Tips & Tools

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  • 26 Oct 2011 4:44 PM | Deleted user
    If you are in the nonprofit industry, then you know how important it is to have volunteers at your conferences and events, as well as those to serve on committees for the association. Here is a fresh idea on utilizing these volunteers, so they are happy and so are you! It's called "Micro-Volunteering"

    Remember, they are volunteering their time and want to feel appreciated for doing so. Always think about who might be signing up as a volunteer, and then offer a range of options for them to choose from that best suits their personality.If you need them for one specific task and that task only, then make sure you give them detailed instructions on what their role is, and how important it is to the overall success of your event. 

    When you have given clear, definitive instructions on what the volunteer will be doing, they are more likely to sign up (again and again) because they know “what they are getting themselves into” & the amount of time that they will be investing in the volunteer position.

    List of Volunteer Opportunities: 

    Not all of these can transfer over when recruiting volunteers for your special event, conference or association, but you will get the idea....

    Like to drive? Have your volunteer sign up to pick up your speakers from the airport, as well as running errands during the conference for last minute needs and supplies.

    Be a tourist! Have your volunteer put together a field trips document to share with your attendees about interesting places to go in the city. Make sure they list restaurants, parks, and other attractions that your crowd will like. Hopefully, if your volunteer is from the city, they will have the insider scoop on all the hot local spots.

    Drawing and Sketching Artist: If you have a volunteer who is an artist, have them on site to do impromptu sketches of your conference attendees. This offers a fun, engaging way to connect with your attendees and also gives them a thoughtful memento to bring home from the event.

    Exercise Buddy: If one of your volunteers is a trainer or yoga instructor, schedule an early morning yoga class that takes place in one of the session rooms. If yoga is not your thing, have them organize a morning run or walk. (Don't forget to include a note in the program about these classes!)

    Below are some ideas for very specific volunteer recruitment, i.e. "micro-volunteering". Think about the audience that your event attracts and determine which topics are most suitable for the event, and then offer a list to your volunteers for signing up to facilitate one of them. If this list seems too intensive to coordinate, then have one of your volunteers serve as the "Extra Curricular Guru" who offers a system on how to connect with folks to participate in the activities below.

    Cooking 
    Cinema
    Dog Walking 
    Cycling 
    Hiking 
    Skiing 
    History Buff 
    Bible Reading 
    The Crafty One
    Sports Fanatics
    Xbox for the kids  
    Bowling 
    Computer Wiz
    Social Media Teacher  
    Library 
    Crafting or Cross Stitch 
    Driving Range
    etc.....!

    Also, on a side note, it's always good to know if one of your volunteers has a truck or even better a tow truck in case some one breaks down or needs to haul something. I hope this gives you a fresh approach when it comes time to round up your volunteers. Volunteers are so important to the nonprofit industry, so make sure you make them feel that way. Remember to follow up with a hand written thank you card after the event. Hopefully they will have had such a fond experience they will come back, and this time bring a friend!

    Happy Fall to you all, and thanks for reading!
    Anna Trott
    Prime Mgmt Account Manager
  • 26 Oct 2011 11:37 AM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    Searching for a "green" hotel?  Consider the reference at www.greenhotels.com.  Their suggestions for hotels include:
    • Linen program asking guests to consider reusing towels and not having sheets changed daily
    • No smoking
    • Low-flow 1.5-2.5 gpm showerhead and 0.5 gpm sink aerators
    • Recycling basket
    • Fluorescent lighting - CFLs in lamps
    • Dispensers for soap and shampoo
    • All-natural, biodegradable amenities
    • Organic cotton or bamboo bed and bath linens
    • Energy-management system
    • Energy Star PTAC, TV and appliances
    • Fresh smell (not the smell of cleaning products), which hopefully means non-toxic cleaning products and HVAC filters changed appropriately
    • Houseplant to help clean indoor air
    • Washable glasses and cups
    • Painted walls (with no- or low-VOC paint) rather than vinyl wall coverings that can encourage mold and mildew
    • Recycled bathroom paper products
    • Ceiling fan
    • Newspaper on request only

  • 24 Oct 2011 10:32 AM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    Puffin Foundation Artist Grants

    The Puffin Foundation seeks to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to art organizations and artists throughout the country who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their gender or social philosophy. For the 2012 grant cycle, the Foundation will provide Artist Grants ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 to encourage emerging artists in the fields of theater, photography, and music. The Foundation is particularly interested in supporting innovative initiatives that will advance progressive social change. Prospective applicants must request funding guidelines and forms by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Foundation’s office by December 1, 2011. Completed application packets will be accepted from November 1 through December 30, 2011. Visit the Foundation’s website to review the grant guidelines.
  • 04 Oct 2011 11:37 AM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    Similar to groupon and livingsocial, this site provides discounts with a portion of the sales going back to the non-profit: http://www.sharingspree.com/HowItWorks/How-it-Works
  • 22 Sep 2011 4:00 PM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    If you are looking for offsite backup solutions, the reviews at this resource may come in handy. This is a fast changing field, but as of September 22, 2011, this is well up to date.  The solutions are very affordable for any business.
  • 15 Sep 2011 4:42 PM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    Real time saver, scan in a typed document and use this web site to OCR the document, which converts your file to a word doc.  You do need to proofread it, but it does a nice job and is free!
  • 22 Jun 2011 1:14 PM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    A great resource to learn or review meeting planning tips and how-to documents can be found here: Meeting Planner Survival Guide by MeetingsNet.
  • 07 Mar 2011 5:13 PM | Deleted user
    Let's face it, the membership marketplace has changed drastically over the last 50 years.  Is your organization doing everything in its power to meet the needs of this changing audience? 

    Membership recruitment and retention is critical to the continued success and overall health of any membership-based organization.  The method with which your organization prospects new members and develops leaders out of your existing membership must be able to change with the times.  In the 21st century, your association must understand the membership and find new and innovative ways to use today's changing technology to recruit and retain members.  Prime Management Services has actively increased membership by over 14% in 12 months time for an organization simply by changing the way we target the association's members and member prospects.

    To successfully capitalize on the changing member marketplace, one must understand how to enhance the organization's image and understand the need to create a genuine membership "experience".  At Prime Management, we understand the need to go from "mass marketing" to "mass customization".  We understand that organizations need to maintain a human touch to ensure your members understand that we value their participation and that they are not "just another member".

    For more information on how Prime Management Services can help your company recruit and maintain members in the new millennium, contact us.
  • 04 Mar 2011 3:40 PM | James Ranieri (Administrator)
    Often, I hear non-profit professionals state their reasons they cannot hire an Association Management Company (AMC), or for that matter why they can not hire any staff at all.  I often hear small business owners make the same reasoning.  

    “I just can’t afford it.”

    I would say a better response is to say you just can’t afford not to hire an AMC, or based on preference, an individual, to perform the necessary duties and tasks for your association (or small business) to survive and thrive.

    A dedicated staff, with experience and the know-how to get work done in an efficient and timely manner, is a must in today’s competitive world.  Relying on volunteers is just not a formula that will lead to long term success.  Your industry is likely very challenging and keeping up to date is a full time job.  Trying to juggle volunteer or staff time, usually on tasks that they are not trained to do, wastes their valuable time.  Working together with an AMC or staff, provides your volunteers or existing staff time to focus on how the association or business can serve clients and do its job.  Why force a business owner or past president of an organization enter data, look for a venue, or manage a check book when they can be focused on serving member needs or making valuable industry collaborations?  We have found that when organizations utilize our services, they grow and prosper as they are allowed to focus on “bigger picture” opportunities and planning.

    Now, if you have made the decision to hire additional help, I would argue that the AMC model would be a better choice for most associations, and quite often businesses as well.  For example, my company, Prime Management Services, has experts in customer relations, event management, trade show management, conference planning, database management, cutting edge web sites, accounting, graphic design, and has established relationships with experts in investment firms, law firms, printing companies, mailing houses, speakers, convention and visitors bureaus, and even hotel chains.  Our clients benefit from the years we have worked hard to develop these relationships, and they get this benefit from day one.  

    By pooling resources, costs to customers are minimized, yet you benefit from the shared resource. For example, your association may be one that relies heavily on a CPA, while another is best served by friendly customer service representatives answering phone calls or emails from their members looking for assistance.  Both associations may need the other service from time to time.  But it is inefficient use of your funds, if it is even possible to hire both a CPA and a customer service representative.  But with our company the resource is shared, making the best and most efficient use of limited resources.

    Furthermore, our company provides one telephone system, one operating system, one data backup, one fireproof safe, one software system… you get the idea, we provide one expense that is then shared among our clients.  A staff person often comes with hidden expenses that become apparent over time.  No organization has a copy machine in use at all times!  Why not share this resource?  Not to mention, as with most purchases, buying in bulk reduces the per item cost.  The cost to utilize an AMC may not be as high as you think.  You may find that this is something you can do right away.
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