Print Page   |   Contact Us
Blog Home All Blogs
In an effort to continue to be the vehicle for sharing best practices, creating a dialogue and advancing our profession, ISAE will continue to welcome valuable content pertinent to the association profession. We are in need of quality content to share with hundreds of industry professionals.


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: meeting planners  meetings  association  events  marketing  Leadership  isae  meeting tips  social media  .orgSource  Education  google  succession planning  technology  afforadable  Alignment  ASAE  best practices  black friday  browser  CAE  communicate  community  consistent  content  convention  conventions  Core Values  culture  definition 

Top Ten Reasons Why to Attend Summer Session!

Posted By Destiny Nance-Evans, Friday, April 15, 2016

10. FIRST ISAE SUMMER SESSION IN C-U!Come see what C-U has to offer!





5. TOUR OF U of I's CAMPUS - including MEMORIAL STADIUM - who knows maybe we will see LOVIE!

4. EDUCATION focusing on low, cost marketing ideas and planning amazing events! 2 CAE hours available!

3. Events at the following ISAE Members venues, HYATT PLACE, WYNDHAM GARDEN, EASTLAND SUITES and HILTON GARDEN INN! A great and fun way to see their properties!

2. FUN!!!

1. FOMO! Don't be a victim to FOMO (fear of missing out)REGISTER TODAY!

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

The Overconfident Leader

Posted By Jackie Rakers, IOM, PFMM, Executive Director, IL Assn of Mutual Insurance Companies, Friday, April 8, 2016
Updated: Friday, April 1, 2016

In our profession, we are asked to speak in front of members several times a year, sometimes in front of hundreds of people. A seasoned speaker knows the rules: write it down, read it, record and listen to it, perform it in the mirror, then… do it again. Practice makes perfect, right?

I have been speaking in front of large crowds for over eight years, am a member of Toastmasters, and have earned the Competent Communicator award. I can speak to any type of crowd with confidence. Or maybe I should say - I should be able to speak to any type of crowd with confidence. After all, I've had a lot of practice.

I used to brag that I put my speech together that morning and actually pulled it off. But I cheated myself and my audience. When I take the time to prepare, I bring valid information. When I practice and know my speech, I know I can deliver a message in a way others can understand. I am blessed with knowledge and ability to influence others by consistently sharing facts, not hearsay. I highlight positive attributes of my subject, versus dwelling on negatives.

Unfortunately, overconfidence led me to a day I will never forget. I stood before a room of over 250 members as I kicked off our annual convention. Part of my role was to introduce the chairman and speaker. I always review the bios, make sure I use proper pauses where needed, and pronounce credentials correctly. Not this year! In my overconfidence, I skipped that important step of preparing and practicing. I'm an experienced Toastmaster. I'm an experienced Executive Director. I've got this.

As I stood at the podium asking for everyone's attention to "Please stand for the presentation of our flags," the room went silent. Everyone rose to their feet. Two veterans began to slowly walk from the back of the convention hall, carrying the flags to the front to be delicately placed into their holders. All eyes were on me.

And I... forgot the words... to The Pledge of Allegiance.

Who can forget the Pledge of Allegiance? Me!

This happened, not because I didn't know the Pledge of Allegiance, but because as I stepped to the podium, I suddenly realized I hadn't prepared. I began to panic. What if there was something in the bio I couldn't pronounce? What if there were errors? What if it wasn't in my notebook at all? As my mind raced forward, I left the moment... and lost my place.

This type of situation can happen to anyone at any time. Hopefully, not at such an awkward time as when the entire membership's attention is on you. I was petrified.

The key is to prepare. Don't shortchange yourself or your audience because you've "done this a hundred times." Be prepared and approach each day with the experience your position has given you, but with the humility of being new.


Jackie Rakers, IOM, PFMM

Executive Director

IL Assn of Mutual Insurance Companies

P.O. Box 116

Ohlman, IL 62076

217-563-8300 Phone

888-403-0935 Fax

Tags:  leadership  public speaking 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Zoom Video Conferencing

Posted By Tara Burghart, Director of Content and Marketing, .orgSource, Friday, April 1, 2016
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2016

Be more productive in 2016!

This video conferencing and web conferencing service stresses its ease of use, reliability and value. With Zoom, you can host everything from a small, simple online meeting to a group collaboration to a large conference featuring HD audio and HD video.

It boasts a number of unique features including the ability to share computer audio during screen sharing and iPhone/iPad screen sharing. Groups can use virtual whiteboards, annotate documents or split up into smaller teams. Using “Zoom Rooms,” you can host up to 200 interactive video or 300 view-only attendees.

Zoom also works with existing conference room video systems.

The basic plan is free, the business plan is $19.99 per month. According to Zoom, more than 180,000 companies currently use its product. 

Do you have an app, platform or tool your organization uses to increase productivity, improve communication or solve a vexing problem? Tell us about it in the comments! 

- See more at:

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Six Steps for Achieving Digital Transformation: Step 5

Posted By Sherry Budziak, Founder and CEO of .orgSource, Friday, March 25, 2016
Updated: Friday, March 18, 2016

This is the fifth entry in a six-part blog series about achieving digital excellence. Here, we discuss aligning stakeholders to help with flawless execution of your digital strategy.

So far in our digital transformation series we’ve tackled: forming a digital strategy, achieving greater customer insight through data, establishing a clear roadmap of activities and goals, and creating clear metrics for success.

In other words, we’ve created the digital transformation recipe, selected the ingredients, and done all the prep work. Now how do we ensure a flawless, fully baked execution?

The answer: Alignment of both internal and external stakeholders.

External partners include all of the various technology vendors as well as the board. The internal group includes anyone who has a role in developing and managing aspects of your digital operations and offerings: in today’s business environment, that probably means the majority—if not all—of your staff.

How do you align these integral stakeholders? Communicate, communicate, communicate. Providing clear communication of your digital transformation strategy cannot be overdone.

Some tips for ongoing internal communications:

  • Craft and communicate a compelling digital vision.
  • Give employees clear direction while providing flexibility.
  • Engage employees by connecting with them—and enabling them to connect—through blogs, video, and other tools.
  • Be transparent with goals.
  • Open up conversations and give employees a role and voice.

Engagement among your staff and external stakeholders is a must in making your digital vision a reality. For further guidance on this important quest, call upon .orgSource—leaders in IT and digital strategies for more than 10 years.

- See more at:

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Six Steps for Achieving Digital Transformation: Step 4

Posted By Sherry Budziak, Founder and CEO of .orgSource, Friday, March 18, 2016

This is the fourth entry in a six-part blog series about achieving digital excellence. Here, we discuss creating clear metrics for success.

After a series of huddles with your team, you’ve come up with someconsiderable goals for your digital strategy. Maybe it’s increasing operational efficiencies and providing superior customer value. Perhaps it’s growing volumes of content and producing it with a mobile-first mindset.

However, in the end, it doesn’t matter how impressive the goal is if you can’t see the results of your efforts. You must be able to measure whether your goals are having the desired impact on your business. That means creating clearmetrics for success.

Proper measurements for your organization might include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Increase response rates
  • Sales
  • Relationship management
  • Retention
  • Loyalty
  • Advocacy

Whichever ones you choose, you must align those measurements with your specific goals in order to see how you’re progressing toward those goals. Choose metrics that will prove the value of your strategies and what is driving real, tangible results.

Once you determine your goals and metrics, make the pledge that you will be disciplined to track your progress against them. Sounds obvious enough, but it’s not always done. Track how closely you’re trending toward your goal at certain intervals. And look carefully at any changes during those times.

Armed with powerful knowledge, you can then have the facts to determine what to stop, start, and continue during your digital transformation.

- See more at:

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

join the #whatisengagement conversation

Posted By Aaron Wolowiec, Founder & President, Event Garde, Friday, March 11, 2016
Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2016
8f5a2112-3c39-4265-83ff-f083c8c2aae0Engagement. We know we want it. In most cases, we know we need it. But with the ambiguity surrounding what engagement really is, it’s challenging to develop and deploy strategies we’re confident will grow the participation, reach and value of our education programs. In an attempt to create a unified definition, to illuminate best practices/strategies that truly engage learners and to identify real-world examples of engagement done right, both Tracy King, chief learning strategist of InspirEd, and I have prepared a few questions for which we would love your opinion. Specifically, we’re interested in your thoughts on what engagement is and strategies that work for both you and your learners. We’ll compile responses into a resource we will then share with you. We hope you’ll consider joining the #whatisengagement conversation sometime between now and the end of the month. It’s easy and fun (we promise)! Moreover, your ideas are important not only to us, but to the greater professional development community. With only seven questions to answer, there’s absolutely no barrier to participation and the aggregate responses are sure to be informative. Just be sure to share with us your responses (no matter your experience level) before the survey closes on March 31. Should you have questions or feedback about the survey, please don’t hesitate to email me your thoughts or insights. In the meantime, thanks in advance for your participation. And stay tuned for more details about this project in the coming months. It’s kind of a big deal.
The #whatisengagment survey is now open and may be accessed here. Please share it with your friends and colleagues. The more, the merrier!

Tags:  best practices  community  definition  education  engagement  examples  InspirEd  learners  participation  programs  reach  strategies  survey  Tracy King  value 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Engaging Members: Five Email Techniques to Try

Posted By Tara Burghart, Director of Content and Marketing, .orgSource, Friday, March 4, 2016
Updated: Thursday, February 25, 2016

In the first part of this “Engaging Members” series, we we looked at why associations are seeing their “organic reach” on Facebook drop so dramatically. Simply put, Facebook wants businesses and organizations to pay for advertising. In the second part, we examined one of the best alternatives for associations that lack the big advertising budgets of corporate brands: Email marketing.          

It’s an “old school” tool with a lot of life left in it! But few associations have tapped all the opportunities that email marketing offers. So today, as we wrap up the “Engaging Members” series, we present five techniques that could move your email marketing efforts into the fast lane:

Don’t be a stranger: Personalized emails always outperform communications that are not personalized. An obvious example is using the member’s first name. But in a recent survey of more than 5,000 subject lines, Informz also found good results with personalized company names, chapter names and geographic data. The subject line “Your membership has an expiration date of ‘Expire Date’” had a 52 percent open rate, well above the benchmark average of 35 percent.

Or how about using the details of the last event a member attended to encourage her to RSVP for another one?

Make subject line testing part of your regular routine: By doing A/B tests regularly, and not just for special occasions, you can figure out what really works with your members. Do they like plays on words? Lots of capital letters? Short subject lines? Long subject lines? Depending on your membership, you can even test out an emoji!

Consider adopting automation: Keep in touch with your members “automatically” when they join the organization – in fact, consider a series of emails that could introduce them to all the benefits your association has to offer. Create a win-back campaign aimed at former members. Suggest some new CE offerings for members who have recently taken a CE course. Or, in the vein of e-commerce providers that email when you abandon your shopping cart mid-purchase, create a trigger email that would encourage members who might start to sign up for an event or meeting without finishing the process.

Think about mobile at the very start: The emails your association sends out are most likely mobile-friendly. (If not, they should be!) But if you find that a segment of your readers are consistently opening up emails from you on their smartphones instead of a desktop, think about tailoring the content you offer those members to be easy to read and interact with.

Don’t forget the design: AssociationsNow addressed this issue in a popular post in November entitled “The State of Email Design Stinks.” If your email isn’t pleasant to the eye and easy to digest, members could start to ignore it. Think about investing money in the creation of a few custom, flexible templates that your association can use for its various email marketing needs.

As your association continues to build and strengthen the important relationships with your members, email marketing should be an important part of your strategic plan.

- See more at:

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Six Steps for Achieving Digital Transformation: Step 3

Posted By Sherry Budziak, Founder and CEO of .orgSource, Friday, February 26, 2016
Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2016

This is the third entry in a six-part blog series about achieving digital excellence. Here, we advise on focusing your efforts through a clear roadmap of activities and goals.

Digital excellence takes a lot of work. But it could end up being a lot of work done in vain if it lacks focus. Therefore, you must start your digital journey by asking a fundamental question: What is most important for us to achieve? It could be increasing operational efficiencies internally, providing superior customer value, or engaging member experiences.


Whatever the answer, it will set the course for your digital transformation.

In order to develop a clear roadmap for digital excellence, you must focus your visions on organizational capabilities, customer needs and competition in your industry.

Take into account these proven strategies:

  • A well-coordinated system of priorities for digital channels, each with its own defined role in conveying your brand’s value proposition and delivering benefits.
  • Clear criteria for evaluating any new opportunity or idea, allowing for innovation but protecting against the “shiny new object.”
  • Balance between long-term commitments and quick wins.
  • Establish and manage the right resources for planned projects and activities.

Also, assess your digital readiness by asking:

  • Are our existing products and services digitized?
  • Can we consider new digital marketing channels?
  • Can we analyze customer data?
  • Are our systems integrated?
  • Do we have policies and business practices to adapt to the changes digital will bring?
  • How much opportunity is there for the organization to gain a competitive advantage?
  • Do our employees have the skill sets needed?
  • Do we have the right resources? Budget, people, time?
  • Are people in our organization excited about the opportunity to make digital a focus?
  • What commitments have been made to the board?

Through an honest, thorough assessment and prioritization, you’ll be equipped to plot your roadmap for your desired digital destination.

Check out the first two blogs in the series, focusing on how to create a digital strategy and getting to know your customers better by making data-driven decisions.

- See more at:

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Six Steps for Achieving Digital Transformation: Step 2

Posted By Sherry Budziak, Founder and CEO of .orgSource, Friday, February 19, 2016
Updated: Friday, February 12, 2016

This is the second entry in a six-part blog series about achieving digital excellence. Here, we focus on getting to know your customers better by making data-driven decisions.

How well do you know your customers?

Today, it’s easier than ever to track online habits, produce surveys, and provide forums where customers’ opinions and experiences are viewable to the masses.

But are you tracking the right movements? Asking the right questions? Identifying the key issues to resolve?

Consider these questions:

  • How do your best members or customers spend their time online?
  • Where do they go and how do they behave online?
  • In what ways do they interact with your association and what are the expectations?
  • What information is most important to them?
  • What information do they need to make decisions?
  • How can you provide information through content, social media, and real-time support?
  • Where are your customers most likely to find this information online?
  • Are your competitors providing it?

Without a common view of customers, it is extremely difficult to accomplish advanced customer engagement techniques such as personalized service or location-based marketing. It’s tough to gain a good understanding of the customer when customer data is spread across many systems.

So put your customer experience at the center of your digital transformation. Part of digital transformation is transforming the business experience. This includes uncovering bottlenecks and issues with your members caused by limits from old technologies, and then determine how to resolve them. Evaluate your progress or current standing with:

  • Semantic website and personalization
  • Social CRM
  • Integrated strategies for the website, mobile, social and cloud computing
  • Technology partners, and complete elimination of DIY systems
  • Systems delivering actionable information
  • C-level planning and execution
  • Collaborative and customer-focused IT support

Want to ensure you are delivering the right products, services, messages and experiences that delight your customers? Then, make the commitment to never stop learning from your customers—and from data.

Check out the first blog in the series, focusing on how to create a digital strategy.

- See more at:

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Engaging Members: Email Marketing Is Not Flashy, But It Works

Posted By Tara Burghart, Director of Content and Marketing, .orgSource, Friday, February 12, 2016
Updated: Thursday, February 4, 2016

In the first part of the “Engaging Members” series, we looked at why associations are seeing their “organic reach” on Facebook drop so dramatically. Simply put, Facebook wants businesses and organizations to pay for advertising.

So where does that leave nonprofits that want to better engage their members but lack the big advertising budgets of corporate brands?

One of the best alternatives is something associations have been doing for so long that it’s become like a favorite pair of sweatpants: Comfortable, reliable, but certainly not exciting.

That something is email marketing, which is consistently shown to outperform “sexier” options like social media and display advertising.

Here are some stats to back that up:

  • Email is nearly 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter combined, according to this study from McKinsey & Company
  • Email reaches its intended recipient 90 percent of the time, compared to about 2 percent for Facebook posts
  • Facebook has more than 1 billion users, Twitter about 255 million users. There are nearly 4 billion active email accounts.
  • A survey by Informz of more than 1,300 large and mid-size associations who used the company’s marketing platform found open rates in the United States averaged about 34 percent with click-through rates of about 15 percent.
  • Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17 percent higher value in the version, according to McKinsey & Company.

Even though it feels like email marketing has been around forever, more sophisticated techniques and tools allow for more specific targeting than a decade ago, along with the potential to mine a lot of valuable data. 

Here are just a small number of the things that associations can use email marketing to accomplish:

  • Promote events and continuing education opportunities
  • Increase membership renewal rates
  • Welcome new members with information, tips and resources
  • Share industry news and positions taken by the association
  • Create a regular digital newsletter to replace or enhance your print products
  • Direct traffic back to your website
  • Strengthen relationships with members

OK. So this “old school” tool seemingly has a lot of life in it. But few associations have tapped all the opportunities that email marketing offers. Those opportunities are what we’ll take a look at in Part 3 of the “Engaging Members” series, so stay tuned!

- See more at:

Tags:  content  email marketing  engaging  marketing 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 7 of 11
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11
ISAE Community Search