An Executive Director's point of view

 

August 06, 2016: Sexual harassment

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
It's more prevalent in associations than people think - or may want to admit.

Here's a statement from one association leader whose organization has experienced this problem on multiple occasions.

Thanks to Sherry Marts for pointing to it.

June 02, 2016: It's easy to be ethical

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
You don't have to carefully examine the choices facing you or develop criteria to determine whether something is right or wrong. And just because something is legal doesn't mean it's ethical.

Just ask yourself one question: Is this in the best interests of the organization?

If it's not, then don't do it.

Don't do something because it's good for you or for somebody else. Don't do something because it is considered acceptable in your industry or profession. And don't try to manipulate logic to make something sound permissible.

For example, a conflict of interest does not disappear because everybody is OK with it. It's still a conflict of interest.

So, always do what is best for your organization.

If you can't do that, then it's probably time for you to quit.

February 09, 2016: Honesty

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
Not-for-profit associations tend to conduct their affairs in a more honest manner than do other types of organizations.

They listen to member (customer) feedback and incorporate it into operations, are less likely to employ trickery to sell memberships, registrations, or products, and are inclined to avoid blatant misrepresentations of their groups.

Well, the mailing sent in Illinois by Sen. Ted Cruz stretched the truth so far that a comparison to association ethics just had to be made.

The words "check enclosed" appeared on the outside of the envelope. Although any thinking person would know there could not possibly be a check in there, the teaser was enough to entice people to open it.

The check inside was a facsimile of one made payable to the Senator's presidential campaign, similar to what readers of the enclosed letter were urged to write from their own checking accounts.

If an association did something like that, it would be ridiculed, criticized, and condemned by those who considered it to be practically an outright lie.

I guess those same ethics don't apply to presidential candidates.

September 12, 2015: No gifts

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
Colleagues on ASAE Collaborate continue to discuss the issue of gifts (and differentiate them from bribes). They talk about when they think it is appropriate to accept gifts, and when it is not.

The same issue has been raised about bonus points and frequent flier miles.

I'm amazed at how many people think it is appropriate to accept gifts and that they even develop criteria to determine when to accept and when not to accept.

I don't think anybody should accept anything that is offered to them as a result of their association activities. If they can't turn down gifts, they should donate them to the organization and tell the giver of the gift that they've done that.

If a gift is accepted, it should accrue to the association, not to any individual.

August 18, 2014: Ad agency discounts

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt

March 18, 2014: Bloggers on the take

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
What happens when companies pay bloggers to lie? Read this.

January 17, 2014: Split personality

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
Association executives have split personalities.

As professionals, we advocate for what's good for our members, even if those things are not good for the American public.

As members of the American public, though, we chafe, and gripe, and complain, and get really steamed about many of those same things: credit card company practices, food labeling (or lack of labeling), tax loopholes, customer service procedures, airline and hotel booking systems, public disclosure rules, even street closings for parades and athletic events.

So, why do we so often do things that are not good for the American public?

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
Find out here.

September 25, 2013: Whose ethical standards?

Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
The Chair of an association Board felt it would be unethical to submit an evaluation form for an event in which he had registered. He did not want producers of the event to be overly influenced by his opinion.

However, he did not hesitate to enter a raffle conducted at the event. After all, he said, he was a paid participant and was entitled to a prize if he held the randomly drawn, winning ticket.

The Executive Director, on the other hand, not only completed the evaluation form but submitted it in an association envelope. He did want the producers to be overly influenced by his opinion, which he felt was representative of the views of the membership.

He did not enter the raffle, though. He did not want to give the appearance of having benefited from his leadership position.

Whose ethical standards were correct?
Category: Ethics
Posted by: David M Patt
How are they treated once they've blown the whistle on their employers?
 
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