IMI: All About Animals

Image Credit: André Spieker
Image Credit: André Spieker

By Adrian Emerson, Association Accounting Specialist and 2014 Chair of the IMI Association Executives Fun Committee

 

In a previous post, I discussed how IMI wanted to start a new charity program and the process I followed to develop a program for our team. Here’s an update on the second and third quarter collections.

For our second quarter project, we collected donations for someone in our office who was experiencing hardship. We purchased a large basket and filled it with all kinds of goodies, like gift cards and other items this person needed. She was thrilled with the outpouring and we were all happy to do it. These kinds of collections can be tough to coordinate but are just as important as the bigger charity programs already out there. We at IMI are proud to say that we will help our employees and their families when we can.

During our third quarter we chose to collect donations for the SPCA of Wake County. The SPCA of Wake County, located in Raleigh, N.C., was founded in 1967, and has rehomed thousands of animals during that time. Their mission statement is: “To protect, shelter, and promote the adoption of homeless animals; to provide education about responsible pet ownership and to reduce pet overpopulation through spay/neuter programs.” The organization operates solely on donations, and does not receive government funding. For more information, visit the SPCA of Wake County website. For this charity effort, I built a custom website at a third-party website called Razoo.com. Razoo.com allows you to set up a website to collect donations for a small fee. They are connected with thousands of charities and can even help to set up a new fundraiser. We collected donations in August and September for a total of $225.

Now, I am gearing up for our fourth quarter charity project, which will be to collect donations for Backpack Buddies, a program coordinated by the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, located in Raleigh. This collection will be our final community service project for the year.

In 2014, IMI collected donations for the American Heart Association for Women, a co-worker, the SPCA of Wake County, and Backpack Buddies of Raleigh. I am proud of what our group was able to accomplish. We plan to do something similar next year with different charities. I urge you to set up a collection in your office, even if it is just placing a tip jar in an office common room or organizing a group to participate in a marathon. Every little bit helps, and brings happiness to those in need.

 

Want to know more about association management? Contact us info@imiae.com to find out more about what IMI Association Executives can do for your organization.

Create a Culture of Givers

Image Credit: Ilham Rahmansyah
Image Credit: Ilham Rahmansyah

By Jalene Bowersmith, Executive Director

These ideas are inspired by the General Session “Give and Take” at the ASAE Annual Meeting on August 10, 2014, presented by Adam Grant.

Adam Grant, author of “Give and Take,” says there are three kinds of people in the world: Takers, givers, and matchers. Takers try to get as much as possible from others. Givers go out of their way to support and help others with no strings attached. Matchers expect back what they give others.

A “giving” culture is a great atmosphere to cultivate in your organization. Here are some ideas on how you can promote “giving” in your office.

  • Fast action! Find quick and easy 5-minute acts of giving. Look for opportunities that bring high value, such as praise and recognizing givers, with a low investment of your time. This maximizes your giving without sapping your energy or hurting your own productivity.
  • Lead by example. Remember to ask for help so others have an opportunity to give.
  • Reward the givers. Change the reward systems to also recognize those that contribute to others’ successes rather than only those that strive to succeed on their own or possibly step over others to achieve success.
  • Start a Reciprocity Ring. Get a group together and instruct everyone has to ask for help with one project or task they are working on.
  • Remind team members that it’s a good thing to ask for help. Odds are, most people are willing to help if they are asked to assist.

Now that we’re in the mindset of helping each other, who should you ask for help?

  • If you have a “normal” project, stay close. Check with close contacts first because you know the same people and do similar things. Close contacts often can easily integrate into your project with little or no preparation.
  • If you’re doing something new, think outside of the box! Distance contacts have more of an effect when you reach out for something new because they know different people and do different things. Who is outside of your normal circle that could help?
  • Get the best of both worlds by reconnecting. Activate dormant ties, colleagues or friends that you haven’t connected with for a while. This will achieve “close” contacts you once knew and have something in common with, but who now know different people and do different things.

 

Want to know more about association management? Contact us info@imiae.com to find out more about what IMI Association Executives can do for your organization.

Make Your RFP Work for You

Image Credit: Lucas Theis
Image Credit: Lucas Theis

By Lee Campbell, Executive Director & Director of Conference

These ideas are inspired by the session “RFP Reconstructed” at the ASAE Annual Meeting on August 11, 2014, presented by Rachel Benedick, Mary Kreins, Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki.

If you are an event planner you know the Request for Proposal (RFP) is one of the most important documents in your arsenal and its contents can make or break your event.

Here are a few tips on making sure your RFP is as ready as you are.

Make Sure the RFP is Complete

Hotels need complete information about an organization’s conference program in order to offer the best proposal. Be thorough, but be concise.

It’s important to accurately reflect your conference program, needs, and budget. The hotel team will review all aspects of your information from the RFP to determine if your program is a good fit for the hotel, and vice versa.

Don’t Forget to Include Your History and Expectations

  • Organizational goals (e.g. What does your organization hope to gain from the event? How will you measure success?)
  • Expected number of attendees and the demographics of your group
  • History of the organization’s conferences the last 3 years
    • Hotel and city locations
    • Sleeping room pickups
    • Food & Beverage history
  • List of the expected and requested concessions
  • Date pattern
  • 3rd Party Information (will you secure your own AV Companies and Tradeshow Decorator Companies?)

Make Good Connections

Did you know? EmpowerMINT.com is a resource that hotels will check to investigate an organization’s history to determine if a partnership will be a good fit. Organizations can also use this site to register an official RFP document in order to connect with hotels.

Want to know more about association management? Contact us info@imiae.com to find out more about what IMI Association Executives can do for your organization.

IMI Goes Red for the American Heart Association

IMI Turns Red for the American Heart Association
IMI Goes Red for the American Heart Association

By Adrian Emerson, Association Accounting Specialist and 2014 Chair of the IMI Association Executives Fun Committee
    
Are you considering starting a “give back to the community” initiative in your office? Read below for Adrian’s experience with IMI’s efforts to branch into office-wide charity efforts.

The Backstory
Based on a lot of individual interest in charity efforts during 2013, IMI asked me to start an ongoing office-wide charity program in 2014.

First Steps
My first step was to determine what kind of charities and charity programs would be the best fit for our team’s interests and availability. So, I created a good old fashioned survey. I found that everyone had different passions and interests when it came to charities. Some team members were interested in charity events like a group walk, while others were more interested in collecting donations. I also found that choosing charities for everyone to agree on would not be an easy task! I had to create a plan that would satisfy our desires to give back to the community, but would also fit within the team’s availability and would be appropriate for the entire group.

Next Steps
I decided that this year would be a testing year. We would freely test a plan and be ready to change things up in 2015 based on our experiences. From our survey results, I picked several different types of charity options and just see how they worked with our group of individuals. We settled on one charity drive each quarter and preplanned the four charities for the year. We obviously couldn’t participate in all of the charities suggested by our team members, but we did our best to focus on the main charities our team felt passionate about. I’m keeping the list of the remaining suggestions for future years’ charity efforts.

Going Live With the Plan
For our first quarter charity we picked Go Red for Women, which is a charity drive sponsored by the American Heart Association. The event is during the entire month of February and is part of the National Wear Red Day. Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States? For this charity drive, I built a free online webpage on the Go Red for Women website to collect donations from our employees. Our February staff meeting happened to fall on National Wear Red Day so we asked everyone to wear red in support of the cause. IMI collected donations for about a month and we raised $252 for the American Heart Association. I look forward to the good we hope to do during the rest of this year.

Your Turn
Does your office have an ongoing charity program? We’d love to hear about your success stories and how your program works. Please share in the comments below!

Want to know more about association management? Contact us info@imiae.com to find out more about what IMI Association Executives can do for your organization.

What to Consider When Re-Organizing Volunteers

Image Credit: Canva

By Jalene Bowersmith, Executive Director

These ideas are inspired by the session “Re-Imagine Volunteering” at the ASAE Annual Meeting on August 12, 2014, presented by Debra BenAvram and Peggy Hoffman.

Considering how to help your organization’s volunteers be more effective? Maybe it’s time for a re-organization of your volunteer structure.

What to Consider When Re-Organizing Volunteers

Define success.
Before you get started, make sure you have the end result in mind. What are you looking for? Do you want to increase documented engagement, stronger member satisfaction, or added interest groups? Make sure you have an overall plan with a clear timeline, expectations and commitments. Establishing where you want to go is critical to knowing how to get there.

Remember, change it takes time.
It seems to take about 18 months for a board structural change to take affect and everyone to get on board with the new process and roles. Be prepared to be patient – and to help your volunteers settle into their new holes.

Clarify roles and responsibilities.
Make sure every one – board, chairs, volunteers, and staff – knows what their responsibilities are. This is critical during a transition to keep projects moving forward and to make sure all tasks are covered.

Go slow to go fast.
Take the time to communicate well when you are onboarding volunteers. A good foundation will help speed the transition and make for more effective volunteers in the long run.

Listen to the experts.
Let the volunteers determine their skills and expertise. Always start by asking your volunteers about where they feel they would fit best within the organization and work from there.

No volunteer left behind.
Every new process will have people who need help getting on board with the change. Use education to help the stragglers see the benefits of the new process and let them be a part of the solution. Each of your team members can be a positive advocate for the change.

Want to know more about association management? Contact us info@imiae.com to find out more about what IMI Association Executives can do for your organization.

7 Evergreen Ideas to Engage Volunteers

evergreen ideas for volunteers jpgBy Jalene Bowersmith, Executive Director

These ideas are inspired by the session “Re-Imagine Volunteering” at the ASAE Annual Meeting on August 12, 2014, presented by Debra BenAvram and Peggy Hoffman.

Don’t miss these 7 evergreen ideas to engage volunteers – and keep them engaged.

1. Make sure the board and volunteer messaging is positive and collaborative.
Proactively establish that the organization works as a team to accomplish the goals.

2. Hold comprehensive training every year for all volunteers.
Group experiences like training help volunteers to feel more invested and anchored in their volunteer experiences.

3. Sunset committees that aren’t needed anymore.
Closing committees that are no longer active allows the volunteers’ energy and efforts to be poured into new tasks where they can see the fruits of their labors.

4. Formalize the volunteer application system.
Having requirements and an application for volunteers will help you to gather information about volunteers and place them in projects that will be the best fit.

5. Know when the project is too big.
No one enjoys volunteering on a project that is struggling. If initiatives are floundering, then it might be time to consider bringing in a staff member or an outside consultant to take over all or part of the project.

6. Develop non-traditional volunteer roles.  
Stop thinking of “positions” and start thinking of tasks and projects that need to be accomplished. Pool the creative resources in your team!

7. Use volunteer satisfaction surveys.
Volunteer satisfaction surveys help your volunteers know that your organization cares about the volunteers. Ask what made participants decide to volunteer, what strategies are working, and how they would like to see the organization change.

Want to know more about association management? Contact us at info@imiae.com to find out more about what IMI Association Executives can do for your organization.