Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Finding Resources for Membership and Associations in General

Sometimes I'm impressed by the fact that NOT reinventing the wheel is both efficient and helpful. As we launch this blog, I am well aware that there are so many others out there, all offering great advice for associations--we are maybe the 150th in line in terms of chronology and value for now. In a recent communications survey I conducted with CalSAE, one of the evocative comments when we asked about blog reading & posting behavior was "Seriously, who has time for this??" and I can relate. The key is to become a "go-to" source of information you can actually use, which means sometimes directing you to overlooked information sources that are pertinent to your work.

In the interests of repurposing content, I found these articles in my digital "paper trail" in the Avectra Academy newsletter. I'm including a link to our articles regarding non-member data collection and retention. Of course it's a bit selfish to tout only our contributions: you should sign up for this newsletter and others like it to tap into a great stream of resources and how-tos, courtesy of the largest firms serving our association industry. Along with RSS feeds and the ASAE listservs, these newsletters are great ways to ensure that content flows to you. Some things you may notice it in real time becuase it's fascinating today, but other content is nice to have in your email archives for easy search--to address those information needs that pop up next month but until then weren't even on your radar screen.

I am often surprised by how many of my friends are like the CalSAE member, who may inadvertently cut themselves off from resources that really can be assets in the workplace to avoid information overload. For example, a suprisingly small proportion of ASAE members subscribe to their listservs (where I practically live, and which their surveys still document as the #1 or #2 service for many). Some don't get it and don't subscribe; others use them and then unsubscribe becuase the volume of real-time emails IS a lot like "drinking from the firehose." I personally use it on a digest basis because I don't need 120 extra emails a day; I'd rather get 12 emails at midnight compiling everything by functional area and then keyword search later in my email archives. Ditto for e-newsletters. It's a bit of a paradox, but I think the ubiquity of the Web has made us complacent and somewhat inefficient when it comes to identifying and using resources. If you don't believe me, think back to when the last time was that you spent less than 1 minute searching for relevant, substantive content on the Web and actually found the exact professional resource you were looking for? (With the help of Boolean search techniques [and/or, " "] great for finding song lyrics, but certainly not case studies of effective association web strategies.)

Bottom line, you can look forward to future posts here that share more resources through links and/or footnotes on key topics. We feel your pain and appreciate the need for accessible information since we have certainly been there ourselves!

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