Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How to use your 990 as a marketing tool

I got a flyer in the mail for an upcoming seminar given by WhitefordTaylorPreston and the Reznick Group with the title "How to use your 990 as a marketing tool." Topics include:

"Do you know who is looking at your 990 and why?"
"How would your 990 look to a first-time reader?"
"Who prepares or reviews your 990?"

Day two focuses more intensely on issues of executive compensation, compensation of board members, payment to independent contractors, program expenses, lobying activity reporting, relationships with other organizations, and unrelated business income activity.

While I these issues generally apply more to charity-ish types of organizations than to professional or trade associations, it does bear thinking about. Your 990s are available to anyone who wants to look at them. What story do they tell?

In the mail...

I got a catalog from Board Source. Their cover book is called "Taming the Troublesome Board Member." Looks worth a looksee.

Also in the mail is Cal Clemon's The Perfect Board, which he was nice enough to send me a few weeks ago. A quick skim through shows it to be a worthwhile read, and definitely a good training piece for incoming board members. I'll give it a fuller review later.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Six Thinking Hats

This book, by Edward De Bono, is a really good framework for attacking issues. Of course, every one who writes a book wants it to be revolutionary, and to "change the way the world's most successful business leaders think." But today, I'm feeling cynical, and I think that changing the way people think doesn't happen very often.

However, this book is useful, and it could be easily tailored to the point of even becoming (wait for it) AN ASSOCIATION HACK.

Basically, the point is that you engage different kinds of thinking when you're deliberating. You can be interested in numbers, in feelings, in growth, in creativity, etc. So De Bono lists these attributes and gives them a hat of that color. The hat is symbolic (altho it could be concrete, I suppose), and basically, it allows you to communicate what's going in to the thought processes. It helps the user of the framework to be more explicit, and therefore there's less playing of "guess what I'm thinking". Here is a much more in-depth review of the book, with a free worksheet.

I would say, definitely get this book if you're frustrated in group decision making processes. Then, I would come up with a fact sheet based on it, strip it down and explain it to the group before the next meeting. Definitely worth a try if your meetings are in a nonproductive rut.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Toes in the water of 2.0

So while all my association peeps were in Boston, we worked all weekend on our weekend project, RecipeThing.com, which is in beta (I think!). Lemme know what you think!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Four Agreements + Companion Book

I saw this book on Oprah's reading list and thought it would be worth a looksee. It's pretty fluffy, but underneath that fluff are some good principles. Though really, it's enough to just read the actual four agreements:
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. User the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection or their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
So that's pretty much it. Now, the style of the book is cloying and new-agey. But it has some good points that are worth hearing.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Here's a good article on the whole unconference thing. HT: Chris Brogan

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Brain Dump

Here's what I've been reading and working on these past days.

First, Break all the Rules, by Buckingham and Coffman
The book is written by these folks from Gallup who worked with a HUGE cohort of managers to find out what makes the best ones tick. It's interesting methodology and the conclusions are good. There is a list of things that they say every manager should be able to communicate to his/her employees and if their employees can be assured in those areas, everything will turn out fine and the employees will be happy--and turnover will be low. Here's where you can find that list.

A lot of the discussion centers around what a manager should do with an employee's talent (or lack thereof). The manager should be engaged in using what the employee has to offer and not trying to "put in what was left out." Sounds a lot like volunteer management!

Anyhoo, very much worth while. Again, here is a more in-depth review of the book that gives a detailed summary of points raised in the book.

Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Buckingham and Clifton
This book takes the ideas in the first book and has you apply them to yourself. Pretty interesting. You decide what you are good at and the idea is that you focus on those things and just worry about keeping your weaknesses from sabotaging you (as opposed to laboring over your weaknesses and not developing your strengths even more).

Buckingham is working on a "strengths-based" management moving you can learn about on his website.

Turnaround, by Mitt Romney
Now, I read quite a few non-fictiony business type books and this one was different. That's because it was really pretty technical, like a case study. For those who don't know, Mitt Romney is the venture capitalist governor of Massachussets. This book chronicles his handling of the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics. I was living in Utah during a big chunk of the time period covered by this book, and, although I knew there was scandal surrounding the bid process, etc., I didn't realize the extent of the huge problems faced by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. It was a mess, and Mitt fixed it. The book tells you how he did that, and that's what makes it different. It's not an A-list book, but if you're interested in real life examples of how things get done, this is an interesting read, and a page turner. Romney may also run for president, check out this site for more on that.

In unrelated news...

A post from the Blog Business Summit will probably be interesting to some of the blogoclump, since it reports on some research detailing styles that can be used/are observed in corporate blogging today.

An association hack is definitely Google's new spreadsheet application. It's web-based, BUT IT'S FAST. Also, you can share it. It is an awesome solution for committee and taskforce work and the versioning problems that come with it. To paraphrase the Good Book, "train up a committee in the way it should go, and when it is old it will not depart from it." What I mean by that is that of course, you'll have to tell people how to use it. But they should easily see the benefits.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

An idea for free, ASAE

I've been a bad blogger lately. Sorry, I've been quite busy with projects that I shall unveil in due time. However, I wanted to say that ASAE should whitelabel something like this to sell to associations. Members could come back from their conferences with really comprehensive reports which they then could turn around and use to justify their memberships. I think it's a good idea.