ISAE Newsletter

April, 2010

In this newsletter:
ISAE Membership Meeting

ISAE Golf Outing

Message From the President
Thanks to Our Sponsors
Ten Things I'd Tell a New Association Executive
2010-2011 ISAE Slate of Officers
Common Myths in Association Law
Membership Question...
Illinois Society Drops Lawsuit on Lobby Registration Act


April 26, 2010

11:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch & Annual Business Meeting
with Recognition of ISAE Leadership Class Graduates
1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions

West Des Moines Marriott
1250 Jordan Creek Parkway
West Des Moines, IA 50265                                                              West Des Moines Marriott

ISAE Members: Membership in ISAE is by individual. 
Not by association or company.

$65 - Lunch, Business Meeting & Breakout Session for Members registered by April 21
$75 - Lunch, Business Meeting & Breakout Session for Non-Members & Members
if registered after April 21
$30 - Lunch & Business Meeting Only For Members registered by April 21
$40 - Lunch & Business Meeting Only for Non-Members and Members
if registered after April 21

Register at  under the  Calendar of Events! 

Effective Communication Skills in Business


There is an old axiom in business communication; “It’s not what you say that matters, it’s what your audience hears” and what they hear has a direct impact on their decision making.


Whether it’s communicating to customers, colleagues, employees, or the media, effective communication skills have become more critical than ever.


In their upcoming workshop, Scott and Alison Pope of WPNT will help you sharpen your communication skills. You’ll learn how to analyze your audience, target your messages to fit their needs, create the proper context and framework around your messages so they are more meaningful and impactful to your audiences.


They will discuss you the messenger and the “You Factors” that audiences use to judge your credibility, likeability and believability.  And they will help you maximize the most crucial but often ignored part of any communication dynamic—the first 60 seconds.


You will have the opportunity to put these critical components of effective communication into practice as well as view taped examples of effective and ineffective communication.

Scott and Alison conduct training and coaching seminars for executives at many well-known national and global corporations. This will be your opportunity to take advantage of a highly acclaimed, interactive session that will change your approach to effective communications.

By Scott and Alison Pope of WPNT

Wow! What a Meeting: Meeting Planner Roundtable

Do you need to make your meetings more effective and creative? Did you plan a meeting and everyone seemed bored? Imagine having a dinner party without the right food, drinks and entertainment. Your guests will want to go home. This panel discussion will share proven meeting tips for creative, successful meetings and events from each stage of the event: marketing, planning the meeting itself. Come prepared to share your ideas, what works for your association, your success stories and what makes a meeting a Wow!

Panel: Ann Winkel, Education Manager, Iowa Bankers Association; Kelly Neilson, Senior Sales Manager, Ovations, Iowa Events Center; Trina Flack, Sales Manager, Greater Des Moines CVB; Kurt Miller, Sales Director, Gateway Hotel & Conference Center

Etiquette, Efficiency, and Effectiveness in Electronic Messaging

This session will focus on communications etiquette within the online environment. Learn strategies for producing and responding to electronic media and messages.  Learn to recognize which types of messages are appropriate for the various channels of communiqué, as well as tips and time-savers for managing the daily deluge of incoming messages.

By Kathryn Towner, Co-Owner of WinCommunications/WinM@il & Mike Sansone, Conversation Conductor for ConverStations

Register Here by April 21, 2010 for the early rate!

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Save the Date:

ISAE 2010 Golf Outing
Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Legacy Golf Club
400 Legacy Parkway
Norwalk, IA 50211

Watch for registration materials!

Jerry Fleagle, CAE, ISAE President, Iowa  Grocery Industry  Association

Jerry Fleagle, CAE
ISAE President

The ISAE Annual Meeting will be April 26 and we have three great programs planned that are sure to offer something to all of our members.


Scott and Alison Pope will lead a program on effective communications in business.  Whether it’s communicating to customers, colleagues, employees or the media, or your board, effective communications is a crucial skill for all association professionals.


The one thing all associations have in common is we have meetings.  Annual meeting, board meetings, committee meeting, educational conferences, trade shows an on and on.  We have an excellent panel of presenters who will share some great ideas on how to put the “wow” in your next meeting.


I don’t know about you, but the daily deluge of electronic communications eats up a large part of my day.  Kathryn Towner of WinCommunications and Mike Sansone with ConverStations will lead a program on the different strategies for producing electronic message that break through the clutter, tips and time savors for managing the messages pouring into your office and the proper business etiquette for responding to these messages.


The annual meeting will be at the West Des Moines Marriott.



The ISAE Nominations committee has announced the slate of officers for the 2010-11 administrative year.  The formal election of officers will take place at the annual meeting.


The slate of officers is as follows:


  • President – John Torbert, CAE, Executive Director, Iowa Drainage District Association
  • Vice President – David Duncan, JD, CAE, IOM, President, Iowa Telecommunications Association
  • Treasurer – Ed Whitver, CAE, Senior Vice President, Iowa Medical Society
  • Secretary – Trina Flack, Sales Manager, Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau

There will be an opportunity for nominations from the floor at the annual meeting.


ISAE Website

The ISAE new and improved website is scheduled to be up and running on April 9.  A big thanks to Trina Flack for all the work she has done to revamp the website.  She has viewed numerous other state organizations in an effort to see what works and what doesn’t.  Affiniscape is our website host and they have been great to work through this process.  We hope you will find it more user friendly and informative.  Of course, as you know, these things often have “start-up glitches,” and we expect there will be a few hours of down time, but please check out the website at  If you find anything bothersome or just plain not working, please let us know as soon as possible.


Golf Outing

The ISAE Board has moved the ISAE Golf outing up to June 17.  So, it’s not too early to be getting your foursomes together.  This year’s event will be at the Legacy Golf Course in Norwalk with a 9:00 a.m. tee-off.  This will be a best ball event, so regardless of your skill level, come on out and enjoy a great event.  Our ISAE sponsors and supporters always make this a fun event.


Thank you to all ISAE members

This concludes my year as the ISAE President and I want to thank you all for the opportunity to be involved in this organization.  I know the entire ISAE Board shares my commitment to growing ISAE, not just in numbers, but also in member involvement and in value to the membership.  I thank you for your support and urge you to get involved in the only organization dedicated to improving your career and future in the association profession.

Jery Fleagle, CAE, ISAE President
Iowa  Grocery Industry  Association

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The Iowa Society of Association Executives Would Like to Thank
the 2009-2010 Sponsorship Program Participants!

Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau
Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau


Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau
Wells Fargo


McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith, P.C.

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Robert A. Hall, CAE

With a long career behind me, including carrying a rifle for Uncle in Vietnam, five terms in the Massachusetts Senate, and 28 years as an association executive, the calendar suggests that my long march through life is closer to the finish than the beginning. In fact, for the last couple of years, time has fled with such celerity that the “march” feels more like an out-of-control hiker pounding breakneck down a steep trail, unable to slow down and flailing his arms to maintain balance.


I have the consolation that with age comes wisdom. That consolation dies each day with the first stupid thing I do, but each night I try to breathe life into it. Regardless, I’ve been around long enough that younger peers do ask me for advice—I have recently been asked to counsel two association colleagues on their careers.


That led me to think about the sort of advice I’d offer a person just embarking on the wonderful, ever-changing and sometimes-frustrating career we call association management. For what it’s worth, here are ten thoughts, in no particular order.


1. Finances. Work hard to get a solid understanding of association finances as a body of knowledge, and your association’s finances in particular. If things are going sour, you better be the first person to know it, and do something about it. Pointing at the CPA or bookkeeper and saying, “That’s not my job” won’t cut it. You may be running a non-profit, but if it operates at a continual loss, it will go bankrupt just like a business, and it’s doubtful the government will decide you are “too big to fail.” Money pays for the party.


2. Bylaws. Be the most knowledgeable person in the organization about your bylaws and policies. Yes, chances are they are complex, and you will forget things in them—I still do. But having the board discover you are operating in violation of the bylaws is not career enhancing. And it won’t be their fault.


3. Staff. Your staff is a reflection of you, because it’s your job to build the staff. Yes, sometimes you inherit things that association politics prevent you from fixing. Nevertheless, team building is your job. Staff development is your job. Developing their future careers ten years from now is your job too. Unless you care about the welfare and development of your staff as much as you do about your own, you will not have a great team. And never let association members abuse your staff by swearing at them or denigrating them. If it costs you your job to stand up for your staff, the job wasn’t worth having.


4. Leadership. There are a lot of factors to leadership, but a fellow named Lewis Burwell Puller boiled them down to three: 1. Be proficient at your job (or your followers won’t respect you). 2. Set the example. (If you always arrive late, leave early and fudge your expenses reports, you’ll get lax staff members too.) 3. Look out for the welfare of your subordinates. (If you are the big hog at the trough at raise and bonus time, you’ll get the kind of loyalty you deserve.) No one has yet put it better.


5. The future. The volunteers want great things to happen today, on their watch. But whose job is it to ensure that the association is strong and vibrant in ten or twenty years? Yours. You have to balance achieving today’s mission with building the financial reserves and infrastructure for the future. You have to ensure that the association has strong policies, strong governance and a strong brand. That can be a delicate balancing act for which you may not be thanked now or remembered when you are gone. And, yes, you may take some lumps and the next executive or a future board may fritter away what you’ve built after you are gone. Build anyway—duty is duty.


6. Ethics and moral courage. It is often wise to bite your tongue and go along with a policy or program pushed by the volunteers that you think may not be the best course. It is, as we say, their association. But it is never wise to agree to lie, or break the law, or compromise your ethics for them, even if it means your job. There are other jobs, but repairing your reputation and personal honor can be impossible. And one transgression against your character will lead to others.


7. The Board. You are not the official leader of the board and the other volunteers, but you are a leader, and they will need your guidance and good judgment. They have given you the honor of being their association executive, and they pay you. You owe them leadership, your best judgment and you owe them the truth. But the wise executive learns to phrase the truth diplomatically and respectfully. Someday I hope to be wise. And I have learned that, despite your best efforts, micromanaging happens.


8. It’s not about you. When I was a new executive, I read something I’ve always remembered, though I’ve, alas! forgotten the author: “An association executive should have his fingers on every pulse and his fingerprints on nothing.” That is, it is always the volunteers who deserve recognition and honors for the advancements of the association. Your recognition comes in your paycheck and the accomplishments you list on your resume.


9. Network. Ever year I know more about association management, but a smaller portion of what there is to know. As with every profession, the body of knowledge grows far faster than any one person can learn. But through ASAE, your local ASAE affiliate and informal groups of execs in your particular field or region, you can develop an amazing network of un-paid professional advisors, who know a lot more than you possibly can, about a wondrous array of subjects. Get involved, if only as a participant. Meet people you can call upon for advice and help. And give unstintingly of your own good ideas and experience to them, thus enriching the pool of knowledge.


10. Know when it’s time to go. The job that was perfect for you five years ago may not be right today. And sometimes the only solution to a bad situation is to be willing to walk away. The only job I’ve every regretted leaving was the Marines—and that’s my heart talking, not my head. New challenges can energize you and restore your creative flow and commitment. And if you can—and sometimes I can’t—try to shut the door softly behind you.


Robert A. Hall, CAE, is the author of Chaos for Breakfast, Practical Help and Humor for the Non-profit Executive, published by ASAE in 2008, as well as numerous articles about association management. Currently he is Executive Director of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons in Rosemont, IL. He can be reached at

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John Torbert, CAE
Executive Director,
Iowa Drainage
District Association

Vice President
David Duncan,
President, Iowa
Telecommunications Association

Ed Whitver, CAE,
Iowa Medical Society

Trina Flack,
Sales Manager,
Greater Des Moines
Convention and
Visitors Bureau






















The ISAE Annual Conference will be April 26, 2010.
Voting will be at the annual business meeting.

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Common Myths in Association Law
Association Law Myth #54
©2010 Beving, Swanson & Forrest, P.C.

Mark Truesdell

Myth: The new Iowa Charitable Solicitations Act proposed by the Attorney General’s Office is hard to understand. 


Fact: It is simple to understand; and should be pretty simple to comply with.  The question is whether you support it in concept.


The concept of the Attorney General’s new proposal is simple:  Iowa citizens are increasingly encountering fraudulent charitable fundraisers.  As a result, it is getting increasingly difficult for Iowans to distinguish bona fide Iowa charities that spend most of their money on their charitable purposes from those which spend most of theirs on fundraising.  The Iowa Attorney General proposes, by adopting a Charity Registration Act, to apply sunshine to the situation.   This law is modeled on similar laws in 40 other states.


This Act would require most charities soliciting Iowans to register with the Iowa Attorney General and to annually report its annual income together with its fundraising expenses. The annual reporting would either be done on a form provided by the AG,  or by filing with the AG a copy of your annual Form 990,  at the option of the charity. Armed with income and fundraising expense figures, the Attorney General would publish those figures on a consumer-friendly website, showing Iowans clearly which charities spend a high percentage of their income on fundraising; and which spend a low percentage.


Take a look at Kansas for a model.  Google “Kansas Charity Check” and look for yourself.  You will find all of the Kansas registered charities there.  Here are two Kansas charities on opposite ends of the fundraising spectrum:

Charitable Organization:



PO BOX 780603

City,St Zip:

WICHITA, KS 67278-0000

Expiration Date:


Gross Receipts:


*Fundraising Expenses:


Amt. To Charitable Org.:


% to Charitable Org.:


% to Fundraising Activities:




Charitable Organization:



1365 N. CUSTER

City,St Zip:

WICHITA, KS 67203-0000

Expiration Date:


Gross Receipts:


*Fundraising Expenses:


Amt. To Charitable Org.:


% to Charitable Org.:


% to Fundraising Activities:


If you are a Kansas citizen, which of these two would more likely receive your charitable contribution?  A:  The one that spends 0% of its gross receipts on fundraising activities.


So which Iowa charities would have to register?  The pre-introduced bill contains four exemptions:


1. Churches

2. Political committees required to file with the FEC or the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance
Disclosure Board

3. State University Foundations, Community College Foundations, and Foundations which primarily support governments.

4. All other charities that file the “electronic postcard” Form 990-N rather than Form 990 or 990-EZ  (Beginning with tax year 2010, those with average gross revenues of $50,000 or below).


What registration fees would be charged?  The AG is looking to raise about $250,000 to finance the operation of the website.  He has proposed a sliding scale of between $25 and $750 per year in the
initial draft.


The Storal of this Mory: The idea behind this new proposed Act is simple:  To apply sunshine to all significant Iowa charities to show the public which have reasonable fundraising expenses, and which do not.  It is up to you to decide whether this is an idea you want to support.


Mark Truesdell, Attorney, Beving, Swanson & Forrest, P.C., Des Moines, Iowa

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Are we required to accept every associate member that comes along –
even if they do qualify for membership?


The above question was recently posed to the ISAE office.  Here’s the scenario.  The association has an associate membership category that is open to businesses providing services or products to the association’s members.


Generally, these associate members do not compete for business on services or products provided by the association.  However, it seems a few of them do actually compete with the association.


So, the question is; Is the association required to accept all associate members, assuming they meet the established associate membership criteria?


We posed this question to our local association legal counsel and here’s his reply:


Unless an associate membership in the association is necessary for entry to the profession, occupation, or industry, I see no federal violation in an association inconsistently applying its associate membership standards this way.


BUT, it's nevertheless inadvisable, as an aggrieved unsuccessful applicant could in theory sue the association in contract, alleging correctly that its membership application is an “Offer” and its completed application is an “Acceptance.”


My practical advice would be to amend the Bylaws consistent with the association's goals.  Apply them consistently. Then don't forget that Bylaws can be amended readily pretty much any time you want to.

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The state of Illinois last year passed legislation that would have dramatically increased the Illinois lobbying registration fees from $150 for charitable organizations and $350 for all other organizations, including not-for-profit membership organizations, to $1000 per organization and lobbyist.  In addition, the legislation would have included moving from bi-annual reporting to weekly time-consuming reporting even when there was no advocacy activity to report.


The Illinois Society of Association Executives was concerned these changes would have made it impossible for some small associations to continue participating in the legislative process and filed suit asking for a temporary restraining order preventing implementation of the law.


The lawsuit was dropped after the Secretary of State voluntarily provided injunctive relief.


No word on what action may or may not have been taken by the Illinois legislature.

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