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Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Rumor has it, in some association circles, trade show attendance is struggling. This could spell trouble for how vendor members find value in belonging to your organization. While some industries may be feeling the pain more than others, it is never a bad time to think about the ways you are engaging your vendor/supplier members. Read on for a handful of ideas on engaging your vendor-side members in effective and successful ways.

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From Association Subculture: Upgrading the Ordinary

Posted by Sarah Hill

Shelly Alcorn’s “Association Subculture” blog often has great, relevant topics, but her post about “upgrading the ordinary” especially caught my eye.From Association Subculture: Upgrading Ordinary in Associations 

I’m not going to lie, initially it was this chair that did it. I’m kind of a book junkie and I saw this and HAD TO HAVE IT.

The book-holding chair is a great metaphor for creative thinking in the association world. Shelly says, “Good design, matched with a deep understanding of usage, can help us create solutions for our stakeholders in a myriad of ways.”

So what’s the design in question here? That would be the structure in place already in your organization. Take a moment to consider that essential design. Why is it in place? Has it “always been like this?” Does it fit the needs of your association? Is there any way you can change it or tweek it to better suit your members, your management, your volunteers or your board?

Consider the “nouns” in your association: the people, the places, and the things.

Take on those “ordinary” roles your people fill. Are they doing what they want to do, and what they’re good at? Could you utilize a skill or a talent of one of your members that has thus far been overlooked?

Are there any “ordinary” places where your association exists? Is there any way you can spruce up your office to make it friendlier or more inviting? What about meeting spaces or regular venues? Think outside the box and play with the spaces you have available. Don’t be afraid to consider a location you’ve never used before to break the same old cycle. Instead of “Why” consider “Why not?”

Finally, take a look the things in your association, down to the pens and desks. Is there room in the budget or your imagination to think differently? Could your office benefit from a chair that doubles as a bookshelf? Shelly says in her original post: “Oh, and if you are thinking of upgrading your office furniture, or you embark on a mission to tear those horrible gray cubicles down.....think about these kinds of cool additions instead.  We don't have to look like dental offices or bus stations. (Supposedly we are more fun than that. Just sayin'.....)

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