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Six Steps for Achieving Digital Transformation

Posted By Sherry Budziak, Founder and CEO of .orgSource, Friday, February 5, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This is the first entry in a six-part blog series about achieving digital excellence. Here, we focus on how to create a digital strategy.

Over the course of two decades, “digital” has become central to our lives. Yet many associations still struggle to make digital central to their operations.

They wrestle with managing the risk of growing volumes of content, transforming content-intensive business processes, using content to better engage customers, employees and partners, and gain business insight out of the plethora of information being gathered.

So, how can associations achieve digital excellence? If you answered “through technology,” that’s only partially correct. While it’s true your organization won't be able to take the digital leap without the required technological tools, it requires much more. It requires big picture priorities and supporting structures and processes. It requires strategy.

In today’s .orgCommunity webinar, “Achieving Digital Excellence: Creating the Right Approach to Transform Your Organization,” we discussed what goes into a good digital strategy. Some considerations:

  • Identify business drivers. Assess whether you are more focused on technology operations or business innovation, and where you lie on that spectrum. Rethink your operations from people, process and technology perspectives and consider inefficiencies in your business processes.
  • Establish digital vision. You need a strategy that is embraced at the top of the organization, aligned across the business for effective execution, and a recognition that digital strategy is not simply technology or marketing but a new way of doing business.
  • Assess current alignment and/or gaps. Outline what technologies are needed and ensure the workforce is trained in the required skills to implement those technologies. Are there skill gaps in your association that could be filled through training and development of talent? Is your IT department comprised of not only technology enablers, but strategic visionaries, entrepreneurs, project planners and individuals who are agile?
  • Evaluate and prioritize IT initiatives. Is it investing in people to improve internal processes? Enhancing technology or project management standards? Improving member satisfaction and the value of membership by delivering the right products, services, messages, and experiences?
  • Adjust IT strategy as necessary. Finally, associations must recognize that a digital strategy is an ongoing process. With a rapidly changing field like technology, priorities are likely to change—sometimes often. Smart organizations recognize this and adjust their digital strategies as needed over time to respond to the inevitable changes.

The benefits you’ll reap from a good digital strategy are a better digital workplace and an increase in stakeholder engagement. This is possible because of your proper planning for growth and innovation, customer value and operational efficiency.

As your association begins its digital transformation journey, be sure to start with a good strategy. For assistance, call upon .orgSource (, leaders in IT and digital strategies for more than 10 years.

Up next week: Get to know your customers better by making data-driven decisions.

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Engaging Members: It's Not You, It's Facebook

Posted By Tara Burghart, Director of Content and Marketing, .orgSource, Friday, January 29, 2016
Updated: Monday, January 25, 2016

Have you found that your association’s members are engaging less with your organization’s page on Facebook, and that your posts are reaching fewer of your “fans”?

Don’t blame your social media posts, their timing or wording.

For several years now, Facebook has been fiddling with its news feed algorithm in a way that decreases organic reach. (Organic reach refers to how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your page.)

Facebook also points out that there is more content shared every single day and therefore more competition for your member’s attention. “Rather than showing people all possible content, News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them,” Brian Boland, Facebook’s vice president of advertising technology, says in a post about organic reach on the social media platform. “Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300.”

Not surprisingly, Boland urges business and organizations to consider buying ads on the social media network’s right column or paying to “boost” a post to a targeted audience.   

“Paid media on Facebook allows businesses to reach broader audiences more predictably, and with much greater accuracy than organic content,” Boland writes.

But of course associations are nonprofits, and they lack the budget of big corporate brands to pay for advertising. Plus, these are people who have already “liked” your organization’s page, indicating they do want to hear its news and updates.  

Many nonprofits are frustrated by their lack of ability to reach “fans” they spent years cultivating.

“It’s an absolute catastrophe for us and every organization that’s paying attention,” Seth Ginsberg, president of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, an advocacy group for patients living with painful joint conditions told the International Business Times.

Despite the changes to the Facebook algorithm, there are still some strategies you can try to improve organic reach:

  1. Take a look at the data. Facebook Insights does exactly that – provide insight into everything you share. This tool is located at the top of your page, next to tabs for “messages,” “notifications” and more. You can find the reach of individual posts, the types of posts that do well, when your fans are online, external referrers and more. You can export the data to an Excel spreadsheet so it’s easier to digest. This should show a pattern of what’s working for you – and what isn’t – and provide some guidance on when is the best time for you to post on Facebook, what types of posts do best, etc.
  2. Focus on quality, not quantity. Some experts think that posting less often (just two or three times a day) helps organic reach, but again, look at what your specific data tells you.  
  3. Mix it up. Don’t post the same kind of update day after day. Instead, a use a mix of photos, videos, graphics, memes, links and text. Similarly, make sure everything you’re posting isn’t strictly related to your association. Make sure to share content from a wide variety of sources – mainstream media, blogs, other nonprofits. And continue to try to directly engage your members with questions, or asking for help or suggestions, even when you might not get a lot of feedback. Eventually one is likely to strike.

That said, no matter what you do, you are going to have an increasingly hard time connecting with your Facebook fans without paying. For instance, Ogilvy & Mather predicts that for corporate brands, organic reach on Facebook will eventually hit zero.

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Brand First, Logo Second

Posted By Doug Klegon, PhD, FACHE, Managing Director - Customer Experience and Marketing, .orgSource, Friday, January 22, 2016
Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

Several years ago I wrote an article for FORUM about designing a brand identity—not just a logo (October 2011). That article came to mind today when I read that Microsoft Bing has new logo. The new version is green (or perhaps teal). It also uses an upper case “B.” The new color is intended to be easier to read than the previous yellow and display better across Microsoft products and services. Perhaps the timing also relates to Bing, the search engine that powers Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, becoming profitable.

But Bing still significantly trails Google.  In my original article, I quoted Douglas Edwards, Google's first brand manager. In I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59," he tells the story of setting up a meeting to discuss his marketing plan. He argued that in a world in which search engines might become equal, Google would need to rely on "branding" to differentiate itself. As Edwards tells the story, the room grew quiet until cofounder Larry Page spoke up: "If we can't win on quality, we shouldn't win at all." The core business strategy articulated by Page was to deliver superior quality.

A second story I included in that article was from Dan Pallotta (Harvard Business Review Blog, June 2011). He wrote: "Back in 1969 NASA didn't have the best logo. But man did it have a brand. It has a nicer logo now — but the brand no longer stands for anything. If you don't know where you're going or how you're going to get there, that's your brand, no matter what fancy new name you come up with."

So, as I think about Bing’s new logo the question is whether a better user experience is behind that redesigned logo. If I click on the logo or use it as my default search, will I have a better experience? What is the brand promise? How will my expectations be met and exceeded?

Ultimately it is the organization’s brand promise that leads to the creation of products and services adding customer value. The organization comes to be defined not by a visual identity but by the users’ experiences—all the touch points that can create an emotional connection between the user and the brand.

The lesson is clear. The organizational logo may be the symbol of your brand. But your success or failure will be based on your understanding of your customers and your ability to organize strategies, processes and resources (including people and technology) to deliver value.

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Are You Ready to Transform Your Organization?

Posted By Destiny Nance-Evans, Friday, January 8, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Are You Ready to Transform Your Organization?

As a successful association executive, you know what it takes to work with volunteer leaders, energize staff and continually challenge yourself to keep your association moving ahead. You may have also noticed that it is not as easy as it used to be. Membership may be declining. Non-dues revenue isn’t as easy to come by, and more competitors than ever are vying for your members’ attention.

If you’re a CEO, COO or assistant executive director, you don't want to miss Association Strategy Circles, a unique program created and facilitated by Mary Byers, CAE in partnership with the Indiana Society of Association Executives. Strategy Circles are facilitated meetings designed to help you create a clear vision for the future and a strong action plan for the present, despite the challenges and responsibilities swirling around you each day.

You will meet with Mary quarterly in Indianapolis throughout 2016. She will challenge your thinking and teach you how to identify the steps necessary to create a vibrant, healthy and relevant association. Earn 24 CAE credits for attending all four sessions. Plus, ISAE members receive the member discount of $600. That’s only $25 per credit hour! Review all of the details and register online at


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Money-Saving Resources for Nonprofits

Posted By Sherry Budziak, CEO and Founder, .orgSource, Friday, December 11, 2015
Updated: Friday, November 20, 2015

Money-Saving Resources for Nonprofits

By Sherry Budziak 

With already-stretched budgets and often smaller staffs than their for-profit counterparts, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations can benefit from free or inexpensive resources to help them get their important work done. From fundraising to tech to creative, here are just a few offerings. 


Online mega retailer Amazon’s AmazonSmile website allows shoppers to donate money to eligible charitable organizations of their choice when they shop. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of a purchase price to the organization of a shopper’s choice. To be eligible, organizations must be registered and in good standing with the IRS as a 501(c)(3). 

Google Ad Grants

Eligible organizations (check your organization’s status with Google here) can receive up to $10,000 per month in free advertising through Google Ad Grants’ AdWords advertising program. Participating organizations can build and manage their own AdWords accounts and can run keyword-targeted text ads that appear on Google search results pages.

Google Apps for Nonprofits

Google also offers a suite of business apps such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive free for all members of Google for Nonprofits. The suite includes cloud storage across Gmail and Google Drive, and members receive free 24/7 technical support.

Microsoft Office 365

Similar to Google Apps, Office 365, Microsoft’s answer to cloud computing, includes the Microsoft suite of products, including the email client. Basic Web apps are free for eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofits. The nonprofit plan also includes online document sharing and collaboration through Microsoft OneDrive.

Salesforce for Nonprofits

Customer relationship management service provider Salesforce offers resources for nonprofits to help with donor/volunteer management. These include free user enterprise-level software licenses (up to 10) and discounts for additional licenses. 


Qualifying nonprofits can receive a free website hosting plan from DreamHost.  Users would only need to pay for domain name registration.

Budgets for creative projects within nonprofits are notoriously strapped. Organizations can take advantage of free or nearly-free services for the following creative needs:

Stock Photography

For a relatively small monthly fee, StockUnlimited provides subscribers access to unlimited downloads of stock graphics, images, icons, buttons, backgrounds and more.

While users of flickr know the site as a place to store and share photos, many might not be aware that it also can be a place to find free photos under its Creative Commons license. Some of the photos on the site are free for organizations to use for noncommercial purposes, but be sure to carefully verify which photos meet that requirement. 

Enhanced Digital Experiences

The Layar Creator feature of augmented reality and interactive print specialist Layar allows organizations to enhance marketing materials such as postcards, flyers, packaging and more with interactive content, including Web links, video messages and music clips. The site offers lower-than-average, pay-as-you-go pricing. 

Freelance Help

For organizations looking to hire freelancers for certain projects, fiverr, an inexpensive, online freelance marketplace, may be the answer. Hire creative professionals to do anything from designing a banner ad to building website pages starting at as little as $5 per job. 

These are just a few of the many free or discounted resources available to nonprofits. Start taking advantage of them today. And for assistance with your digital communications needs, call upon .orgSource, leaders in IT and digital strategies for more than 10 years.

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Three Reasons Why Your Marketing and IT Departments Need to Be Partners

Posted By Sherry Budziak, CEO and Founder, .orgSource, Friday, December 4, 2015
Updated: Monday, November 9, 2015
Payste embed code from YouTube or other video sharing service.

Three Reasons Why Your Marketing and IT Departments Need to Be Partners

Rapidly evolving digital technologies are changing the way Americans live, do business and connect with others.

With those technologies comes data – data from our cell phones, social media sites, climate control systems, electronic transaction records, digital photos and videos, among many other sources. There’s so much data, in fact, that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years.

Associations now have a large amount of complex information available to them, too. Where and how do you gather data about your organization’s members? It is solely from their visits to your association website? What about their behavior in relation to your emails? Or your e-newsletters, conference apps, membership directories? Do you offer continuing education too? Yep, that’s another place to mine for data.

But if your association is going to properly use, manage and maximize the data from these sources – and to take advantage of the opportunities the digital revolution offers -- it is going to require your marketing and IT departments to become trusted partners. Neither will be successful without the other – and neither will your association.

Here’s three reasons why: 

1.      Members want a seamless user experience. They want to be able to read the details of what’s planned for your annual meeting on their mobile phone, register for it on their desktop and use their tablet to navigate around the conference floor. They expect your digital products to know their preferences and expectations. None of this can be achieved without your marketing department joining forces with your IT department.

2.      Technology has also changed the way members interact with associations – in person, on mobile apps, social media and on the website. You should be able to quickly gather important details about your relationship with your members: When they last attended the annual meeting, when they last called for help with a problem, the subject of the last email they opened from you and what stories or addresses caught their eyes and prompted their clicks. Drill down a bit, and you should be able to find even more useful details. As your IT resources process this information, your personalization efforts with your members become more on-target. Every interaction with them provides you with more insight into how to tend to their needs.

3.      When your marketing and IT departments work together on shared objectives from the start, it can cut down on conflict and delays later. Traditionally, an IT department might be told about the new system or tool the association needs, go off to create or find it on their own, and then come back to the table to be told it isn’t quite right. When marketing and IT work together during the process, systems can be tested and refined along the way. The path way to advancement and digital success is suddenly much smoother!

If you’re ready to create a more collaborative relationship between your marketing and IT teams, .orgSource can help. Take a look at how much we believe in the power of digital transformation, then drop us a line at


Tags:  information technology  marketing 

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Marketing on a Dime

Posted By Destiny Nance-Evans, Friday, November 27, 2015
Updated: Friday, November 20, 2015

Are you a local Springfield association or business? Adopt a Downtown Springfield Planter! This is a very affordable way to spread the holiday cheer and get your name recognized. You can even take it to another level and make it a team building activity for your staff.


 Attached Files:
AdoptAPlanter_2.pdf (1015.08 KB)

Tags:  afforadable  holiday  marketing 

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Making mentoring work: Where it fits in your organization’s talent management strategy

Posted By Erin Waterfall, Account Executive, Halogen Software, Friday, November 20, 2015
Updated: Thursday, November 5, 2015

Making mentoring work: Where it fits in your organization’s talent management strategy
By: Erin Waterfall, Account Executive, Halogen Software

Mentoring programs, when effectively implemented, are known to increase retention, improve engagement, develop future leaders, and instill organizational culture and values.

Mentoring is a formal or informal relationship between a respected leader and one or more junior, most frequently, high-potential employees. As a part of a larger talent management strategy, mentoring supports training and development and succession planning. It enhances individual development for targeted employees with a goal of building a high performing workforce and strengthening an organization’s bench strength.

The advantage of mentoring is in creating a safe environment where mentors share their knowledge, experience and network to help mentees navigate organizational complexities, build skills and ultimately advance in their careers. In this environment, both mentor and mentee have the opportunity to reflect, discuss and learn from their career successes and challenges. 

Five tips for making mentoring work

How can you make sure that mentoring works for your organization? By making it part of your organization’s talent management strategy. Consider the following tips for creating an open environment that fosters this kind of relationship while bringing rigor to the process.

1. Build the program as part of an overall talent management strategy: Mentorship programs are most effective when focused on two things: Determining the critical skills that the organization will need in the future and building those competencies into its most talented potential future leaders. As part of the mentoring program design, define the metrics and measures on both process and outcomes to monitor progress. These might include number and demographics of participants, number of interactions, satisfaction level, career progression, retention and the performance of mentees.

2. Choose mentors wisely: Mentor-mentee pairings are best when they are outside the reporting structure. Since mentors are by nature role models, they should be exemplars of the values the organization holds dear and take seriously their responsibility for developing employees, even those who will never work for them. They should be good listeners who can build rapport and trust to help mentees troubleshoot issues, understand strategy and build organizational savvy. On the subject of trust, one way mentors can establish trust with mentees is by opening up about their own professional experiences. This can be done by reflecting on their own careers and sharing what has made them successful as well as what they learned from mistakes. 

3. Provide tools and training to help mentors: Don’t assume that respected leaders automatically know how to mentor someone. Some ideas and skills to help mentors make the best use of their time with their mentees might include setting goals and creating a mentoring action plan, guidance on how to have coaching and feedback conversations, discussing and practicing interpersonal skills, sharing career history and discussing career plans. Mentors can observe the mentee and/or allow the mentee to shadow the mentor then debrief together, identifying what went well and what could be improved. Help mentors and mentees identify professional learning opportunities outside of work such as suggesting books and articles to read or events they can attend.

4. Set specific goals: These goals can be identified in collaboration with the mentee’s career aspirations and the mentor’s understanding of what the organization needs for the future. Goals should include both enhancing strengths and overcoming weaknesses likely to inhibit future success. Managers can provide input to the mentee about performance areas on which to focus on with their mentor, but mentors should not be expected to provide input for a performance review, which could endanger the confidential environment. 

5. Use technology to manage and monitor ROI: Technology can be used as a tool to bring rigor, objectivity and accountability to the mentoring process as well as capture program objectives and measure outcomes. Technology can be used as part of the application, matching and monitoring processes. It can provide a shared space for participants to capture and update learning goals and can be linked to a Learning Management System (LMS) and/or used as a repository for tips and tools. Innovative communication tools can enable mentors and mentees to pursue impactful relationships not limited by geography. And technology can be used to capture program metrics and gather data to evaluate progress for both program and individual objectives. 

Thinking beyond basic mentoring principles

Because it is based on relationships that are often informal and outside the reporting structure, mentoring can seem deceptively simple. To make it work, however, make it a part of the organization’s talent management process with defined and measured objectives.

As with any program or initiative, it is important to regularly revisit mentorship objectives and metrics to make sure it is working effectively and supporting the talent management and organizational strategy.

Author Bio

Erin Waterfall is an Account Executive at Halogen Software.  In her role, Erin helps HR departments improve their talent management processes to develop, manage, and increase employee engagement to achieve measurable business results.

Halogen Software offers organically built cloud-based talent management solutions that reinforces and drives better business results across all talent programs – whether that is performance management, learning and development, succession and leadership, compensation, and recruiting and onboarding. With more than 2,100 customers worldwide, Halogen Software has been recognized as a market leader by major business analysts and has garnered the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry.

Tags:  mentoring 

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What’s Your Digital Strategy?

Posted By Sherry Budziak, Friday, November 6, 2015
Updated: Monday, October 19, 2015

Is your digital strategy working for you?

If you don’t yet have one, do you know why you should?

Often when associations think of elevating their presence in the digital space, they focus on acquiring and maintaining the actual technology—from mobile to social media to cloud and beyond—rather than the strategy needed to transform an organization digitally.

But according to a July 2015 report by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte (“Strategy, Not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation”) it is strategy—not the technology—that will be key for organizations’ succees in the digital world.

While you won't be able to take the digital leap without the required technological tools, the path to digital transformation must start with a strategy. Just as you wouldn’t take a road trip without some form of GPS, you don’t want to design a road map for your organization without incorporating digital strategy.

So what goes into a good digital strategy? Here are important considerations:

Support from leadership. In order for any major initiative to succeed, it must be championed from the top down. Leaders must set the organizational tone and culture that will allow digital efforts to flourish and innovation to thrive. 

A clear focus on transformation. A digital strategy should not only focus on the needed technologies but should keep an eye toward the future. The MIT/Deloitte study found that while less digitally mature companies tend to focus on technology’s operational role, the most digitally mature organizations go beyond this to focus on transforming the business through technology. Any good digital strategy must have what the study’s authors call a “transformative vision” for innovation and decision making. It’s easy for associations to get bogged down by the day-to-day details of operations, but keeping your digital strategy’s scope and objectives forward thinking will give your organization a competitive edge. 

No fear of failure. According to the MIT/Deloitte study, successful, digitally mature companies are more comfortable with taking risks than organizations with less digital maturity. One key factor that makes an organization less risk-averse, the study’s authors note, is a leader who is not afraid to fail. Further, more success is gained when these leaders transfer the notion of embracing failure to their employees so they, too, become less risk-averse. This is another area where leaders can set the tone.

An engaged—and skilled—workforce. Employee culture is often treated as an afterthought in business strategies, including those that involve IT. Successful organizations put culture front and center and are rewarded when it sets them above the competition. Research has shown that organizations with engaged cultures have a competitive advantage over those that do not. Organizations with successful digital strategies not only engage employees, but they ensure employees have the skills that are needed to turn digital aspirations into reality. A good digital strategy will outline what technologies are needed and ensure the workforce is trained in the required skills to implement those technologies. Are there skill gaps in your association that could be filled through training and development of talent?

Finally, associations must recognize that a digital strategy is an ongoing process. With a rapidly changing field like technology, priorities are likely to change—sometimes often. Smart organizations recognize this and adjust their digital strategies as needed over time to respond to the inevitable changes.  

As your association begins its digital transformation journey, be sure to start with a good strategy. For assistance, call upon .orgSource (, leaders in IT and digital strategies for more than 10 years.

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ISAE and DSI Orange and Blue Charity Tailgate Party

Posted By Destiny Nance-Evans, Friday, October 30, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Join us for this great event as we welcome the Illini to town! I will follow-up with a blog on the outcomes of the Orange & Blue party and the results of partnering together with another organization to throw a great event! RSVP today!

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