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Birth of a Blog
By Gayathri Kher | September 9, 2013AssociationBlogNon Profil

Those of us in the association world know that the needs of small staff associations are not very different from the larger organizations. All of us are faced with much of the same dilemmas and challenges. In staff meetings and discussions with colleagues we often find ourselves in the midst of a variety of topics including How do... read more

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Prioritization: Part 1
By Linh Hoang | September 9, 2013Associationmaxmimizenon-profit

When you take into consideration the limited resources you have with a small staff association, it is more important than ever to prioritize. It is easy to go through the motions of your day and not think about prioritizing but by allotting time to this task, you can maximize your staff’s time and resources by deleting obsolete tasks... read more

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Conference Site Selection Tips
By Conference Charlie | September 20, 2013Associationcitiesconference

Where do you want to take your next event? This blog will give you some important things to keep in mind when you are selecting your city and venue. It will include some tips to help you ask the right questions and make the best decision for you and your organization. These tips will also help you compare several attractive proposals that may... read more

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How to Win Big at Meeting Promotion
By Conference Charlie | October 11, 2013Associationconferenceevent

You have to get the word out about your event, and chances are you should have started your marketing campaign a few weeks ago. Don’t fret! This article will give you the inspiration to get your marketing right on track. Identify Themes Right Away Use your last event for guidance. What themes came up that your attendees feel... read more

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5 Ways to Zap Small Staff Association Stress RIGHT NOW
By Linh Hoang | October 17, 2013Associationbusyhelp

Source: MemberClicks Hello Small Staff Associations! We found this great article by Sarah Hill of MemberClicks directed towards and written especially for you. Times are tough…and if they’re not tough, they’re always busy. In addition to the stresses Sarah talks about, the government shutdown caused some un-needed stress. Even if you aren’t directly employed by the government, they... read more

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Process Documentation… Why do I need that?
By Gayathri Kher | October 25, 2013Associationconsultantdocumentation

As association IT staff, we are involved in a number of un-ideal tasks: running the graveyard shift, adopting last-minute design and functional changes to applications, dealing with what we view as unreasonable requests from members and other staff, to name a few. However these annoyances pale in comparison, to process documentation, a task the mention of which we... read more

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Association Fundraising for Success: Embrace the Big Picture [Part 1]
By Cathy Josman | October 31, 2013AssociationcommunicationDevelopment

  It’s a delight to contribute several guest blog posts here on fundraising tips & tricks for associations, especially the many small organizations who face a myriad of support and resource challenges. Today’s initial thoughts start at a high level, because as important as tactics and execution can be (future topics), I believe the most important factor in... read more

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Association Fundraising for Success: Embrace the Big Picture [Part 2]
By Cathy Josman | November 6, 2013AssociationcommunicationDevelopment

Basic as these tenets may seem, it is truly stunning to see how many organizations manage to lose sight of these essential elements as other pressures mount around efforts to achieve underlying specific dollar or participation goals that may or may not have been developed with the larger picture in mind.  These challenges aren’t unique to smaller organizations. ... read more

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Three Tips to Getting the Media Attention You Want
By Alexi Turbow | November 11, 2013activitiesalexiAssociation

Trying to get the attention of the media can seem like a daunting task, especially when you have minimal to no staff dedicated to this. But even with limited funds or staffing, it is still possible to get the media attention that you crave. Below are three ways to get started: Hosting or attending an event While the... read more

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Engage Your First Time Attendees to Maximize Their Benefit
By Conference Charlie | November 15, 2013Associationattendanceattendees

Your repeat attendees are wonderful — they love you and you love them.  But, that familiarity can create a bubble that seems impenetrable to outsiders. Don’t let this happen to your event. Embrace your newcomers — make them feel special and welcomed. Track Attendance Records Make sure you keep good track of attendance. Use this information to tailor... read more

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Dear Betty: Why don’t our chapter members join?
By Dear Betty | November 20, 2013Associationattendeeschapter

Dear Betty, We have a lot of non-members at our conference. I mean A LOT: 43% of our annual conference attendees are non-members. The thing is, the majority of them are active members of their regional chapters (we know because we asked). Why don’t they want to join us, too? What can we do to entice them to... read more

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Dear Betty: How do we ease the pain of a dues increase?
By Dear Betty | March 18, 2014Associationbenefitsboard

Dear Betty, At the request of our Board, our association recently worked with a consultant to evaluate our membership structure. The consultant strongly recommended increasing our dues rates. I’m worried about the impact this will have on our retention rate. How do I explain an increase in dues to our members? How do I ease the blow for... read more

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Dear Betty: Something Different for the Holidays
By Dear Betty | November 20, 2014Associationcelebratechristmas

Dear Betty: Is it already time for sending snowman-themed “happy holidays” greetings to my members and boxes of chocolates and cans of popcorn to my exhibitors and conference sponsors? Isn’t there something different I could do? Gentle Reader: I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes it seems like the sparks from the Independence Day fireworks have scarcely gone... read more

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Happy Holidays From Microstaff
By Sheree Santantonio | December 12, 20142015Associationchristmas

The holidays are right around the corner and we wanted to take this time to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to our company’s growth. We have had some big and exciting changes this year with our new office space located in downtown Washington D.C., and new additions to our growing staff. We could have not... read more

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fusionSpan Holiday Party
By Sheree Santantonio | December 23, 2014Associationcelebrationevents

Last Friday the fusionSpan team got together to celebrate the holidays. We shared great food, libations, and many laughs. Our talented party planner, Linh, prepared a wonderful spread, with the help of our baker, Jessica, and chef, Sheree. We had a blast playing holiday themed games such as Stocking Surprise, the Present Unwrapping Challenge and Mystery Christmas Sketch... read more

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Dear Betty: Lessons from the Ice Bucket Challenge
By Dear Betty | January 14, 20152014ALSAssociation

Dear Betty: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $100 MILLION to date for the ALS Association. Why didn’t we think of that?!? I know we can’t just copy it outright, but is there anything associations can learn from the phenomenal success of this viral campaign? Gentle Reader: Ah yes, I think the entire nonprofit industry (both... read more

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In-House vs. Out-of-House Badge Printing
By | February 6, 2015AssociationBadge PrintingBudget

Anyone who’s been involved with event registration knows that there can be many speed bumps along the path before reaching the end goal: a successful event that provides a positive experience for the customers (and staff!). Since I work with a few companies for their event registration processes, I decided to share some of my new-found insight from... read more

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How To Make Event Check-In A Seamless Process
By Gayathri Kher | April 17, 2015Associationconferenceevent

One of the burning questions that every meeting organizer wants the answer to is “What do my conference attendees want?” Attendees are demanding more value out of in-person meetings. Now more than ever, associations need to make meetings more interactive to enhance attendees’ conference experience and keep them coming back year after year.  So how do we provide a creative experience... read more

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Google’s “Mobile-Friendly” Update – What Does It Mean To Your Association?
By Gayathri Kher | April 22, 2015AssociationGoogleindex

Yesterday, April 21, 2015, Google went live with the search algorithm that will boost the rankings of mobile-friendly pages. Let’s take a look at what this means to your Association: When was this first announced? Google released that they are experimenting with a new mobile friendly ranking algorithm in December 2014 and announced it officially in February 2015. What is this algorithmic update and whom... read more

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On-Site Registration with ExpoLogic

I recently worked an on-site registration for a conference for the first time. I had heard many “horror” stories about the on-site registration desk and before I left, I was informed that I would be absolutely exhausted by the end of the week. However, this was no horror story for me. If anything, it was like one of... read more

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Syncing your sites – is it worth the cost?
By | May 13, 2015APIAssociationData entry

Is it worth paying to have your systems reflect the data being stored in your database? With technology today almost anything can be automated. Yet so many organization are unwilling to invest capital to automate mundane tasks in order to save their employee’s time – updating multiple contact lists with the same information, generating website content after entering the same information... read more

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VIDEO BLOG: Association Engagement – returning the focus to members

Associations often focus on increasing attendance at their events, people signed up for their listservs, and overall membership numbers – but is that always in the best interest of members? fusionSpan spoke with Elizabeth Engel and Anna Caraveli about their recent white paper: Leading Engagement from the Outside In: Become an Indispensable Partner in Your Members’ Success. Part 1... read more

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PREZI: What is an API and why should I care?
By | July 23, 2015APIAssociationIntegration

API: Application Programming Interface. A vague phrase that offers little insight if you’re not a computer science major, yet if you’ve spent any time around system vendors or website developers they’ve likely thrown the acronym around as if its taught in the third grade of every classroom in America. Fear not, we’ve created a Prezi (a free, online presentation... read more

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VIDEO BLOG: Moving your association to focus Outside-In
By | August 4, 2015Anna CaraveliAssociationchange

Part 2 of fusionSpan’s conversation with Elizabeth Engel and Anna Caraveli about their recent white paper: Leading Engagement from the Outside In: Become an Indispensable Partner in Your Members’ Success. Here we dive further into what steps association’s can take now to become more member focused. Did you miss part 1 of the conversation? Make sure to check... read more

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Win7 to Win10 Upgrade Breaks Office 2013/365
By Manav Kher | September 28, 2015AssociationOffice 2013Office 365

After having gone through several Win7/8 to Win10 upgrades, we found an anomaly. Users running Windows 7 and Office 2013/365 may face significant problems with their Office Suite after upgrading to Windows 10. This complication seems limited specifically to Windows 7 and Office 2013/365, and does not appear to affect upgrades to Windows 10 from any other version... read more

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Non-Profit Tech Podcast: Conversation with Mark Ace about Collaboration
By | October 15, 2015AssociationCollaborateKavi

Mark Ace, President at Kavi Corporation We got a chance to talk to Mark Ace, President of Kavi Corporation, about his recent blogpost, “Five Characteristics of High-Performing Teams.” We also discuss the ways different organizations are leveraging their technology in order to accomplish their collaboration goals, as well as some of the issues small staff organizations face with... read more

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The Quest for an Event Registration System
By Gayathri Kher | October 20, 2015Associationconferenceevent

I thought I had been assigned a simple task – To find an event registration system for a client that has an annual conference. The main goal of this group is to improve end user experience while still being able to incorporate their business requirements. Seemed like a day’s effort to me …. to research potential vendors, document the information, and... read more

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Shopping Around for the Best Deal
By | November 25, 2015AMSAssociationShopping

It’s that time of year again: families are gathered, work is closed… Oh, and EVERYTHING IS ON SALE! The question is, when do you get the better deals? For decades, people have been running out the day after Thanksgiving to get all the lowest prices for just about anything you can imagine. Now there’s another way to get... read more

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ASAE Small Staff Online Conference
By Mary Glavin | January 14, 2016ASAEAssociationevent

Joining ASAE  has been invaluable for our company; specifically, their small staffed community has provided support and possibilities we benefit tremendously from. The opportunities to participate in their conferences, workshops, and to network and engage in this community, centered on modest staff sizes, has been a notable factor to our own growth and achievements. The ASAE small staff... read more

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Documentation: Good for Work and Travel!
By Linh Hoang | April 29, 2016AMSAssociationconsulting

Koala on Phillip Island, Australia Hello Small Staff Big Impact. I’m baack! I’ve spent the better part of the last year traveling around Australia and SE Asia. I’ve met a lot of great people and learned many things. As part of my experience, I held some interesting jobs to supplement my travel income, including crew on a 43... read more

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Non-Profit Tech Podcast: Business Intelligence Tools with Mike Fletcher

Mike Fletcher, Director of Information Technology, Endocrine Society Talking business intelligence (BI) tools with Mike Fletcher, the Director of Information Technology at the Endocrine Society. Mike recently went through the process of finding a BI tool, ultimately deciding on Power BI. We discuss why he wanted a BI tool, the process of picking a BI tool, some of... read more

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AMSFest – Up close with an AMS
By | September 22, 2016AMSAMSFestAssociation

fusionSpan was at AMSFest, put on by Teri Carden, founder of ReviewMyAMS.com. It’s an intimate event where association professionals can get an up-close look at a bunch of different AMS (association management systems) vendors all in one place. They also can talk with industry partners (like fusionSpan) about what the trends are and what they should have on... read more

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Underutilized Technology: Getting the Most of Your System
By | October 12, 2017AssociationBlogimplementation

Underutilize technology and it will rust away… As part of an office redesign, an organization I used to work at installed all new screens in the conference rooms. They also installed two large touch screen projectors that allowed for an “interactive” presentation. Instead of sitting behind their laptop, the presenter could control their presentation directly from the projection... read more

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Delayed Gratification and your CRM
By | February 22, 2018AMSAssociationCRM

“Did I lose my special treat?” A frequent question from my son. We’ve created a system in our home where if he behaves, he gets a “special treat” after dinner – usually in the form of 22 minutes of TV. While there are some issues with the system (what’s the leverage for behaving once he’s lost this special... read more

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Non-Profit Tech Podcast: Steal Like a Fundraiser

In this podcast, Justin talks with Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CEO and Chief Strategist at Spark Consulting, and Sohini Baliga, Director of Communications at the nonpartisan budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, about their white paper titled, “Steal Like a Fundraiser.” Their paper addresses innovative practices in the charitable fundraising environment that association executives might want to adopt, specifically... read more

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Four Steps to Prepare Your Website for GDPR Compliance
By | May 10, 2018AssociationGDPRtechnology

In less than two weeks (May 25, 2018), the most significant change in data privacy in 20 years and protection regulation goes into full effect. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is aimed at protecting the personal and sensitive information of all EU residents, regardless of where an organization is based. Under GDPR, individuals are allowed greater... read more

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fusionSpan’s experience at Xperience18!

Last week fusionSpan was at Community Brand‘s User Conference – Xperience18! Five days packed with lots of learning, sharing and connecting. Here are a few highlights! fusionSpan was networking We had a booth. Community Brands has compiled quite a cornucopia of products, which in turn meant there was a unique range of organizations at the conference. From small non-profits... read more

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Non-Profit Tech Podcast: Talking Data Privacy with Todd M. Tolbert
By | May 23, 2018AssociationfusionspanGDPR

Todd M. Tolbert, the Chief Administrative Officer at the Internet Society, joins us in this episode of Non-Profit Tech Podcast, hosted by fusionSpan’s Justin Burniske. The conversation touched on a range of topics around data including the differences between data privacy and data protection, common misconceptions on data privacy, and mistakes that nonprofits and associations make related to... read more

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Common Issues for Organizations New to Salesforce (And How to Avoid Them!)
By | June 7, 2018AMSAssociationfusionspan

So you’re just getting started with Salesforce, a powerful CRM that offers users a great deal of functionality, and unlimited possibilities! Or, maybe you are using power association management solutions (AMS) powered by Salesforce, such as Fonteva’s MemberNation or Community Brands’ Nimble AMS. What is the best way to hit the ground running with your shiny, new AMS?... read more

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An Introduction to Google Tag Manager

Is your organization’s website performance aligned with your business goals?  Without properly leveraging your website’s data, it is difficult to know how you can improve your web presence and improve your users’ experience.  We recommend using Google Analytics, a powerful free web analytics service, to track and report your website traffic. If you manage your organization’s website, you... read more

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Making the Case for a Business Hub for your Association (Part 1)
By Manav Kher | February 28, 2019AssociationIntegrationstechnology

Associations are increasingly adopting multiple software systems to obtain the best of breed for each focus area. They are moving away from integrated systems that have multiple modules that manage varied IT functions but only excel in one or two. That means most associations use a multitude of IT systems – including a Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Learning... read more

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Non-Profit Tech Podcast: Strategic Implementations of New Systems at Your Association
By | April 15, 2019AssociationPodcasttechnology

In this podcast, Justin Burniske chats with Rhea Steele, Chief Operating Officer of DECA Inc. on how to strategically implement new software systems at your association and how to successfully facilitate the change management that occurs with the implementation of systems. Here are some helpful resources that Rhea shares in this episode: Switch: How to Change Things When... read more

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Data and Relationships: Too Much, Too Soon?
By | October 3, 2019Associationtechnology

It’s inevitable. In every implementation of a new AMS solution, we eventually come to the question of what information needs to be collected for particular transactions – joining, registering, subscribing, etc. Inevitably, we are often handed a set of forms that are either throwbacks to the age of paper or are lengthy tomes printed from online forms. And... read more

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TABS Views fusionSpan as a Partner, Not a Vendor
By | December 3, 2019AssociationMarketing

The Problem Boarding schools in North America have experienced a continuous, 15-year decline in their primary enrollment categories. To combat that trend, The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) launched the North American Boarding Initiative’s “Ready for More?” campaign on July 1, 2016. The initiative’s purpose is to answer a strategic imperative from heads of school to address the... read more

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Preparing for the Salesforce Spring ’20 Patch
By Steve Brodt | February 27, 2020AMSAssociationSalesforce

What is Happening If you use Salesforce or a platform built on the system, then you are probably well aware of the Salesforce Spring ‘20 release, which came out on February 17, 2020. Although the releases are a regular Salesforce event, the latest one contains a security patch, which may require a little extra attention. Patching normally involves... read more

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10 Keys to Client Success
By | March 12, 2020AssociationCustomer Success

Happy customers do not equal more business. Over the last few years, customer service continues to become outdated, while customer success has arrived as the new kid on the block. Contrary to what some may think, customer success is not merely a rebranded version of customer service. Customer success is changing the ideology behind the customer relationship. It... read more

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Keeping Remote Teams Engaged and Accountable

Gayathri Kher Co-Founder & President This is a good time for associations to look at their project lists and re-prioritize projects that were tabled due to all-consuming events, staff bandwidth, and travel. Many of you may be grappling with how to keep teams productive, accountable, and engaged as we all adjust to the new normal of fully remote... read more

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Elevate Your Marketing Game With Transactional Emails

Managing email communication with your association’s members includes more than the marketing emails that are sent to advertise events or share information. A key part of email communication is transactional emails (also called Operational Emails), which many organizations leverage to provide members key information. These emails update members with essential information relevant to their association membership. fusionSpan believes... read more

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Leverage Einstein Prediction Builder For Your Association’s Next Membership Campaign
By Alan Luo | August 31, 2020AnalyticsAssociationBusiness Intelligence

Suppose you are reading this as the marketing manager for your association or organization. Every summer, a number of contacts in Salesforce’s Fonteva platform subscribe to premium memberships. As the marketing manager, you will want to try to understand these members by building dashboards, conducting studies and leveraging statistics. In fact, you might have already done this by... read more

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Non-Profit Tech Podcast: Cut Through The Clutter with Elizabeth Weaver Engel and Hilary Marsh
By | September 24, 2020AssociationPodcastTech Talk

In our latest Non-Profit Tech Podcast, fusionSpan’s Justin Burniske talks content creation with Hilary Marsh, Chief Strategist of the Content Company and returning guest Elizabeth Weaver Engel, Chief Strategist of Spark Consulting, LLC. Associations are content machines, and we are all looking for ways to reduce the load on staff through effective content curation. Tune in as the... read more

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Your AMS Journey: Selection to Adoption – Step 1: Ask Why
By | October 1, 2020AMSAssociationimplementation

Welcome to Your AMS Journey: Selection to Adoption, a blog series presented by fusionSpan. Throughout our work providing consulting, implementation, and support services to non-profits and associations, we have seen our share of successes and challenges that the entire selection and implementation process involves when adopting a new Association Management System (AMS). In this series, we will shed... read more

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Deliver Value to Association Members by Leveraging Fonteva Reports
By Ashish Puduserry | October 22, 2020AssociationBest PracticesSalesforce

In today’s age of digital transformation, leveraging data efficiently and effectively is imperative for associations looking to deliver consistent value to their members. We often work with clients leveraging platforms such as Salesforce and Fonteva, which are tools that offer a wide range of functionalities and customization when it comes to reports and dashboards. For some readers, you... read more

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5 Ways to Improve Your Next Email Campaign in Mailchimp
By and Komal Chauhan | November 5, 2020AssociationBest PracticesDigital Marketing

In today’s age of social media and digital transformation, email is often overlooked as a marketing tool to effectively use to reach members. Email campaigns are an inexpensive option for associations to reach a large group of members and are even still relied upon as the primary form of communication. One email marketing tool that fusionSPAN’s Digital Strategy... read more

How Google Analytics Can Improve Your Association’s Digital Presence
By Adam Hinkel | November 19, 2020AssociationDigital StrategyGoogle

As an association in an increasingly digital world, providing value to members through online-content is essential. However, it can be difficult to determine whether or not that value is truly being delivered without knowing how users are interacting with the content on your website. By using Google Analytics, associations can measure return on investment, identify which digital strategies... read more

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Leverage Pardot Forms as Lead Generation Tools
By Komal Chauhan | December 17, 2020AssociationBest PracticesMarketing

Forms are very common features on association websites to collect information from visitors, regardless of if they are members or not. The information gathered on forms can help turn anonymous visitors into identified prospects. For example, when a visitor provides an email address in the form while signing up for a free newsletter, you will be able to... read more

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Leveraging Baseline NetForum Enterprise in Customizations
By | January 14, 2021AMSAssociationfusionspan

NetForum Enterprise is a feature-rich association management system (AMS), but most associations will inevitably find themselves needing to customize. That’s fine – NetForum allows customizations. The challenge comes in down the road when you’re looking to upgrade and the customization does not support new functionality available in the new release or worse breaks down completely. Implementing customizations that... read more

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Your AMS Journey: Selection to Adoption – Step 9: UAT & Training
By | February 18, 2021AMSAssociationBest Practices

Your organization has been hard at work throughout the implementation and data conversion phases of the project. The team has made great progress, but all the activity has been predominantly conducted by the core project team working on perfecting individual modules of the overall project. The testing that has occurred so far is unit/module level testing. It’s time... read more

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Create Better Membership Dashboards With Apache Superset
By Alan Luo | March 11, 2021Associationdatamembership

Dashboards have always been a crucial part of analytics. As the demand for Business Intelligence (BI) tools increase each year, the amount associations spend on BI products has followed suit. Robust platforms, such as Einstein Analytics and Domo, mainly charge fees by user count. This in turn might limit the number of users that can see visualizations. Should... read more

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50 Questions to Ask AMS Vendors During Product Selection
By Gayathri Kher | April 29, 2021AMSAssociationconfiguration

This blog was originally published on September 18, 2013. Are you ready for a new Association Management System (AMS)? If you just answered ‘YES’ or ‘MAYBE’ then read on… Finding the right AMS for your organization can be like Prince Charming finding Cinderella. Sure, you have a glass slipper – you know what you want. Now, how do... read more

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Rethinking Marketing Automation And Your Membership Lifecycle

Many association professionals are undoubtedly aware of the membership life cycle of Awareness, Recruitment, Engagement, Renewal, and Reinstatement. The concept can be pushed further since your relationship with members does not look the same year after year, instead, it evolves. Thinking about the membership life cycle three-dimensionally is more realistic. Therefore, we now have a Membership Spiral! In... read more

Track Your Association Engagement With Pardot Scoring
By Komal Chauhan | June 18, 2021AssociationBest PracticesMarketing

Many associations want to quantify how engaged their prospects or members are with the organization. While this is ideal, many associations do not have an integrated system that can look at how the user engages across multiple platforms – web, marketing, and CRM. Various marketing tools have the capability of scoring users based on engagement, but the key... read more

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Automated Journey Tips & Tricks

Automated Journeys are a key capability of marketing automation tools for associations. These journeys can be thought of as a detailed map showing the experience a customer or member will have with your organization. One of the primary reasons for moving to a new tool is the inability of the legacy platform to successfully automate critical journeys, such... read more