Thursday Buzz: What It Takes to Be a Leader

A longtime association executive shares the essential characteristics needed to be a leader. Also: Find out how to streamline dues processing.

Being an association executive is a unique experience. An executive must have a variety of hard skills, including a deep knowledge of his or her field, the ins and outs of organizational management, and an understanding of disciplines like marketing, fundraising, and more.

But there are soft skills that can turn a good leader into a great one. Octavio Peralta, an association executive for the past 25 years, outlines what he believes to be the “five essential attributes of an association executive” in a recent post for Business Mirror.

Look to the acronym DEPTH for leadership characteristics. “D” stands for dedication. “Associations thrive and sustain themselves because of their purpose, i.e., advancing a cause or advocacy,” writes Peralta. “Dedication also connotes a self-sacrificing devotion and loyalty, requiring total familiarity of the organization and the hard work it entails to do so.”

“E” is for entrepreneurship. “While associations are considered ‘not-for-profit organizations,’ it is incumbent upon them to raise funds and generate revenues to be a sustainable organization,” says Peralta. “Entrepreneurial spirit is characterized by innovation and risk-taking, and is an essential part of an association’s ability to succeed in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Check out the rest of Peralta’s post for more on DEPTH.

Relieving a Burden

Administrative time and effort can be one of the biggest drags of any organization. Dues processing can be particularly frustrating, but there may be a more efficient way to manage that effort.

The Billhighway blog outlines several steps that national chapters should take to simplify dues processing. “When chapters are run by volunteer leaders and small staffs, it’s in everyone’s best interest to relieve their administrative burden by finding ways to streamline and standardize processes,” writes Kyle Bazzy.

Start with data reconciliation. Different chapters have different ways to collect data and multiple payment processes. How do you tackle this? “Assign a unique member ID number to accompany future dues payments,” says Bazzy. And make sure to offer a self-service portal tied to the national AMS to all local chapters, thereby reducing the data entry duties of local chapters.

Bazzy also details a payment-reconciliation process and advises creating a standard data sharing and reporting method.

Other Links of Note

What’s your employee-recruitment secret weapon? According to ERE Media, an online site for job recruiters, it’s the positive impact your association has on society.

The nature of business travel is changing rapidly. The Street provides 10 of the newest trends.

It’s important that your learning portal homepage represents your offering to its best. The Blue Sky eLearn blog shares tips for maximizing your site.


Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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