Sunday, August 24, 2008
As I travel and read, I discover a population where "life goes on." Most seem to be ignoring the "silly season" of American politics ... frustrated with promises of "change" from local, state and national politicians who have been politicians most of their lives. It is a summer when the President’s approval rating is only about 30% ... and the approval rating for the U.S. Congress is only half that of the the unpopular President. What gives? I realize that I’m a "half-full" thinker. But, again, "what recession." Obviously, the numbers don’t lie and the economy has slowed. But ... for what seems a very large segment of the American public, life goes on. This summer, we hosted "gas tank top offs" (where I filled cars with $20 of free gas) for both my staff and then for out-of-work folks (I prefer to say "in between successes) who are members of Businesspeople Between Jobs (BBJ). Had a chance to read lots of books (nearly all "management" books) this summer. Some really good stuff out there for someone like me who runs a small business focused on being the staff and headquarters of not-for-profit organizations. They include: Here Comes Everybody: the Power of Organizing without Organizations. Mastering the Rockefeller Habits The Future of Management The Purpose Driven Life Death by Meetings The Long(er) Tail As I get time, I’ll try to give some highlights of these books. Last month, I attended the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) annual meeting in San Diego ... which included the AMC Institute meeting for owners and principles of Association Management Companies. I love the networking with people owning businesses such as mine. Leads to ideas and information. For example, we’re in the middle of switching association management system software and several owners who have just made the switched shared information and processes. Two neat things to announce: 1) ASAE has awarded the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation its Associations Advance America SUMMIT Award for the Foundattion's Trees for Troops program. We manage both the Foundation and Trees for Troops. It is a really neat cause marketing campaign ... and our partners at FedEx Freight make it possible. Last year, they provided FREE more than 51,000 trucking miles to get the farm-grown Christmas trees from 850 farms and retail lots to the 17,000 military families at 40 bases! And, we're in the final planning stages for th 2008 program which we hope will let us deliver holiday memories and farm-grown trees to more than 20,000 military families. FedEx Office (formerly Kinko's) will be joining us in 2008. If you want to help (donate a tree, donate funds, send a greeting), go to http://www.treesfortroops.org/. 2) I've been selected as a speaker at ASAE's Great Ideas Conference in February. I'll be leading a discussion on cause marketing ... using Trees for Troops as a case study. I’m headed for a week of fishing in northwest Ontario ... to a remote lake that is 100 miles from the nearest road and two hours from cell phone and/or internet connection. Perhaps that week of solitude, silence and freedom from the "modern world" will lead to a different percpective. I’ll let you know. Steve
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Here is an interesting cause-marketing effort dealing with colony collapse, the unexplained disappearance of honey bees. Colony collapse threatens global food supplies, yet it is relatively unknown problem. Haagen Dazs is trying to change that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m5vt07W2n4 -- Bee Dance Video http://helpthehoneybees.com/ - Haagen Dazs Web site http://www.youtube.com/user/helpthehoneybees -- the official YouTube Cause page
Tags: Cause Marketing
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
[Photos by Chuck Zimmerman and Kenna Rathai]
This was the 10th Ag Media Summit. As one of the "original organizers" of this collaborative event, it is really awesome to see how it has grown. I can still remember Warren Morse (Vance Publishing) introduce the idea of an "all print conference" at one of his first meetings of the Ag Publishers Association (now the ABM AgriCouncil).
It took three years of leg work to get the first joint meeting developed and held ... 1999 in Denver.
A 7-member volunteer steering committee manages the Ag Media Summit, now organized as an LLC. The committee includes a chairperson and two members from each of the three associations that own AMS (AAEA, LPC and ABM). Several subcommittees (Program, Sponsors, InfoExo) plan and develop the events of the meeting. Staff from each of the sponsors manage the event ... they include Diane Johnson of LPC; Den Gardner and Kenna Rathai of AAEA and John Holden of ABM. The Drake & Company staff manages the AMS finances and coordinates the activities of the Steering Committee.
Last week, we concluded the 10th event ... with the largest attendance, the largest trade show and the most sponsors ever. A testament to the original belief that if the three organizations (American Agricultural Editors' Association, Livestock Publications Council and ABM AgriCouncil) came together for a single meeting, we could create a much more meaningful meeting with outstanding speakers and superior professional development. And, have some fun too! Along the way, we become the "official" meeting of the Ag Communicators of Tomorrow and have benefited from having about 50 to 75 students attend our meetings.
We've succeeded! And, now even have our own band (Quasimojo) to help kick off the entertainment. And, this year's even featured a "Dive-in Movie" Monday evening.
During the conference, I discovered at least three new associations.
* Eric Mader of the Zerces Society
* Ben Richey of the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA)
* Scott Heiberger of the Agricultural Safety & Health Council of America (ASHCA)
In addition, I had a chance to "mentor" first-time attendee Nancy Bunker-Koester, the new communications director of the National Corn Growers Association.
And, thanks to long-time colleague and friend Gene Hemphill (New Holland), had a chance to visit with Chuck Leavell (keyboardist of The Rolling Stones) about his tree farming. Shared with him that my Dad's careeer included a role as farm manager of Malabar Farm which was owned by author Louis Bromfield ... a noted author and early conservationist. Chuck mentioned he was working on a new book at thought some of Bromfield's writings might be good background.
Two of Drake & Company staff joined me this year:
* Becky Rasmussen, associate director of the National Christmas Tree Association
* Courtney Yuskis, executive director of the Country Living Association
Next year's AMS will be even bigger as it joins with the International Federation of Ag Journalists (IFAJ) for a huge event in Ft. Worth, TX, July 29-August 5.
It has been a privilege to be part of this highly successful joint venture!