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  • Sun, January 22, 2023 10:20 AM | Mark Bowers

    We've decided to temporarily suspend our educational programs while we focus on developing a new direction for our service model.

    The PDCHR Board of Directors and I are working through some options that will still provide great education opportunities to membership association leaders like you…and at the same time better manage staff resources.

    And by "staff resources"…I mean me. As Founder, Executive Director, and sole (unpaid!) staff of PDCHR since 2017, it's time for me to rebalance the time I spend on family, self, and profession. PDCHR has been my "labor of love" and I look forward to continuing my engagement and availability to the community…at a more sustainable level.

    Don't hesitate to contact me, I'm always happy to chat about membership association leadership. And pretty much anything else! 


  • Sat, October 08, 2022 3:43 PM | Mark Bowers

    We've rescheduled the 2022 Leadership Symposium to March 16-18 2023.

    We are excited for the same great speakers and topics to be covered, but unfortunately several potential attendees had scheduling conflicts with the original date. Turns out October is pretty busy month!

    We understand that this may cause some inconvenience for those who were planning on attending. The good news is that we will have more time to plan and refine the symposium, ensuring more opportunity for interaction and engagement.

    Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you at the 2023 Leadership Symposium!

    Click here for details! Registration is still open.

  • Thu, October 06, 2022 9:30 AM | Mark Bowers

    Hi all! 

    Here's a preview of what's in store for the first six months of 2023.  Keep checking here or at for the most up-to-date schedule!  All times Eastern, all sessions online via Zoom, all FREE except the March Symposium

    • Wed Jan 5, noon: Business Development for Associations workshop
    • Wed Feb 8, noon: Building Strategic Partnerships workshop
    • Thu-Sat Mar 16-18: Leadership Symposium (fee)
    • Wed Apr 4, 6pm: Infrastructure and Technology roundtable
    • Wed May 10, 6pm: Legal Oversight and Risk Mitigation workshop
    • Tue May 22, noon: Adaptive Leadership Seminar (in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Organization Development Network)
    • Wed Jun 14, noon: Improving Organizational Improvement by the Numbers workshop

    All are subject to change, because, well, life! 

  • Tue, July 19, 2022 5:24 PM | * ADMIN Mark . Bowers ADMIN * (Administrator)

    How cool is this? PDCHR serves constituents on six continents!

    (Know of any membership associations in Antarctica? Asking for a friend…)

    Image generated by Eventbrite

  • Mon, April 18, 2022 6:30 AM | Mark Bowers

    The Importance of Messaging to Connect with Volunteers, Members, and Folks Who Ought to be Members!

    TLDR: In April, May, and June 2022, PDCHR is presenting a series of FREE roundtables and workshops focusing on membership association communications and outreach. You can register at, and/or catch the recordings at

    Messaging is a critical part of communication in the our workspace—typically, our constituents gather infrequently, communicate asynchronously, and have a variety of demands on their time. Multi-channel, micro-targeted messaging can help get folks’ attention better than the traditional “Hey, I sent an email” position.

    Consider using messaging apps in your organization’s day-to-day operations. For starters, it is a more personal way of communicating with volunteers, members and other collaborators. It is also easier to organize conversations into threads (tagging!) which makes it easier to find specific messages when you and your constituents need them. Additionally, it is easy to share photos and files so that everyone in the conversation can see them. This makes it easier for people to follow along with the conversation more easily. Lastly, having a central messaging app will increase productivity by cutting down on email and phone / text / other app clutter.

    Communications Outreach Emails Handle Online Challenges

    Communications outreach emails are a crucial part of any marketing strategy. Typically, membership associations market to members with breaking news, education resources, advocacy actions, and/or socialization opportunities. Once you have your membership is aware that you’re using email as a regular, primary source of contact, the interested ones will probably devote the time to read your email. Or the one you send later to non-openers.

    Challenge moment: Marketing to non-members to raise awareness and elicit a “I’d like to learn more” response.

    There’s no denying that email is one of the most powerful channels for reaching out to engage members and interest prospects. But it also has its limitations in terms of automation and scalability. That's where automated outreach emails come into picture.

    The best sales prospecting tool helps you scale your communications outreach efforts by automating your email outreach campaigns and making them scalable at the same time!

    Without the right outreach (ok, call it prospecting) tool, you could be wasting valuable time on email outreach campaigns that just won’t convert. The best sales prospecting tool will help you automate your email outreach campaigns, assess their effectiveness, and make them scalable at the same time.

    Ideally, your outreach tool would also provide the opportunity to get your message out there on other channels (“I only look at Slack”, “Text me or don’t bother me”, “A phone call would’ve been nice”). (Ok, seriously, who answers the phone from a non-contact anymore?)

    How to Write Effective Outreach Openers

    Sending isn’t enough. Subject lines…or the first sentence of your text…make all the difference in whether or not the recipient reads another word. You need to make sure that your message gets opened! Here are some tips on how to write a good opener:

    1. Subject line and/or first few words: Grab their attention! If you’re not hinting at “what’s in it for them”, you’ll probably be ignored
    2. Move the bottom line to the top. Give them the opportunity to get interested and maybe event make a quick decision without wading through a lot of material
    3. Ok, so you want to share all that material. Fine. Put it after the “bottom line” (See #2 above!)
    4. If you’re making an ask—let them know why it’s important to you and your organization. E.g. “Your answer will help us make sure you get what you’re looking for out of the session”

    What do you think?

  • Fri, March 25, 2022 9:19 AM | Mark Bowers

    We’re excited to share that PDCHR has earned a 2022 Gold Seal of Transparency with Candid! Now, you can support our work with trust and confidence by viewing our profile on Candid.

  • Mon, March 14, 2022 3:32 PM | Mark Bowers

    Here's a great article from SBI Association Management about deliberate leadership succession at your membership association. 

    Key elements: 

    1. Look for folks with experience leading in their "day job"
    2. Succession planning never stops…who's up next? And next? And next?
    3. Rotate folks out of leadership before they burn out. 
    4. Be deliberate…formalize the process of identifying and nurturing future leaders.
    Check out the full article here. 

  • Tue, February 15, 2022 11:16 AM | Mark Bowers

    Very insightful survey performed by Community Brands!  Here's an excerpt of the study's key findings:

    • Members feel a lack of connection. While overall retention metrics remain strong, with the majority of members (84 percent) feeling satisfied with their membership. However, far fewer (55 percent) feel a connection to their professional membership organization.
    • Code of Ethics and consistent updates on industry information are must-haves for retaining members. Other top benefits are focused on intangibles, such as representing members’ interest, fueling growth and innovation, and raising awareness. Job, continuing education, and training opportunities are most important to Millennial and Gen X members.
    • Professional membership organizations struggle to communicate value. The top reasons members decide not to renew are centered around dues becoming too costly and the organization providing little value. The least loyal members, those most likely to have lapsed in the last year, see less value in intangible benefits.
    • Amount of information members want varies by loyalty level. Loyal members prefer detailed updates more than twice a month, while members less loyal to an organization prefer to just receive the big news monthly or even less frequently. Millennial and Gen X members are more likely to want more frequent communication.
    • Email reigns supreme with members. Email is the top-performing channel, regardless of a member’s generation or level of commitment. Surveyed members cite email content as the easiest to consume, most likely to keep them engaged, and most powerful for telling the organization’s story.
    • There is no consistency in collecting and using information for personalization. Seventy-four percent of surveyed members recall being asked for at least some type of personal information or preferences. However, there doesn’t appear to be consistency in terms of what organizations request, and whether they use the information effectively.
    • Nearly half of members feel their content is not personalized. Forty-seven percent of surveyed members say the typical content they receive from their professional membership organization is not personalized. Common content offensives include sending content that is irrelevant, boring, or in an inconvenient format. 
  • Tue, January 18, 2022 10:51 AM | Mark Bowers

    Do you know what your potential volunteers are looking for?

    1. "It's important to help others"
    2. "I'd like to do something for the profession/cause that's important to me"
    3. "I feel compassion for others"
    4. "I wish to gain new perspectives"
    5. "I want to explore my own strengths"

    Do you know what might be in their way? Do these ring a bell?

    1. Lack of information about opportunities to volunteer    
    2. Conflict with other volunteering activity
    3. Never asked to volunteer
    4. Lack of information about virtual volunteering
    5. Lack of information about short-term assignments

    If you're not providing the opportunities your volunteers desire, and if you're not connecting with them about options to engage, then it's likely that volunteer management will remain a struggle for your leadership team.   

    Excerpted and adapted from The Mission Driven Volunteer--a great study on what's needed to energize volunteerism in your association!

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