Dear ELGL members,
September is a big month for ELGL – we turn eight years old on September 14, and we host the four #ELGLPopUps on September 22. We’re also keynoting the NACCED conference on September 12, and starting our new software implementation project. It’s great being so busy, and watching the new memberships and membership renewals roll in.
I did have a unique experience earlier this week – the first (and hopefully only) time I had to rescind an All-In Membership. That was most certainly NOT a great feeling. Here’s what went down:
As I’ve written about before, there have been a small group of recruiting firms that don’t like the change we made to require their clients to be All-In members before we do job posts and promotion for them. The majority of firms (and frankly, from my vantage point, the most effective recruiters) are fine with this change and because of them, we’ve seen our membership list grow and geographically diversify.
But this particular firm not only decided that they didn’t like our policy, they decided they wanted to make a lot of disparaging comments about ELGL, throw a tantrum on a phone call, and so I refunded their money and removed them from the ELGL membership list.
It would have been easy to “agree to disagree” (the phrase they kept repeating to me), but there were two points they made on the call that made me realize it was an impossible relationship:
1. “We’re in this for ourselves, we’re not here to help you grow your organization.”
This knocked the wind out of me. As we’ve repeated over and over, “we’re all in this together.” We believe so much that we’ll only find the best solutions to challenging public problems and promote the local gov profession if we work together (government, private sector, community members).
The business mindset “we’re in this for ourselves” is decidedly not aligned with ELGL’s vision for how to attract and retain amazing people to local government service. And yes, I agree that the primary focus for a recruitment agency isn’t to grow ELGL’s membership, but I do think there’s an important and tangible benefit for recruitment firms to support ELGL’s mission and to engage their clients with our organization so their staff can engage and connect with us.
2. “We will never have our clients become members of ELGL because there’s no benefit to them.”
The recruiter went on and on about how they can just advertise with other associations and they don’t need to post jobs with us. And I would be fine with that, except for the fact that our research and data shows some important stuff that she didn’t want to hear:
- We’re on target to receive 2 million site views this year.
- Our social media reach is the deepest and most engaging in local government.
- And from a straight dollars and cents perspective: she didn’t want to spend $300 for an All-In membership for her client (which would have entitled them to free job posts for a year), but she was fine spending anywhere from $295 to $3,995 for one job post, one time, with APWA.
So that’s the story about the time I had to kick someone out of ELGL. It wasn’t a fun feeling at all. But I believe strongly in what ELGL is doing and I’m not going to let a rotten apple spoil the momentum and excitement that I think we’re adding to the local government community.
Have a great week –
The local gov conference “skeeze” post continues to engage our members. And it’s sad how many stories are coming in about yucky conference experiences. To be honest, I haven’t had a truly skeezy experience myself at a conference, but I had heard enough stories, and have been in the room with some leering skeezers, that I knew I wanted to write about this topic for ELGL. I’m continually updating this post as stories come in. Thanks to everyone who has shared their story so we can learn what to NOT do.
ELGL is putting together the keynote address at NACCED in two weeks. This is a great organization for county community and economic development professionals, and their conference this year is in Portland! We’re doing the “Local Government is Fundamental” presentation concept where we share innovative ideas in four local gov categories. I’ll be doing some posts about the presentation in the next two weeks so you can learn from our awesome panel comprised of:
- Ed Krafcik, Soofa
- Ann Ober, city manager, city of Milwaukie, OR
- Lauren Sechrist, ZoomGrants
- Amy Jauron, Greater Portland Inc
- Chris Fabian, CPBB
- Erik Fabian, ResourceX
Happy Birthday to ELGL
ELGL’s birthday is on September 14! We started the organization in 2010 so we’re turning seven! We have two ways you can show your support for ELGL’s birthday – by sponsoring someone’s attendance to an #ELGLPopUps conference, or by making a donation to our Birthday Fund (which we’ll use to continue the ELGL mission and vision). I’ll have donation options set up tomorrow, so give it some thought and consider celebrating with us.