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  • October 01, 2019 12:51 PM | Anonymous

    As published in the Fall edition of the AZSAE Newsletter

    In our increasingly fast-paced, technology-driven world, the opportunities and options of ways to communicate with each other are decreasing. Electronic communication seems to be the way in which we engage with others a majority of the time. It can be highly efficient and effective and therefore, abundantly necessary because we are moving at such a rapid pace. But what is lost in this automated system we have created to connect with others? Is it really necessary to have deeper connections with those we come in contact with throughout our business and social lives? If we do want to have significant, operative relationships in conjunction with savvy technology, it might be time to revisit The Basics. Here are just a few simple but effective ways to make associations with others and without a phone or computer.

    Eye contact is a small piece of the whole concept of body language, which is a study in itself. It is important in improving our social skills to be adept at making eye contact.  Determining how much eye contact to make can be tricky. Giving too much eye contact can be interpreted as staring and could likely be portrayed as creepy to the person to whom you are looking. If you don’t make eye contact while conversing, it seems like you are disinterested. To find that happy medium, a good tip is to follow the lead of the person with whom you are speaking. See how often the person looks away when he/she is talking. You don’t have to match that to a tee. But it will give you an idea with how much eye contact that person is comfortable, provided your converser is making some eye contact with you.

    Be sure to smile. There are definitely health benefits to smiling. Having a happy expression on your face exudes confidence, helps to build delightful relationships with colleagues and business associates, and can assist one in being recognized in a positive light by employers. A true smile can be heard in your voice and seen in your eyes.

    The handshake is another essential component when it comes to the basics. Think Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Mama Bear’s bed was too soft. Have you ever had a too soft handshake? Find a friend and do a too soft handshake - fragile and maybe kind of yucky.

    Moving on to Papa Bear’s bed – it’s too hard. The too hard handshake has two versions. There is the too hard of a squeeze handshake. Then there is the too hard of a shake handshake. Be careful when you practice this one. Don’t hurt your friend with your too hard handshake. If someone gives you this kind of handshake, instead of returning an equally hard handshake, just lose eye contact. This will end the handshake.

    Now, remember what Baby Bear’s bed is? Yep, it’s just right. The just right handshake is firm and radiates conviction. When a handshake is just right, two other things happen – you smile and you make eye contact.

    Another skill to master to show how much you care and to make others feel cared for is to learn and remember names. There are several techniques to use. Try these tips next time you make a new acquaintance.

    • Use the person’s name throughout the conversation. When you learn the person’s name, attach it to your greeting, “Hi Jennifer, it’s nice to meet you,” for example. Be sure to repeat the name when it makes sense in the conversation and definitely when you say goodbye.
    • Spelling out the name can be helpful to the visual learner. Gaining a business card and making some notes about what you talked about or a visual cue can be of assistance in remembering the person’s name.
    • Association techniques may also work for you. Think of an image tied to a person’s name for a future reference. Something like Benjamin has a burly beard; or Mary likes margaritas. A variation on this  is to make a connection with someone you already know with the same name. For example, Don is tall like my Uncle Don and of similar age to my Uncle Don. 

    The investments necessary to be successful at remembering names are focus, practice and time. The payoff is a step up to building strong relationships. The old show “Cheers” had the best theme song to illustrate the power of remembering names because “you want to go where everyone knows your name.”

    While we need the efficiency of virtual communication, making that long-term, meaningful connection requires some face to face time. Take time to revisit and develop The Basics.





  • August 27, 2019 10:39 AM | Anonymous

    SOS Association Management Solutions (SOS) has been selected by the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPhA) to provide association management services.

    Founded in 1947, NPhA is a national, professional organization of pharmacists committed to serving the underserved and promoting minorities in pharmacy. NPhA provides support for education and professional training intended to assure the public of the availability of competent personnel to perform the accepted functions of the practice of pharmacy, especially within disenfranchised communities.

    SOS will provide management support in all areas, including event planning, financial management, board support, membership, and communications.  “We needed a management solution that would allow us to grow and provide support to take us to the next level of success,” said Dr. Lakesha Butler, NPhA President. “We are excited to begin this new partnership with SOS Association Management Solutions.”

    “We are thrilled to be working with NPhA as it continues to build on its rich history by providing value to its members and pursuing its critically important mission,” said Conni Ingallina, president and owner of SOS.

    About the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPhA)

    The National Pharmaceutical Association is dedicated to representing the views and ideals of minority pharmacists on critical issues affecting health care and pharmacy, as well as advancing the standards of pharmaceutical care among all practitioners.  www.nationalpharmaceuticalassociation.org

    About SOS Association Management Solutions

    SOS is an accredited, full-service professional management company dedicated to giving the personal touch to all the associations it serves. The organization accomplishes this by creating a sustainable growth environment that ensures maximum success while allowing for individual personality, unique culture, and engaged volunteers.

    Association Management Companies (AMCs) specialize in managing associations and not-for-profit organizations, providing leadership and professional management services through experienced staff, best practices and shared resources.  Because AMCs manage multiple association and not-for-profit clients, their experience and knowledge base are broad and substantial, positioning AMCs as the preferred choice for full-service and specialized management services. SOS is the only AMC Institute-accredited AMC in Arizona. For more about SOS, visit www.sossolutions.org. For more about the AMC Institute, visit www.AMCInstitute.org/accreditation.

  • April 11, 2019 10:18 AM | Anonymous

    By Laura Taylor
    SOS Account Executive
    About Laura

    In the association management world, there are basically three types of associations. First, there are trade associations that bring together professionals in an industry who work together to advance legislative causes, support research within their trade, and promote sound and ethical business practices. There are also professional organizations that have individual memberships who come together to network and exchange information. The third type of association is philanthropic or charitable in its emphasis, working to advance a particular cause. There are of course a number of commonalities across the different types of associations, and there is often overlap in terms of their missions, values, and key initiatives.

    One feature that is nearly universal across effective associations is the leadership and operational support provided by volunteers. The success of almost every association is dependent upon the willingness of stakeholders to step up and get involved. Having more volunteers who understand and care about the organization obviously strengthens the organization’s capacity. Aside from feeling good about being of service and supporting a cause, there are also other benefits to volunteering. Understanding and effectively communicating those benefits is critically important when it comes to recruiting and retaining impactful volunteers.

    Volunteering connects a person to others. Building relationships through working together on a common cause can be a very beneficial personal experience. The networking opportunities that come with volunteering can lead to career advancement. Gaining support and learning from others are potential outcomes when giving time and energy to a mission-focused organization. And simply acquiring new friends along the way is always a positive outcome worth mentioning.

    There are also health benefits to volunteering. Giving to others is good for the spirit, mind, and body. According to HelpGuide.org, volunteering combats depression, assists in decreasing stress and anxiety, and increases self-confidence. A sense of accomplishment and a feeling of fulfillment are common side effects of volunteering.

    All of these internal motivators and rewards go a long toward explaining why individuals continue to serve as volunteers. Providing opportunities for external recognition for those who volunteer is also appreciated. The expertise and dedication that volunteers bring to their associations, foundations, and coalitions are extremely valuable but sometimes taken for granted. In many cases, these volunteers are employed full-time and have home and family commitments, but they still manage to give countless hours to a cause in which they believe. Take the opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service during National Volunteer Week and recognize and honor those who give year round.


    • www.associationcareerhq.org
    • www.helpguide.org
    • www.independentsector.org
    • https://learn.acendia.com/volunteer-appreciation-ideas/
    • www.pointsoflight.org
    • www.volunteermatch.org
  • March 01, 2019 9:27 AM | Anonymous

    By Jeff Falcusan
    SOS Account Executive
    About Jeff

    When you hear the expression “tooting your own horn,” does it carry a negative connotation? When individuals engage in over-the-top self-promotion, it can of course come off as tone-deaf or obnoxious. At the same time, if are worried about what others will think of us if we make a point of articulating our value, how can we ever expect to be recognized for our contributions?  The same goes for organizations. Effective nonprofit leaders are skilled at convincingly and unabashedly communicating the objectives and promoting the accomplishments of their organizations to decision makers.

    During my years as a policy analyst in Washington, DC, I had the good fortune of working closely with a congressional relations professional with decades of experience representing membership associations on Capitol Hill. My colleague was fond of reminding audiences that a simple mantra (apparently derived from ancient advice handed down by Aristotle) guided his efforts to describe our organization, its members’ contributions, and our legislative objectives: “Tell them, tell them again, and then tell hem what you told them.”

    This philosophy was not about mindless, empty repetition of boilerplate soundbites. Hammering the same audience with the same message using the same words over and over again is a recipe for being tuned out. Instead, my colleague understood that cultivating awareness of and buy-in for our organization and its policy agenda required a practiced persistence.

    Take advantage of every opportunity to get in front of decision makers who can provide support for your organization or its goals, always have something positive to say about your organization that is rooted in data and real-world accomplishments, and stay on the look-out for chances to repeat the process as many times as possible (including with the same audience) to refine and adapt your message and improve your effectiveness at delivering it. 

    Decision makers, whether they are legislators, funders, or even dues-paying members, have finite time and resources. By creating awareness, building up your organization’s reputation for effectiveness, and staying top of mind, you will contribute toward positioning your organization for success. 

  • February 21, 2019 12:14 PM | Anonymous

    By Jeff Falcusan
    SOS Account Executive
    About Jeff

    A few days ago, I ran out to grab a quick take-out lunch in advance of a conference call. Because it was an unseasonably cold day, I ordered a bowl of soup. When the cashier handed me my order (previously bagged up by a different employee), I made a beeline to the napkin and utensil station. Before I could get there, the cashier shouted, “Don’t worry, I threw some utensils into the bag!” “Thank you so much!” I replied, and headed straight to my car, grateful to have saved even a few seconds on what had turned into a very busy day.

    When I returned to my desk, I opened the bag, took out my soup, and retrieved the two utensils the cashier had provided. Unfortunately, they were both forks.

    As association management professionals, we work hard to advance our clients’ goals and objectives. If we are not in tune with our clients’ needs, however, maximum effort might produce minimal results. By keeping the lines of communication open and checking in with clients on a consistent basis, we can stay up to date and maintain a shared understanding of the short- and long-term priorities that require our time and attention. By first understanding our clients’ needs and then working as hard as we can to meet those needs, we set our clients up for meaningful accomplishments.

    In the association management world, there are other mechanisms we can use to ensure that boards and staff remain on the same page when it comes to organizational goals and how to achieve them. A strategic plan, for example, can help an association think through and ultimately prioritize activities and initiatives with the highest potential to generate revenue or meet other organizational goals. When those priorities are in place, current, and understood by all relevant stakeholders, decision makers can allocate resources appropriately and staff will have a clear understanding of the objectives they are charged with advancing. 

    If your organization has not engaged in a strategic planning exercise in the last few years, SOS can help. Feel free to contact us for more information.

  • January 11, 2019 2:36 PM | Anonymous
    By Suzanne Lanctot
    Managing Director
    About Suzanne

    The bylaws of a nonprofit are generally viewed as the second most important document only after the Articles of Incorporation. Bylaws provide an outline of the governance structure of the organization. Sadly, and for many reasons, this document is far too often outdated (maybe antiquated) and not reflecting the current practices of the organization. Organizations evolve and gradually, under the radar, the bylaws are no longer serving its needs. One important method for dealing with this inevitable evolution is to use/amend more flexibility into the language and structure of the document so that the organization can more readily adapt to impending future changes.

    It is a good idea to review the document every few years and keep record of any revisions as they occur. A reputable Administrative or Association Management Company with a recognized expert, such as a Certified Association Executive (CAE), can provide the experience working in this area.

    Although it is not a requirement for bylaws to be made public, consider doing so for greater transparency and board accountability.

    About the State

    Regulations are done by the state so the best place to start a review is with a solid understanding of the Nonprofit Corporation Statute. Keep in mind, where your bylaws are silent there are default rules within these statutes. Therefore it is best to identify where they may exist in the document…and address them with more specific provisions.

    Look at the “purpose clause” in your Articles of Incorporation. This clause describes the reasons for operation and has a direct bearing on the tax exempt status that was granted. Is it the same language in your bylaws? And does it still reflect your current organizations purpose?

    Look at the “dissolution clause.” This directs what the nonprofit will do with its assets if it dissolves or merges. Is it in line with current values?

    The following are some of the most important provisions and questions that need to be answered for a thorough review: don’t wait for a particular circumstance. Have these answers outlined, readily accessible, and updated every 2 years as needed.

    • Have the bylaws changed, and if so, was this reported to the IRS? A 501c3 should report such changes to the IRS with the next (990) report. Additionally, does the state in which the nonprofit is incorporated require to report changes?
    • Are there requirements to be a board member, such as residency? What are the disqualifications?
    • What are the titles of the offices? Roles?
    • How are they elected or appointed?
    • What are the terms and term limits?
    • Are officers/ directors indemnified form personal liability?
    • What is the size of the board and what are the minimum and maximum numbers of board members? Is this number is too small or too large?
    • Is there a required number of board meetings per year? And are there attendance requirements?
    • What are the rules/procedures for conducting meetings? What is the number for a quorum for official decisions?
    • Is the conflict of interest policy clearly defined? And what are the compensation and reimbursement rules?
    • What is the procedure for removing a board member or officer?
    • How are committees formed? Who can serve? Appointed? How terminated?
    • Conference calls/electronic meetings? How is voting regulated?
    • How do you call an executive session and what can be discussed? – rules vary by state.
    • What is the process and provisions to amend the bylaws? Is there a bylaws committee to review and amend? Should it be ongoing? Is the process too easy or too hard? Who can propose changes and how are they proposed?
    • How will monies be distributed?
    • Is there a membership provision/requirements? Can membership be revoked and what is the procedure for doing so?
    • Are there diversity requirements? If not, consider invoking them.

    Remember, your bylaws must serve your organization, so review and examine them, ask these questions, and make the necessary changes to help facilitate its growth and evolution.

  • November 13, 2018 2:27 PM | Anonymous

    By Laura Taylor
    SOS Account Executive
    About Laura

    Every organization wants to have impact in all that they do. Often, that desired impact is seen as some lofty goal that is a nice intention but not really achievable. When attempting to gain support and establish attainable objectives, effective evaluation should occur. There should be a connection between the activities performed and the results causing the anticipated impact. To ensure that is happening, proper evaluation should be conducted. One evaluation tool that helps visually generate clarity between the resources and activities and the outcomes is a logic model.

    A logic model can assist in planning, implementing, and demonstrating to stakeholders the goals and activities and the ultimate impact produced. The basic elements of a logic model include the following:

    Elements of a Logic Model

    • Resources: Assets and Investments - like volunteers, time, money, technology, partners.
    • Activities: What is performed - like training, services delivered, building partnerships, working with the media.
    • Outputs: The results of the Activities - like number of people served, participation numbers, number of hours or product.
    • Outcomes: The change that occurs between the initial Resources and the Outputs - like changes in awareness, knowledge, skills, behavior.
    • Impact: Long-term, systemic changes - like social conditions, economic, civic, and/or environmental changes.

    There are many ways to illustrate a logic model. The image below shows one way to exemplify this.

    Logic Model Example

    Underlying a logic model is a series of "if-then" relationships that express the organization’s theory of change. In reading a logic model left to right, it begins with the resources.

    • There are resources needed to operate.
    • If you have access to the resources, then you can use them to accomplish your activities.
    • If you accomplish your planned activities, then you hopefully are able to deliver the desired product or service.
    • If you accomplish the activities as intended, then your participants will benefit.
    • If these benefits are achieved, then changes occur (impact).

    Reading a Logic Model

    If you are not already using a logic model, give it a try at your next planning session when the focus is the impact your organization can have within your industry and community.

    For more information and a complete Logic Model Evaluation Toolkit, check out Using a Logic Model.

  • November 01, 2018 12:57 PM | Anonymous

    By Tiarra Earls Haas

    We live in an increasingly digital landscape – from the social media streams, to online news with browser notifications, to stalker-like digital marketing promotions that seem to follow you all over the Internet –there’s virtually no getting away from our digital society. Unless you live in a cave or take on the lifestyle of a Himalayan monk, digital media is now firmly embedded in our culture.

    As such, it makes sense that associations utilize digital media in their promotional strategies. This includes both paid and unpaid promotions, especially in a landscape where you now must compete with other marketers just to get your content in front of your target audience. This is especially so when considering event promotions, but you must know your target audience very well to be effective with promoting events digitally. In this post, I’m going to share several digital promotion strategies that I’ve seen work very well for associations looking to promote events and achieve their attendee target.

    Email Marketing – This is the method that I’ve used most heavily when promoting events, and it has worked very well for organizations within niche industries. This method works best with a strong contact list (at least 500+) and a very wide audience age demographic. It can be used as the sole strategy, but works most effectively when supplemented with other promotions like social media.

    Paid Social Media – Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to pay to get your messaging in front of your target audience. You can target your audience based on a demographic, location, interest area or job industry. If you’re holding a regional event, consider boosting the event and target your audience within a specific radius of the event (i.e. 20 miles, 30 miles, etc.) I’ve seen this strategy work well with events catering to a younger demographic (ages 25-40). Paid social media strategies can be used in conjunction with non-paid/organic postings as well.

    Organic Social Media – Don’t have the budget for paid social media? No worries, just promote the event on your social media pages as you normally would, but consider partnering with your membership base to help get the word out. I’ve used this method for both events and education campaigns. The easiest thing to do is to craft pre-drafted messaging, taking into consideration the word count depending on the social media channel, and provide the pre-drafted posts for others to share on their respective pages. Including images is an additional great option, as postings with images tend to obtain greater engagement. Using this strategy makes it easy for members to copy/paste the postings on their account pages, and gives the event additional exposure!

    Paid Search Ads – If you’re feeling really bold, you can craft a paid Google search ad targeted to your audience depending on a specified set of keywords. There are other search engines that offer paid ads, like Bing and Yahoo, but Google has the largest audience share by far. I always suggest crafting a campaign to run for at least 30 days (to gather data for future optimization), and at least 3 ads, but you can craft just one ad and keep it to “text only” to make it really simple. If you’re feeling too intimated to use Google Ads, you can try using the simpler Google Ads Express version. This method works for a wider audience demographic, of all ages.

    Using any combination of these strategies should help get your event much wider exposure over the traditional media methods, but make sure you know your audience! If your audience base is older, or doesn’t traditionally use social media, stick to search ads and emails. If your audience is younger and digitally active, consider a wide mix of the strategies above. Using digital media is an iterative process – so experiment, learn and improve your methods for each event.

  • October 15, 2018 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Melody King
    Events Director
    About Melody

    “Don't just create an event, create an experience,” says the SOS Event team.

    Here are some ways to make your event fun and memorable.

    Creating an Experience

    Inviting leading experts to speak about pressing topics in your industry and networking events are a good start. According to Bizzabo, (36%) of event marketers claim their biggest challenge comes from increasing event registration. Planners are starting to explore alternative, fun, and informal activities so prospective members feel energized and excited about becoming a member, such as; movie nights, simple team building, emphasize hands-on activities and collaborative learning.

    All about the Attendees

    Creating personas can help in the creation of proper content and communication methods that will appeal to your attendees. Personas are fictional, generalized characters representing various needs, goals and challenges of your members. Create fictional characters to represent each type of member you would like to attract to your association. Have a persona in mind (just as you would think about a friend if you were to write a letter to them) as you develop event content and communications for the group each specific persona represents.

    Strong Ties

    To increase attendee interaction consider pairing up each prospective member with a long-time member who can welcome them and introduce them to other members. The IRS broadly defines associations as “a group of persons banded together for a specific purpose”, attendees are more likely to become a member of an association if they feel a strong sense of community, coordinated activity, and opportunity to build several lasting connections. According to EventMB 2018 report, attendees’ priorities are networking (82%), learning (71%) and entertainment (38%) and self-improvement is important to (37%) and time out of the office is appealing to (16%).

    Smart Pricing

    According to ASAE’s 2012 Benchmark report, event registration counts for about (50%) of non-dues association revenue. Consider making joining even more compelling by offering an event discount or benefits for new members. Highlighting a member registration price versus a non-member price for every event, along with additional member benefits your association may also offer, can serve as a reminder for people who are looking to become members.

    Location. Location. Location.

    It seems that getting members to keep registering is a challenge for many associations. Changing the location to somewhere unique is a way to get members engaged, excited, and builds word-of-mouth marketing around your association’s events. According to EventMB 2018 research publishing, (53%) of events are taking place in unusual venues, demand for non-traditional meetings facilities is expected to increase by (3.8%) in 2018.

  • September 19, 2018 1:01 PM | Anonymous

    By Laurie Williams

    I am an Arizonan. I was born and raised here. I have owned horses and barrel raced, and I read westerns; Louis L’Amour was one of my favorites, so my blog is going to start with the western theme of riding for the brand.

    In the West riding for the brand meant staying loyal to what matters. In the solitary world of cowboys, that means the ranch (brand) for whom they worked and their personal moral compass.

    After I got past my cowgirl phase, I went to work. One of the jobs I had in the early eighties was as a waitress for Coco’s Restaurant. At that time, Coco’s had very distinctive uniforms and you could get fired if you were caught wearing your uniform outside of work. Coco’s philosophy was that, because the uniform was so recognizable, wherever you wore it, you represented the brand - so no after work drinks in uniform.

    Just another way of riding for the brand.

    So, by now you are asking yourself what does this have to do with associations?

    I believe once you say you are part of an association you become a representative of the association, especially if you are a board member or association staff.

    Association leadership needs to be focused and visibly committed. They need to exemplify a guiding culture that nets a positive impact for the association. Association leadership needs to nurture meaningful relationships with everyone.

    A board or staff member grumbling about the association can have far reaching repercussions on the association.

    Association leadership needs to put forth an association culture that makes prospective members want to be a part of it.

    Associations sell the invisible. The ROI on association membership is usually presented as a list of member benefits. Members do appreciate the tangible benefits they receive, but that alone does not drive membership; relationships, culture, and passion for the cause drive membership.

    Association leadership needs to live, demonstrate, and communicate that culture and passion.

    In other words, association leadership should always ride for the brand.


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