• 02 Jul 2014 12:23 PM | Louise Stokes
    Sourced directly from:

    Governance Structure

    1. Board structure & governance misaligned

    Roles & Responsibilities
    2. Board members from regions/chapters fail to understand their fiduciary duty to do what is best for the organization as a whole

    3. Board (members) fail to understand the role of board vs role of CEO and staff

    Strategy & Vision
    4. Board too focused on operational or tactical matters, as opposed to strategic issues

    5. Board fails to ensure execution of strategies related to its central mission

    6. Board unable to make key decisions (too large, poor leadership, lack of vision, etc.)

    7. Board fails to realize that the association has outlived its purpose or mission and doesn't take next steps to ensure relevance

    8. Board allows mission/program creep; fails to provide adequate resources for new programs/services; fails to eliminate unneeded programs

    9. Board allows and/or leads the association to focus on issues outside of the organization’s mission or of little relevance to its members

    10. Board doesn’t appreciate that the association is an organization serving the members in their field or industry, it is not a business that does what members do

    Conflicts of Interest
    11. Board member(s) fail to take off "company hat" and put on "association hat" when dealing with association matters

    12. Board members are reluctant to say “no” to their friends and colleagues, even when it is in the best interests of the organization

    Leadership, Personalities, Power
    13. Board president assumes too much power, pushes his/her own agenda(s) and ignores need for consensus building

    14. Board member(s) bully the board and/or staff

    15. Poor leadership leads to unproductive meetings, distractions related to new “ideas,” lack of consensus building and decision making, lack of organizational vision, etc.

    16. Board president thinks/acts as though he/she is the association's CEO

    17. Board doesn’t have an effective culture or process for managing and resolving conflict

    Commitment & Participation
    18. Board members don't adequately prepare for meetings or pay attention during meetings

    19. Board members are apathetic or don’t actively or consistently engage in association business

    Goals & Measurement
    20. Board fails to do board self-evaluations

    21. Board fails to set goals and conduct a formal evaluation of CEO

    Succession & Skills
    22. Board (or its leadership development committee) fails to vet board candidates in terms of competencies, ability to serve and support for central mission of the association

    23. Board members lack the necessary skills and/or experience to help lead the association

    Respect & Continuity
    24. Board routinely modifies policies or overturns decisions made at previous Board meetings

    25. Board does (or re-does) committee work, doesn’t give committees clear direction or show appreciation for their work

  • 01 Jul 2014 1:38 PM | Louise Stokes
    2014 celebrates the sixth anniversary of MGI’s Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. Based on input from nearly 865 respondents, 2014 results show that membership organisation numbers continue to rebound. In this report detailed information is provided on:
    • Primary challenges to growth
    • Changes in dues
    • Uses of social media
    • Successes in recruitment and engagement
    • Tactics in renewals and reinstatement
    • Marketing budgets
    • Changes in membership categories
    • And much more
    The 2014 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report is easy to read and easy to digest, and will be of value to anyone involved in membership marketing or association management.

    Download your free copy here.

    2014 Benchmarking Report confirms associations gained strength

    The majority of membership organizations that were hit hard by the 2009 global economic meltdown have continued their slow but steady recovery into the first quarter of this year. More than half of those surveyed in early 2014 report increased total member counts and nearly 60 percent report new member growth over the past year. The continued steady recovery of association membership headlines the findings in the 2014 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, the fifth annual survey of leading association indicators conducted by Marketing General Incorporated.

    New membership

    This year's benchmarking survey found that 58 percent of the associations sampled report new member growth, which is a significant improvement from the 42 percent reporting new member growth at the depth of the recession in 2010.

    Why the numbers are important

    Most membership organisations use three key indicators to measure trends in their overall health: total membership, new members acquired, and members renewed. These data help gauge performance compared to the industry as a whole, as well as identify areas of strength and weakness in their membership marketing efforts. This year, 865 membership organisations completed the survey, the leading study of its kind to examine the practices associations commonly use to recruit new members, retain current ones, and reinstate those who have lapsed.

    Renewing membership

    If there is a weakness in association health revealed by the survey, it lies in renewals. Just 31 percent of the associations polled report improved renewal rates in 2014. That is slightly higher than the 27 percent of associations that report a decline.

    Most important goals

    When respondents were asked their association's most important membership goals, 67 per cent indicated "Increasing member engagement," 64 percent "Increasing membership retention," and 60% "Increasing membership acquisition."

    Want to learn more?

    MGI makes the annual benchmarking report freely available in print and online for the benefit of the greater association community. MGI is able to customise the benchmarking report for your individual association with most information available in considerable and actionable detail. Contact MGI Vice President Erik Schonher at 703.706.0358 or email him at to learn more.

    Disclaimer: Because an activity or practice has a statistical correlation with a change in membership rates, MGI is not claiming that any one behaviour in and of itself causes this outcome. There are literally thousands of variables that impact membership results.

  • 01 Jul 2014 9:00 AM | Louise Stokes

    With a recent study finding that understanding members "up at night" issues are key to associations sustainability, Survey Matters is delighted to announce the launch of the 2014 Associations Matter Study – their second research project examining membership of professional associations across Australia and New Zealand.

    To take part in this study register your details and interest here!

    We invite you to participate – it is free and all associations who take part will receive a complimentary electronic copy of the overall results.

    About the study:

    In the inaugural study nearly 8,000 members provided feedback about their membership, generating fascinating insights across the spectrum of association activities. This year’s study will build on the data gathered in 2013, investigating the most significant findings to provide even deeper insight. We learnt  in the 2013 study that up to date information and professional development are highly important to members, and that they want their association to lead the way in protecting and promoting their profession. So this year, the Associations Matter Study will seek specific ideas and suggestions to guide service provision - in the areas we already know are most important to members.

    What associations said about the 2013 study:

    “Well done to Survey Matters, AuSAE and the participating associations for this important research - it makes for interesting reading… I'm already looking forward to seeing next year's results, and encourage all associations to participate: it was painless!”

    “The insights we have gained into member perceptions and needs are foundational to our strategic planning for the next three years.”

    “Easy to participate, a great benchmark study”

    To find out more please call: +61 3 9452 0101 or email

  • 24 Jun 2014 9:24 AM | Louise Stokes

    Sourced directly from:

    On Tuesday, Ray van Hilst and I presented at ASAE’s Marketing, Membership and Communications Conference--it was fun (as far as public speaking gigs go) and great to see so many association friends. If you want to see our five quick tips for improving your website in five minutes, you’re in luck--here’s the link to our presentation.

    I didn’t see Joe Pulizzi speak about content marketing, but Associations Now wrote about his presentation, and that he pointed out that associations are, for the most part, doing it wrong when it comes to content marketing. He said that according to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, only 26% of nonprofit organizations surveyed think they’re using content marketing effectively. I’m surprised it was that high, to be honest, as I don’t think that most nonprofits think of content as marketing, period, let alone consider themselves to be content marketers at all.

    It may seem like an easy fix to someone who hasn’t worked in the association world--just create a mission statement for your content, create a content marketing strategy, then create an opt-in subscriber strategy. Done. Let me get right on that, said every association staffer ever. I mean, never, because this strategy would probably never work for actual associations.

    Here are three reasons why content marketing in the for-profit world is different than content marketing in the association world, and why what works for them won’t work for most associations:

    Silos. In the for-profit world, content is marketing. In the association world, there’s marketing then there’s content--web content, publications--and the two are almost guaranteed to be totally separate. The marketing department works on marketing things--membership, conferences, products. The communications or publication departments work on writing and publishing the association's magazine and/or journals and/or website, developing and writing the content that is one of the most tangible benefits of membership. Their audience is existing members. Marketing may sell ads that run in these publications or on the website, but that’s about as much crossover as there probably ever is between departments, and even those relationships aren’t that great. Marketing wants more--more space for ads, more opportunities to market--and pubs wants to write and produce quality content that is geared towards existing members and is not salesy. So telling associations to just set a content marketing strategy….in the world of silos that is the reality of most association’s inner workings and getting publications and marketing to work together towards one common goal is a lot easier said than done.

    Technology. Associations are a different business than for-profits, and a lot of things that for-profits have to work for, associations can take for granted. Like subscribers. For the most part, if you belong to an association, you’re opting in to receive content from them--publications, email newsletters, etc. That’s what members are paying for, after all. That’s where associations have the advantage over for-profits. Where they’re at a disadvantage is, for the most part, money and technology. In the for-profit world, there’s marketing automation technology and CRM….and the money to both purchase technology platforms/services and to either hire people who know how to use them or outsource that part. In the association world, marketing strategies that go much beyond communicating with current members, house ads in your own publications and then maybe posting that content to social media sites and exhibiting at your own conference are, at least in my experience, pretty rare. IT departments are comfortable with Microsoft and whatever AMS the association is using; implementing Salesforce or Hubspot is not something they’re known to take on very willingly, even if there is budget for it, which, for 99% of associations, there probably is not.

    Staff skillsets. In the for-profit world, marketing directors are, at least from my maybe overly-optimistic POV, expected to stay current in terms of skills. Marketing automation, SEO, content marketing, social media marketing….all these are areas they probably have at least a decent understanding of, as well as a staff who are proficient in each of these areas as well as what’s on the horizon in terms of marketing. Association marketing directors--and no disrespect intended, and I certainly don’t know everything, but in my 20 years working in the association world, I have seen a lot and know a few things--but, to generalize, they tend to be more traditional marketers who learned marketing a while ago, got into their current position five or 10 or 20 years ago and have pretty much been rinse-and-repeating the same email and print marketing strategies each year since. And to be fair, it’s hard to be a marketer in an association--a world where selling is verboten and you’re there for the lofty purpose of helping people and serving members. But for the most part, associations don’t have huge marketing budgets or staffs….or any marketing budgets or staffs, and the more senior marketing staffers tend to have traditional skillsets. And even those who want to push the envelope and do cool new stuff--like content marketing and/or social media marketing--well, suffice it to say, that’s why there are a lot of smart consultants who used to be associations staffers, and a lot of patient-and-trying-but-not-really-getting-anywhere association staffers. Writing for the web, cross-channel content promotion, building opt-in subscriber lists, tracking analytics....these are mostly not skillsets that the majority of association marketers possess.

    So anyway….it’s easy for someone outside the association world to paint a rosy picture of how easy it is to implement a content marketing strategy inside an association; it’s another thing to actually understand that, while there’s certainly a place for content marketing in the association world, there are unique challenges to work around and simply plugging in for-profit advice most likely won’t work.
  • 23 Jun 2014 9:20 AM | Louise Stokes

    Sourced from the ATO Website:

    This guide has been prepared for non-profit clubs, societies and associations that are not exempt from income tax.

    It helps these organisations complete the Company tax return 2014.

    In this guide we discuss some common errors made by non-profit organisations when completing the return and the consequences of these errors. We also provide guidance on how to complete related labels on the tax return correctly.

  • 18 Jun 2014 4:14 PM | Louise Stokes

    To foster relationships with our members beyond the face to face networking opportunities, I am pleased to announce AuSAE will soon be launching our very own private online community thanks to partner ConferNet and software provider Socious.

    This new community will enable AuSAE members to communicate 24/7 and discuss current workplace challenges and innovations with like-minded groups regardless of their location of residence.

    The AuSAE team are very excited to provide increased tangible value for our members via this new community and see not-for-profit leaders actively participating in discussions, networking with their peers and sharing information and knowledge via this new network. Special interest groups within the site will include: Advocacy, Governance, Membership, HR, Leadership and many more.

    Testing of the site has begun with an estimated “go live” in early July. For more information on this new member resource please contact me directly at

    To see some examples of successful online communities in action click here
  • 18 Jun 2014 12:48 PM | Deleted user

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) is pleased to announce the appointment of Brett Jeffery as General Manager New Zealand commencing on July 1 2014.

    Brett Jeffery is a long term AuSAE member and has served on the AuSAE board for the past five years. Brett has had over twenty years’ experience working alongside association and other non-profits in his numerous New Zealand tourism and hospitality roles, including most recently Sales and Marketing Manager at Rotorua Events and Venues.

    “Brett is passionate about ensuring not-for-profit leaders receive opportunities to network, and further their careers and I am sure he will achieve great things at AuSAE” said Tony Steven, President of AuSAE.

    This appointment reaffirms AuSAE’s commitment to strengthening the New Zealand and Australian Not-for-profit sector by providing localised networking and professional development opportunities for all not-for-profit leaders.

    “I am positive this growth of the AuSAE team and Brett’s depth of experience in the New Zealand not-for-profit sector will lead to an increased number of engagement opportunities for our members” said Mr Steven.

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) is the peak professional society working for its members throughout Australia and New Zealand and representing over 10,000 individual leaders that work in not-for-profit organisations. AuSAE’s core purpose is to equip these dedicated and passionate leaders with the tools, information and networks they need to better achieve the vision of their organisation. For more information on this appointment or AuSAE services, please contact me on the details below.

    Warm regards,

    Toni Brearley
    Acting Chief Executive Officer
    Australasian Society of Association Executives

    P + 61 1300 764 576 F +61 (0) 7 3319 6385
    A Suite 2.01, 433 Logan Road, Stones Corner QLD 4120 Australia
    P PO Box 1400, Coorparoo DC QLD 4151 Australia
    E W
    T F

  • 18 Jun 2014 11:18 AM | Louise Stokes
    As reported in the latest CICA e-Bulletin, at the May Board Meeting the CICA Board approved a proposal to establish a new ‘Workplace Relations & Safety Program’ for CICA members from 1 July 2014.

    Key benefits:
    • Help Desk Hotline assistance on all Workplace Relations and Safety queries
    • No fees for CICA members to access the Help Desk, by phone or email
    • CICA Member only benefit
    • Australia-wide service and support
    • 24/7 incident response service
    • For complex queries, an additional / optional legal service is available at special discount rates
    Key features of the help Desk Hotline service:

    Delivered by national commercial law firm Holding Redlich for CICA

    Free access on issues such as:
    • Pay and conditions
    • Leave entitlements
    • Award compliance
    • Fair Work Australia compliance
    • Pay disputes
    • Investigations
    • Claims
    • Misconduct and performance management
    • Safety
    • Employment contracts
    • Policies and procedures
    • Directorships and shareholding
    • Privacy
    Refer the CICA website for all details of the CICAASSIST program.

    From 1 July, contact CICAASSIST. Simply phone 1800 475 299 (1800 HR Lawyer) or email

  • 18 Jun 2014 10:29 AM | Louise Stokes

    Article by Lynne Newbury 

    Making the switch to a new online membership software is not only expensive but time consuming for many associations. Productivity can be slowed down when the transition is taking place, but it’s not all bad news. There are several key approaches that can help make the transition a smooth and stress-free one for all staff involved and eventually members when the new system is live… Read more.

  • 18 Jun 2014 9:58 AM | Louise Stokes

    Around the board tables of many not for profits, more consideration is being given to the merit of mergers. AuSAE are running some executive briefings focused around mergers and acquisitions. Financial difficulties, executive turnover, membership demands and industry consolidation often point to the need for associations to join forces. Attendees to the briefings uncover:

    • What the practical matters to consider in a merger,
    • If it legally possible to merge,
    • If the reasons you are considering a merger the right reasons,
    • How to make it all the way down the aisle, and
    • How to make it a happy marriage.
    If you missed attending these meetings, please find below two helpful resources:
    1. A comprehensive check-list for mergers including the concept phase, exploration, due diligence examination and a preliminary integration plan
    2. A list of documents to exchange during due diligence (corporate, financial, fundraising, personnel & contracts)
    Considering a merger and want to speak with an expert? Contact Vera Visevic, who heads up the specialist Not-For-Profit team at Mills Oakley Lawyers - AuSAE's Law Partner on

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