Get Answers to Your Burning Governance Questions


Are you looking for answers to questions such as

  • What is governance anyway?
  • Are we doing it right in my organization? Can we do it better? What can I do better?
  • Bylaws, policies, procedures – what’s the difference? Why so many documents?
  • What’s the difference between what the Board of Directors does and what the staff does?
  • How can my preparation for a board meeting affect governance?
  • Help! I have to take minutes! What do I do?
  • Whew! The board meeting is over. So all my work is done, right?
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Applying Social Media Concepts to Professional Relations


On Tuesday, November 7, 2017 The American Marketing Association (AMA) Chicago chapter partnered with Association Forumto host an event called, “Get Noticed on Social media (without breaking the bank)!” AMC’s own Allison Lundberg was one of two speakers on a panel that discussed how an organization can find its voice, get noticed on social media, and take it to the next level with social advertising. A handful of members from AMC’s Professional Relations and Development (PRD) team, including Joey Maginot, Maddie Liesz, Dana D’Onofrio, and Zack Smith, attended this session at the AMA office in Chicago. The team shares key take-a-ways from the event, why they found them important and creative ways they’ve incorporated them into their work for PRD.

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Turning Digital Disruption into Real-Life Results

By Danielle Leber, Managing Editor

Education. Networking. Publications. Advocacy. The benefits associations provide their members are numerous and invaluable—and the rewards members gain from them are equally incalculable.

But what do you do when one of your top-rated member benefits starts having problems that overshadow the many solutions it offers? If you’re PRISM International, you start to think outside the (paper) box.

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Increase Productivity Using Kanban

By Jess Morgan, Sr. Manager, Information Technology Applications

Some people follow all the latest nutrition and diet trends like cleanses, South Beach diet, cabbage soup diet, paleo, raw foods and clean eating. What do I follow? Productivity trends. Go ahead and laugh, I’ve come to terms with it. One of the tools I have discovered that seems to hold the most promise for increasing productivity is Kanban. Kanban literally translates to “board”, but often you’ll hear or read “Kanban Board”, which is redundant. We’ll forgive the repetitiveness and just focus on what Kanban entails and how it might increase your productivity. Curious yet? Let’s jump right in.

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4 Reasons to Bring Your “Other Agenda” into the Boardroom

By Steve Smith, Account Executive and Karen Nason, Account Executive

We’ve all been there before. You’re discussing an important issue for your association, but instead of concentrating on your organization’s agenda, someone is trying to further their own. These hidden agendas can derail important conversations, complicate decision-making, and result in poor solutions for your association.

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I’ll Take Potpourri for $500, Alex…

By Bruce Hammond, Director of Governance & Operations, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Ok, since you’re twisting my virtual arm, I’ll admit it… I’ve always wanted to be Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. He’s just so darn cool. He has the best job in the world, probably drives a Ferrari or some other cool car, and has the power to create categories in his show like Potpourri where he just throws together a bunch of things that don’t really relate all that much to one another.

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5 Tactics to Generate More Leads

By Carly Bartman, Content Marketing Associate

For all organizations and businesses, not just associations, it’s the ultimate catch-22—you need more leads to make money, and you need money to get more leads. To thrive, associations need members and customers to continue running, but it can be difficult to find room in the budget for marketing and lead generation. Never fear though, there are easy and affordable methods to draw more potential members and purchasers to your organization right at your fingertips.

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9 Corporate Lessons Reinforced in a Parking Lot

By Vish Kalambur, Chief Information Officer

There I was, on a bright, sunny Saturday in September with a hammer and work gloves in hand, trying to look the part at the Park Ridge Presbyterian Church parking lot. I was there with Solid Rock Carpenters to build wall sections for 3 homes to be donated to those in need in Johnson City, Tennessee. Those of you who know me are probably thinking “Dude, what do you know about building houses?” Believe me, I asked myself the same question several times and when I saw the 85+ volunteers going at it, I seriously considered getting back in my car and heading home.

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By Liz Giannini, Senior Account Manager

Two weeks after the unthinkable happened in Las Vegas, my colleague and I touched down in the city for the METALCON trade show. Unsure of the environment that would greet us, I found we were met with the very definition of strength, and given a daily reminder of the message resonating throughout the city. The city is #VegasStrong. In fact, I feel it is stronger than ever.

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Maximizing Non-Dues Revenue

By Judy Paczko, Project Manager & Beth Zemach, Senior Consultant

Member associations en masse are finally recognizing that revenue diversification is the key to sustainability in the current economic and cultural climate. Focusing on developing key revenue generating sources outside of membership are job one. Concurrent with grandiose strategic plans forming around major non-dues revenue initiatives, organizations should start immediately with the low hanging fruit that can bring in small profits today leading to much larger profitability and revenue gains tomorrow.

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6 Rules-Of-Thumb for Effective Grant Program Discussions

By Susan Vogel, Grant Manager

A common conversation among grant professionals is about how to set expectations and measure success of grant programs. Many stakeholders (the boss, the board, the committees) often want to talk about revenue as a measure of success and usually focus on increasing revenue. While a meaningful metric, increasing revenue is not always the most reflective of success or impact of the program. Over-the-years, I have come up with a few rules-of-thumb that help frame the conversation in a better way.

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5 Questions You Should Be Asking in Board Exit Interviews

By Steve Smith and Karen Nason, AMC Executive Directors

As the staff of any association can tell you, onboarding new leadership is an important process that can reap many rewards. However, the process for when those leaders eventually leave may not be as well defined. Ensuring a smooth exit for your former president or board member not only make a difference to them but also your association.

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Millennials Demystified by Millennials

By Andrea King, Operations Manager & Valerie Good-Turney, Operations Coordinator

Millennials, Millennials, Millennials….We may all feel like this topic has been beaten to death, and yet we just can’t stop ourselves from asking, “What makes them tick?” As co-chairs of AMC’s Young Professionals SIG and because we are both Millennials (although on slightly opposite ends of the age spectrum) we have a unique perspective on how our generation functions as a product of our surroundings. We sat down to answer some burning questions and provide insight into the largest generation in the workforce today:

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Calling All Young Professionals: Career Panel Takeaways

By Sarah Dittmer, Education Administrator, Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists

Several times throughout my college career, I thought, “This is it! I’ve found what I want to do!”  Some of those career plans included museum curator, archeologist, communications director of a sports team, professor of physics, and professor of economics. Considering every “add” or “drop” of a major or minor in college, I think I made at least 11 changes to reflect the latest “This is it!” phase. I graduated with a marketing degree - very different from the previously listed jobs!

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Looking for Team Happiness? R+R+R… and Cupcakes

By Clay Baznik, Executive Director of Marketing & Creative Media Services

The creative team at AMC revealed why they work so well together in a recent post. As it turned out, the magic formula for teamwork required more than strange grapes, oddly flavored potato chips, cupcakes, and the rest of the carbs we cram onto a file cabinet that’s conveniently buffet height.

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Strategic Planning: Moltke the Elder, Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, and Just a Little Mike Tyson

By Dave Bergeson, Ph.D., CAE

It is not uncommon for analogies to be drawn between business strategy and military strategy. One of my favorite examples is a 2016 article Australian consultant Graham Kenny wrote for Harvard Business Review. In it, he compares strategic planning in business and the military, citing an approach promoted by Moltke the Elder, Dwight Eisenhower, and Winston Churchill

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Personalizing the Experience Economy

By Carly Reisner, Chief Operations Officer, American Pain Society and Brianna Johnson, Education Manager, American Pain Society

In the late 90s, Harvard Business Review noted that “The Experience Economy” is demonstrated when “a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.” Likening the Experience Economy to a performance is as effective a metaphor today as it was then because it reminds us that we need to create connection to our products and services to engage our customers.

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Earning Your CAE? Remember These Important Steps

By Kelly Kellermann, Content Marketing and Editorial Manager, with Bruce Hammond, CAE

For association professionals, the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is a mark of professional development. Earning your CAE can make a positive impact on your career path and showcase your commitment to the association profession. Several AMC executives use the knowledge they gained earning their CAE certification to guide and support our association partners.

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Personal Touch: How Much do Your Members Matter?

By Brendan Sugrue, Membership and Marketing Coordinator

Ad campaigns about customer service are all the rage right now. Who doesn’t love “Jake from State Farm”, the khaki-wearing night shift worker turned meme? Or what about Discover and their commercials about how they treat you like you treat you. Because “I don’t have time for machines,” according to one Discover customer.

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3 Steps to Smoother Onboarding of Incoming Presidents

By Danielle Leber, Managing Editor

As leader of the organization and chair of the board of directors, an association’s president has a unique responsibility to guide the actions of numerous volunteers to ensure they make decisions based on the association’s best interests. Most often, this person is well-prepared to act as an advocate for members following many successful years of service. Most often, this person also has extensive experience acting as a leader within his or her field, experience that proves invaluable to their role as president.

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Asking Team Why it Clicks Reveals Surprising Word

By Clay Baznik, Executive Director, Customer Strategy

What makes a happy and healthy team? I could tell you what I think, but maybe it makes more sense to go directly to an actual team that fits the description. I asked members of our creative team to share their thoughts, expecting to hear about a “hardworking yet fun atmosphere” and buzzwords like “accountability,” “flexibility,” and “recognition.”

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Scrum: Build Teamwork and Drive Results

By Vish Kalambur, Chief Information Officer

In 2015, Association Management Center (AMC) was faced with upgrading Personify, its association management software, and realized there was a problem: The upgrade would not solve a number of challenges; however, the organization expected the new version to magically do exactly that! There was a misalignment of business goals and project goals, and the project, as initially planned, would have left us with many of the same usability issues, such as:

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Construct. Deconstruct. Reconstruct.

By Liz Giannini, Senior Account Manager

Your cab drops you off in the middle of a changing Chicago neighborhood…Fulton Market; once a gritty meatpacking district, is being transformed into a tech and foodie hot spot. The glimpse of the Google office and the new Ace Hotel flash past your window and you are delivered into the urban Morgan Manufacturing space – the location of Association Forum’s June 28, 2017 Forum Forward conference event. With one step in the door, you’re already excited about what’s ahead…

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Innovative Models Fund Product Development – Win-Win for Association Clients

By Sue Farrell Stock, Executive Director, AMC Consulting Services and Susan Vogel, Senior Grants Manager

The American Pain Society’s (APS) beloved educational program Fundamentals of Pain was initially developed to educate and engage early career practitioners and researchers in the field of pain medicine in order to meet the growing need for research and practitioner support for those in pain. The Fundamentals program was held annually as a preconference to the association’s Annual Scientific Meeting and included education, mentoring, and networking components. In the beginning, it was 100% funded by a singular corporate funder.  However, after nearly a decade, the sponsor’s funding initiatives changed, and they decreased funding for the program. At the same time Fundamentals attendance slowly began to shrink. 

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Thank you for your thank you!

By Carly Reisner, Chief Operations Officer, American Pain Society

Being onsite for conference is the best, isn’t it? Sure, the hours are long, your legs are tired from schlepping your bags across a convention center, and you’re breathing recycled air for about a week, but it is nearly unrivaled in building connection to our work and members.

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Building Inclusivity into your Association and Events

By Jamal Turner, MJ MSA, Manager, Education and Diversity Initiatives

An inclusive environment promotes continual reflection, opportunities for growth, and helps individuals feel welcomed. Most importantly, participants are able to be themselves. Do your members feel a sense of inclusion within your association?

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The Effect of Laser Tag on Board Performance

By Dave Bergeson, PhD, CAE

There I was, standing face to face with a large, bemused group of boys about eight years old. I had just emerged from an idling bus along with seven other members of our board of directors. These kids were staring at us like we were aliens emerging from a space craft. Why the stares? Because our board of directors – composed of nurses in their 30s 40s 50s and 60s - had just converged at a laser tag facility and this horde of eight year olds was no doubt not accustomed to being booted out by a group of people the age of their parents or grandparents.   

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Real World Lessons on Customer Experience

By Bruce Hammond, CAE

My wife and I are in the market for a new patio on the back of our house. It’s our one big purchase for the year and it’s important to us that it’s done right. Like most people in this situation, we want to get some quotes and determine who can do the job best. We reached out to three local companies to come out and give us a quote, providing each with the same request and specs for the job.

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I just got elected to the board of directors. Now what?

By Peggy Reilly, Director, Governance & Operations, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Expectations of board members in the association world are high. Upon election to the board, members are expected to have a solid understanding of the association’s mission, strategic plan goals and objectives, financial status, programs and services, and governance structure. In addition, board members bear a legal and fiduciary responsibility for the health and future of the association. These expectations can be daunting. As a member of the governance team at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) it is our job to ensure board members are informed and prepared for their roles so that they can participate fully on day one.

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How Picking Up the Phone Drives Member Retention

By Beth Zemach, Senior Manager, AMC Consulting Services

Old news: Membership retention in the current millennium is a key challenge for organizations, especially for those not connected with mandated licensures or certifications.  

Bad news: There is no magic bullet to overcome this challenge quickly. You need a loooong term strategy.

Good news: There are a few short term tools that may help slow the rate of loss and stem some of the decline. 

Let’s focus on the good news. 

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Competency-Based Board Selection and Difficult Conversations

By Anne Cordes, Strategy and Governance Consultant

In the past, Nominating Committees started their work a few months before elections began by identifying those who were next in line for the open positions. This process assumed that the most qualified candidates for the governing board were those who had worked their way up through the ranks of committees and participated in other volunteer opportunities.

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Ramp Up Your Twitter Engagement: 5 Ways to Drive Event Social Traffic

By Allison Lundberg, Manager, Marketing and Communications, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Social media has taken over our lives. It seems as though a new social network pops up each month, giving us one more thing to check up on each day. Associations are digging through social networks to study our members, find where their interests lie, and determine where our organization should target our efforts.

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Extra! Extra! Read All About APHON!

By Danielle Desjardins, Associate Managing Editor

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who read USA Today, you probably noticed an extra-special source featured in the March 31–April 2 weekend edition: Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing (APHON) President Kathleen Ruccione, PhD. Her piece, “Nurses Create a New Paradigm of Cancer Care,” detailed the role of nurses in health care—and of oncology nurses specifically in the treatment of patients with cancer, helping readers understand the impact of these integral members of the medical team and the future of cancer care.

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Grassroots Movements: How Your Association Should Get Involved

By Jordan Wildermuth, MSW, Health Policy & Advocacy Manager

Regardless of political affiliation, the 2016 election played on the heartstrings of the American people. These emotions have given rise to several grassroots political movements, such as the Women’s March on Washington and those surrounding immigration and healthcare issues. With thousands of people participating in these movements across the country, as associations we must at least ask ourselves the question of whether or not our association should be involved with those movements that impact our members. 

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Innovative Microvolunteerism Encourages Member Engagement


Finding new and exciting ways to engage members and inspire loyalty is the secret sauce for successful associations. Getting creative about the types of engagement opportunities—everything from leadership roles on the board to a few minutes of social networking on behalf of the association—allows organizations to reach members willing able to help despite limited availability. Associations everywhere are embracing microvolunteering as a means to engaging folks with the least amount of time to give, but a desire to contribute. And the concept is taking off! So much so that this Saturday, April 15, the U.S. celebrates National Mircovolunteering Day for the 4th year in a row.

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Five Reasons to Choose a Career in Association Management

By Karen Kramer, Executive Director of Human Resources

If you’re like most people, you likely didn’t learn about the association industry in undergrad. In fact, you may not know much about it today. But the truth is there’s a whole world of rewarding work in the nonprofit space, focused on helping organizations work toward the greater good.

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AAHPM Highlights  Conference through Daily Video

By Allison Lundberg, Marketing Manager, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

As of this year, experts report as much as 74% of online traffic consists of video content. In our daily lives, we see countless videos on Facebook, in emails, and even on websites. According to a study done by Insivia, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to only 10% when reading it in text. In the association industry specifically, video communication is still considered a growing trend helping more organizations connect with members and prospective members like never before.  

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3 Membership Lessons from a Kindergarten Basketball Coach

By Bruce Hammond, CAE

My guess is you’re asking one of two questions right now… “What were you thinking when agreeing to coach kindergarten basketball?” or “What could that experience possibly teach you about associations?” Believe me, as this post formed in my mind, I asked myself the same two questions and what I’ve found is, kindergarten basketball coaching and association membership are definitely related.

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Virtual Advocacy = Real-Life Results

By Danielle DesJardins, Associate Managing Editor

One of an association’s most important responsibilities is to act as an advocate for its field. That’s why finding new and innovative ways to engage membership and communicate the needs of the industry to lawmakers and regulators is an integral part of operations for our clients.

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Associations and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

By Jordan Wildermuth MSW, Health Policy & Advocacy Manager

The quote that best defines the current state of the healthcare debate came in a meeting with the nation’s governors at which President Trump exclaimed, “Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated."  Earlier this month, the president delivered his remarks to a joint session of Congress where many were anxiously awaiting directives on how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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ASPHO Benefits Members with Successful Mentorship Program

By Carly Mangus, Content Marketing Associate

The mentorship program for members of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) began in early 2013 as an effort by the society’s professional development committee to engage members and provide a resource to early-career members on a variety of issues. Because of the complexity of the pediatric hematology/oncology profession, the committee created a mentoring system to customize the experience and serve member needs.

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Unlocking the Mystery of Meaningful Metrics

By June Pinyo, MA, Content Strategist, AMC Creative Media Services

One of the biggest challenges in the association space can be that, as staff, our business goals and daily tasks mirror those of the corporate world, only without the corporate-sized budgets and resource pools to help us get them accomplished.

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Event Planning: Why You Should Say Yes to that Last-Minute Addition

By Brendan Sugrue, NANN Marketing and Membership Coordinator

Picture this: There are 3 weeks until you leave for your annual meeting. Your schedule is finalized, the keynotes and speakers are accounted for, your marketing campaigns are starting to wrap up, and your staff is now shifting into the “hosting” phase of conference. But then you receive a phone call from a game-changing potential speaker.

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6 Signs Your Association May Need Consulting Expertise

By Susan Farrell Stock, Executive Director, AMC Consulting Services

Regardless of the size or focus of your association, you’ve likely experienced a situation in which you didn’t have the expertise required to tackle a goal in the most effective way. Eventually, most of us encounter situations that could benefit from professional consulting expertise. But how do you know when your association has reached that point? Here are six signs to look for that indicate bringing in external consulting expertise might be right for you:

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Infographic: Defining Transparency in Association Governance

By Kelly Kellermann, Managing Editor, Creative Media Services

How should association leaders respond to member requests for more openness, communication, and accountability from their board of directors? This is the question AMC governance and strategy consultant Anne Cordes and AMC principal Mark Engle, along with Jed R. Mandel, Esq, discussed in their 2016 article on the role of transparency in association governance. While there are several benefits from the policies and practices called for in the name of transparency, it can also do harm when applied without regard for board privacy.

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