Lunchtime Links: Is it Ever OK to Break Tradition?

Why one political tradition may be on its way out the door. Also: How one association changed Thanksgiving forever.

Think the clock’s run out on your tradition?

Whether it’s a lucky suit or a pregame football ritual, everyone likes tradition, no matter how silly it might be. But what if your members are clamoring for change?

Do you bend to that will, or stick to your guns for tradition’s sake? That and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Out with the old? A longtime tradition of the Republican Party calls for, well, one big party. We’re talking about the Iowa straw poll, which one Republican governor thinks has “outlived its usefulness,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Iowa’s Gov. Terry Branstad thinks the one-day event, which takes place in Ames, Iowa, just over a year before the presidential election, has lost its benefit. Branstad points to Rep. Michele Bachmann as a reason why this tradition should be on its way out the door: It’s no longer a predictor of winners. (Bachmann won the straw poll in August 2011 but soon lost momentum and suspended her campaign after placing sixth in the Iowa caucuses this past January.) Still, some Republicans are shocked that the party might stop, pointing to a demand for the event and the longstanding tradition of it all. Tradition for tradition’s sake—is it worth it? Has your association ever faced a decision such as the one facing the Republican Party?

Turkey talk: Apparently you can thank an association for the nice stretch of shopping time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to Reuters, the most prominent push for a date change—from the last Thursday in November to the third—came from the National Retail Dry Goods Association, which along with other business groups had argued that having the turkey feast on the last Thursday of November left too little time for robust Christmas sales. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s August 1939 announcement of the date change—to take effect that year—left many communities and businesses scrambling to change plans for holiday merchandise shipping and family gatherings, and one football team even declared it’d vote Republican if the president dared interfere with the football schedule. (FDR’s political career clearly survived that threat.)

Knowledge is power: Trying to convince someone to join your side is easier if you know everything about them, it seems. President Obama’s campaign database leads the charge, with drilled-down information on their supporters—everything from their magazine subscriptions to the types of cars they drive and whether they have a hunting license. The Obama campaign plans to redeploy its list of supporters for next year’s gubernatorial races in the hopes of reaching the same voters who backed the president. The Washington Post notes there could be hundreds of pieces of information per voter. Any organization benefits from having a good database, which can help tailor marketing collateral or new initiatives to reach the proper audience. How is your association taking advantage of its member database?

What interesting things have you seen online today? Let us know in the comments.


Chloe Thompson

By Chloe Thompson

Chloe Thompson is a contributing writer to Associations Now. MORE

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