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Doing the Impossible

Beth Quick Andrews, CAE, Owner,  Q&A Business Solutions, Inc., and Greg Brooks, Executive Director/President, AMC Source

“It is kind of fun to do the impossible!”

Anyone who has taken a Disney Institute training program knows this quote well…Walt Disney uttered these immortal words many years ago and they resonate as much today as they did back then.

At the onset of the pandemic, there were so many things that seemed impossible.  How are we going to work together, but remotely?  What do we need to do to protect our clients as we navigate event cancellations?  What are we going to do with all this office space?  What is the appropriate level of staffing to effectively meet client needs?  The list seemed endless and overwhelming.  Imagine if you were the Executive Director of a stand-alone association…what would you do?

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Hosting Association Events Amidst a Global Pandemic: Adapting to New Health and Safety Standards

By Jonathan Strauss
Strauss Association Management

Since social distancing protocols were set in place, 2020 has seen association events cancelled left, right, and centre. As social gatherings are now restricted to small groups, we have seen hotels, convention centres and other venues prepare and publish new health and safety guidelines with the pandemic in mind.

In August, I hosted an online brainstorming session with several event and industry leaders of Manitoba. This brainstorming session welcomed guest panellists from Marriott International, Laura Pallotta, Regional Vice President, Sales and Distribution, Canada and Susan Saganski, Account Executive, Global Sales Organization, to speak on their company’s handling of event planning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marriott has been recognized as a hospitality leader in their industry for 93 years, and are known for their commitment to quality, their exacting standards, and their rigorous training procedures. Even so, they have faced great challenges throughout the pandemic—as have we all. Laura Pallotta says that the many changes they have had to implement throughout their hotels and venues across the globe have been to ensure a comfortable and clean stay for their customers.


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AH Client JPMA Fosters Creativity, Positivity and Kindness During COVID-19

The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is a client partner of Association Headquarters (AH). AH is a best-in-class association management company dedicated to enabling associations and societies to fulfill their missions, create value, and advance their causes, industries, and professions. AH understands association trends and best practices and has professionals experienced in management, meetings, marketing, non-dues revenue growth, technology, recruiting, finances, and more.   

JPMA has been working hard to educate and support our members, stakeholders, and other key players in our industry during COVID-19 and beyond. We aim to create an inclusive environment filled with kindness as we all navigate our new normal. Below are just a few examples of how we have been and continue to implement these crucial values.

JPMA has recently implemented a new series called, Jumpstart your Day with JPMA. This new series engages our JPMA board, members, and staff as we discuss the most pressing issues in our industry. We have been covering COVID-19 - pain points, challenges, and future outlooks. With this series, we are hoping to spread kindness through networking, foster a genuine connection between the association and our members, as well as provide support during these difficult times. Similarly, our first annual JPMA State of the Industry virtual event, held on Thursday, July 16 was created and implemented to broadcast and inform our members on the biggest issues impacting the industry today. 

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Fast Data Makes Educational Programs More Agile

by: Tracy Grzybowski
Director of Marketing
OmniPress

For years, organizations have been focused on the concept of “Big Data,” which is having access to a large volume of customer, operational, and financial data derived from a variety of sources. By cross-analyzing these different data sets, we can extract insights that help us make more meaningful and measurable decisions.

In other words, “Big Data” provides a more accurate picture of what’s happening across the organization.


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6 Ways Associations Can Leverage Ad Retargeting Beyond Growing Event Attendance

By: Jeff Rose
Director of AMC Partnerships
Feathr

There’s no sugar-coating it – times are really tough for associations. Between canceled or delayed events, sponsor and exhibitor drop-off, and other factors, many associations are left wondering how they’ll stay afloat in the coming months, let alone thrive. 

But here’s the key: instead of focusing on missed opportunities, shift your priorities and marketing goals to match what you can do right now. 

Now is a time when you can build trust with your members (and potential members!) by guiding them with insights and support. Now is a time to become the voice for your industry and position yourself as an essential resource for your audience when they need it most. 



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Close to Home: Marketing a Destination Loved by its Locals

by: Bryan Douglas (BDS)
Assistant Director of Sale
Visit Aurora


Our award-winning chefs, craft breweries, mural walls, and Rocky Mountain vistas serve as must-sees for every visitor to Aurora, Colorado. However, travel restrictions and limitations on group gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the flow of convention, business, and leisure travelers to our destination.

As our team discussed the road to recovery, providing locals with the tools to explore their very own backyard became a reoccurring theme. Colorado’s third-largest city, Aurora, is home to hundreds of international eateries, craft beverage locations, and thousands of trails just waiting to be discovered. Along with the resurgence of the “staycation,” our new goal was to target Aurora residents with specific advertising content alongside fun things to do within the city.  READ MORE

It should also be noted safety and statewide guidelines remain at the forefront of the way we do business. We encourage everyone, both residents and visitors, to follow CDC recommendations, including social distancing, handwashing, and mask-wearing in public indoor spaces.




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What is a Hybrid Event?

By Colleen Bottorff
Inbound Marketing Specialist, Memberclicks

If you’re starting to think about what events will look like in 2021 and beyond, you’re not alone. But it’s not so much a question of when we’ll be able to get together in large groups again, as it is a question of what the virtual side of events will look like.

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly accelerated our need for online events, the idea of a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual components has been around for years. And, now that we’ve all been forced to get a little more comfortable with the virtual side, it’s clear there is a ton of value to be had by incorporating online experiences.

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3 Tips to Streamline Open Enrollment in a Digitally Driven Environment

By: CBiz

HR teams and benefits administrators are being spread increasingly thin when it comes to open enrollment. Pivoting from an analog enrollment process to a digital one can substantially decrease the workload on HR teams, as well as increase effectiveness and efficiency. This is especially true in today’s increasingly remote workforce environment. Here are three tips to consider:

1. Check Your Employee Tools
As technology becomes more dominant in both the workplace and at home, employers should be using online and mobile enrollment tools more often. In fact, 66% of employers are now more digitally based than paper-based when it comes to managing employee benefits. Decision-support tools that are included in enrollment systems can be quite valuable, helping individuals and families identify the best benefits for them. Further, employees can get many answers from these tools rather than reaching out to HR, thus decreasing the burden on your HR team. Employers should also communicate cost resources and estimators that are available to employees. These tools provide an easy way for employees to calculate what their health care spend will be, depending on the plan selected, and give them time to plan for those expenses. 

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AMC Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement

Kristin Bennett, Founder & President of Nonprofit Resources &
Emma Bennett, Program Director of Nonprofit Resources 
 

The nature of Association Management Companies is to “fix it”. We roll up our sleeves and face challenges every day in support of our clients as they push their missions forward.  

After the death of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, many of us were quick to want to identify and fix the issue. . . because that’s what we do. We fix it. But RACISM. That’s more than an issue.  It’s more than a word.

As white women, we have not and will not personally experience the pain of racism in its many loud and quiet forms.  Because of this, it is our duty and honor to recognize our privilege and leverage it to the benefit of this important movement. We’ve had conversations with friends and family about how to apply privilege in our personal lives, but the scope has broadened. How can we apply our conviction to our company and those we serve as well?

There is a lot of work to be done, and it feels overwhelming.  Like many association fixers, we’re always wanting to jump in and make things right. Make a difference.  Be the change.  We want to get right to it, “What could we do right now to help?” “What are the right words to use” “What makes this better?”  In the case of this movement, humility is a key ingredient.  We first need to pause, listen to the black community and others who understand racism first-hand. Trust what they are saying.  Accept their reality.  We need to study the facts, examine issues with an open heart and mind, and be truly willing to look right at racism and stare it down. Before we can start fixing anything, we must be sure we are educated, open, and aware of our own unavoidable biases.  Only once we’re honest with ourselves, can jump into action and get busy fixing.

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Bermuda Offers Safe & Luxurious Escape for Vacations and Extended Stays

The Island Is One Of Only Four Places In The World Ranked Level 2 By The CDC


Donna Douglas,
Sales Manager, Bermuda Tourism Authority
[email protected]
Bermuda is open, safe and ready to welcome travellers. In August, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) improved the island’s ranking to Level 2—one of only four places in the world assessed with “moderate” COVID-19 risk level. Additionally, Bermuda just earned the World Travel & Tourism Council “Safe Travels” Stamp, which allows travellers to recognise governments and companies around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols.

Bermuda has taken safety seriously since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and has emerged as an extremely safe place for travellers to visit in 2020.  We continue to enhance and elevate our protocols to protect our local community and put our guests’ minds at ease, so they can fully enjoy and experience our island.



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SNEB Demonstrates That Actions Speak Louder Than Words

By Leslie Murphy, FASAE, CAE

President
Raybourn Group International

The Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) is an international community of professionals actively involved in nutrition education and health promotion with a vision of people worldwide empowered by food and nutrition education to change behavior, food systems, and policy. SNEB members work in colleges, universities and schools, government agencies, cooperative extension, in addition to voluntary and service organizations.

Even before the pandemic, SNEB members worked tirelessly in their communities advocating for healthy school meals, food system workers, access to healthy food for low-income families, and related public health issues. Nationally, in 2018 the Society issued a statement denouncing the involuntary separation of immigrant/refugee infants and minor children from their families as this creates harmful impacts on eating attitudes and behaviors. As social unrest gripped the country, the board issued a statement in June – like many organizations did – on addressing racial injustice but they also took the next step. As the statement said, “How can action support these fine words?”

SNEB’s work done to date:
  1. Devoted the July Board meeting to determine a process for committing, as a Board and Society, to learning, reflecting and addressing racial equity.
  2. Held a Dismantling Racism listening session with Society leaders during the 2020 virtual annual conference in July. Over 200 members attended and shared comments such as “Dietetics profession needs to have more diverse professionals being trained.  Positions of influence have many barriers for minority students and professionals,” and “Make sure cultural competencies currently written are reviewed and include how to work with diverse populations in concrete terms.  Biases needs to be uncovered and discussed.”
  3. Began a series of six work sessions in August, led by Joanne Burke and Karen Spiller from the University of New Hampshire, exploring the topics in the 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge including pre-session readings and videos. This represents a commitment of over 10 hours on the part of these leader volunteers.
Following this course of discovery, the Board will review the Society’s strategic plan in order to chart a course that is more inclusive and supports individual and organizational commitments to authentic racial equity and food justice.

Founded in the early ‘60s in order to publish the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, SNEB has been a client of Raybourn Group International for over 20 years. The 1,000 member organization is supported by a staff team of five working 2.5 FTE hours.

About Raybourn Group International

One of just 15% of association management companies (AMCs) accredited by the AMC Institute, Raybourn Group International serves local, state, regional, national and international organizations that total more than 60,000 members in 107 countries. RGI is headquartered in Indianapolis, with service locations in the cities of Chicago, Memphis and Houston.

Enhancing your Organization’s Leadership with Emotional Intelligence

By Jodi Fisher
Founder and CEO
Impact AMC

Our team recently attended ASAE’s Annual Meeting and Exposition where they learned all about how to better manage associations. One of the topics that stuck out was that of applying social work skills to association management. This session focused on emotional intelligence and how it applies to leadership.

Emotional intelligence is your ability to understand other people and their motives as well as your own. Your ability to understand and control your own emotions is tied to your emotional intelligence or quotient. You may be wondering how this ties to running your organization. Working on how you see others’ views, react, and read people are not only skills that make for healthy personal relationships, but professional as well. Learn to have more productive conversations by utilizing the following tips, ideas, and solutions.

The first step in amplifying your emotional intelligence is to relax before you react. When someone reacts to something, the first 90 seconds are chemical responses. After that, the response is a choice. Provide yourself and others with those 90 seconds to breathe. This does not exclude nonverbal reactions. If you have a board member that you are always butting heads with, take a moment to relax your face, listen, and absorb before reacting.



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Strategic Planning: Creative and Awesome Solutions for When You Can't Meet Face-to-Face

By Jeanne Weiss
Director of Marketing and Communication
AMPED Association Management

AMPED has distinguished itself as a leader in hosting and executing strategic planning sessions for associations and nonprofits. Depending on the needs of the client, a typical session may last two days, back-to-back, and require that leaders and staff travel to meet face-to-face.

So what happens when conditions are such that you can’t do back-to-back and face-to-face? The results can be surprisingly awesome!

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MedEvac Foundation International & AMC Institute Work Together to Support First Responders

As part of AMC Institute’s AMCs Engaged! Virtual Event last week, Cameron Curtis, CMM, CAE, MedEvac Foundation International President and CEO, explained the Foundation’s on-going virtual run/walk/roll event this year, called Run to Help the Helpers, www.medevacfoundation.org/run-to-help-the-helpers, as part of its ‘Taking Care of Our Own’ programs. Curtis invited association members to join the AMC Institute virtual team to assist with the Foundation’s goal of helping medical transport personnel improve mental health and wellness.

The Foundation supports all first responders working in emergency medical services whether by airplane, helicopter, ground transport, or vessel. These ambulance crews keep the window of time open during that “golden hour” when critical medical care determines life or death. Despite every effort, sadly some of these patients cannot be saved and spirited to safety.

“These repeated tragic scenes of pain and agony are brought home by first responders and are a constant burden and cannot be erased from memory,” said Curtis. “Often our helpers are the ones in need of help, therefore, the donations raised by our Run to Help the Helpers is so critical. As our virtual event is open until December 31, 2020, there is time for more AMCI members to contribute to our shared mission of providing best practices in whatever industry our associations represent,” she added.

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Association Management Companies See an Uptick in Interest

Companies say they are seeing more inquiries as associations seek consulting and look to outsource functions once performed by staff

July 24, 2020
By Walt Williams
This article was first posted in CEO Update

Association management companies say they are seeing more inquiries from associations about providing services since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with many groups either seeking expertise in subjects where they lack experience or needing to outsource services previously provided by staff.

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Performing Due Diligence: How an Association Board of Directors Should Evaluate its Association Management Company

By Mike Dwyer, CAE, Association Headquarters & Paul Hanscom, CAE, Ewald Consulting

It’s not uncommon that an association board of directors will decide to take a harder look at its relationship with its association management company partner after a significant change has occurred. This could be a change in staff leadership, management fee adjustment, or shift in the scope of service. Some associations have governing documents that stipulate that a level of review is required on a given time cycle, e.g. every three years. And occasionally a particularly fastidious board member will ask when the board last performed such a review, claiming that it’s the board’s fiduciary duty to perform its “due diligence” to ensure the resources invested by the association in the services provided by its AMC are well spent.

Association boards should seek guidance on how best to fulfill their obligation of “fiduciary due diligence” to assess the association/AMC relationship.

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Targeting Online Content to Members through AI

Pradeepa Siva, Director of Business Development, Selfstudy


Every association has access to a goldmine of content that can be invaluable to its members  — content that advances their understanding of their profession and helps them become better at their jobs. In order to maximize the value of this content, it is necessary to deliver it in a highly personalized way —  acknowledging that each member has unique information needs and preferences and little time to waste on irrelevant material. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the need for trustworthy, up-to-date information, regardless of its source. And as our understanding of the novel coronavirus and its implications for health, safety and business is constantly evolving, resulting in a deluge of published content, quick access to the most relevant new information is more vital than ever.

But how does an association cull through the ever-expanding knowledge base of information assets relevant to members, then target each person with the right information at the opportune time? And how does an association make itself even more relevant to members by transforming those assets into learning activities — without employing a team of professional education specialists? 

Meet SelfStudy Inc. We are a learning optimization technology company offering professional societies the first AI-powered cloud platform for delivering personalized content and adaptive learning programs. Our AI tools also generate user analytics— so associations continually get better at: 1) delivering exactly what members want and need 2) creating learning opportunities based on members’ engagement with the delivered material. Additionally, SelfStudy’s tools can handle credit tracking and reporting and facilitate badging and certification.


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Virtual Events and the Attendee Experience: 4 Ideas

Colleen Bottorff, Inbound Marketing Specialist, MemberClicks


As event planners start tackling their first all-virtual event, one crossroad they tend to come
to is...how do I engage my attendees and give them an energetic experience 
without being able to see them??

It’s true that some of the activities you would normally execute in-person just aren’t possible with a virtual event. That said, there are a ton of ways to translate those activities into a virtual experience, or execute something completely different!

Here are a few ways we tackled attendee engagement at MC Thrive. Could any of these work for your virtual event?




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A New Way of Life at MGM

Stephanie Glanzer, CMP, SVP and Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts International


Without question, the last few months have been among the most challenging that any of us will face in our careers; so
many unknowns and so much rapid change. But I’ve also been incredibly inspired by the resiliency, creativity, and passion that has emerged throughout the hospitality and meetings industries, as we navigate this new normal.

 As MGM Resorts International continues to reopen its resorts in Las Vegas and throughout the country, our first priority continues to be the health and safety of our guests and employees.

Upon reopening, we rolled out a robust Seven-Point Health and Safety Plan designed to create a comfortable, healthy experience for our guests while still maintaining the excitement of Las Vegas. We believe that “Vegas done safely is still Vegas.”




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No Problems, Only Opportunities

Jeff Rose, Director of AMC Partnerships, Feathr


It’s Wednesday, March 11, 2020, and I’m traveling around the greater D.C. area for client meetings. I’m washing and sanitizing my hands at every possible turn and tapping elbows and clicking heels in greeting – rather than shaking hands – but, generally speaking, most folks are not particularly concerned at this point about the novel coronavirus.

As I’m looking for a place to park downtown, I get a call from our President and he asks whether I think we’ll still be able to host our live event there the following week. I respond enthusiastically that all my meetings have still taken place and that we’ll probably fine. My response may have been colored with what most of my colleagues would characterize as “my perpetual optimism,” but, as we all know now, I could NOT have been more wrong – and, in hindsight, I am a bit embarrassed at just how wrong I was.

The next day I flew home, and it was almost immediately apparent that our world was very truly turning upside down. Clients started canceling or postponing events, workforces started going remote, and I, personally, put myself into a 14-day lockdown after finally internalizing the severity of the situation and the fact that I’d put myself at high risk for exposure to the virus.



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