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Bits of Tid…

We’re all still recovering from the Annual Meeting, so the long-winded epistles that sometimes populate this space will have to wait a week or two.  (Don’t look so happy…)  In the interim, here are a few items I thought you might find interesting.  And don’t forget, this is as much your space as it is mine, so if you have any comments, suggestions, concerns, book recommendations, or favorite movie quotes (see below for more information on this item), please SPEAK OUT!!!

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The American Fraternal Alliance is Born!

After 125 years, your association has a new name: The American Fraternal Alliance.

Members voted unanimously to adopt the new name at the association’s Annual Meeting held in Chicago last week.  After months of work by the six-member Branding Task Force, thorough consideration by the association’s Board of Directors, and detailed communications with members on the rationale, process, and parameters that framed the debate, the case for a new name was clearly made.

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All We Need is You…

The keynote speakers are briefed, the workshop leaders prepared, the Section meeting agendas confirmed, the community service project organized, the special events nailed down.  All we need to make the 2010 NFCA Annual Meeting a success is you.  The NFCA staff is particularly excited about this year’s meeting because it’s being held right here in Chicago, our home town.  We’re looking forward to welcoming you to “the city that works” and will do everything we can to make this year’s meeting exceed your expectations.  Here are a few things to put on your “to do” list…

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My Kind of Town…

We’re only a month away from the NFCA Annual Meeting in Chicago… so the question on everyone’s minds is “what do I need to pack?”  Other than the Community Service Activity and the Closing Reception/Dinner, the dress code for the entire meeting will be business casual—so feel free to pack those slacks, open-collared shirts, and sport coats, or the female equivalent of skirts, pants, sweater sets, and informal dresses.

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A Day on the Hill – Part 2

In my last post, I talked about the results of my recent series of meetings with congressional staff.  In that report, I mentioned how effective NFCA’s “Fraternals Serve” brochure was in setting the table for a discussion of the value and validity of the fraternal tax exemption with public policymakers.  Evidently, quite a few folks took note of that item because the brochures – which are available to members at no charge – are flying off the shelves.  Thanks to all of you for being dedicated readers.

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Enhance Your Society’s Board Performance with New NFCA Tool

I’ve been invited to address a number of NFCA member-society conventions this year, and in virtually every case, the CEO has asked me to focus my remarks on the need for fraternals to modernize their governance structure and enhance the performance of their boards.  That’s a good sign, because of the three major challenges we face as a system – governance, solvency, and relevance – it’s governance over which we have the most control.  In fact, you can make a good case that we can’t effectively address the solvency and relevance issues without first modernizing how our organizations are governed.  The bottom line is that you can’t create the fraternal of the future on the chassis of the past.

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What’s your “elevator speech”?

You’re riding in an elevator with a member of Congress, the editor of the local newspaper, or a prospective member, and they ask you a simple question: “Tell me about your organization?”

You’ve got between 30-60 seconds to convey who you are and what you do in a clear, concise, and compelling way.  How do you respond?

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Won’t you please come to Chicago…

Believe it or not, the opening session of the 2010 NFCA Annual Meeting is just 11 weeks away.  And this year’s conference is in the association’s back yard – sweet home, Chicago.  (Test your knowledge of the Windy City by taking the Chicago trivia test below.)

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Corporate Governance: Maybe the Most Important Change Agent in Your Organization

We talk a lot about the need for change in our system.  Much of that talk revolves around the issues of solvency and relevance.  When fraternal executives discuss these issues, I find that they frequently equate the concept of change with the process of merger.  Consolidation is certainly one method of implementing change in an organization, but it is not the solution for every society, and it is not the only change a society can implement in order to reinvent itself. 

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Imagining a New Fraternal Vision, Eh?

Last week I participated in the Canadian Fraternal Association (CFA) Annual Meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  I had my picture taken with the leadership of the Sons of Scotland (hide the women and children…), who also proudly unveiled their new logo


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