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5 Ways Associations Can Engage in Ethical Marketing

By Amy Thomasson (Guest Blogger!)

Even in the best of times, executing an effective marketing campaign isn’t easy. From research, to content development, to reporting and analytics, each component must be measured with multiple stakeholders and constituents in mind. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice at the forefront of our everyday lives, marketing—especially taking an ethical approach to marketing, has become even more complicated. How do we balance the need to produce and promote programs, products, and services to our members with the need to cover the operating costs for these efforts and ensure the survival of our organizations? How do we market to people who are facing real challenges to their health and safety? It starts with ethical marketing.

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What are Your Premises? Business Ethics

We take Radio Free 501c to the airwaves! 

Susan Robertson Named ASAE President & CEO -- BUT . . .

Radio Free 501c breaks its silence over some breaking news at ASAE. And someone needs to say this so it might as well be me, Cecilia Sepp, CEO & Founder here at The 501c League. 

Like many of us here at The League, I'm also a member of ASAE. Having been a member for several decades, I've seen a lot happen over the years. 

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The League is now a CAE Approved Provider!

The 501c League is proud to announce its new status as a CAE Approved Provider through ASAE!

Our first course is “The Ethical Nonprofit” and fulfills the new one (1) hour ethics requirement for CAEs renewing in 2020. Sign up for our course now! Use this link:

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Mentoring Program Becomes Member Benefit July 1

The 501c/Association Mentoring Network is changing its name as of July 1, 2019 to the 501c Professional Mentoring Network.

The Mentoring Network will become a Member Benefit of The 501c League as of that date.

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The Hell of a Broken Promise

Last week, I was invited to a brainstorming/networking event to help an association reconsider their component relations program. As a former CRP (that's component relations professional) it's one of my favorite topics. A good turnout was expected -- 14. I thought, "wow, this is going to be a blast!" 

The hosts were excited too, and even catered dinner to thank us for our help. Four people showed up. That's right. Out of all the people who said "yes" 10 didn't keep their promise to show up. 

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Stop Sticking It to Consultants & Industry Partners

Many 501c organizations -- and this relates to professional societies and trade associations -- follow a very similar membership model. The organization establishes different member types, sometimes related to career arc and sometimes related to revenue. What differs is the amount of dues that are paid. 

The amount of dues (which are really participation fees) varies based on what tier you fit into, and these tiers are defined by the group you want to join. Now, one would think that the more dues one pays, the more one gets. We all know that this is not necessarily the case. (See this opinion piece for more on this topic:

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Are We Taking on ASAE? Uhh ... could be.

The 501c League is the culmination of years of conversations with my colleagues coupled with years of observation. There's been lots of discussion about what people like and don't like about belonging to a professional organization. So I started collecting all this, solidifying ideas, and making a plan. 

As a 501c professional, I started asking myself: what are you going to do to address the exclusionary tactics, the high fees for access -- that lead to MORE fees -- and prevent some people from being able to get involved, and the general frustration of my colleagues who are consultants or small to mid-size businesses that can't afford crazy high prices to reach their markets. 

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The Fear Factor

I sometimes forget that everyone is not like me. Yes, it's easy to do because when you are with yourself all the time you take your attitude and way of doing things for granted. 

Doing new and sometimes risky things doesn't bother me so when I see someone else do something new/risky/different I think, "wow. Look at that!" I like to see what others try and if it works and I do my best to support them. But not everyone has that attitude. 

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Welcome to the League!

Today I am very excited and pleased to announce the official launch of The 501c League. It's a concept I've been talking to people in the 501c profession about for 5 years. A few months ago I decided to make it a reality. 

So what's really different from other groups? Radical inclusion. This is a concept I developed a few years ago. But what is radical inclusion? 

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