Affiliate Brainstorming - Page 4
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  1. #31

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    Our local meetings we always have lunch, plus coffee and pastries in the morning and soda and cookies in the afternoon. Unfortunately, that gets expensive when you are having meetings at hotels. I've been pushing to have more meetings at studios again, with lunch at a near by restaurant or catered in. We used to do that quite a bit and those meetings always had the highest turn out. We're always nosy when it comes to someone else's studio!
    Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.-Charlie Chaplin

    CPF-Certified Picture Framer

    http://www.leboutonphotography.com
    http://www.facebook.com/LeBoutonPhotography

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Springfield, Illinois
    Posts
    575

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc_Benjamin View Post
    ...... Roger, instead of this "please come talk to me" approach, why not go out and reach out to them?

    Sounds like your association has created the venue and the leadership is welcoming and available to answer your questions. It's just the extra step of hanging out with the cool kids that your not getting yet. I don't think it's a big deal, now if people are being rude and or shunning you then it's a different story.

    Often, it's really what you can do for the association/community that matters.
    I hear what you are saying and I tried when I volunteered for the print crew. If I had been more welcomed, I would have gladly done whatever I could for the association. In fact, I really think that is what motivates me to provide my thoughts. If I did not care about them, I would not have said anything.

    Having said that, I guess it is more of an atmosphere of making people feel welcome which is lacking for me. When my clients come in, I reach out to them and really try to connect. I am interested in them and what they have to say and what they need/want.

    All I'm saying is that if affiliates are in trouble then maybe they need to take a look at how they do or do not embrace (newer/all) members. You have to feel welcome or you stay home. Maybe if they look at their retention % they will have a better idea about how the members feel.

    I really feel that Illinois, and I'm sure a lot of other affiliates, put on a great convention twice a year. They put a tremendous amount of work in into it and it shows. I was just offering my personal thoughts on problems I have just to get other people thinking about their situation.
    Roger Williams, CPP
    www.Tranquility-art.com Portrait/Wedding
    www.TAP-Online.net Sports when time allows

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Betsy_Finn View Post
    That's pretty impressive turnaround. I'd love to see that happen here in MI. Did you develop a plan of action for getting the younger generation (20's + 30's) to apply for membership as well? That's something we are lacking... I obviously fit in that age range, but I'm more of an exception than the rule. Some of my friends who are the same age don't really see any benefits of local PPA membership -- I would love to get that preconception changed
    I'm just echoing Betsy's question. Michigan has tried every trick we can think of to get more bodies thru the doors. Any ideas would be appreciated.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

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    Sorry Betsy for the delayed reply. Seems I'm all over the place these days

    Here's what I've learned in California's case:

    1. Always monitor what your executive director is doing. If you have not had any reports of any kind, financial or otherwise, that is a red flag. What happens is that if the executive director goes unmonitored, they have a tendency to wield "supreme power" and by the time you wrestle control back, your association is bankrupt.

    2. Sit down with your executive board and your board of directors. Get a feel for just how much they believe in your association. I California's case, they had a serious sit down with the directors and asked themselves "are we worth saving?" Once the decision was made as a "Yes", then they sheltered in for 3 days and did a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. This is important because this is where California realized where they went wrong.

    3. Find leader volunteers not on the board to help carry out the mission. The California Executive board spent many hours revamping the association. But, they did not get involved in carrying out the tasks they set forth. They found a person to run the convention and create a whole different experience for the participants. They found a person to revamp the look of West Coast School. Then they developed teams to revamp the rest of the member benefits.

    4. They realized that the budgeting process was more important than they realized. What was done in the budgeting process was creating "pie in the sky" income like, "Oh I think we can make $100000. from convention". They learned to be extremely conservative with the income, and over estimate their expenses.

    5. They found that having a good cross section of board members from all over the state helped to reshape the association. In this instance, an effort to get the local affiliates to represent themselves in the state was important. The Affiliate presidents make up the board of directors. The idea, here is to strengthen the local associations by providing leadership training, which, in turn, strengthen the position of the state association in the eyes of the affiliates.

    This was just some of the major things. A lot of other things were done to raise funds to pay off the debts was among the key projects during reconstruction.
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  5. #35

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    Thanks for your response Michael. Could you talk a little more about how you made point #3 work? .... and could you share some of the "little things" that were done to raise funds?
    Thanks

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

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    Keep an eye out on two things at any of your conventions or group meetings: Past members who've been involved, and new members.

    The moment you hear of a new member joining, sign them up right away for volunteer work. You will find that you will have a higher chance of "members for life".

    For older members, I can use myself as an example. In 1986, I ran the state convention which ran successfully. Somehow, after that, the state switched directions and I laid forgotten for a long long time. What happened was that when the state went into crisis, someone who had a sense of history with the state remembered what I did and recommended me to the board. I got the call for a two year commitment to run the convention. My last duty as the convention chair was to try to get the board to go with the idea of making convention (and a new second convention in Northern California) to be a member benefit. The theory was to increase membership and hold on to them, instead of constantly trying to find new members through marketing means. I'm happy to report that this is working so far as we have gone from just under 500 members to over 600 members. I'm hoping the Northern California convention will bring in at least 100 more as I figured that our association needs at least 700 members to keep ourselves strong.

    The biggest problem is that, in general, photographers are not the greatest business people in the world (as witness to the survey). Unfortunately, those same people are running the associations. The moment your associations start running like a business, and not like a "camera club" or a "good ol' boys club", your association will start to soar. Retaining members is far cheaper than trying to attract new ones.
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    2,208

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    Deb, I'll also say that at PPM's convention earlier this year, it was intially *hard* for me to be put to work. I was ready and willing to volunteer, but only after standing around for a while and forcing people to let me help... did I actually get put to work. I'm sure there are other PPM members who would've been happy to volunteer as well.
    Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP
    bphotoart :: learnwithbetsy :: email

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Standale, Michigan
    Posts
    1,750

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    I just read thru this whole thread, and find it very interesting. I signed up for PPM membership last year, knowing I wouldn't be able to go to the conference, but hoping that i might be able to get involved in other ways. After signing up, I receive 2 emails from board members welcoming me, and an email each time there is a major event happening in Michigan. Other than that, nothing. I've never even received emails regarding when member meetings would be held and where. Needless to say, at this point, I'd rather focus my efforts on helping PPA, then working with our local affiliates. So, hopefully all the work you are putting in, Michael, will help make some changes everywhere, and not leave others feeling as I do.

    Angela
    Angela Lawson CPP
    Michigan CPP Liason
    AGL Photography
    Where Life + Art = Memories Forever
    http://www.aglphotography.net



  9. #39
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

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    How approachable are your board members? Do they seem like untouchables, or do they separate themselves from the membership?

    Does your board understand that their primary focus is to create a vision/future for your association, or are they micromanaging how the association should be run?
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

    Default And Now Presenting: Governance.

    The biggest misconception that members of almost all associations have is that the executive committee (President, VP, Treasurer, etc) rules the roost. Absolute power is a major problem and is probably the biggest problem in the life of an association. Whether it is by default because the membership does not want to deal with the business of the organization, or meaningful members who “always think what’s best for the association”, or the assumption that the executive committee must be the “do all” of the association, even having an “executive director” with no accountability is a fatality waiting to happen. The reasons are endless.

    Let’s start with this one important basic in a good organization structure. This will almost solve many of the aforementioned problems. The power of the organization actually resides in either the Board of Directors, or in PPA’s case, the councilors! For simplicity sake I will mention “directors” as “both”. Your board of directors are the visionaries of your associations. They are the pulse of the will the membership. The executive committee is charged with conducting the business of the association based on the visions of the Board. When David Trust, Executive Director of PPA, spoke of this to our state association, this became an huge “A ha” moment that opened a lot of eyes. We were much like all other associations: You vote for a President, and you assume that he/she will run the show.

    This is why it is so vitally important that your board of directors are not your “new members” of the association. They have no idea what the vision of your association is, nor do they have any idea about the culture of your membership. If any, it is best that your board of directors consist of your more seasoned members who have the heart and soul of your association in mind. Perhaps make all of your Past-Presidents members of the Board of Directors! Even better still, is to have your President, VP, etc. all be members of the Board of Directors and make your officers an “Executive Committee”. Have the board meet only a few times a year to make sure the Executive committee is in line with their vision. Have your executive committee meet on the regular monthly basis to conduct the business of the association. Think of the possibilities! You would actually have your Executive committee consist of the “newer members”, and they will, after their Presidency become the Chairman of the Board, and then become the Board of Director. In theory, if your organization does this, you would be perpetuating the correct vision of your association because each new board of director will then know what it takes to properly run an association.

    Although PPA does not run the board exactly this way (the Past Presidents all go out to pasture after their Chairmanship), there are a few fundamentals that are being utilized. The combined age and experience of the PPA board is about 25 years of leadership involvement on the local, state and national level. All have served on council, and all have many years of experience in understanding the pulse of the membership. The PPA board is well aware of who really runs the association, and likewise, the Executive committee is well aware of where their directions come from. This is not to say that the Executive Committee, nor the Board of Directors, cannot make any decisions. Just that they must make the decisions based on the guidelines of the memberships Council (the people PPA members vote to represent them). If the Board is incorrect in their decision making process, believe me, Council will let the Board know. The toughest thing is that, because Council elections are held every 3 years, it is really hard to teach newer council members the issues of governance. Come to think of it some of the older members probably could use a refresher course...

    OK, rather long-winded, but here are some ideas:

    Make your association Committee, or Action Team, driven. Do not make your executive committee the “do alls” of the association. Just like in business, the key to leadership is, well, lead. The Executive Committee needs to have others run committees so that your association can identify future leaders of the association. As mentioned, absolute power is the worst thing in the world for an association. It is important that the “do alls” are stopped from doing it all. It alienates the rest of the membership, especially the new members. It gives other members a sense that there are “cliques” forming, and lets face it, most of us creative types probably remember what it was like to be on the other side of a clique in High School. Whenever new members are complaining they volunteer, but feel left out, that’s a good indication that they are being ignored in the volunteer process. This is why it is important to get new members involved right away in the organization process. A great committee to have is a new member committee - friendly types who can help assimilate new members into the fold faster. Ok, so without making it too much like the “Borg” in Star Trek...

    Strong Aspiring/Apprentice program. Make them work for their membership. Get them involved in at least 2 committees. Have a sponsor for each Apprentice who will make sure that they follow through with their volunteer efforts. A great by-product of this is that the sponsors learn to be leaders as well! For more information on ideas for aspirings, read the previous long-winded threads.

    Whenever possible, use Action Teams, rather than Committees. PPA has converted most of the so-called committees into action team. Why? Action Teams have better mobility, and are more cost effective for associations. Committees tend to be ongoing, even when there’s nothing to do. When members on a committee are waiting with nothing to do, they tend to lose interest in that committee, and thus lose focus on the common objectives. Action Teams give the participants a sense of accomplishment. When you have an Action Team, you set a completion date and the Action Team puts a great amount of energy in getting the task done. When the task is done, the Action Team is dissolved with the task accomplished. Keep committees that require year round commitments. For example, the OurPPA committee is almost around the clock all year. Same with the Certification Committee.

    Do not hire an Executive Director until your association understands accountability. If you do have an Exec, and you haven’t seen any financial reports from them in a long while, consider this a red flag. An Exec works for the board of directors. They do not have any power in the running of the association other than carrying out the business as prescribed by the Executive Committee. This is really important. I can’t tell you how many associations have gone bankrupt, or near bankruptcy because the officers of the association failed to keep tabs on their exec! Your Exec should not embody the culture of your association. Your Board of Directors should be that culture (now, do you understand why your BOD should not consist of new members?)


    Say no to internal politics. Boy, this is a hard one. I’ve witnessed this twice in two local associations I was involved in. This has really changed the culture, and the morale of both associations. Typically, it happens when all of the above suggestions are not followed. That’s because it leaves the few to be in absolute power. Whenever it becomes “what we say, goes”, then you have a problem. Just remember, that the members have more power than they think, and those with absolute power are very good at making you feel that you do not have any of it. Just remember one thing, in any corporation (which your association should be), it is vital that your membership take control of the association, should this scenario happen. How do you know when your BOD is wielding too much power? The membership needs to keep tabs on the decisions the board makes. “Are they making changes that seem detrimental to the association?”, “Are we, as members, kept in the dark with matters of the association?” (Such as unreported financial records), “Have the BODs become inaccessible and untouchable?”. These are all indications that when the members are not keeping tabs of their board, the board is moving at will.

    The purpose of a single vision. Governance in non-government organizations (non-gov) is understood by very few. Unlike our American democracy, where, the constituents can be dissenting even after the will of the people (all the way up to the presidency), it is really important that the leadership of any association exhibit solidarity in their decisions, regardless of the constituent’s dissenting vote. If you really want to sink an association ship in a hurry, complaining to the members at large that even though “the board voted this way, but I don’t agree with it” will break morale in an association very quickly. The reason is simple. Non-govs are not designed to handle political matters and politics are the biggest enemy in small group settings. It gives an association a feeling of disorganization and dissension. To a new member this makes an association look like there’s in-fighting, and makes them ask themselves “why am I paying all this money for?”.

    OK, this is surprisingly just a start. This will expand as we discuss this (if you’ve got this far down this thread...
    Last edited by Michael_Gan; 06-02-2009 at 10:37 PM.
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

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