Archive for January, 2020

Associations Advise Doctors, Public Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Written by GSF Editor on . Posted in Federation News, news-feed, Uncategorized

The deadly virus has spread quickly from China to the United States, and as researchers scramble to find a treatment, medical groups are advising members and the public on how to recognize cases and protect themselves.

Medical associations aren’t taking any chances with the Wuhan coronavirus, also known as the 2019 novel coronavirus—a deadly, highly contagious disease that originated in China and last week appeared for the first time in the U.S.

Now, medical associations are warning both their members and the public about the virus, which infects the respiratory system and has so far killed at least 80 people worldwide. At least five cases have been confirmed in the U.S., and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking dozens more potential ones.

While details remain vague as to its cause and potential risks, a number of major medical groups are offering precautionary advice to both doctors and the public. Among them:

American College of Emergency Physicians.  ACEP is advising ER doctors on how to manage a suspected case when it appears. “Human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus is occurring, but it is not clear yet how easily it spreads from person to person,” the association states on its alert page. “Airborne and contact precautions, along with eye protection, should be used when treating a patient with fever plus symptoms of lower respiratory illness who has traveled from Wuhan City, China, or who has had close contact with a person under investigation for the novel coronavirus while that person was ill.”

American Medical Association. The AMA is sharing information with doctors via text-based recommendations and live video events, including a Facebook Live discussion that was held Friday. Additionally, a commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, written by experts at the Penn State University College of Medicine and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says that although coronaviruses once were seen as mild infections like the common cold, they need to be taken more seriously. “The emergence of yet another outbreak of human disease caused by a pathogen from a viral family formerly thought to be relatively benign underscores the perpetual challenge of emerging infectious diseases and the importance of sustained preparedness,” the authors wrote.

American Lung Association. The association offered general health information from the CDC and other authoritative sources, including recommendations about how to prevent the spread of the disease. “The American Lung Association is closely following reports issued by CDC and will help relay important public health information provided by the agency,” said Albert Rizzo, the association’s chief medical officer, in a statement.

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Daily Buzz: Put Together An Effective Internal Meeting

Written by GSF Editor on . Posted in Federation News, news-feed, Uncategorized

To get results from an internal meeting, leaders need to get creative. Also: Keep your association’s online payments safe.

A meeting can be a valuable time to strategize and problem solve—or a gigantic waste of resources that produces nothing but frustration. To avoid this, leaders must facilitate internal meetings that matter to all participants.

“Effective meetings have high participation, good energy, constructive collaboration, and meaningful conversations,” writes Mary Abbajay in Forbes. “In short, effective meetings are those which tap into the wisdom, expertise, and energy of the group.”

Leading an effective meeting takes preparation, and the first step is to define the meeting’s purpose. Ask yourself why you are meeting and what you need to accomplish. From there, you can create an agenda that targets your goals and objectives.

When it comes to creating an agenda, the key word is “design,” Abbajay says. Don’t just focus on what to discuss; figure out how to discuss it.

“Creating a meeting that is engaging and productive requires more than simply jotting down a few topic areas,” Abbajay says. “Think of meetings as a series of conversations in which the participants must engage in order to accomplish the purpose.”

You want to generate participation from all meeting attendees, so consider different strategies to get everyone talking.

“Techniques can range from simple ‘round-robins’ where you go around the room and hear from everyone, to pair-shares, to more elaborate conversation structures like SWOT Analysis where participants identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats,” Abbajay says.

To keep things on track, create a meeting timeline based on the conversations you intend to facilitate. This will keep your meeting tight, focused, and as short as possible.

Secure Online Payments

Allowing your #members to make purchases online is the way of today! Do you know how to keep your #onlinepayment system safe from #databreaches? Check out our latest article to keep your member’s personal information safe! #assnchat #security #Vocalmeet

— Vocalmeet (@vocalmeet) January 21, 2020

Online payments have become a necessity for many associations. And though they are quick and easy, they come with security risks. Since online payments require access to personal information, associations need to take precautions to ward off data breaches.

“Simply by executing security basics, associations can dramatically reduce their vulnerability to online payment threats,” a recent Vocalmeet blog post says.

For example, associations should tell users to log out every time they step away from their device, make sure accounts and applications are password-protected, change passwords regularly, and use two-factor authentication to make breaches even more difficult.

Other Links of Note

New year, new strategy. Five CEOs share with Inc. how they’re adjusting their strategies to fuel a successful 2020.

Hungry for event food inspiration? Event Marketer identifies the top food and beverage trends for this year.

As you ramp up an online learning program, it’s important to create a user-friendly experience, writes Colleen Bottorff on MemberClicks.

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Don’t Downplay Your Members’ Data Privacy Concerns

Written by GSF Editor on . Posted in Federation News, news-feed, Uncategorized

More than four-fifths of Americans surveyed by Pew said the risks of corporate data use weren’t worth the benefits. It’s an issue that associations should tread carefully on.

Data collection may be a fact of life for many Americans, but it doesn’t mean they have to like it.

And the fact that they don’t might be just enough to give you pause.

A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that more than 60 percent of people felt that it was not possible to go through life without being tracked by either corporations (62 percent) or the government (63 percent). Despite knowing that such privacy considerations come with the territory, many Americans are uncomfortable with it. A full 81 percent say they have no control over what companies collect, and an equivalent number says that the risks outweigh the benefits of such data collection, which is rampant on sites such as Facebook and Google.

“Americans’ concerns about digital privacy extend to those who collect, store, and use their personal information,” the report’s authors write. “Additionally, majorities of the public are not confident that corporations are good stewards of the data they collect.”

While government data collection raises similar concerns, Americans tend to be more accepting of those risks, with a third of respondents saying the benefits outweigh the risks in that case.

For associations, this state of affairs creates a number of questions, both for how they organize their membership and how they use data. Recent laws and policies such as the General Data Protection Regulation emphasize the need for groups to take the use and storage of data seriously, and they reflect the potential blowback that members could have in the case of a data breach.

But it also shows a place where associations can make their voices known in a big way. Last year, a number of library groups won positive nods after standing up against a policy from the social network LinkedIn, which was requiring users to log in to its learning platform rather than using an anonymized library card number to take online courses.

And there are cases in which data use may even be allowed or desired—the Pew study cites an example in which poorly performing schools share student data with a nonprofit looking to improve educational outcomes, which more survey respondents supported than opposed.

But there are concerns among members that associations may not take the data issue seriously enough—something underlined in a Community Brands study from last year.

“Members view data privacy and security as a top concern for both today and ahead, but there is currently a disconnect with association professionals who are underestimating members’ concerns,” the firm said at the time of the study’s release.

To put this all another way: Don’t underplay the issue of consumer data privacy, because much of the public isn’t doing that right now.

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Daily Buzz: How to Make Your Presenters Presentable

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What you can do to get your conference speakers ready. Also: Don’t ignore your social mentions; learn how to answer them.

Delivering quality presentations will always be a challenge, but organizations should do a better job preparing their speakers, says Dave Lutz, managing director of Velvet Chainsaw.

Several strategies can help you ensure a proficient performance from your presenters. Session-planning calls can be the most effective way to prepare speakers, Lutz says, and they should be about more than logistics. Use them to assess the presenter’s commitment to delivering a quality session, understanding the audience, and making the content relevant or provocative.

Organizations could also beef up their speaker portals and provide resources that will help presenters improve.

“Curate or create short videos or links to resources that cover such topics as writing winning session proposals, PowerPoint and image best practices, copyrights do’s and don’ts, attracting attendance to your session, livestreaming presentation tips, and incorporating audience response systems,” Lutz says.

He notes that the preparation process should vary depending on each speaker’s experience. “For your most trusted presenters, you may have a brief conference call and be soft on deadlines. Conversely, rookie speakers would require that you schedule several calls and be more of a stickler on deadlines.”

Responding to Your Social Mentions

When creating a #socialmedia strategy, there are two things you should focus on:
☝ How you’re talking to your customers
✌ How you’re getting them to respond

— Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) January 14, 2020

Audience engagement is a key social media strategy. That includes knowing how to respond to any mention of your organization on social channels, writes digital marketing manager Chloe West for the Sprout Social blog.

“Each time you find a mention of your business on social media, you should make an effort to respond to it. You’ll have an opportunity to interact with people who are already aware of and interested in your brand,” West says.

Whether the mention is positive or negative, it’s important to respond quickly and positively.

“Even if the person mentioning your brand is extremely unhappy, always manage to stay positive and reassure them that you’re going to do whatever you can to make things right for them,” West says.

Other Links of Note

Do your volunteers have little to do? Andrea Holthouser breaks down how to offer more opportunities on the Network for Good blog.

SEO tips. H1 tags aren’t as important as you might think, says Levi Wardell in Association Chat.

Marketing automation. Nonprofits should be leveraging new technology to reach out to their communities, argues Kingsley Allen in Blue Avocado.

The post Daily Buzz: How to Make Your Presenters Presentable appeared first on Associations Now.

Daily Buzz: Why Event Pros Also Need to Be Event Attendees

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How event professionals can maximize their time as event attendees. Also: Tips to boost your email marketing efforts.

Event professionals shouldn’t just be planning events for others, they should be attending some themselves, writes Nicole Peck on BizBash.

“Regardless of your tenure in the industry, conferences and events are packed with education and activities to help achieve new goals. Where else can you learn, grow, meet new people, and encounter new ideas?” Peck says.

To make the transition from event professional to event attendee, start with a plan: Set a goal to attend at least one new event this year that you have never attended before. Look out for any events that pull you out of your comfort zone and challenge you to think differently, Peck suggests.

Once you’ve chosen an event, spend time on the event website and social media feeds to network ahead of time.

“See who is active in the social community and connect with them in advance. Sort out people and organizations you would like to meet with and set up meetings at the event,” Peck says.

Once you’re at an event, do your best to be present. For example, if you’re not using your phone to take notes or network, put it away. It might also help to break away from your group and find an empty seat.

“Even if you are attending an event with a colleague, do not sit with them! I have connected with the most amazing people because I sat next to [them] on a bus ride or filled an empty seat in the middle of a row,” Peck says.

Post-event, follow up with the people you met. Connect with them on social media and make an effort to get in touch.

Effective Email Marketing in 2020: Add a Personal Touch

Supercharge Your Email Marketing in 2020: 4 Tips – #assnchat

— MemberClicks (@MemberClicks) January 13, 2020

No matter the email marketing strategy, there are a few things any organization can do to make their campaigns more impactful, says Callie Walker of MemberClicks. One method is to write your email as if it is only going to one member as opposed to your entire membership.

“That one-on-one ‘feel’ is important when communicating via email. Hundreds or even thousands of people may have received that email, but the end-user wants to feel like it was written for them,” Walker says.

Other Links of Note

To hire the right people, interviewers should focus on who the candidate is as a person, says Laura Garnett in Inc.

What kind of content works best on Instagram? HubSpot’s Allie Decker compares the performance of images, GIFs, and video on the popular platform.

What is a blended workforce, and how do we prepare for it? Kaya Ismail breaks it down on CMSWire.

The post Daily Buzz: Why Event Pros Also Need to Be Event Attendees appeared first on Associations Now.

Should Your Next Conference Have a Plant-Based Menu?

Written by GSF Editor on . Posted in Federation News, news-feed, Uncategorized

This year’s Golden Globes served an entirely plant-based menu for the first time. With more of your attendees going meatless and looking for meetings to have a smaller environmental footprint, should your conference menu be plant-based too?

You may have tuned in to the Golden Globes last Sunday night to find out if your favorite movie or TV show won, to see what the stars were wearing, or to check out who gave the funniest (or most long-winded) acceptance speech.

If you happened to catch Joaquin Phoenix’s speech after he took home the Golden Globe for his performance in Joker, you may have noticed he thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which co-produces the awards show, for serving a plant-based menu as part of its sustainability efforts.

The menu, the first of its kind for any major awards show, included an appetizer of chilled golden beet soup and a main dish of king oyster mushrooms presented and cooked to call to mind scallops.

According to The Washington Post, organizers said the move to go vegan “was meant to send a signal about the impact of animal products on climate change.”

While the menu and stance had its share of both fans and critics, I think it signals what’s likely to be a fast-emerging trend in the conference food and beverage space: creating more sustainable menus.

For example, a North American market research study published late last year found that 35 percent of millennial guests are looking for more vegetarian options on menus. And the International Food Information Council’s 2019 Food and Health Survey found an increased interest in plant-based diets.

Some associations already have been working toward more sustainable menus. After embracing a “meatless Monday” campaign at past annual conferences, the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education introduced an all-vegetarian menu in 2017 for its 2,000 attendees. And Kara Ferguson, a meeting planner with the American Society of Anesthesiologists, told my colleague Tim Ebner in the Fall 2019 issue of Associations Now that it’s part of her job to create a sustainable menu for attendees.

“Associations and groups should absolutely team up and work together to source food that has a low carbon footprint,” Ferguson said. “Plant-based food options are an excellent way to do that. Of course, you’ll always have a few meat eaters, but you can limit items like beef or pork [whose production processes are high greenhouse gas emitters] and do something more environmentally friendly like chicken or turkey.”

In addition, meeting planners should no longer be concerned that caterers and convention centers won’t be able to deliver delicious plant-based meals and menus. For example, Desiree Neal, executive chef for Distinctive Gourmet, the Virginia Beach Convention Center’s onsite caterer, recently told Convene magazine that she’s getting more requests to create plant-based menus and that some of those dishes are cultivated from the venue’s onsite garden. And large convention center caterers like Levy and Centerplate are also putting more focus on plant-based foods. From the looks of it, associations will have a lot more options when it comes to building entirely plant-based menus.

As sustainability becomes more of a priority and as attendee dietary preferences change, how are your conference menus evolving? Please share in the comments.

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Daily Buzz: Develop a Visual Identity to Strengthen Your Brand

Written by GSF Editor on . Posted in Federation News, news-feed, Uncategorized

Attracting modern audiences means putting visual content first. Also: Cybersecurity is important for associations, too.

Standing out in a sea of content and raising brand awareness can be a challenge for organizations. To catch the eye of potential members or donors, put an emphasis on visuals, says Amy Balliett in Inc.

“Text-based content isn’t enough if you want to engage today’s audiences,” she says. “To truly thrive in a world that puts visual content first, you need to adopt a visual-first mindset.”

That means taking a new approach to your content marketing strategy. “If you write the text or messaging before planning what types of visual content you’ll be deploying, you’re not really putting visuals first. You should start planning every campaign by asking what types of content your audience is most likely to engage with, and on what platforms,” Balliett says.

As you develop your visual content, establish clear brand guidelines to follow. A consistent style across all platforms will give your organization a visual identity and help raise brand awareness. Balliett recommends developing a visual workbench: a collection of predesigned assets that you can reuse.

“Maybe you need a set of icons that represent your fundamental products or services. Or maybe there’s a stat that you share often because it proves the value of what you have to offer,” she says. “There’s no sense in redesigning an asset from scratch every time. Even if you did so, the different look and feel of each could actually prevent you from developing a more recognizable brand.”

Preparing Your Association for Cyberattacks

We check that our doors lock behind us and zip our bags in heavy crowds. So why aren’t we so good at making sure our online lives are just as secure?

— (@assn_success) January 6, 2020

If you think cybersecurity is only a concern for large organizations, think again. According to CPO Magazine, half of all cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses.

“Having a conversation about cybersecurity is imperative for any organization,” says Association Success’s Chelsea Brasted. “There is no association that doesn’t have something a cybercriminal would be interested in having, or cutting you off from in exchange for a hefty ransom.”

To combat this, Brasted recommends discussing cybersecurity with all employees, not just the IT department. “Regardless of who gets involved in the conversation, those conversations are required in today’s digital, well-connected world,” she says.

Other Links of Note

Member orientation doesn’t have to be boring, says Tatiana Morand on the Wild Apricot blog.

How can your organization stand out on LinkedIn? Optimize your company page, says Allie Decker on HubSpot.

Experiencing content burnout? Christine Crandell offers four steps to turn your content strategy around, in CMSWire.

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What’s on the Horizon for Meetings in 2020?

Written by GSF Editor on . Posted in Federation News, news-feed, Uncategorized

A new year often brings change. Here are three ways that association meetings may transform in 2020.

The beginning of a new year comes with lots of industry predictions, and there’s no shortage of them when it comes to meetings and events. So, how different will association meetings look in 2020? Here are three possibilities:

Meetings Tech Will Move Beyond Apps

According to the 2020 Global Meetings Forecast Report [PDF] by American Express Meetings & Events, meeting pros think that this will be the year when technology gets fully integrated into the event experience.

And that means moving beyond event apps, which have become so ubiquitous that one meeting planner referred to them as the “new lanyards.”

“In 2020, I think there will be a renewed focus on utilizing solutions that will help increase attendee engagement, streamline post-event follow-up, and help organizations fuel their sales pipeline through live events,” said Cvent CEO and Founder Reggie Aggarwal. “While tradeshows, conventions, and other event types may not have changed format much over the years, the tools to maximize their impact certainly have, and I think the need for better and more actionable data will continue to drive the technological developments in the year ahead.”

One idea to consider: using facial-recognition software to speed up registration. For example, at IAEE’s Expo! Expo! last month in Las Vegas, attendees could use a facial recognition check-in process onsite. According to a press release from Streampoint Solutions, whose FaceReg software was used at the event, 35 percent of attendees took advantage of it.

“Investing in this technology in the event space opens the doors to not only advancing the check-in process but also creates new opportunities to enhance audience engagement experiences,” said Sam Louie, director of operations at Streampoint Solutions.

Speaker Diversity Gets Prioritized

In late 2018, I wrote that I really wanted to see “manels” go away in 2019. While they’ve yet to be completely eradicated (a recent Bizzabo study showed that almost two-thirds of conference presenters are still men), we have seen some strides.

For example, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins said in June 2019 that he would no longer be a part of all-male speaking panels.

“Starting now, when I consider speaking invitations, I will expect a level playing field, where scientists of all backgrounds are evaluated fairly for speaking opportunities,” he said in a press release. “If that attention to inclusiveness is not evident in the agenda, I will decline to take part.”

Then, in November, Shoptalk announced that its March 2020 conference would feature an all-women speaker lineup—a decision that some praised and others thought was extreme.

“We believe this groundbreaking move—a first in events to our knowledge—is necessary to propel our industry forward and showcase many incredibly talented women who are working to transform retail in every way,” said Zia Daniell Wigder, Shoptalk’s chief global content officer, in a blog post. “Starting in 2021, Shoptalk will feature 50/50 male and female speakers every year.”

Sustainability Moves to the Forefront

More associations are facing this reality: A greater number of meeting attendees want to reduce their carbon footprint by flying less, and some companies are limiting how often their employees can fly.

In the EventMB report “10 Event Trends for 2020” (registration required), one of the trends highlighted is an increase in virtual meetings due to “flight shaming.”

“As the meetings industry embraces a stronger commitment to sustainability …, unnecessary flying will be a key target of green company policies in 2020,” wrote EventMB Editor Julius Solaris. “Unnecessary travel … will be cut in favor of online delivery methods.”

What does it mean for associations?

For one, they will have to diversify their conference offerings. That may include creating regional events or even bringing education to members by hosting roadshows across the country. And, of course, associations can add a virtual component to a meeting for those who can’t be there.

Associations can also start examining ways to reduce the environmental impact of travel to their conferences—something my colleague Tim Ebner explored in the Fall 2019 issue of Associations Now.

What changes do you think meetings will or should undergo in 2020? Tell us about them in the comments.

The post What’s on the Horizon for Meetings in 2020? appeared first on Associations Now.

Daily Buzz: Stay in Touch With Lapsed Members

Written by GSF Editor on . Posted in Federation News, news-feed, Uncategorized

Encourage membership renewals from lapsed members with these three strategies. Also: how to drown out the distractions and improve concentration at work.

Has your hard-earned membership count dropped? Seeing members lapse is frustrating, but they may not be gone forever.

“The thing is, they may not necessarily be choosing not to renew,” says Callie Walker of MemberClicks. “They may not be thinking about it at all, which is why communicating with them—both leading up to the member expiration date AND after—is so critical.”

To encourage renewals, Walker suggests reaching out to lapsed members at three key points after their expiration date arrives:

Expiration day. “It’s crucial to reach out to your members the moment they lapse,” Walker says. In the email, remind recipients that their membership expires today and highlight the benefits of remaining a member. Demonstrate where members can renew, and provide a link to make it easy.

Three months past renewal date. Thank recipients for being members and remind them that their membership fees are 90 days past due. Give them a date by which they need to pay their dues in order to continue their member benefits. Provide a representative’s contact information in case they have questions or need assistance. This can also work 30 or 60 days past the renewal date, Walker points out. “The more you can communicate with your lapsed members, the better!”

Membership dropped. “Still no renewal? It’s time to send one final message. But you can still make it convincing!” Walker says. Inform recipients that their membership has expired. Make it clear that their participation is always welcome and tease a few upcoming initiatives. To cap things off, provide contact information in case they would like to discuss rejoining.

In all three email templates, Walker recommends highlighting benefits that members receive from your organization, such as networking opportunities, training, and education.

Going Deep

16 strategies to improve focus, minimize busywork and find time for deep work | WBT Systems #assnchat #associations #productivity

— TopClass LMS by WBT Systems (@WBT_Systems) December 31, 2019

With daily distractions and interruptions on the job, it can be difficult to find time for deep work, a form of concentration without distraction that opens up new kinds of productivity, according to the WBT Systems blog. How do you avoid procrastinating and filling your days with busywork? The WBT team says it’s a group effort.

“Work out a system with your boss and coworkers so you can enjoy blocks of uninterrupted quiet time. Put on your headphones and tape a sign to your door or cubicle along with a notepad and paper so visitors can say why they stopped by and when they’re available to talk later.”

Other Links of Note

Need to find the right work-life balance? Ashley Faus of HubSpot offers a new approach.

Social studies. Dennis Shiao of the Content Marketing Institute offers seven tips to up your social media game in 2020.

Free webinars. The Wild Apricot Blog identifies 40 free nonprofit webinars happening in January.

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