephen Sedgwick AO, it made 21 recommendations to the banks around remuneration – three of which involved the third party channel.

    While the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) was pleased that the Sedgwick review found no evidence of systemic harm, the observations and recommendations made around the broker channel did not present realistic solutions, CEO Mike Felton said.

    “This is a review commissioned by the banks that aims to deal with the banks’ reputational problems, but as far as the broker channel is concerned does not create better consumer outcomes.”

    Peter White, director of the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA), said the extraordinary thing was that despite the review admitting there was nothing systemically wrong, it still made three recommendations to change broker remuneration structures.

    “Why are they trying to pull things apart? You only pull things apart and restructure them if there’s something systemically wrong,” he told Australian Broker.

    In the end, the review was one person’s view of the world paid for by the banks without actually being a regulatory paper, he said.

    A lack of consultation

    Felton expressed frustration that the review claimed to be focused on a customer-centric viewpoint while ignoring that this was a key aspect of how brokers and aggregators functioned.

    “The review’s recommendations on the third-party channel appear to be based mostly on anecdotal evidence from its members. It is unfortunate that the review process did not include meaningful consultation with the broader industry in developing this report,” Felton said.

    White echoed similar sentiments, saying that the FBAA had not been approached by the Sedgwick review either.

    “You’ve got to wonder behind the scenes, what are the real drivers? And I question what those drivers are. Part of our regulatory experience is all about truth through transparency. I think we’ll never see the true transparency that sits behind this report.”

    Unreasonable requests?

    The MFAA was also concerned that recommendations in the ABA review also went beyond those in the Australian Securities & Investment Commission’s (ASIC’s) report into mortgage broker remuneration, Felton said.

    He highlighted the proposal to adjust or remove current broker incentives and potentially introduce a lender fee-for-service approach.

    “The ASIC Report does not recommend removing the link between loan size and commission, nor a fee-for-service model nor removal of trail commission – with good reason. A single, lender-funded, fee for service is likely to lead to a degree of standardisation of all fees, which ASIC is not calling for. It may also be considered anti-competitive by the ACCC, and therefore would not be able to be implemented.”

    As for the suggestion to align broker payment structures with those of bank staff, this was not going to happen unless the banks started paying the brokers a very strong, competitive salary and remove clawbacks, White said.

    These review’s recommendations were “very misguided” since broker commission structures on a global scale create excellent outcomes if structured in the right manner, such as in Australia, he continued.

    Furthermore, claims that linked the difficulty in writing a loan to the characteristics of the borrower instead of the loan size were simply incorrect, he said.

    “Anyone who’s actually written credit in their lives knows that this is actually not the case. This shows that this person hasn’t done any lending or if they have they really don’t understand what they’ve been doing.”

    This article was originally sourced from Australian Broker

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software