The Case for an Internal Communications Team

By Danielle Leber and Megan Toal

Any company can benefit from clear, consistent communication with its staff. But when you have 40 client and service teams serving 30+ associations under the same roof, the need becomes even more pronounced. That’s why AMC endeavored to create an internal communications team that could unify the company’s messaging and bring staff together.

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Leveraging the Strength of 30+ Clients with Shared Interest & User Groups

By Megan Drumm, MBA CAE

Access to a community of like-minded professionals and subject matter experts is an expected and valued benefit of association membership. Here at AMC, nearly every client partner has some kind of solution in place to ensure that association leadership groups and members can connect to share best practices and solicit feedback, and the same goes for AMC employees themselves. More than a dozen AMC Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and User Groups (UGs) serve as the conduit for AMC staff members so they can collaborate, ask questions, share expertise, and ultimately solve problems for our clients and their own career development.

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Connections and Fresh Perspectives

By Megan Toal

Five months into my new job, I was ecstatic to help plan, execute, and MC at AMC’s Spring Connections, an annual meeting for all staff to have a chance to connect and hear from a speaker. Even though I was a first-timer and had one of the freshest perspectives on Connections, everyone can glean something from what we learned. Just like a good back-to-basics refresher course, a new perspective is something that everyone can take on a familiar event. That’s why we have Connections: it’s meant for everyone.

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Grow Your Association Career at AMC

By Kari Messenger, CMP, and Beth Zemach

Welcome to AMCU! — Association Management Center (AMC) University. When you cross the threshold through the glass doors of AMC as an employee, you’ll dedicate time to helping AMC’s clients grow and thrive, but you’ll also have numerous opportunities to grow your career as well. Association management companies, such as AMC, provide a broad spectrum of expertise to clients and employees alike, just like a university with a mix of specialized departments. In addition to working within your major (i.e., your client or service team), you will also have an opportunity to learn from those in adjacent specialties at all levels. AMC even has a softball team if you want to go out for athletics!

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GDPR at AMC Part 1: What’s GDPR Got to Do With It?

By Vish Kalambur and Megan Toal

So, what is GDPR and what does it have to do with me and my association?

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Google and Facebook data breaches, which may have you questioning your (and your members’) data privacy. “Data protection” is a huge buzzword these days, and the European Union (EU) has pioneered a way to protect data: enter GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, which replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. GDPR standardizes data protection law and imposes strict rules on controlling and processing personal information, not just for countries in the EU, but also for anyone who offers goods and services to or monitors the behavior of data subjects in the EU.

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The CAE Difference: Becoming a Leader in Association Management

By Emily Muse, CAE

Years ago, I began my professional life as a teacher, and the only association I was familiar with was the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC). Young and enthusiastic, I volunteered to serve on the committee of teachers that worked to review, prepare, and organize all of the required school documents that were provided to the NCA during our scheduled review. I was passionate about quality standards, learning best practices, and refining my understanding of policies that enhance the professionalism in the educational arena. I knew this association held my school and many others accountable to a set of quality standards for instruction and required policies. It is funny, because even years later, I am still passionate about quality standards and policies. These continued interests were key motivators in my decision to obtain the CAE certification.

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Pocket Guides: 7 Tips to Make the Perfect Petite Conference Companion

By Valerie Romack

When it comes to conference guides, many associations are finding out that smaller is better. Foldable and easy to slip into a pocket or bag, a conference pocket guide is ideal for attendees who want to quickly navigate an event’s many offerings without having to pull out their phones or tablets. Here are 7 things to consider when creating your perfect petite conference guide.

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The Art of Grants Management: Building a Mighty Team

By Susan Vogel

I’m not really sure when I first heard the term “centralized grants management”. It’s an operational model that is often seen at an educational institution or government agency (eCivis, 2017; Ohio Department of Education, n.d.), yet the concept, especially understanding roles and responsibilities, can help any size organization effectively manage the life cycle of their grant awards by building capacity with existing staff. In general, a grant life cycle includes pre-award tasks (e.g., prospecting, proposal development, and submission) through post-award activities (e.g., acceptance, award set-up, monitoring, and final reporting and close out). 

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Conference Crash Course: Unity of Function and Form in Footwear

By Susan Vogel

While our day-to-day work with associations require a lot of time at a desk, there are also times when we spend a lot of time on our feet. Throughout the year, we attend conferences, exhibits, presentations, and board meetings. AMC staff plan and implement more than 50 conferences, exhibitions, and board meetings annually. As anyone who has done this work knows, that means long days on your feet walking the concrete floors of exhibit halls and rushing down hotel hallways to make sure meeting rooms are ready and the board’s needs are met.

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Fiduciary Duties Are Not Hats

By Dave Bergeson, PhD CAE

One of the time-honored traditions in working with association boards is that at some time someone will say something like this: “Now remember, at this meeting today I expect everyone will wear their [Association Acronym] hats.” More specifically, if a member of the board also serves on the board of another association, he or she will often be asked to “take off their [ABC Competing Association] Hat, and put on their [Association Acronym] hat.”

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From Improv to Improve: How Comedy Improvisation Can Help Your Association Career

By Valerie Good-Turney

One of the reasons I first moved to Chicago was to continue studying improvisational comedy (also known as improv). Having taken classes at The Second City and the iO Theater and performing in countless shows for families, late-night crowds, and everyone in between for more than 11 years, there are many lessons I have learned that become engrained in you as an improviser. These lessons are key to helping you (and your team) be successful on stage. But success isn’t only about making people laugh—it’s also about creating real, authentic moments that you, your fellow performers, and your audience share in. Moments that, by the very nature of improv, can’t be recreated.  

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A New Product, an Aggressive Timeline: Make Digital Marketing Work

By Zeina Yacoub and Jerrod Liveoak

In 2018, the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities launched the Healthcare Ethics Consultant–Certified (HEC-C) program, a first-of-its-kind certification program for healthcare professionals providing specialized ethics consultations within their healthcare institutions. The story of how ASBH created and launched a certification program in less than 12 months is beyond the scope of this post and, thankfully, has been well-told by ASBH’s Executive Director, Mary Beth Benner.

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A Sample Board Orientation

By Dave Bergeson, PhD CAE

So, you read my last blog post about the impact that board orientation has on an organization and are now 100% convinced that an effective board orientation is important, impactful, and worth the time investment.

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What to Know Before You Go

By Sara Dethloff

Have you ever received one of those “What to Know Before You Go” e-mails that many associations send to conference attendees? It has a lot of great information to help first-time attendees have a great experience, but what about for staff working at their first conference? As a new employee in the association field who recently worked at my first conference, I discovered 7 tips that can make the experience easier for other first-time conference staff.

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The 75% Solution: Board Orientation, Board Capabilities, and Board Effectiveness

By Dave Bergeson

At a time when associations face significant challenges in revenue generation, volunteer time, resource allocation, and member engagement, it is more important than ever that boards perform effectively. Unfortunately, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that underperforming boards are distressingly common and have significant consequences on the financial performance of associations, as well as staff and board morale.

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It's the Thought That Counts! Productivity Series Part 3

By Heather Payette

In the second part of this productivity series, I shared tips from AMC’s Caffeine and Productivity SIG for physical activities that can help you focus at work. From stepping away from your desk for lunch or a walk to protecting your sleep time and desk stretches, there are many ways you can trick your body into being productive.

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Experience is Everything: Giving the Most to Event Attendees

By Molly Anderson, Director of Membership, Marketing and Communications, National Association of Neonatal Nurses

We’ve all heard the famous Maya Angelou quote, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In fact, this sentiment is so popular that different versions of the quote have been attributed to a plethora of writers and speakers. Just like Maya and so many others, I believe in the power of experience to transform an event, or more importantly, a relationship—especially the one between an association and its members and customers.

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Digital vs. Print Media: A Graphic Designer’s Perspective

By Megan Tompkins

In a world where print media is (sadly, but truly) dying, going digital is not just a trend—it’s more cost-effective, more accessible, and more likely to make an impact on your readers. Graphic designers don’t just say this to promote their own work, because there are a lot of benefits to going digital. Let’s take, for instance, a digital newsletter. Here are a few areas where a digital newsletter is a better option than a print newsletter, to start:

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Conference Crash Course: What To Do When You’re Already in the Storm

By Megan Toal

Unavoidable conference disasters are every event planner’s worst nightmare. You try to do everything you can to avoid typical mishaps, but what happens when you are trying to run a conference and you are already in the stormy situation? After organizing and executing the AAHPM and APHON annual conferences through a snowstorm and a hurricane, two AMC senior meetings managers, Vanessa Mobley and Darlene Sommers, offer their top three tips for navigating through some of the most severe conference natural disasters.

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Business & Member Value – A Shared Purpose for Your Online Community

By Rob Oakes and Rita Wirth

What value do online communities bring to associations and their members? As association professionals, we primarily think in terms of member value. But how do we define value, which is business-oriented, such as revenue growth? And how to we make sure our efforts as community managers are aligned with our organization’s strategic objectives?

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How did I get here? Navigating a Career in the Association World

By Caryn Odenbach

Growing up, I never said, “One day I’d like to work in association management.” What I did know is that I wanted to work for a mission that I could support, along with people whose passion was contagious, and somehow utilize my English degree. During my last year of college, right before the recession of 2008, I, like many of my classmates, was jumping at opportunities for internships. Yes, I really wanted the internship at WGN or Timeout Chicago--- those made the most sense as an English major concentrating in Cultural and Media Studies--- but somehow my path went a different way when I interviewed for a communications intern position at the Builders Association.

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Sometimes Productivity Doesn’t Look Very Productive: Productivity Series Part 2

By Heather Payette

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” --Paul J. Meyer, top-selling author of personal development materials in the world.

In the first part of this productivity series, I shared tips from AMC’s Caffeine and Productivity SIG for making technology work for you. From key board shortcuts, to different software you can use, there are countless tools at our disposal. But, how can you supplement technology to increase your productivity? I’ve got 5 more techniques you can try. They might seem a bit unorthodox, but the best way to discover what works for you is to experiment and try different tools. Not all productivity journeys looks the same, but the end results should be similar!

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Trust and Control: A Powerful Paradox

By Mark Engle, AMC Principal

How do trust and control go hand-in-hand?

As an association Board member, you want to execute your control to make sure everything in your association goes smoothly, after all, the board has ultimate oversight duty. Why should you entrust anyone else with this responsibility?

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When You Give a Mouse a Cuppa…that Mouse Might Get Really Creative.

By Heather Payette

Full disclosure: AMC was my first job out of college. I had never worked in an office before, but I went to business school for my undergraduate degree and also worked two jobs on the side, so I was looking forward to having my own desk job, let alone my own desk. I already knew how to work hard and manage my time, so I thought, “How hard can it be?”

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Customer Service: More Than a Friendly Voice

By Andrea Dodd and Felicia Kopec

What Words Come to Mind When You Think of ‘Member Services’?

Friendly? Helpful? Understanding?

The frontline of any association, member services representatives (MSRs) have the ability to positively or negatively affect how customers and members view an association. Though considered “soft skills,” being friendly, helpful, and understanding are in fact crucial for those who interact with an association’s membership. However, a truly successful member services representative also needs to have technical skills and association industry knowledge to truly serve its membership.

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Top 10 Tips

By AMC

In the past couple of years, thought leaders at AMC have written broadly on a number of resources for associations and the professionals who work with them. As we near and prepare for 2019, let’s take a look back on our 10 most popular posts and tips:

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It’s a Green Revolution!

By Rita Wirth, Sara Dethloff, Brianna Johnson, Emily Panci, Valerie Romack, and Jennifer Westlund

Being environmentally conscious and creating a sustainable footprint is a global concern, but how easy is it really for organizations to adopt “greener” practices? Pretty easy as it turns out. Small, simple-to-implement habits can have a big impact and lead to a healthier and more sustainable workplace and Earth.

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How did I get here? Navigating a Career in the Association World

By Liz Giannini, Senior Account Manager

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

How many times have you heard this cool Ferris Bueller quote and actually stopped to look around? Can you do so right now? What do you see? What are you reflecting on?

As a proud working Mom who is trying to maintain a daily balance, I have made it my goal to stop, look around, reflect, and enjoy my life, family, and career. (I’m still trying to drink enough water, exercise, write more thoughtful handwritten thank you notes, and get 8 hours of sleep.)

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Marketing Strategy: Is It Time to Get Off the Bus?

By Beth Zemach and Bryan O'Donnell

Setting performance metrics and understanding data are key to measuring the success of marketing efforts. If you consistently hit or exceed unit sales or revenue objectives campaign after campaign, you can stop reading now and treat yourself to ice cream for a job well done. On the other hand, if you have adapted messaging, tracked calls to action, and segmented audiences (see Part 1 of this series) but still aren’t seeing results, it’s time to take a deeper look into changing your overall marketing strategy.

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Wellness at Work: Make Meditation Happen

By Susan Vogel, Senior Grants Manager

Once a week in a large conference room, something magical happens. We move the tables and chairs to the side, grab blankets and bolsters, and take off our shoes. Breathing slows, minds calm, and for the moment, thoughts of deadlines are set aside. Our weekly group meditation session has begun.

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How did I get here? Navigating a Career in the Association World

By Dawn Herman, Director of Professional Development

The Places My Journey Has Taken Me

My journey started—as my dad tells the story—at the age of 11 when I came home and announced, “I want to be a nurse when I grow up.” I don’t quite remember this, but I did focus my energy on becoming a nurse. It wasn’t an easy path, especially since I was on my own to figure out how to fund my pursuit. Challenge accepted! I applied for and won an Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship, which meant that not only was I going to college to become a nurse but also to prepare me to become an officer in the Army. While in college, I joined an all-girls team to train for and participate in an Army Ranger competition. I also went to jump school and became certified Airborne. All of this was done with the plan that my career path was set—I was going to graduate with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and become an officer in the Army. My ultimate goal was to be assigned to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit. My path was set.

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7 Common Grammar Faux Pas

By Danielle Leber, Managing Editor

Let’s get this out of the way immediately: yes, I am one of those grammar people.

Every time I see a misplaced apostrophe on a restaurant menu (appetizer’s, entrée’s, etc.), I can’t help but joke (much to my companions’ delight, I’m sure), “Who is appetizer and what’s he got?”

An unnecessary comma in a novel forces me to pause my internal monologue dramatically, as must have been intended by the author (because why else the comma?).

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Becoming an Anticipatory Organization

By Sue Stock, Executive Director, AMC Consulting Services

Change and the disruption it often creates is inevitable in the association world. But, how can associations harness the potential change brings and not get lost in the chaos it creates? The answer, according to Daniel Burrus, is by becoming an anticipatory organization (AO). A leading futurist on global trends and innovation, Burrus is the author of The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage, which offers strategies for how organizations can transition from a reactionary to an anticipatory mindset so change creates opportunity and advancement, not chaos.  

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Are You an Effective Board Member?

By Mark Engle, AMC Principal

If you’ve ever conducted an initiative to improve your organization, you know how important it is to track your results. Without data—whether it is quantitative, such as likes on a Facebook post, or qualitative, such as member testimonials—it’s impossible to know what is working and, perhaps more importantly, what is not.

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How Can You Tell if Your Marketing Efforts are Working?

By Caryn Odenbach and Bryan O'Donnell

You put a lot of work into marketing your association’s conference, products, and membership benefits. But do you know if anyone is receiving your message? Or more importantly, do you know if anyone is taking action because of your marketing pieces? No matter what your campaign is focused on, you must first identify your goals and the metrics you will track to gauge your success. Before you think about a rebrand or new product strategy, you can make some quick, helpful changes to your marketing efforts that don’t require a ton of staff resources.

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How did I get here? Navigating a Career in the Association World

By Bruce Hammond, CAE

Editor’s note: We’re thrilled to introduce a new series on the AMC blog, How did I get here? Navigating a Career in the Association World. In the coming months, we’ll feature career articles from AMC staff sharing their personal career stories and providing insight to those considering or just starting out in the field. This week, Bruce Hammond, CAE shares lessons learned from his 17-year career.

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Try Picking Up the Phone: The Value of Individual Board Member Calls

By Steve Smith, AAHPM Executive Director, AMC Client Executive

Before we go any further, I want you to ask yourself one important question: When and how do you and your president engage association board members in direct, proactive dialogue? If you answered only during new board member orientation or regular in-person board meetings, then you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to engage with, and get ideas from, some of your most involved members. Luckily, capitalizing on their knowledge, boosting their levels of engagement, and providing them with personal support can be as easy as picking up the phone.

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Value-Driven Decision Making (and Crickets)

By Jess Morgan, Senior Manager, Information Technology Applications

Almost a year ago, we had a series of meetings with clients in preparation for an enterprise project. The goal of the meeting was for the IT team to walk away with an idea of client values, pain points, and drivers for success. The client representatives in the meetings came from various functional areas of our association client teams and each brought a different perspective to the discussions.

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 5 Tips for Online Community Engagement

By Emily Muse, Manager, Membership and Community Engagement, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Increasingly, associations hear members express the desire to connect with colleagues outside annual meetings and CME events. When one of our physician members at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) responded to an engagement survey by saying, “In my rural practice I literally have no one to ask for clinical advice in this field,” we knew that development of a virtual or online community sharing platform had to begin.

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Asking the Right Questions

By Valerie Romack, Assistant Editor

An Introduction to Surveys

What a member wants, what a member needs, whatever makes them happy sets you free… Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you there. Please forgive my singing. I was just thinking about how members shape the goals of our organizations and guide them into the future. Wouldn’t it be great to know what they want from their membership? Wouldn’t you like to know what they like about you?

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Productivity Using Kanban: Part 2

By Jess Morgan, Sr. Manager, Information Technology Applications

Sequels are rarely as good as the original, but someone thought it was worth it to have a part two.  Darn, not very compelling. Let me try again. Following my first AMC blog post on Kanban, I’m picking up where I left you, still curious about Kanban, perhaps seeking encouragement to take the first step into having a board of your own one day.

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