Building a Fit-For-Purpose Association Board in the Turbulent Twenties

As part of the Association Insights series, in Old Town, this webinar discussed the title of this blog post.

The following are my notes from Jeff De Cagna's, Executive Advisor, Foresight First, LLC presentation.

He started with the comment of “we must do something different with our organizations and boards.  Association boards must become more!”


He asked a series of questions:

  • What will our successors say about us?
  • What will the next generation of leaders think of the work you did as a board and organization?
  • Why is it critical to build a fit-for-purpose board?

He talked about how this decade is going to get worse and the four forces we face:

  • The impact of AI/automation technologies on human beings;
  • The worsening climate crisis;
  • The surge in human inequality; and
  • The rise of ideological extremism.

He discussed what is normal.  And his answer, “nothing is normal.”  He states this as the most acute short-term threat organizations face.  He made the following statement, “boards must adapt to operating in the discontinuous next.”

He went on to talk about boards being risk adverse.  Where are we headed?  Boards need to think towards the future and don’t debate current events.  That’s tough to do!

What are the foundational beliefs of a fit-for-purpose association board?

  • Focus on where you are going and not where you have been;
  • Think about your successors and stand up for the future;
  • Let go of historical expectations;
  • Get away from orthodoxy assumptions; and
  • Embrace the responsibility of stewardship with other organizations on collaboration.

How can your organizations board become fit-for-purpose?  Being a board vs. becoming a board?  Think long-term and our boards must be more and not just checking the boxes of being a board (i.e. 990 review, annual budget review, etc.).

He suggested asking your board the following three questions:

  1. What positive-sum transformation can your board pursue?
  2. What sacrifices will your board make to benefit our successors?
  3. How will the directors and officers help each other to become a fit-for-purpose board?

He ended with circling back to “what will our successors say about us?” and a quote from Barbara Jordan, “For all of its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future.”

For more information on Jeff De Cagna and his work go to his website HERE.

Think you Can’t Make Money With Social Media? Think Again.

Jason Ebey, IOM, YGM Total Resource Campaigngave a great presentation on the title of this blog post!

His opening statement - "You came looking for money!"

We are membership-based organizations.
What is your target audience?  Members or nonmembers.  It’s about connecting either of those groups that can provide value to your members.

How businesses got out their message in the past, they went to different platforms but we’re going to focus on Facebook today.  He suggested our demographic is on Facebook and number two YouTube.  Shotgun vs focused approach is the theme.

It’s all about the reach.  How do you reach your members?

Start by cleaning your Facebook page.  Don’t lose your identify by putting too much junk on your page.  It’s about getting your members or prospective members to engage on your page.

Now it’s time to put value on your page.  Talk about your program of work:

Ribbon Cuttings – picture (free), live, interview (charge for both of those options).  Monetize what you can.  Transaction or it’s part of a top tier of your membership.

Flashback Friday – a year later highlight that ribbon cutting with pics from the event.  Nice touch when they are getting ready to renew.  Also, you could find a sponsor for your Flashback Friday.

Member Spotlights – what a great way to highlight a member by telling their story.  Members will pay you to tell their story on Facebook.  Think about delivering real content on the business and how they are interacting with the community.  Don’t over play this on your page.  Maybe sell one a month or one a week.

Holiday Campaigns – shop local with a coupon.  He talked about a company that can embed your logo within a QR code.  Remember QR codes, Covid brought that dead industry back!  Everyone is using QR codes again to highlight a sponsor and their company.

He went on to talk about Facebook pages vs groups for your organization.  The groups are  market segmentation of your total membership (think of it as folks who rally around an issue like workforce, healthcare, etc.).  And think of it that way!  It’s all about engagement and he stated that Facebook groups have a higher level of engagement than pages.

He ended with suggesting you keep a balance on your Facebook page.  Don’t go all sponsorship, but do focus on how you can monetize Facebook.  Do make sure you have quality content on your platform, page/s or group/s.  He quoted the President and CEO of the Robins Chamber that said, "this has also increased their engagement, recruitment and retention."

Make sure you pick the right platform for your organization and more importantly that you can support with your organizations resources.

For more information on Jason Ebey go HERE.