How The Nonprofit Association Program Pie Is Sliced

2012.02.03_Pizza finished

Most nonprofit associations find it difficult to abandon anything. Everything is a cause or "God's work." Yet performance and results are extremely important and often difficult to measure and control. Moral Versus Economic Causes A moral cause is an absolute good. For example, some religious leaders have been preaching against sex outside of marriage for years. Results have been small, if any at all. In these leaders' minds, the absence of results proves that they just have to … [Read more...]

Four Discovery Philosophies That Lead To Innovation

2011.12.27_I spy cynthia

How innovative is your organization? Do your executives instill in you and your coworkers the courage to try new ideas? The Source Of Organizational Innovation Organizational innovation starts at the top. At least that's the finding from The Innovator’s DNA authors Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton M. Christensen. They researched and studied highly innovative companies and found several common traits. Innovative organizations are led by founder-entrepreneurs who excel at discovery. … [Read more...]

Association Members Want Movement Not Organizational Institutions

I have devoted more than twenty years of my adult life to nonprofits and associations. I have spent countless hours volunteering my time to help nonprofits succeed. I have given many staff hours to helping an industry progress. When a nonprofit works, it is a thing of beauty. It is uniquely able to do radical things such as helping the downtrodden, lending a hand to the underdog, assisting an industry's progress, educating the unlearned, challenging status quo, bettering our world, improving a … [Read more...]

10 Questions To Jump-Start Your Event Social Media Audit

Let's face it. Social media does not usually provide the instant gratification of a dopamine lollypop. Take a lick. Get a buzz. It takes time, intention and ultimately a plan. The Social Audit So perhaps you've stuck your Twitter thumb and Facebook fingers into the social stream. Now you wonder what is and isn't working. It's time for a social audit. Auditing your organization's social presence can help you make better business decisions regarding your actions. It can help you improve your … [Read more...]

You Don’t Know Jack About Working With Volunteers

(Here are some of my notes from Cynthia D'Amour's Lazy Leader Road Show "Creating A Surplus Of Volunteers" which recently stopped in Dallas.) Martyr leader volunteers! Our organizations are rife with them. They are the survival strategy for many nonprofits. Yet, focusing on them can actually kill an organization. The Awful Truth About Our Current Volunteer Strategies We reward volunteers who are over-achievers. The ones that throw their entire lives out of balance each year in the name of … [Read more...]

An Association Leader Should…

All living systems, including associations, go through five predictable life cycles:  Birth Growth (formation, adolescence) Maturity Decline Death  Healthy systems work to avoid decline and eventual death by using the wisdom and calm of maturity to plan a rebirth. Unhealthy systems avoid change as long as possible, often to their own demise. Leadership often needs to step back from their customary role of being agents for members, promoting members' interests. They need to become … [Read more...]

Signs Of Healthy And Unhealthy Associations

Associations are complex systems. Many players--board members, members, sponsors, staff, volunteer leadership--shape its up and down seasons. A jumble of external and internal factors affects the association as well. The Life Cycle Of Associations All living systems, including associations, go through predictable life cycles: Birth Growth (formation, adolescence) Maturity Decline Death Healthy systems work to avoid decline and eventual death by using the wisdom and calm of maturity to … [Read more...]

Your Association: The Living Organism

Nonprofit associations:  institutionalized organizations or living, dynamic organisms? Which view do you embrace? The Human Factors Associations are not buildings. They are not organizational charts. They are more than institutions governed by sets of rules, processes and formalities. I believe that associations are living organisms...when we allow them to be so. Associations are groups of like-minded individuals that form communities. Each community becomes an operational unit of a more … [Read more...]