Comments: Readers Speak Out

Readers share their views on recent Associations Now articles.

Associations Now readers have strong opinions, and we love to hear them. Here's a sampling of reactions, positive and negative, to some recent articles from our pages.

More on Bullying

Thank you for the article on workplace bullying ["No Place for Bullies," February 2011]. Unfortunately, some of us who were horribly bullied in workplaces years ago, well before there was significant attention to it, left the situation to preserve our sanity and self-esteem, but then only to find the brutal reality of being blackballed by whole industries. In lieu of legal action (which has too high a bar of proof), there is little an employee can do when targeted by a manager-bully.

In my experience, it was lack of any supervising of the supervisors. It wasn't until years later, six years after I had left the employer, that the bully finally was let go. There were many victims before and after me, and she was never really held accountable for the pain and suffering she caused. She routinely intimidated, humiliated, belittled, and consciously marginalized; she'd steal subordinates' ideas and portray them as her own with impunity. I think this is probably quite widespread.

—LuAnn Kowar, Chicago

Join the Party

I agree [with social media consultant Amber Mac]; thinking of social media as a cocktail party really is the idea I try to address with companies, my own company included. ["How to Avoid Bungling Social Media," April 2011] It can be a great sales tool, but it's only as effective as the level at which you engage with your clients.

—Sarah Jane Dunaway, Syscom Services, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland

Value for Dues Dollars

It was nice to see an article in your May issue ["Communicate Value, Increase Membership," May 2011] on communicating value and its effects on increasing membership. We don't often see material on this most important issue and fundamental weakness among our trade associations and professional societies. There are a variety of ways that value can be quantified and communicated. Andrew [Miller] talks about video and showing your work as delivery vehicles. With these and other vehicles, the most important aspect is that the delivery vehicle illuminates the value as it is equated to the dues dollar, both from the recruitment and retention perspective. That, in combination with communicating the message in a variety of association media several times, makes the member or prospect take notice of the value equation. Just delivering it once in the newsletter, magazine, or other vehicle will not reinforce it sufficiently to make a dent in the mind of the member.

In order for the associations to survive and thrive going forward, they must buy into to the following value methodology:

  • Define tangible and intangible products and services in a meaningful, quantified way.
  • Define the segments to which these products are to be integrated and delivered.
  • Define unique delivery vehicles to deliver these products and services.
  • Summarize and compare quantified products and services to the dues or nondues dollar.

Communicate amplified value equations as often as possible in multiple communications vehicles, including an interactive website application, e-news, and other savvy vehicles, and provide them with value-laden quantifiable testimonials, as Andrew points out, and other examples that demonstrate value for dues.

As we move forward, it will become increasingly more important to find and demonstrate the articulated value of that dues dollar to the member or the company if we are to remain vibrant and competitive business, political, social, and educational enterprises. If we are not able in future years to demonstrate and articulate our value beyond internet search vehicles and words with no meaning, it will be difficult to maintain our viability as the "go-to" community for our constituencies.

—Stephen C. Carey, Ph.D., CAE, Association Management & Marketing Resources, Bethesda, Maryland

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