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White House Decision on U.S. Entry Requirements

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 25, 2017
FROM THE DESK OF ROGER DOW

Dear CEO Roundtable and Board Colleague:

The White House announced yesterday its decision on enhanced national security measures relating to entry into the United States. This follows an extensive review related to the President’s January executive order—and its implications for the travel industry.

In a presidential proclamation, the administration used baseline requirements developed over the summer to assess countries on their ability to meet “the minimum information the United States needs to validate traveler identities, prevent fraud, and ensure individuals do not represent a national security or public-safety threat.”

Current State of Play
Most countries meet the new baseline; however, eight nations were found to be non-compliant: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Iraqi nationals traveling to the United States may also be subject to additional scrutiny. Travel to the U.S. is still possible for some on the list, notably from Venezuela—which is among our top 20 inbound travel markets—where travel restrictions only apply to certain government officials and their families.

The restrictions being imposed on these eight countries are conditional and may be lifted as they work with the U.S. government.

Notably, the review process identified the U.S. Visa Waiver Program as a proven and effective “best practice” security partnership. It is heartening to see this endorsement for the VWP after years of educating leaders in Washington on the program's benefits as a national security tool that facilitates international travel.

Also today, the U.S. Supreme Court cancelled scheduled arguments on previous related rulings, asking lawyers to address “whether, or to what extent, the proclamation” now renders the case moot.

U.S. Travel Position
The administration is to be commended for taking a tailored approach, evaluating each country on its own merits and readiness to comply.

Though outright travel bans are a concern, security adjustments rooted in legitimate intelligence are a fact of life for travelers. It is the reality that we operate in today.

We will continue to call for the government to adopt an approach that balances security requirements with clear expressions of welcome toward international travelers.

Questions Concerning Implementation
It’s essential that these policies be clearly communicated and that there be both an incentive and a pathway for affected countries to bring themselves back into compliance. Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been effectively checking both those boxes. We are hopeful the government will take the necessary steps to clearly communicate the changes, so all who wish to visit have a clear understanding of their ability to enter.

For more information, please review the official White House FAQ.

We will continue our engagement with the administration on the critical topic of international travel to the United States.

I will keep you apprised of our work.

Sincerely,
Roger
Roger J. Dow
President and CEO


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Find new ways to invigorate your organization

Posted By Bennett Napier, Tuesday, September 12, 2017
We received this question from a reader of the column:  “Many nonprofits are membership based and rely on dues and conference revenue to survive. For example, I am active in a national association about to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Our membership is aging out and young professionals are not joiners. And as travel funds disappear, they do not attend conferences anymore. I know this is a universal concern for many professional organizations. Your thoughts and advice?” Click here to view the post. 

We turned to Bennett Napier who is an expert in all things association and here is his response. 


Your question is primarily directed at challenges facing not for profit (501c6) associations rather than charitable (501c3) not for profit organizations. However, the dynamics which are the foundation of your question apply to both types of entities. Unfortunately, there are no easy or quick fixes to address these universal challenges. To answer your question let’s look at several areas.

Technology: Technology for nonprofits has been a blessing and a curse depending on how you look at it. On the positive side, technology has allowed nonprofits to expand their message reach; generate faster grassroots action when necessary; and deliver communication more frequently at less cost.  

On the downside, technology, namely the internet, provides 24/7 access to information to non-members or non-donors.

One of the best things organizations can do is use technology to their advantage. An example is to use databases to better track what is important to individual members or donors in order to better target communication or program offerings to what they individually value.  


In short, nonprofits have to follow some of the principles from Amazon to provide that type of customer experience to not only retain members/donors but recruit new ones.

Revenue diversification: Many organizations have seen their historical primary revenue sources decline or completely disappear. Nonprofits like any other business have to continually evaluate market trends and ideally be ahead instead of behind them.

Many factors which have facilitated a decline in dues are outside the control of the association. For example, trade associations have seen significant hits due to consolidation. Merger and acquisition activity of all types of businesses will continue for the next 15 to 20 years as baby boomers retire. This will continue to affect association dues as revenue sources. Except for certain types of organizations, it is unlikely a majority of their future revenue sources will come from membership dues or continuing education dollars especially in-person continuing education events.

By using technology, associations are in a strong position to continually survey members and identify programs and services that members value and are willing to pay for.  Associations that offer valuable programs and relevant services are in a good spot. They will continue to have a market advantage over other competitors. Associations generally maintain higher credibility than for profit providers that may be offering similar benefits.

Generational differences: There is considerable research that indicates younger generations are just as willing to belong to an association as their older counterparts.  However, they join associations for vastly different reasons than previous generations.

Joining associations out of loyalty or because they are supposed to do not cut it with younger professionals. They are much more drawn to the cause of the organization not necessarily public policy objectives but those elements that have a community benefit.

Further research indicates younger professionals place career development programs and services very highly in terms of willingness to join an association. In order to attract younger professionals, ensure you are offering a progressive web based job board; offer mentorship programs; and provide grants and scholarships for professional development opportunities.

Leadership opportunities: Examine your leadership development pipeline processes and qualifications. Younger professionals want to serve now and give back in different ways than previous generations. They also don’t want to wait 8 to 10 years to go through an executive leadership ladder.

Find ways they can provide meaningful leadership early on in their careers. If they feel their voice is valued and their skills and experience are put to good use, they are just as likely to become a lifelong supporter of the organization compared to any other generation.

In closing, the question you posed likely would require three or four columns to adequately answer. I hope today’s column gives you a frame of reference to start strategic conversations with your leadership. Here are some helpful resources for future planning: www.associationlaboratory.com, www.fsae.org, and www.foundation.asaecenter.org/research

Bennett Napier, MS, is the President/CEO of Partners in Association Management. He is a Certified Association Executive and has 25+ years’ experience in association and organizational management. Notes on Nonprofits is a collaborative column written and edited by Alyce Lee Stansbury, CFRE, President of Stansbury Consulting and Kelly Otte, MPA, Executive Director of PACE Center for Girls in Leon County.  Write to us at notesonnonprofits@gmail.com.

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U.S. Travel Outlook, August 2017

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 28, 2017

U.S. Travel Association - August 2017 Report

Current State of the Economy and Travel

Closely mirroring 2016, the economy improved during the second quarter of the year, aided by solid consumer spending, businesses investment and export growth, which may have been encouraged by a modest depreciation in the value of the dollar since the beginning of the year. Consumer confidence remains elevated, employment and wage growth are expanding and recent data on retail sales indicate that consumer spending—a necessary ingredient for United States economic expansion—got off to a solid start in the third quarter.

Click here to view the full report. 

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Data Privacy & Protection for the Modern Day AMC

Posted By Jeanne Sheehy and Rob Gates, Thursday, August 3, 2017

Information privacy, or data privacy (or data protection), is the relationship between the collection and dissemination of data, technology, the public expectation of privacy, and the legal and political issues surrounding them.

As an AMC, our vendors and our clients can be sued by taking just one wrong step as we collect, store, transfer, or disclose data. As a company (and processor), we need to know all of our data sources for every client, what vendors are involved and know/have policies in place for privacy, breaches, and protection. You need to be able to answer the question confidently – how does your AMC protect client member privacy and data?

LEGISLATION
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years. This new data protection measure goes into effect on May 25, 2018 and it’s likely that the US will impose a similar regulation in the coming years.

GDPR applies to the processing of personal data by controllers and processors located in the EU, regardless of whether the processing takes place in the EU or not. AMCs are responsible for ensuring that its relevant vendors comply with GDPR. Articles 32-37 are of most interest and outline the need to identify Data Protection.

Canada Anti-Spam Act (CASL) went into effect on July 1, 2014 and applies to all electronic messages. Under this legislation, users must have an option to opt-out of all electronic communications. If your client sends emails to Canadian residents, you need to comply with CASL and its recent changes. As of July 1, 2017, fines of $1-10M per violation are being enforced and any individual is able to sue any entity they believe is sending spam messages.

EMAIL MESSAGING
Immediate measures you should take for Email Messaging/Marketing:

  • Immediately institute Opt-Out if you don’t have that.
  • Start moving toward opt-in methodologies. The more non-US constituents clients have, the faster your AMC needs to move on this.
  • Consider developing segmentation to more finely tune your opt- in/opt-out options so users aren’t left with “all or nothing” options.
  • Always ensure that you are respecting the selections of everyone in client email list(s) as to opt-in/out status.
  • Ensure that any outside list your clients utilize has been validated to meet the relevant opt-in/out requirements. 

DATA MAPPING

Data mapping is critical for transparency. Understand what data you have, where it’s stored and where it goes. The legality of sharing this data is also something to consider. Focus on Personally Identifiable Information (PII), i.e., birthday, email address, birthplace, etc. and Financial Account Information (i.e., credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc.

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE

Best practices for privacy of PII:

  • Ensure that you are giving users an opportunity to have some or all of their information excluded from sharing, particularly if shared “publicly” (think private membership directory vs. public.)
  • Start moving toward an opt-in mentality for any data sharing situation. The more non-US constituents in clients’ data bases, the faster you should get there.
  • Make sure any vendors your AMC shares data with are agreeing to respect privacy requirements and secure our data appropriately.
  • Never share more information than is needed for the task/process at hand.
  • Treat all client member/constituent PII data the way you’d want your data protected.

Best practices for privacy of Financial Data:

  • Only work with PCI compliant vendors/partners. Never share customer financial account data externally.
  • Do not store credit card data in spreadsheets – process and move on, never “save.”
  • Paper forms should be designed so that credit card data can be redacted (blacked out with special pen), cut off or the form shredded after processing.
  • Any forms with credit card data should always be locked up except at the moment of processing.
  • Never encourage – and actively discourage – the sending of account information via email.

VENDOR PROCEDURES

Vendors who store or receive PII or Financial Data should provide your AMC with any privacy policies, data protection/security policies/procedures, and all breach policies and procedures - including communication and notification systems. For financial data, also ask for Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance verification and level. You should never utilize a vendor you share financial data with who does not have this verification.

CONCLUSION
In this digital age, organizations are critically aware of their vulnerability to information hacking. Data privacy and protection is an important reality for AMCs and our clients. It’s our job to navigate regulations and build on the procedures that keep practices current as new legislation is passed. Taking the proper measures now may save your AMC from potential disaster later.

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U.S. Travel Association Meets with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
FROM THE DESK OF ROGER DOW

Dear Board Colleagues:

As mentioned at last week’s board of directors meeting, we continue to take steps to engage the Administration on key industry priorities. Earlier today, along with a handful of respected corporate CEOs representing millions of American workers, I had the opportunity to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson regarding Open Skies.

The group directly expressed how the government’s Open Skies agreements—particularly those with Qatar and the UAE—benefit the U.S. economy, our nation’s trade balance and American jobs. It was a productive conversation and we appreciate Secretary Tillerson for seeking the full picture on this critical topic. I am encouraged by the Administration’s thoughtful and deliberative approach on the matter.

Today’s discussion at State is a positive development in our ongoing efforts to preserve Open Skies. Since 2015, U.S. Travel—with many of you—have sought to protect these pro-connectivity, pro-growth, pro-traveler agreements not only because tampering with the policy would further limit airline competition and restrict consumer choice, but also because such a move would be detrimental to our economy and result in lost American jobs and fewer connections to underserved markets.

I will keep you apprised of developments on this issue.

Sincerely,

Roger

Roger J. Dow
President and CEO

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U.S. Travel Association Outlook July 2017

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The July 2017 U.S. Travel Association Outlook examines the labor market, consumer confidence, consumer spending, and the travel trends index among other areas. Interested in what is going on just over 1/2 way through 2017?

Click here to read the full report.

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