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Michael_Gan
06-16-2009, 12:59 AM
10. The Master Photographers aren't coming to the meetings
9. Your Board of Directors are made up of members with 2 years or less of membership experience.
8. Your membership consists of more than 50% aspiring members
7. Only 30% of your members are attending the meetings.
6. Your membership calls your association "A Club"
5. Your print competition has hardly any Professional images.
4. Your President is on a two year term
3. Your newletters start to show up after the meetings
2. Your executive director is the only one who knows where you are financially.

AND

1. Your past presidents out number your members.

Anne_LeBouton
06-17-2009, 10:48 PM
The only one that is true for our local affiliate is reason # 1. The rest, we are at opposite of and that isn't necessarily good either.

Todd_Reichman
06-18-2009, 12:53 AM
What is a member supposed to do if these list items describe their association?

- trr

Michael_Gan
06-18-2009, 03:45 AM
Call a general meeting and do a SWOT analysis of your association (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). This exercise will tell you if your association is relevant. You and your members need to know if it is worth continuing your association. If you think it is worth fighting for, then you, as a member, can vote to make the necessary changes to your association. The membership has much more power than most members think.

For example, if the problem is "a good ol boys" group running the association, you need to muster up your fellow members (and a lot of courage) to let the membership know that there are problems that are keeping your association from going in the direction the association needs to.

If it is an executive director problem, then you, as a member have the right to call for an audit of the association's finances.

The key to all of this is to re-energize your membership's commitment to grow your association and make it a professional association, instead of a camera club.

Anne_LeBouton
06-18-2009, 09:10 PM
What if it's a "good ol girls" group? (Couldn't resist.)

Michael_Gan
04-13-2011, 12:41 AM
In light of many struggling associations across the country, I thought it helpful to resurface some of these thread.

Part of my interview with the nominating committees for PPA was my desire to help strengthen the affiliates. In turn, strengthening the affiliates would lead to a larger pool of leaders for tomorrow's PPA.

There are no easy solutions to turning around entire associations, especially more mature ones, but I will be available to shed some light on some governance issues that your associations might be overlooking.

David_Schneider
04-13-2011, 03:52 AM
I'm very proud of my PPA affiliate, Guild of Professional Photographers of the Delaware Valley (GPPDV) and of the the hard working Board of Directors who put in the time for the benefit of the membership and professional photography.

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-13-2011, 12:08 PM
Glad to see this thread - Our paid memberships are down - members aren't renewing - any idea on how to get them to renew or recruit new members? We've tried a member referral program and it hasn't made much of a dent.
We have a list of PPA members that are not state members - can we reach out to them - or is there a way that PPA can reach out to them to join their state affiliate?

and what does "3. Your newsletters start to show up after the meetings" mean?

suebird
04-13-2011, 02:04 PM
This is a really interesting thread, and then at the very end was the quote below Cassandra's post which i think fits perfectly.

"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse."

I have heard lots of reasons why not to join a membership like PPA or PPOC over the years from many colleagues. Has there ever been a poll to non-renewing members or professionals who have not joined?

There may be some similar reasons across the board that jump out? Once a photographer leaves the organization, they may not invest the time in letting the organization know why...if they did go, maybe a good question is did they got to another association and if they did.....why?

Michael_Gan
04-13-2011, 04:56 PM
What we are finding at PPA is very similar to the "new age" of marketing. That is, you cannot sell your members on "benefits" but rather, "experience".

Many of the top 10 has to do with lack of engaging your members (sounds familiarly like Facebook, doesn't it?). Newsletters being mailed after the monthly meetings is a good indication that members are either not motivated, or, overwhelmed by the deadlines.

The biggest problem I see are board of directors who have a duel role of serving on the board and being committee chairs - such as "Program Chair" and "Print Chair". Your association needs to let go of that "sacred cow" and get a non-board member engaged in being a chairperson.

Even PPA is recognizing that there is a significant list of volunteers from our online sign up and is currently bringing all of them into the fold.

Rodney_Ninow
04-13-2011, 06:48 PM
Those of you who are asking about getting renewals and new members, I ask what are you giving members in return?

Over the last 3 years my local affiliate has increased our education 10 fold and our membership has increased greatly as a result. We offer at least half a dozen workshops and nearly 10 classes a year, in addition to our monthly meetings. These are consist of a variety of things from Lightroom training, to portrait lighting to print comp critiques (before you enter), and the list goes on.

Each class has an individual cost, but we offer a premium membership that includes every class free for an additional up front cost. All of these details were worked out after hours and hours of board meeting discussions once a month.

So the bottom line is, what incentive are you giving current members to renew and new ones to join?

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-13-2011, 06:52 PM
we offer 4 all-day seminars a year and a 3-day convention that's included in the dues which are still under $200 per year. Our affiliate covers the entire state of Mass.

Rodney where are your monthly meetings held and how many (what % of membership) attend?

Rodney_Ninow
04-13-2011, 07:38 PM
Cassandra I assume you mean what city? We have our meetings either in Riverside or Corona, CA, depending on the size of venue needed. This year we have managed to get some Canon Explorers of Light to present at our meetings, and to fulfill Canon's requirements, we had to move our meeting to a larger venue to accommodate their 150+ attendee requirement. Our typical meetings have probably 50-75% attendance of our regular membership which I think is about 130 now.

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-13-2011, 09:45 PM
Rodney is your association paying for the venue every month? What is the furthest that any of the members have to travel to get to this meeting? Under 50 miles? Under 100?

Stan_Lawrence
04-13-2011, 10:07 PM
For those organizations that are getting smaller, has anyone done an exit interview? :cool:

Michael_Black
04-14-2011, 01:18 AM
I just finished my term as South Dakota PPA President.

You can only do so much to get photographers to join. I spent many, many hours of my own time on the phone. We had constant contacts emails, post cards and a magazine. Even with all of our efforts and a great program by Travis Gugelman, our attendance was still down.

The photogs that attended benefited. The ones who didn't lost out big time.

I am not going to beat myself up over the low turnout. Our association is doing OK financially. We are moving forward trying to add more value to our members, but again if they don't want to come, they lose out.

Heather_L._Smith
04-14-2011, 02:02 AM
Rodney is your association paying for the venue every month? What is the furthest that any of the members have to travel to get to this meeting? Under 50 miles? Under 100?

Cassandra - one difference I see here is that Rodney is talking about a local affiliate in one part of CA, where you're talking about your entire state affiliate. I can see pulling off that kind of education locally, but maybe not at a state level. We have 4 regions here in GA, split geographically into the 4 quadrants of the state. Each region holds monthly (or mostly monthly) meetings, then our state does similar to yours with 3 seminars a year and a 3-day convention once a year. Our membership dues include the cost of those seminars and the convention.

Thanks for reviving this thread, Michael. I have some friends in states that are really struggling. I think one of your best points is trying to encourage a broader scope of leadership so we don't have people doubling up on jobs (when we can). The more we can nurture that at the state level, the better position we're in to find great future leaders at the national level.

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-14-2011, 02:04 AM
I'm thinking it comes down to $$ - because of the recession and because of the internet. We had a great turnout for 'free' day at our recent convention...a small percentage also paid the day rate for another day or so. But we only got a handful that sprung for full membership. I spent nearly $900 in memberships alone last year...not counting travel costs for conventions...I think those that value education and networking will pay; others are satisfied with getting all they need from online forums, webinars, etc - there's a lot of Free stuff out there. Things are changing...

Rodney_Ninow
04-14-2011, 04:33 AM
Heather is right, we are local. The most anyone drives is probably around 50 miles maybe slightly more, but most are within 25. We were paying for our venue but recently switched to a restaurant and they let us use one of their rooms for free. It works great, the restaurant sells 25-50 dinners before our meeting and we get a nice room for our meeting.

Michael_Gan
04-14-2011, 05:49 AM
Rodney's group, the Inland Empire, has been a vibrant group for the last few years. What made them vibrant is that a great many of the members are involved - they make good use of volunteers.

Here's an example of a state association. California was considering bankruptcy about 6 years ago. With a ton of hard work they turned things around with a simple premise: They decided to toss out "business as usual". At that time, their two profit centers, the convention, and West Coast School had the state in around $85,000 in debt.

The first thing they did was to dismiss all their hired help except for the trade show manager. They brought in volunteers with good leadership skills to turn around both venues. As an example, the convention. It was drawing about 125 to the convention and less than a thousand to the trade show. What really brought the association down was the large number of room blocks that weren't met at the hotels, so the penalties were totally outrageous - something like $35,000.

That year, the new convention committee decided to make the convention an "experience" instead of a "benefit". There was hospitality gifts for those who stayed at the hotel (thus making the room blocks), an awards ceremony that was held at a Jazz venue (which saved a lot of money over using the convention or hotel properties) and a huge marketing campaign to attract people to the trade show. This included partnering with the vendors to attract the trade show participation. When all was said and done, the convention drew 400 convention attendees, and a total of 3500 attended the trade show. All in one year. The state came out a positive $35,000 that year and membership increased. Now the board understands why they cannot be doing the committee work. That board had set the vision, and let the members do what they can to help their association. After that, leadership becomes contagious. Last I remember, there were about 800 members in the California association.

My point is, if you can just let go of everything your predecessors did, you'll find that your association will run better.

Oh, in addition to this, I highly recommend you get David Trust to talk to your association as a leadership conference. That's what he did for California, and that was a eye opener for everyone in the room.

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-14-2011, 12:26 PM
Some good ideas there, Michael....Do you have any good ideas on ways to attract volunteers?

Michael_Gan
04-14-2011, 03:12 PM
California is unique in that their "council" comprises of all Presidents of the local affiliates (associations affiliated to the State). All of them attended David Trust's program, and they were all at the "soul searching" meeting when the state was considering BK.

So, when it was decided that the state was going to hang on, and retool, they asked a simple question: "Who is willing to step up to the plate?" Several of the presidents from the stronger affiliates stepped up to help lead the school, convention, print competition, marketing and the magazine. this left the executive board with the only task (and a very tough one in itself) to steer all the committees and concentrate on redefining the state.

Curiously, those associations who contributed are still quite strong while the one's who did not participate are losing members by quite a lot. The associations that didn't even participate in David's program aren't in existence anymore!

So, a long drawn out simpler answer: Just ask:)

suebird
04-18-2011, 04:44 PM
Found this is the mailbox this morning and thought about this thread and post by Michael,

Thought it was important to read this newsletter called Guilty by Association by Robert Provencher (http://www.profitablestudio.com/) here with his permission. It may not be even close to what others feel, but it has some issues that would be good to review?

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems
that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own
talents."
~Eric Hoffer~

Warning: the Following newsletter may be offensive to some readers.


GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION
Associations are pretty guilty at times of keeping people back. Naively we let it
happen to ourselves. A lot of people join associations; and they can be wonderful
resources, so don't get me wrong. I loved going to all my associations. I used to
attend as many conferences and conventions as was possible.

And I love the camaraderie and the friendship and all the events and seminars and
print competitions. But there's often the inner politics and all the BS that goes
along with it that complicates things and side tracks issues, and really, their attempt
is to try and keep people in the dark either on an individual level or through
committees and/or board of directors.

Most of these cases are nothing more than frustrated individuals, fearful of your
success, jealous that you are successful, and either not able to succeed themselves
for whatever reason, letting their frustration manifest itself by controlling others
through mandates, by-laws, rules and whatever else the committee or position they
belong to allow as them to control. It's sad, but an inevitable reality. It's called
politics, and it's human. Simple.

Associations worked at one time, largely because they were the only
game in town.There were no options. So, they created their own
game, their own culture, their own hierarchy, awards, symbols,
rituals, programs, handshakes and secret passwords...all of
which may have worked at one time. But not anymore.
Fortunately we can recognize and by-pass, tolerate the game and know our own
priorities, as long as we are aware and focused. You are in charge of our own
destiny: you get to decide and you get to dictate. Not some committee or sense of
self worth derived from belonging to one.

Don't let anybody dictate to you what the rules of the game are. You get to decide
what the rules of the game are. And you get to decide how far it is you want to go
and how fast you want to get there. Don't let external influences, either through
association or individuals or people that you look up to tell you otherwise.

Success in an inner game. It's our own deal, not contingent on belonging to an
association. Out of frustration and what seemed like a ridiculous price tag to join,
I did not renew my membership to my own association.

Yes, I dropped out.

I quit what was to me a place that, in spite of all the aforementioned B.S, gave me
huge opportunities and way back when I was starting out, was my life blood
for education and inspiration.

I did however get to express my views to the then current board of directors
at an annual board meeting (sounds so official, don't it). And although
I sincerely felt that the promises they were then making were to amount
to a hill of beans, and, that the ideas and thoughts that I expressed at that time
were being heard by none (the equivalent of walking into a kinder garden class
and trying to explain velocity- at that age they ain't ready for complex thoughts and
ideas- same with the "board"- simply not ready) I showed up anyhow and expressed myself.

I stood up and for a few minutes tried to explain to the board what an associations
true purpose was. It was and is a very simple idea.

The ideas and practices behind what drove associations in the past no longer work. They are archaic.

Out dated. So in essence associations need to get with the times. And the times are
all about information. Yes, we're riding high in the information wave. Many predicted this years ago. (one of my favorites being Alvin Toffler).

An association needs to be two things.
They are:
*a venue for information. Niched, focused information, since information
is plentiful and overload can be an issue nowadays.
*a venue for people of like mind to connect

And do this at low cost. It is NOT a for profit and growth,
unless and until those profits can quickly be rolled back into
benefits that the members can touch, see, feel and experience.
But that's asking for a lot, especially from a membership that is run
by volunteers.

There are a few other ideas (IE ethics, rules of conduct,...) that can be thrown into
the mix, but they are miniscule in comparison to the big two ideas I mentioned.

A photography association, in my opinion, cannot be a
policing force. Yes, doctors and lawyers have associations
where they have the power to remove members, or slap
'em on the wrist. But we're photographers. We can't control
and monitor any more than a music association can control
musicians.

So our best bet is keeping the cost down, sharing ideas, creating
a place where we can do just that, and forgetting all the rest.

Ever heard of the saying: "What is a camel? Answer: A thoroubred
designed by a committee."

When committees try to tell us how we should behave, and what the "rules" are,
when the rules are not that important, (unless, again, you're a doc or lawyer-
which reminds me, why don't they have more control over financial planners
and stock brokers?) then the members suffer. And enrollment drops.

Yes, enrollment drops. Membership is not mandatory. Never was. In the past,
you joined if you wanted to learn and grow and make great friends of like mind.

That was then, this is now. Times have changed. Haven't they? Boy,
have they changed!

But associations haven't. And they wonder why and what's happening.

They try some things, but to no more effect and no better results
than moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic.

The core problem, again, has resulted from the ease of information
that is available (the internet in case I need to spell that out for you)
and the pure immensity that the tidal wave of information
has flooded our industry with, and all other industries with.

For those who are eager, and willing, and have the desire
to grow, the world is at their finger tips. A few clicks and you
can access more information, can walk into
some of the best classrooms, and unlock the secrets to the universe
for free or little cost. Many online photography forums
have more to offer than a dozen photography associations.

So why join? This question needs to be answered.

Why join?

I asked and could not come up with an answer.

What begged the question the most was new members and prospects asking me why
they should join. I couldn't lie to them anymore. I had no answers for them,
or for myself.

I often thought about events such as WPPI and why they were so successful and
growing. It must be simple: put together a low cost, no nonsense affair
where many can gather, share, grow and learn, and oh yea, a kick
butt trade show, and watch them show up. Simple. Very, very
simple. No bull, no committees (actually they have committees, but
you don't hear about them the way you do in professional non-profit
associations), no vacuums to fill.

And it works.

And associations can learn and grow. But the people
involved need to get over themselves and see the big picture.

Will this happen? Who knows. Personally, I don't have much faith.
I hear rumblings from members, prospects and from those who
matter a great deal, the trade.

Time will tell. Meanwhile, I urge you to stay
true to yourself and know what you want and where
you want to go.

Having that on your side will be your greatest asset and tools.
From there your desires and ambitions will track you to
the right information and people.

Achieving that is far, far more complex, and possible
than any other time. The world is at your fingertips.
Just decide.....
yours in photography,
Robert Provencher

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-18-2011, 06:34 PM
What do you think he's trying to say?

I find it a bit confusing and contradicting. He says, "I quit what was to me a place that, in spite of all the aforementioned B.S, gave me huge opportunities and way back when I was starting out, was my life blood for education and inspiration."
Then he says, "What begged the question the most was new members and prospects asking me why they should join. I couldn't lie to them anymore. I had no answers for them, or for myself."

So he got a lot out of it, in spite of what he calls the "B.S.", but can't think of a reason to recommend it to new members now? Why not?

Then he says what an association 'should be' - i.e. not-for-profit among other things, but understands that they are run by volunteers so that it asking for a lot. He then talks about WPPI and why it's so successful - yet WPPI is a for-profit entity and the people who are running it are getting paid.

So what's he trying to say?

suebird
04-18-2011, 06:49 PM
I guess this would represent number 10 on Michaels list? ;)

Rick_Massarini
04-18-2011, 07:11 PM
If you want to know why Mr. Provencher doesn't see any value in joining a state or local photographic association and is discouraging others from joining them, it's probably because he wants you to join his own "No BS Photo Forum" instead - which he will let you join for the price of only $19.97 per month and a $47.00 sign up fee - that works out to $286.64 per year to be a member of HIS own private organization.

As the immediate Past President of the Professional Photographers of Louisiana, I know how much work goes into the organization and production of seminars and conventions - and all that work is done by dedicated volunteers who do so for the benefit of their peers and who do not make a penny for all of their efforts - in fact, it usually costs them money and time lost from their business activities to be part of a volunteer committee group. While it is true that some committees can become dysfunctional, not all are so - many of them put in a lot of work to put together an event for their peers benefit, and they ask nothing for their efforts, not even personal recognition. There is no reason to disparage all committees just because the ones that he has been associated with did not work well together.

I place little value on someone's opinion who tells you not to join your state or local association - which is run by volunteers as a non-profit entity - while promoting his own organization/forum - which is being run for his own personal profit.

Before you consider the value of any philosophy, consider the source.

Jackie_Haggerty
04-18-2011, 07:49 PM
What do you think he's trying to say?

I find it a bit confusing and contradicting. He says, "I quit what was to me a place that, in spite of all the aforementioned B.S, gave me huge opportunities and way back when I was starting out, was my life blood for education and inspiration."
Then he says, "What begged the question the most was new members and prospects asking me why they should join. I couldn't lie to them anymore. I had no answers for them, or for myself."

So he got a lot out of it, in spite of what he calls the "B.S.", but can't think of a reason to recommend it to new members now? Why not?

Then he says what an association 'should be' - i.e. not-for-profit among other things, but understands that they are run by volunteers so that it asking for a lot. He then talks about WPPI and why it's so successful - yet WPPI is a for-profit entity and the people who are running it are getting paid.

So what's he trying to say?


I think he is trying to say that since there is now more information at your fingertips, which wasn't the case back then, that there isn't a need to belong to the one that used to give him the information way back when he was just starting out - that times have changed and the need to be a part of that no longer exists because he gets the same from a different source now. Also, that he can't give a potential new member a reason why, because with the times changing and the information available, he can't find a reason to belong to a group anymore.

I think the only reason WPPI is mentioned is because of it's success by cost and information provided, not about it being a for-profit.

robprov
04-19-2011, 05:02 AM
Jackie, you're bang on. Rick, yes I own that forum. But that was not the reason for writing this newsletter. That would be underhanded. I just had something to say, is all. No agenda. It's not how I sell. I believe in volunteering and giving. Just can't stand the politics and ego.
Also, I should mention, I am speaking from my personal experience. But I do hear rumblings and complaints from others that are hurting in attendance. For me, and our association, I want to point out what I said. It is a venue for education, meeting, and all at a reasonable fee. Simple. Nothing more. I was a member for over 20 years, served on many positions. I think times have changed, and associations haven't. That's all.
Rob

Michael_Gan
04-19-2011, 05:39 AM
While I agree that most associations across the country could fill the the description, I think that's where the comparison ends and where PPA's governance begins. Inasmuch as the article may be written based on an experience in a certain association, that may not be a good sampling in comparison to an association that is well run.

Politics rears its ugly head whenever associations put too much faith in those who feel they have rights and ownership of the associations, something to the effect of "this association is my baby". Politics also hurts when a collective body votes for something yet certain factions within the leadership continue to fight against the will of the vote. A successful association will always have a leadership that moves to the same vision and the vision is to the benefit of its members - and also a vision the members can understand and embrace.

With WPPI being sold, I'm not sure if that would be a very good example. Time will tell. But to compare how it runs comparing to a state or local association would be unfair. If compared to PPA's convention, it's really questionable, from many who attend both, that WPPI's is really that much better, if anything at all.

Bottom line, the article is really just a personal opinion of one's own experience, and nothing more, as most of the content lacks merit to associations that are run properly - the ones that have good member experience.

Keith_A_Howe
04-19-2011, 05:19 PM
From my viewpoint the challenge for associations today is the same as the challenge photographers are facing - over saturation in the marketplace. Just as my town cannot support 15 or more photographers, there are not enough photographers around to support the literally hundreds of groups, associations, national tours, schools, workshops, webinars, Super Mondays, etc etc etc etc that have flooded the market. The strong will survive, the weak will not.

Keith

Michael_Black
04-21-2011, 02:29 AM
There are more than enough photographers to support all of the associations. I'll be here next year. The new photogs who refuse to join anything may not.

Michael_Gan
04-21-2011, 05:13 AM
So, let's brainstorm.

Keith brought up a valid point. The photography world is over-saturated with "education".

Given that premise. Why does your association exist? Perhaps, the education angle as a "benefit" has become a "sacred cow" because nobody else is able to think of anything better.

Perhaps, some sort of experience would be in line here. Think in terms of attracting professionals based on their "passion" for owning a studio and taking photographs.

Maybe turning your association into a professional association, instead of a camera club (which most associations view themselves). For example, make it harder to become a member, instead of easier?

Let's hear some ideas and discuss;)

Stan_Lawrence
04-21-2011, 05:20 AM
Keith brought up a valid point. The photography world is over-saturated with "education".

Given that premise. Why does your association exist? Perhaps, the education angle as a "benefit" has become a "sacred cow" because nobody else is able to think of anything better.


Like most tried and true concepts, it isn't the "education" that doesn't work, it's the quality of the education. Most of what I've seen, including a dvd of "educational" seminars I just got in the mail, is really pretty bad.... and I'm trying to be kind... Maybe if some of these associations spent a little coin and got some top notch (not necessarily circuit) speakers, that might become more of a draw. That would get my interest....:cool:

Michael_Gan
04-21-2011, 07:54 AM
OK, so there's an idea:

Make it a policy that your programs and speakers are more for the advanced and not "f/stops and shutter speeds". Find programs that attract Masters, and successful studios. Perhaps if you can draw them, that will attract other studio owners to join?

Keith_A_Howe
04-21-2011, 03:00 PM
I am not looking for education from my association anymore. After 30 years I still have a lot to learn, but I am no longer willing to sit through 6 hours of a speaker repeating stuff I have already heard 40 or 50 times from 40 or 50 other speakers, to get to the 2 or 3 things that are new ideas for me. I have lost patience with beginning speakers who are still working on their presenting skills. I don't care how great the info is, if they can't engage the audience I am going to fall asleep. Everybody has to start somewhere, but I've already spent 30 years being patient and encouraging to beginning speakers. I'm ready to let somebody else nurture them along. What I am looking for now days is a really great trade show and interaction with my peers. I am looking for opportunities to meet young photographers, so I can practice what is my current passion, mentoring beginners. I have been approached many many times to join ASP and I did for a short time. But ASP does not provide me with what I am looking for from an association at this point in my career.

Professional Photographers of Nebraska is growing, not dying. Some of the stereotypes that have been brought up on this thread do not apply to all associations and PPN in particular. Here's what they are doing. Actively seeking out new members. Developing programs where established members are responsible for making new members feel welcomed on a one on one basis. Marketing aggressively through social and electronic media.(I have seen our region die away because they rested on their laurels and assumed "everybody comes to HOA, we don't need to market it" That's a direct quote from the at the time HOA president.) Presenting a wide variety of speakers and almost always having simultaneous programs. If you are NOT a wedding photographer you will still attend because there is also a family portrait program at the same time. Including fun events during the conference - like our famous cardboard boat races. Sure those aren't educational but they make the events fun and build camaraderie. People want to come to the seminars because they have so much fun.

Just my rambling thoughts
Keith

Marie_M
04-21-2011, 03:15 PM
Ok, I'm just going to throw this out there....
Recently I attended this Mary Kay meeting where folks from all over the US were in attendance, even though most were local. It was held in a meeting room at the local hotel, similar to where MDPPA used to hold its meetings.
I can tell you, those 2 meetings were like night and day. Although the folks (and I love them all) at the meetings in MD are a lively bunch, always willing to chat and discuss things going on in the industry...they are by not means as exciting at Mary Kay meetings. Now, I know what some of you may be thinking...Mary Kay and Photographers are 2 totally different animals. On one side of the coin, you may be right. However, lets look at a few things:
1. Mary Kay associates are business owners just like Professional Photographers.
2. A big part of their livelihood involves selling/marketing their product.
3. Mary Kay business owners live/die by their ability to attract and even keep their customers-very customer oriented.
I'm sure there are others, and even so, the above listed could be debated-I'm looking at the very basics of business here.
At that MK meeting, it was like a revival! They made a big presentation of all of the folks who had earned certain levels within the business. They brought those folks out and up front so that everyone could clap and cheer them for their accomplishments. They recognized the top earners too.
They also recognized the guests..brought them up and had everyone welcome them in a big way. After all that was done, they had a guest speaker. He was a Vice President of Mary Kay, excellent speaker. I think it was more of a pep talk than anything else, but by the end of that, everyone was so fired up about getting out and selling Mary Kay, and building their business.
Now, I’m not saying this same model would work for PPA affiliates, but I will tell you that as I sat there, I said to myself “gee, if PPA meetings were as exciting as this…more people would certainly be there!”

Keith_A_Howe
04-21-2011, 03:43 PM
Marie,

Uhm, That's what our PPN meetings are like. We present awards for prints, for service to the association and the industry. We introduce speakers, suppliers & guests. We give away lots of door prizes. I think you were talking about the same thing I was. Our association is fun. People learn something but that also feel appreciated and have a good time.

Keith

Stan_Lawrence
04-21-2011, 03:57 PM
I am not looking for education from my association anymore. After 30 years I still have a lot to learn, but I am no longer willing to sit through 6 hours of a speaker repeating stuff I have already heard 40 or 50 times from 40 or 50 other speakers, to get to the 2 or 3 things that are new ideas for me. I have lost patience with beginning speakers who are still working on their presenting skills. I don't care how great the info is, if they can't engage the audience I am going to fall asleep.

My point exactly....professionals that have good presenting skills and don't fill the time with fluff.... there's nothing worse than an hour of filler material, 10 minutes of info, and another hour of filler. A good speaker can entertain and teach. Beginning speakers have to start somewhere, so have 2-3 a year, have the rest be people that are worth listening to. I have a ton to learn, that's why I study every day. I would go back to my local if the speaker had real info....:cool:

ps Keith, as I recall, your group's been having fun for years.... even back when I spoke the party went all night...

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-21-2011, 05:18 PM
Including fun events during the conference - like our famous cardboard boat races.

Can you tell me about the boat races? I've never heard of them!

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-21-2011, 05:20 PM
So you're all talking about the 'experience', not the 'benefits' - similar to what we tell our clients.
So let's share more ideas on ways to make it an 'experience' -and how to sell that experience to new members!

Stan_Lawrence
04-21-2011, 05:27 PM
So you're all talking about the 'experience', not the 'benefits' - similar to what we tell our clients.
So let's share more ideas on ways to make it an 'experience' -and how to sell that experience to new members!

The experience is important, as are the benefits. If it were only the experience, I'd pass.... (it's entirely possible that I'm the only one in the world that feels this way), the benefits for me are far more important.... and I don't tell my clients about just the experience. If there were no benefits, there would be no business. :cool:

Michael_Gan
04-21-2011, 06:31 PM
So, here's the basic idea. Make your association have the perception that this is a pros only association. Make the programs enticing to the seasoned pros. If they are attending your association, it will make others attend because they can "rub shoulders" with the big wigs. For example, if Sam Puc' found a reason to attend your association meetings, do you think a whole bunch of people would attend? You becha.

So here's what you do:

1. Spend the money for your top notch speakers for your meetings.

2. Fund those top notch speakers with "mini seminars" catered to your beginners. That would be your fund raiser for those high flying programs.

3. Think outside the box for your programs. Don't get people who drone on about the same old thing everyone else gets. For example, get the Timmons to give a program on artistic recovery. Maybe get Seth Godin to speak about his Purple Cows. This is all stuff that would interest your Master Photographers and your marketing gurus.

4. When your Master Photographers start to attend, ask them to judge your print competition! Now, you're creating a culture of photographic excellence. Your associations need to cultivate Master Photographers and Certifieds.

Bottom line is that you need to create a buzz about your association! Gee, sounds like good marketing to me;)

Keith_A_Howe
04-21-2011, 06:55 PM
Can you tell me about the boat races? I've never heard of them!

Teams of two have two hours to build a boat out of cardboard that is capable of carrying the team of two across the hotel pool. Each team gets so many 4'x8' sheets of cardboard, a roll of shipping tape and two dowels to make oar handles. Then they race two boats at a time across the pool and time for the fastest. Of course the object is not to sink, but it's more fum when they do. Trophies are awarded for fastest, best looking, best theme or whatever they can come up with. Like one year the first to sink got a rock spray painted gold.

Keith

suebird
04-21-2011, 11:44 PM
Meet n greets at seminars fornnew members would be great and Keiths mentor program he mentions would be another great opportunity and a win win for the mentor and the new member.....it would be in sorts like a mental apprenticeship. Potentially even be a mandatory part of becoming a member?
I am curious if their ever been round table sessions at the seminars? May be a great opportunity to gain some new ideas and have members offer their input too.

Keith_A_Howe
04-22-2011, 01:30 AM
I am curious if their ever been round table sessions at the seminars? May be a great opportunity to gain some new ideas and have members offer their input too.

Sue, because every association is independent, they all do their own thing. PPN often has round table discussions as a part of the programing. In fact Holly and I are facilitating just such a round table at our winter seminar next Jan. The topic will be "things you should know" for new photographers about insurance, liability, sales tax, zoning etc etc.

Keith

suebird
04-22-2011, 12:42 PM
Keith this is great, you guys are implementing many concepts to engage the members and that is the key like you mentioned. My hubby is in HR leadership and development, teaches seven habits and is certified for Franklin Covey and some of the ideas you have used he has incorporated in seminars he has run. The boat one is great! Hilarious! CAn be done in any hotel ... ;)

It would be great to hear about a whole weekend or week seminar with PPN, it could be a great opportunity for other districts to incporporate some ideas,

happy easter everyone!

Jack_Reznicki
04-22-2011, 02:10 PM
The topic will be "things you should know" for new photographers about insurance, liability, sales tax, zoning etc etc.



Keith,

That's fantastic to do. Love it. But what makes you think it's just for newbies? LOL.

I've been teaching a graduate class in NY on the business of photography. Since it's grad school, many of my students have been running their own studios, one, a contemporary of mine, for 30 years. Trust me when I say even seasoned pros can learn new business stuff, even when it's basic.
A big part of what I teach, outside of copyright and registration, is how to write a proper invoice and have proper releases.
My oldest student was very reluctant about my class in the program, but now says he loved it and learned a lot. Stuff he wished someone told him long ago.

But in an association setting, I find that if you advertise a seminar on just business stuff, you draw flies. What I've been doing, and you might want to try, is having an entertaining presentation and then fold in "serious" topics.
It's worked very well for me that way.

If I do a copyright session, attendance is low. If I do my regular show or lighting show, and then do 1/2 hour on copyright or business, it gets raves. I was told by Roger Daines in California a while ago when I did that at their state convention, my copyright session, a small part of my presentation, got very positive, and a lot of feedback at the convention.

In short, in the immortal words of Mary Poppins- "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!"

Michael_Black
04-22-2011, 02:40 PM
Jack, keep teaching the business stuff. That is what will make us earn more money.

Michael_Gan
09-16-2011, 05:29 AM
A recent discussion regarding the health of affiliates and local guilds have come up, so I am bumping this back up again.

George_Hawkins
09-16-2011, 01:50 PM
Thanks, Michael, well deserved!