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Webinar Recap: How to Recruit Leadership Candidates like a Pro

July 31, 2014 in Governance, Webinar by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

Votenet’s get-out-the-vote expert and University of Florida political scientist Charles Dahan joined me last Tuesday for the first webinar in our Summer Candidate Series. We’re focusing on candidates this summer because, after increasing voter turnout, recruiting qualified candidates is the number two election challenge for associations, according to our most recent benchmark survey.

I’ve already shared the tactics we suggested during the webinar to identify and target potential leadership candidates. Today, we’ll focus on recruiting those candidates.

Remove the common obstacles to leadership.

There are two common reasons why people don’t consider putting their name in for a leadership position.

  • No one asked them.
  • Too much uncertainty surrounds the position.

Often, the only reason a member hasn’t express interest in a leadership position is because no one asked them. ASAE’s Decision to Volunteer study found that a personal invitation was the most effective way to recruit a volunteer. The same is true for recruiting leaders. Reach out to the members whom you’ve identified as leadership material. A personal call from a member who’s served in a leadership position followed up by a call from someone on staff might be just what’s needed to put them on the path to leadership.

You also have to reduce friction and remove any pain points surrounding the leadership nomination process. If a member doesn’t have a clear understanding of the requirements and responsibilities of leaders in your organization, it’s very unlikely he or she will pursue or accept a nomination.

Most of us have some degree of fear of the unknown or aversion to risk. If we’re uncertain about the consequences of an action, we’re not likely to take that action. In a study on ballot initiatives, researchers found that if there’s a lack of clarity about the proposition or referendum, people tend to vote No.

Remove the possibility of No by providing comprehensive information about leadership positions, perhaps in a FAQ. Ask members who are serving or who have recently served in leadership positions to explain in a video what it’s like to serve. What misperceptions did they have about the position? How have they been pleasantly surprised by their position? How has it benefitted them personally and professionally?

If you’ve asked members to run for office and they’ve declined, find out why. What you can learn from their answers? How can your organization overcome those obstacles?

In the last post, I suggested sending out a “trust” survey to members to find out whom they respect, whom they would go to for advice, and whom they would trust with the leadership of their organization. People naturally don’t want to let others down when they know people are counting on them. When you approach members on the “trust” list about taking on a leadership role, be sure to emphasize the endorsements they received from their colleagues and peers.

Diversity increases voter turnout and member trust.

Competitive elections with a diverse slate of candidates increase voter interest and turnout. If a voter doesn’t believe there’s any difference between the candidates, there’s no reason to vote – the payoff is zero.

More importantly, boards that are made up of members with a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives have more productive discussions, entertain more new ideas and make better decisions. Numerous studies have shown that diverse boards also make more money — profits increase when the number of women on corporate boards increase.

A board that reflects the entire membership leads to increased participation in and loyalty to the organization. A diverse board builds social capital – trust.

Diversity is contagious. For example, when one woman runs for office, more women will follow her example in the next election. A larger and more diverse pool of candidates helps to build interest in leadership and elections, and leads to a more vibrant and healthy organization.

If the members whom you identify and target for recruitment choose not to take on a leadership role, ask them to get involved in another way. You’ve put the leadership bug into their head and can begin building your leadership bench for future elections.

Save the dates for the next two webinars in our Summer Candidate Series.

how to recruit association leadership candidates

Photo by U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Webinar Recap: How to Target Leadership Candidates like a Pro

July 29, 2014 in Governance, Webinar by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

Votenet’s get-out-the-vote expert and University of Florida political scientist Charles Dahan joined me last Tuesday for the first webinar in our Summer Candidate Series. We’re focusing on candidates this summer because, after increasing voter turnout, recruiting qualified candidates is the number two election challenge for associations, according to our most recent benchmark survey.

Last Thursday, I shared the tactics we suggested during the webinar to identify potential leadership candidates. Today, we’ll focus on targeting the candidates you’ve identified.

Whom can you target immediately for leadership positions?

First, use the data you already have to identify and target members who are already heavily involved in your organization. These members are more likely to be receptive to stepping up their involvement. Look for members who regularly:

  • Serve on committees, task forces and other groups.
  • Help out at meetings and events.
  • Participate in the online community and social platforms.
  • Speak at events.

If, like eBallot, your online voting platform tracks voting history, target the members who are regular voters – they obviously care about your organization’s leadership.

Learn who’s highly trusted in the member community.

Use a survey to find out whom your members respect. Whom would they go to for advice? Whom would they trust with the leadership of their organization? This tactic is especially helpful to national staff who don’t have a familiarity with members involved at the state, local or chapter level.

Email this “trust” survey to members. Or, post a link to it in your online community and on your social platforms. As a bonus, you’ll learn who cares enough about your organization to respond – put those names on a list for upcoming volunteer opportunities.

When you have a list of “trusted” members, let them know they have gained the trust of their colleagues – this is one of the most effective ways to encourage involvement.

Who’s getting the accolades?

Take another look at the members who are receiving association awards at the national, state, local or chapter level. If they are worthy enough to be recognized by their peers, perhaps they have leadership potential too.

Have any of your members received awards from other professional organizations or from their own companies? Keep track of press releases and start taking names.

In the next post, we’ll look at recruiting members for leadership positions. Save the dates for the next two webinars in our Summer Candidate Series.

how to identify and target leadership candidates for associations

Photo by Pete/Flickr CC license

Weekend Reading from Votenet: July 25, 2014

July 25, 2014 in Weekend Reading by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

Here are our favorite posts this week about member and employee engagement, digital democracy, board retreats, strategic questions, room sets, union membership and the rush syndrome.

Here’s the real reason employees don’t share new ideas, according to Art Johnson: “People are afraid that their ideas may not be considered seriously or that an ill-conceived idea could be career limiting.” I’ll add another reason: employees worry that if their idea is accepted, its implementation will become their responsibility. It will be added to their already heavy workload, but nothing will be removed to make room for it. Art suggests some ways “to create and sustain a culture that nurtures creativity by eliminating this fear in its people.” (The Business Journals)

A new web and mobile platform called DemocracyOS is being used by citizens in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Tunisia to discuss and vote on issues. In Argentina, candidates of the Net Party promise “to cast their votes according to the will of DemocracyOS users, and introduce legislation based on user suggestions rather than those of industry lobbyists.” The Net Party’s leader, Pia Mancini, says, “We need to start thinking about whether systems that were developed in the 18th century, and fully implemented in the 20th century, make sense in a 21st-century societal context…A tool like DemocracyOS can help speed up that process.” (Michael Scatturo, The Atlantic)

Our expectations for board retreats are too low, says association consultant Robert Harris, CAE. He provides suggestions to improve board retreats so their outcome will be “an inspired team ready to govern — not just a list of new projects.” (MultiBriefs Exclusive)

Our favorite tweet this week…

member and employee engagement, digital democracy, board retreats, strategic questions, room sets, union membership and the rush syndrome

Consultant Molly Penn brings us back to the basics with six great strategy questions every board member (and staff liaison) should consider. These questions “will help everyone in the room stay focused on the most important issues.” (BoardAssist)

How does a meeting room table affect discussion? Association exec Eric Lanke shares an unexpected lesson from what he thought was a disastrous room set. (Eric Lanke)

“Traditional unions are aiming to boost membership, change public perceptions, and improve conditions for their members and other workers through new and creative methods.” Josh Israel talked to labor activists around the country and shares five tactics being used by unions “to get their mojo back.” (Think Progress)

Are you frequently multitasking? Do you walk, talk and think fast? Joel Garfinkle warns of the consequences of the “rush syndrome.”

  • The more you produce, the more people expect of you.
  • High productivity doesn’t always equal high quality work.
  • Adrenaline addiction can be harmful to your health.

He provides advice for breaking the rush syndrome cycle. (Smart Blog on Leadership)

This Week on Voting 2.0

On Tuesday, Votenet’s get-out-the-vote expert and University of Florida political scientist Charles Dahan joined me for the first webinar in our Summer Candidate Series: How to Identify, Target and Recruit Leadership Candidates. We’re focusing on candidates this summer because, after increasing voter turnout, recruiting qualified candidates is the number two election challenge for associations, according to our most recent benchmark survey.

Our first of three webinar recap posts was published yesterday: How to Identify Leadership Candidates.

Save the dates for the next two webinars in our Summer Candidate Series.

Secrets to Successful Candidate Communication on Tuesday, August 26 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Present Your Candidates Fairly & Favorably to Voters on Thursday, September 4 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Enjoy your weekend!

Votenet reading list on member and employee engagement, digital democracy, board retreats, strategic questions, room sets, union membership and the rush syndrome

Victims of the rush syndrome
(Photo by Mo Riza)

Webinar Recap: How to Identify Leadership Candidates like a Pro

July 24, 2014 in Governance, Webinar by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

Votenet’s get-out-the-vote expert and University of Florida political scientist Charles Dahan joined me on Tuesday for the first webinar in our Summer Candidate Series. We’re focusing on candidates this summer because, after increasing voter turnout, recruiting qualified candidates is the number two election challenge for associations, according to our most recent benchmark survey.

Voter turnout is higher when slates are competitive. Turnout also increases when voters have a diverse set of candidates from which to choose. If the same people or the same type of people run for election and lead your organization year after year, voters lose interest. They also lose trust in your organization if they can’t connect or identify with any of the candidates on the slate.

To increase interest, trust, and, therefore, turnout, your organization must have an appropriate number and diversity of candidates in your next election. Before you do anything, identify the skills and experience that you seek in candidates. A post we published last week about board director competencies can help you do that. Your nominating committee will use a range of criteria, including competencies and diversity factors, to select the best candidates.

Take a deeper look at your members’ involvement.

Use the data you have in your association management system and/or other databases to help you identify prospective candidates. Members who are already highly involved in your organization are more likely to be receptive to stepping up their involvement. Look for members who regularly:

  • Serve on committees, task forces and other groups.
  • Participate in community service activities.
  • Help out at meetings and events.
  • Participate in the online community and social platforms.
  • Speak at events or write articles.
  • Attend in-person and online educational events.

Look for members who have regularly voted in the past – they obviously care about your organization’s leadership.

If you don’t have voter data, start collecting it during your next election. You can also add survey questions to the bottom of your ballot. Find out if voters would be interested in getting more involved in specific activities. Ask them why they haven’t been involved up to this point. Use the ballot as an opportunity to learn more about your members’ views on leadership and governance.

Identify your proven leaders.

Charles suggested a tactic they use at his university to find new academic leaders. They look for people who are joiners, volunteers or leaders in other organizations, for example, HOAs, charities, scouts, church, sports or other community groups. If you don’t already collect this data, you’ll have to survey your members to get this information in the short-term, and then make a plan to collect it regularly. A survey will help you find another set of members who think it’s worth their time to help your organization – the ones who respond to the survey!

Someone whose schedule is heavily committed to the leadership of another organization may not have the time to participate in your organization’s leadership. But keep them on the short list for the future.

Find out who cares about voting.

Another tactic, if time allows, is to send a “pledge to vote” email out well before the election. If members accept your call to action and click the link taking them to an online pledge form, they may be receptive to a recruitment message from you. As a bonus, studies have shown that they are more likely to vote in the election they’ve committed to.

Not everyone who falls into one of these categories will be officer material or even board member material, but you may find many members who would be interested in getting more involved in your organization, maybe in an advisory group or task force capacity to start. Find out how they’d like to contribute – you may discover new useful ways for members to get involved.

Why don’t members want to be leaders?

Often, the only reason a member hasn’t run for a leadership position is because no one asked them. ASAE’s Decision to Volunteer study found that a personal invitation was the most effective way to recruit a volunteer. The same holds true for recruiting leaders. If you identify some natural leaders, reach out to them. A personal call from a fellow member who has served in a leadership capacity followed up by a call from someone on staff might be just what’s needed to get them interested.

Other reasons for not getting more involved is a lack of awareness or knowledge about leadership opportunities, or a perception that leadership service is too cumbersome or time-consuming. Now, if that perception is the reality at your organization, you may want to work on lessening the burden on leaders by decreasing the number of meetings and conference calls, switching to a virtual collaboration platform so leaders can discuss issues when it’s convenient for them, and splitting up responsibilities so the “burden” of leadership is spread among more people.

In the next post, we’ll look at targeting members for leadership positions. Save the dates for the next two webinars in our Summer Candidate Series.

how to identify leadership candidates for your association

Photo by Brenda Gottsabend/Flickr CC license

Weekend Reading from Votenet: July 18, 2014

July 18, 2014 in Weekend Reading by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

Here are our favorite posts this week about member engagement, voter mobilization, email frequency, deadly boardroom phrases, the only strategic question that matters, association benchmarking, and emotionally small people at work.

Do you have colleagues who are focused only on the needs of their own department and not on the strategic needs of the organization? Ed Rigsbee calls these folks the “Lords of Lesser Corners.” He says the standard method of operation for these “emotionally small people” is protectionism. He’s got some ideas on how to change their behavior. (Ed Rigsbee, LinkedIn)

Membership organizations aren’t the only ones trying to engage their constituencies – “it is the local government manager’s job to reach out and find ways to welcome their community members into the work of government.” The International City/County Management Association has five ideas for engaging the unengaged that are worth stealing. For example, “create ‘places’ for small-group conversations…These opportunities don’t just happen but require managers to design meetings and processes to encourage and support small-group conversations.” (International City/County Management Association)

One of our favorite webinar speakers, Dr. Melissa Michelson of Menlo College, has an article in the Post about mobilizing reluctant voters. Her findings are based on get-out-the-vote field experiments, not conjecture. “What really mobilizes these voters is repeated personal contacting.” The same tactic works for organizational elections too. If you don’t have the man/womanpower to make personal calls or send personal emails, make sure you send a few reminder emails during the election period. (Melissa Michelson, The Washington Post)

photo by Vige/Flickr CC license

 

Learn how an association used surveys and testing to determine the right frequency for their email newsletter. The results: more clicks and opens. (Alex Mastrianni, Informz)

Here’s something to include in your next board packet – seven deadly phrases boards should avoid. For those of you who have to attend dysfunctional board meetings, you might want to add these phrases to a board meeting bingo card. (Jerold Panas, massnonprofit.org)

What’s the only strategy question that matters? It’s the one that no one at your organization, except for overworked staff, is asking. I’m not going to give it away, but if your board answers it, it will free up your association’s capacity to pursue what the board decides to do and will improve your chances of success. This is a must read for all membership organizations, and another good handout for your board. (Michael Hudson, Credit Union Insight)

A few association benchmark reports have been released recently, or will be soon, that you should know about.

Crowd Vote of the Week

This is more of a tease than our usual crowd vote of the week. In 2015, the International Astronomical Union, the organization in charge of naming heavenly bodies, will open its exoplanet naming process to a public vote. Yes, you can be a master of the universe.

This Week on Voting 2.0

After voter turnout, the next biggest election challenge, according to 62% of the associations that participated in our most recent benchmark survey, is recruiting leadership candidates. That’s why we’re focusing on candidates this summer in our Summer Candidate Webinar Series.

Our first webinar, Target & Recruit Leadership Candidates Like a Pro, will be on Tuesday, July 22 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT. Join me and University of Florida political scientist Charles Dahan to learn how to use and leverage data you already have to identify potential candidates, simplify your nomination process and recruit a diversified slate of candidates who represent different constituencies within your membership. Find out more on our registration page.

Do your board members have the skills needed to govern your association and lead it into the future? We’ve got some ideas on how to identify the skills that your board needs and what some of those skills might be.

One more thing.

This weekend a delivery service is giving away free pints of ice cream to those who download their app in NYC, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, LA, Seattle and Boston. I’d thought you might want to know. Enjoy your weekend!

 

What Do You Look For in a Board Director?

July 17, 2014 in Associations by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

Do your board members have the competencies or skills needed to govern your association and lead it into the future?

Many associations have nominations committees that vet potential leadership candidates on their skills and experience – the strengths they can bring to the boardroom. But too many association boardrooms are still full of directors who were nominated or appointed based not on what they know, but on whom they know, where they’re from, whom they represent, or whether they’ve “paid their dues.”

In the last few years, the idea of a competency-based board has been a topic of conversation in the association community because it’s one of the “radical changes” proposed in the book Race for Relevance by Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, CAE. The idea of a competency-based board isn’t so radical – many associations have them – the radicalness of Coerver’s and Byers’ idea stems from their recommendation for downsizing competency-based boards to five members. Leaving the “radical” number of board members aside, let’s look at the competencies that board members should have.

Who decides what skills your board members need?

Your nomination committee should identify the skills your leaders need in order to achieve the goals in your organization’s strategic plan. The skills they need today and in the future may not be the same set of skills that served your leadership well in the past. After all, the times they are a changing, and changing mighty quickly.

You need to know what skills your returning board members have so you can identify any gaps in needed competencies. Ask the board to do a self-assessment of the board’s performance – something your board should do at least annually — and the skills they bring to the table. Ask the appropriate staff to evaluate board members as well.

On your nomination forms, ask leadership candidates to provide a description of relevant skills. You may want to provide a list of desirable skills in case they are unaware of the association’s needs.

Once the skills gap is revealed, the nominating committee can focus on identifying and recruiting members who possess and demonstrate the desired skills. If you are struggling to find members with the skills you desire, then you know where your leadership development training should focus.

What are some of the competencies you should look for?

Association consultant Glenn Tecker says decision-makers must:

  • Think strategically and analytically.
  • Effectively communicate thoughts and the rationale for those thoughts.
  • Have the earned respect of other key stakeholder group members.
  • Work well with others as a member of a collaborative group with group decision authority.
  • Have an earned reputation for emotional maturity, personal integrity and honesty.
  • Be familiar with the body of knowledge related to both the process for which the group is responsible as well as the substantive content of the subject area within which decisions and choices will have to be made.

Beyond these leadership skills, you also need skills related to your organization’s goals and vision. For example, you might need candidates with some of the following skills or attributes:

  • Relationships with industry partners and/or competitors
  • Joint venture, partnership or merger experience
  • Financial acumen
  • Political savvy
  • Technology knowledge
  • Product development experience
  • Marketing expertise

Earlier this year, Associations Now shared the findings of an ASAE Foundation study on the attributes of “high-performing boards.” Those boards demonstrated a healthy attention to board member recruitment and development, a strategic focus, and a commitment to assessment and skills development. Encourage your board and nominations committee to make a plan for developing the skills of your future leaders.

association board directors skills competencies

photo by David, Bergin, Emmett and Elliott/Flickr CC license

Target and Recruit Leadership Candidates Like a Pro

July 15, 2014 in Webinar by Jenn Barton, Marketing Director

After voter turnout, the next biggest election challenge, according to 62% of the associations that participated in our most recent benchmark survey, is recruiting leadership candidates. That’s why we’re focusing on candidates this summer in our Summer Candidate Webinar Series.

We want to help you save time (and your sanity) and be as effective as possible in your interactions and communications with leadership candidates – from pre-nomination to post-election. Join Votenet’s get-out-the-vote expert and University of Florida political scientist Charles Dahan and our CEO Mike Tuteur for a candidate crash-course this summer!

How do you identify members who would make good leaders? What tactics are best to simplify the nomination process, and increase the likelihood that potential candidates will submit or accept their nominations? How do you spread awareness of the nomination process?

Next Tuesday, in Part 1 of our webinar series, Target & Recruit Like a Pro, we will teach you how to:

  • Use and leverage data you already have to identify potential candidates.
  • Simplify your nomination process.
  • Recruit a diversified slate of candidates who represent different constituencies within your membership.

Here are the details for your calendar:

What: Votenet webinar Target & Recruit Leadership Candidates Like a Pro, part 1 of our Summer Candidate Webinar Series

When: Next Tuesday, July 22 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT

Who: Votenet’s get-out-the-vote expert and University of Florida political scientist Charles Dahan and Votenet CEO Mike Tuteur

Where: GoToWebinar

How: Register here, please.

I hope you’ll join us!

target and recruit leadership candidates like a seasoned pro

Nominations don’t have to be this complicated.
(photo by PBS News Hour/Flickr CC license)