31 August 2010

Reflections on #ASAE10

Before you read what I have to say, go read Maddie's thoughts, since she says a lot of what I'm thinking, only way better than I could (and notice that she liked a lot of things, too), and Jamie's awesome post on why passion matters.

Let me open with my favorite part of the experience:  I LOVED that the CAE recognition was back in the general session (although I heard a rumor that it was just because of the 50th anniversary, which I hope is not true). I know a lot of association professionals have no real idea what the CAE is and think reading all those names is boring, but new CAEs have worked hard for a major accomplishment.  You can sit through a 30 minute commercial for ASAE (aka the Joy Behar interview)?  You can sit for 10 minutes while people who've achieved a significant professional milestone get to walk across the stage and be recognized.  I sincerely hope it's not being bumped back to the CAE breakfast next year.  That would be a shame - I rarely go, not only because I'm not a morning person, but also because it's an additional fee (even for people who, for instance, have busted their asses for the CAE program for 6 solid years. Which is a whole 'nother post). Doing the recognition there ghettoizes it, just like Maddie notes happened with the GIVE Award.

Speaking of, although it wasn't perfect in execution, I loved the GIVE Award.  I have to give a major shout out to ASAE staffer DJ Johnson, CAE, for coming up with it, and I hope they'll use the good and bad this year as a platform to make it bigger and better next year.

Speaking of DJ (aka the Membership Section Council staff rep), I loved that the incoming MSC member who will be taking over my team's projects from this past year reached out to me to help keep continuity.  As far as I know, that wasn't officially recommended, but way to go above and beyond, New Volunteer!

Another thing I loved was the emphasis on service and partnering with Midnight Mission.  ASAE's been talking a lot about social responsibility for the past 2 years or so, but so far, it's mostly looked like talk to this observer.  Putting muscle behind it (literally, for the Build a Bike teams) is a VERY welcome development.  I helped with the service projects this time, and that's a definite on my agenda for St. Louis next year.

I also, in common with many, have to give a some major love to the ASAE staff.  Me and my co-presenters were being recorded, and we just HAD to be difficult:  Prezi AND Macs.  And in practicing what we preach, we were planning to draft an official back channel rep, so we HAD to have Internet access.  We had pointed all this out in advance and been assured we'd been good on all counts.  When we arrived in our session room about 30 minutes before our presentation was due to start Monday morning, the wi-fi didn't reach the back corner of the LA Convention Center, the AV staff had never heard of Prezi, and no one had a Mac VGA connector.  Brian Kirkland and (new CAE) Rosario Ortiz-Davis had everything fixed and ready to go with plenty of time to spare.  Just another example of how the staff will fix ANYTHING for you really most of the time in general but always particularly at the Annual Meeting.  Association professionals do meetings for a living, so we're tough and we know - great job dealing with a sleepy and slightly anxious/pissed off team of presenters, Brian and Rosario!

Even though I made sure not to overschedule myself with presentations this time (unlike Toronto), I only got to two breakouts. The "Innovate like Pixar" session left me cold, but I LOVED LOVED LOVED the "Fresh Perspectives: Insights from Young Professionals" session (and not just because my padawan was presenting).  As someone who's not too far removed from her YP days, I'm so pleased to see all the efforts ASAE is making to reach out to and support YPs.  The session consisted of presentation from 3 of the 5 thesis groups in the inaugural Leadership Academy class:  recruiting and retaining YPs, the "Volunteer Dating Game," and bridging the communication gap.  If someone knows where the handouts and slides are, please put the link in the comments?  The session was also recorded, which would be worth checking out (it took place Tuesday, August 24 at 10:45 am). 

And of course I have to give a shout out to all the YAP shenanigans:  the pre-event mani-pedi party, the flashmob (the Austin CVB rocks, by the way), the YAP party, and the live Sweetspot broadcast (not technically YAP, but hosted by YAPstars Maddie Grant and KiKi L'Italien).

Of course, it wasn't all great. 

Last year I hadn't gone to ANY of the general sessions.  I made a point of going this year.  Mistake.  Cavalcade of (as my boss calls them) white male landowners. And why did the opening general session feed DIRECTLY into 5 hours in the exhibit hall?  I appreciate that ASAE's trying to compress exhibit hours - we're trying to do the same at NACHRI - but way to kill the buzz.  Oh wait, there WAS no buzz from the opening general session speaker (Bill George). I was with the Mojo guy (Marshall Goldsmith), at least sort of, until he made that ridiculous "media addiction is more serious than drug addiction" comment.  I admit, I might be reading too much into one comment, but....Look, I'm old skool.  I have only a dumb phone, and yes, I do find it somewhat annoying when my smartphone-having friends pull them out and get sucked in while we're sharing some rare F2F time.  But the last I heard, heroin can still KILL you.  Nobody ever died from iPhone overuse.  And don't get me started on Gen-Xers and "inspirational" speakers.  Un-mixy things.

Diversity, or lack thereof, struck me as a big problem. I loved the recognition of the DELP scholars.  But...well, Mads hits on this way better than I could.  I also want to throw in:  the ASAE Fellows (this one's close to me because I applied this year and wasn't selected).  Two men and two women, sure, but four middle aged CEO white people (yes, I know that they could be diverse in ways that aren't apparent to the naked eye).  No young or even younger professionals.  No non-CEOs.  And then they were introduced, but we didn't learn ANYTHING about them.  Not even what, in my mind, would be key:  what do you plan to DO for the profession now that you're a Fellow?  Some of the Fellows kick some serious ass, but a lot of those names?  Never heard of them.  Who the hell are these people?

As a matter of fact, I think that might be my new mantra: 
That's lovely, but WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
Speaking of doing, we all MUST do a better job welcoming first time attendees, new members, new volunteers - anyone going through that awful "I'm the only one with no friends" ordeal.  Toni Rae Brotons makes this point far better than I could.  (One small note on this: if you're going to have people in the general sessions stand up to be recognized, BRING UP THE HOUSE LIGHTS.)

In closing, I go back to one of the comments to Maddie's post:  One of the comments (from Tom Morrison, natch): "Sometimes not learning anything 'significantly new' means you are leading in the area of innovation."  I'm hoping that's true.

30 August 2010

Always the Last to Know: Tumblr

Billed as "the easiest way to blog," Tumblr is designed to live half way between FB and Twitter, with the goal of fostering real community rather than just a bunch of broadcasting into an echo chamber.  The platform allows you to easily share photos, text, links, quotes, music, and video from pretty much any device that can connect to the Internet.

27 August 2010

Friday Top 5

The weekend marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As anyone who knows me at all already knows, New Orleans is my emotional and spiritual home.  In honor of the continuing efforts at recovery (which were set back by the BP oil spill disaster)

Top 5 Things that weren't destroyed by Katrina/BP
  1. The Mardi Gras Indians (watch that link, though - it misses a LOT of key information)
  2. WWOZ
  3. The fantastic annual calendar of festivals
  4. Live, local music (although the storm took many legends from us, either during the flood itself or in the stressful aftermath, which was too much for many who were already in ill health)
  5. The spirit of the city

Photo credit: Artist Recording Collective

26 August 2010

YAP: Oh Yeah, We're Bad!

What's next for YAP? You never know....

23 August 2010

Plays Well With Others: Resources

A fabulous List o Links to all the resources we mentioned!


HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

IP/Copyright/Creative Commons
And another great post from Lindy on the non-tech tools you need to make all this stuff work.

Oh - and if you're curious about that copyright ruling that relaxes the standards on video a bit, the details are in the Federal Register.

Plays Well With Others: Tips

Layla, Lynn, and Elizabeth's ninja tips for engaging your audiences:


Don’t auto-post everything to everywhere, but do learn how to selectively auto-post in your chosen platforms (for instance, do register your FB and LI accounts to TweetDeck, so cross-posting is an option).

Check out the administrative interface of every platform you use - you’d be surprised at how much information is available on things like which links got clicked, who likes you, what they’re doing, etc.

Use URL shorteners and your regular web analytics tool to track how effective your posts are. (Are people clicking on what you want them to click on?)

When people contact you (@ replies, direct messages, posts to your FB page’s wall), respond.

Don’t forget about direct mail, which is still the most effective way to reach people, and email, which is still the most effective online way to reach people.

Figure out ways to reward your most ardent supporters, and make sure they’re ways that are meaningful to them.

Don’t ask LESS of social media in regards to ROI than your other communications channels...but don’t ask MORE, either.

Make sure more than one person in your organization knows something about your chosen tools - you don’t want everything to come to a screeching halt if s/he chooses to leave.

Dial back your efforts on the platforms that aren’t helping you meet you goals, so you can dial up your efforts on those that are.

Regularly revisit your goals to ensure your tools and efforts are still meeting your needs.

Follow thought leaders like @Mashable to keep up on the newest tools and new features your existing tools may have added.

Promote your top social media outlets in your e-mail signatures and business cards to drive visits and use.

Harness the power of RSS feeds. They will allow you to deliver content to a variety of platforms automatically.

Tag your items using searchable keywords and include those in descriptions whenever possible. That’s how people will find your stuff online.


Understand Twitter’s #hashtag power – they spread your words far beyond your followers – and use a tool like Tweetreach to track how far your tweets spread.

Use general hashtags (#nonprofit, #marketing) to help your tweets get more exposure.

BUT don’t use more than 2-3 hashtags per tweet, and don’t use more than 8 characters per hashtag.

Leave at least 20 characters to allow for easy retweeting (so keep your tweets to no more than 120 characters including hashtags).

Try to keep your Twitter handle (account name) under 10 characters to allow for easy retweeting and responding.

Use a real picture of yourself for a personal account and a logo for a branded account.

Use the “Web” link on your Twitter profile to direct users to a portion of your website that might be useful to them. For example: running a Twitter promotion for followers? Direct them right to it.

If it’s taken you a while to respond, RT the original tweet in your response. It will help give the person you are responding to context.

Check the trending topics every time you log into to Twitter to see if there are any ties you can make to the association’s content.

Thank those from your target market (i.e. potential or current members) for following you.

Use #ff (aka #followfriday) to help your members connect with each other.

Create a general hashtag for the profession or trade and use it religiously when you have any content that relates to the profession. Avoid weird spellings or shortenings if possible to make it easier for them to appear in Twitter searches.

Use search tools like Tweepsearch or Twellow to find your target audience within Twitter. Supplement that with RSS feeds of Twitter searches that look for mentions of the trade or profession to find members and potential members.

Identify in the Twitter bio which employee(s) monitor the Twitter account to give others a sense of who they are talking with.

Before creating a new hashtag, make sure no one else is using it by looking for it on Twitter Search and What the Hashtag.

Don’t forget to brand your Twitter background. Use it as an opportunity to inform other Twitter users about your other channels or as a place to promote upcoming events.


Once you have 25 fans, secure a user name for your page by visiting www.facebook.com/username, and try to make it consistent with usernames on other channels (.i.e, NACHRI’s website is www.childrenshospitals.net, and our FB user name is www.facebook.com/childrenshospitals).

Keep wall posts under 300 characters to keep the “read more” link from appearing.

Utilize notes instead of updates when communicating something longer than 300 characters. Updates have been relegated to a person’s inbox, but they do not actually show up as a message.

Use the Facebook application “Networked Blogs” to deliver your blog directly to your Facebok Fan Page Wall. It is more reliable than the Facebook Notes importing feature.

When creating a web page you know you want to share on Facebook, make sure to include a picture in the content. This will appear as a thumbnail when posted to your Fan Page’s wall and will be more likely to grab someone’s eye than just plain text.

Don’t underestimate the power of event notices for reminders about deadlines.

Facebook Insights are downloadable. Go to your Page’s Insights page and click “Export Data” at the top.

Encourage conversation by asking questions relevant to the profession or trade that allow individuals to express their opinions.

Use the “Say Something” box on your Fan Page to give out the moderator’s contact info in case there is a problem.

Involver offers two free Facebook application that allow you to import your YouTube Channel and Twitter feed to your Facebook Page, which makes it easy for your fans to connect with you on other channels as well.

Get more exposure on Facebook from visitors to your website by installing the “Like” button on your site.

Plays Well With Others: Prezi

Plays Well With Others: Presentation

20 August 2010

Friday Top 5

I am leaving on a jet plane today for LA for the ASAE Annual Meeting. No posts until I get back. I know, I know - SO disappointed, right? Here are the Top 5 ways to keep up with all the action:
  1. Acronym
  2. Twitter - #ASA10
  3. ASAE10 hub
  4. Virtual attendance (it's not to late to register!)
  5. The ASAE 10 blog roll
See you next week!

Image credit:  viva goal

19 August 2010

Last Chance to Dance!

The #ASAE10 flashmob goes down THIS Sunday, August 22 in the Texas Pavilion booth (#921) at 10:45 am PDT, which means you have approximately 72 hours to learn the choreography.  Get crackin'!  You do not want to miss this historic opportunity to make a fool of yourself with hundreds of your current or soon-to-be closest friends in front of even more hundreds of your association peers!

18 August 2010

What I'm Reading

  • There's a great article by Scott Steen in the August Associations Now on Design Thinking, which has been on my mind a lot since Hackation.
  • Another good one from the August Associations Now, about Gen-X and leadership. Several of my really smart Gen-X peers were interviewed. And did you notice?  CAE, CAE, CAE, CAE.  I think there's a blog post in that somewhere.
  • ReadWriteWeb reports on people's expectations of crisis response in social media, and I have to wonder: is this realistic?
  • How to be a great boss.  Most of the advice seems pretty intuitive, but then again, how many *bad* boss stories are there to indicate it's not?
  • Jeff Hurt helps us understand how to disagree productively (and why it's so hard).
  • Just in time for #ASAE10: how to create "tweetable moments" in presentations.

17 August 2010

NTEN Continues the Awesome

First it was Holly Ross's Single Ladies video as a reward for reaching the NTEN scholarship fund goal:

Now it's NTEN man.

Interestingly enough, Cisco also tried to copy the Old Spice man, and it was a complete #FAIL. So how does NTEN make it work? Because they know their community, and it IS a community - and they're riffing, not copying.

Moral of the story?  Know your audience, be real, be funny, and mighty forces will come to your aid - or, at the very least, you'll create some really awesome buzz.

(I was going to post the third and final installment of Big Questions for Associations today, but the day got away from me.  Look for it after #ASAE10!)

16 August 2010

Always the Last to Know: Facebook Questions

Looks like it's still beta (and I don't merit inclusion, so I can't weigh in directly) but Facebook appears to be starting a Q&A service.  I can see value if it generates answers provided by one's friends, but if it's just from anyone, I don't see how it differs from Yahoo!'s service.  Thoughts?

13 August 2010

Friday Top 5

I leave for LA in a week for the big annual ASAE association geek fest (that's people who geek about associations. The meeting for geeks who work for associations is in December!).

The Other Top 5 Things I'm Looking Forward to (because, really, only 5? not enough!):
  1. The joint session given by the Leadership Academy for Young Professionals inaugural class (Tuesday at 10:45).  I've had the privilege to work with some of these exceptional young professionals over the past two years, and I think this session is going to be terrific. 
  2. The Thought Leader session on innovation featuring Pixar.
  3. The Live from LA edition of the SweetSpot.
  4. The annual CAE stage walk (at the General Session on Monday afternoon)
  5. Participating in one of the service projects (hoping to help with Helping Hands, supporting the Midnight Mission).
Image credit: Santa Monica property blog

12 August 2010

CAE Stories: me!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Certified Association Executive (CAE) program at ASAE. One of the many things ASAE is doing to mark the anniversary is collecting people's "CAE Stories."  Mine was recently posted to the ASAE YouTube channel - check it out below and check out the ASAE channel to hear others.

11 August 2010

What I'm Reading

10 August 2010

Big Questions for Associations - Part 2

Part two in the series inspired by Jeff De Cagna's March breakfast briefing on associations and mobile technology.  (Read part 1 here.)
Question 2: How will we balance the need for greater intimacy with privacy concerns?
Oh boy, is this one HUGE for healthcare associations - actually, for healthcare in general.  You think you have privacy concerns? Under the rules of HIPAA, if any Protected Health Information is inappropriately shared (even if it was inadvertent), each instance can carry fines of up to $250,000 and/or 10 years' imprisonment.  YIKES!

And yet healthcare organizations are managing to be active (quite active) in social media spaces, sharing their most compelling and inspiring content - patient stories.  How are they pulling this off?

NACHRI member (of course!) Children's Hospital Los Angeles provides a great example.  As reported by the Care Networks blog, CHLA uses a 3 step process:
  1. Review their policy on how your story may be used
  2. Review their HIPAA compliance policy
  3. Submit your story through their simple online form (which is then reviewed by staff before being used)
Why does this work so well?  CHLA is completely up front about how they will - and won't - use patients' information, they get a positive affirmation from those patients that the patients are OK with playing by CHLA's rules, and then they let the patients speak in their own voices.  The result?  Transparent, authentic awesomesauce.

How does your organization go about demonstrating that you REALLY know your audiences without being that creepy marketer who seems to be stalking people?

09 August 2010

Always the Last to Know: Twylah

There's a new kid on the Twitter block:  Twylah

The site describes itself as a "personally branded mini blog."

It seems to be another way to organize Twitter conversations by topic, although it seems like they might not have all the kinks worked out quite yet.

06 August 2010

Friday Top 5

I'm at Philadelphia Eagles training camp at Lehigh University today, y'all!

Top 5 things I'm looking forward to:
  1. Fulfilling this year's New Year's resolution
  2. Getting to see our new QB in action
  3. Meeting one of my long-time football blog fans
  4. Getting Trent Cole to sign my jersey (that's him sacking Matt Ryan to the right)
  5. Andy Reid's "a ha!" moment when he hears my voice from the stands and finally realizes who's been yelling inside his head for the past 11 years.

04 August 2010

What I'm Reading

03 August 2010

Big Questions for Associations - Part 1

Back in March, Jeff De Cagna did a breakfast briefing on the future of mobile technologies for associations.  At that time, he raised a series of questions I've been pondering since.  I haven't come up with any answers, so I thought it might be time to take my musings public and hopefully spark a conversation about these issues. 
Question 1: How do we connect with stakeholders who have public, digital and highly networked relationships?
This one has been particularly on my mind this summer.  After a LOT of back and forth, NACHRI has finally officially gotten on FB (www.facebook.com/childrenshospitals) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/NACHRI). At the same time, we're in the midst of launching a white label social network on the Higher Logic platform, which will include their mobile app next spring.  And we have a fairly robust YouTube channel, plus two blogs.  Big changes, and some of my colleagues are more than a little nervous.

The larger social media environment for children's hospitals is in flux as well.  On the one hand, there are plenty of children's hospitals with substantial social media presence.  On the other, the actual people who run the children's hospitals, not so much.  On the third hand (and thanks for letting me borrow one of yours), the current generation of administrators is starting to retire and we're struggling to connect with the next generation.

Right now, I would say we're still in the experimental stage with a lot of this.  Although we experimented with Twitter during our spring conference, we didn't officially start tweeting consistently and with a process until about a month ago.  The FB page didn't go live until around the same time.  We're in the pre-deciding what metrics will even be meaningful stage.  Hell, we're in the pre-deciding which platforms will be meaningful stage.

In the meantime, our next generation of administrators is out there.  We want to reach ever more deeply into our member hospitals, and those staffers are out there too, as are the people we're trying to affect around policy, both legislators and grass-roots activists.  And in the end, as our tagline Champions for Children's Health suggests, it is all about the kids.  And they're DEFINITELY out there.

How do we find them?  Cut through the clutter?  Become the "curators of information" Jeff's been encouraging associations to be? Provide - and show that we provide - value? How do we broadcast the good our hospitals do while still respecting HIPAA regulations (something with which all health care organizations struggle)?

How is your organization addressing the public, highly networked nature of the relationships with and between your target audiences?

I really don't know the answers, but I DO know that we're at least now in the game, and that's a start.

I'll be doing a series of posts about this for the next few weeks, so check back and offer your thoughts.

02 August 2010

Always the Last to Know: Outlook Social Connector

Yes, Microsoft is finally making an appearance in Always the Last to Know.  Apparently, they're Always the Last to Be Cool.

Anyway, the reason I'm the last to know about this is because it's blocked at NACHRI, but there's a feature in MS Outlook 2010 called Outlook Social Connector that allows you to keep track of your social streams. Recently added?  Facebook integration.

Assuming it's not blocked for you, you should definitely check it out.