• 22 Sep 2017 2:24 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Getting students involved as members can leave a lasting impression after they graduate. But some association membership pros say it’s important to ask a few questions before launching or reconfiguring your student membership category.

    With the school year now in full swing, I wanted to turn some attention to a subset of membership that associations probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about—student members.

    If you have student members, maybe you overlook their needs simply because there aren’t a lot of them, or they don’t pay much—or anything—in dues.

    Maybe you don’t offer student membership at all. In that case, you might want to consider adding it. This was a recent topic in the membership section of ASAE’s Collaborate community [member login required].

    What we know is that young people are likely eager to join but probably need some special attention when it comes to recruitment and engagement.

    “Students have different needs than professionals,” says Dan Ratner, membership and business development strategist at the Next Steps LLC. “Usually, associations start a student membership category without thinking about the resources or benefits that are most relevant.”

    Ratner began his association career working as a student program manager for the National Association for Music Education. He was responsible for running a national honor society for student musicians.

    “I think you really do have to speak to students,” he says. “Students are interested in a lot of what associations have to offer, but associations often miss opportunities to reach them.”

    Whether you have a student membership category or are considering adding one, answering a few basic questions can help you decide how much time, attention, and resources to devote to students.

    Where Is the Opportunity?

    The Massachusetts Society of CPAs recently asked this question before it launched a free student membership category tailored to rising high school juniors and seniors considering careers in the accounting profession.

    MSCPA already had a traditional college-level student membership. Staff saw an opportunity to bring in even younger members based on experience with a few programs that were engaging high schoolers.

    “We hosted high school days as previews into the profession,” says Erica DeBiase, MSCPA’s academic and career development specialist. “We already engaged with high school students in a number of face-to-face ways, so we figured why not get them on our radar as members.”

    One year in, MSCPA has about 65 high school student members—a small fraction of the 750 college members and more than 11,000 professional members. But Barbara Iannoni, MSCPA’s academic and career development director, says the upfront investment is worth it.

    “For tracking purposes, it’s easier for us to know who is entering into college as a potential accounting major,” Iannoni says. “We can now track students from their high school years, all the way through graduation, and into the profession.”

    Another important consideration is whether your association has access to student networks. MSCPA leveraged its existing event series, a dedicated social media presence for students, and connections with teachers who could promote the benefits of membership.

    What Should You Offer Student Members?

    Once you have identified your student member prospects, you have to start thinking about their unique needs and how they differ from professional members.

    “If you’re going to start a student member category, you better know their niche,” Ratner says. “Students want access to career opportunities, and they understand the value of networking online.”

    MSCPA found early success with a dedicated student newsletter focusing on career development and networking. And the MSCPA Foundation offers scholarships to college and graduate students who demonstrate strong academic performance and financial need.

    What Should You Charge?

    What students pay for membership varies by association. Regardless of whether you charge a discounted rate or offer free membership, you probably won’t see an immediate return on investment. And that’s OK, Ratner says.

    “The ROI on student membership is always a long-term investment,” he says. “If the student graduates and stays on a membership track, you could potentially see a lifetime of value.”

    MSCPA decided to keep membership to high schoolers open and free as an incentive to get students in the door and moving along an engagement path that transitions easily into a professional membership and certification.

    Ratner recommends that associations narrowly define their student membership categories and from time to time verify student members’ status, especially if the membership comes at a discount. To thwart the few professionals who, inevitably, will try to sneak in using a student category, require that students register with their .edu email account or request a teacher or professor contact on the membership application. Then be vigilant about member data, Ratner advises, so you know when a student graduates.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now.

  • 22 Sep 2017 2:03 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    As we hit “back to the school” season, many people may start to think whether college education is a must. College education is expensive but certainly important especially in some fields. However, graduating from college is not a guarantee of landing a job immediately. You also need experience in your desired field. So, which one is more important; education or experience? Is having experience enough for you to land your dream job without a bachelor’s degree? Or do you certainly require a bachelor’s degree with good academic grades? Keep reading below and decide yourself.

    • A college with a good reputation can open you many doors: It is obvious that a college with a good reputation can provide you many opportunities. Good colleges have career fairs in which many employers attend. This enables you to find a job easier. Also, most colleges have alumni networks and this network can help you land a job. However, if you attend a college which no one has ever heard of, that won’t help you as much as you hope for because everybody can get four-year degrees nowadays. The important thing is how you stand out among this crowd. Similarly, if you decide not to go to college but instead, work full-time and just go to work from 9am to 5pm every day but don’t grow yourself personally, don’t add any new skills to yourself or don’t take any major responsibilities, then your experience doesn’t matter as much because you are not moving forward.
    • Employers do not just want experience, they want relevant experience: You may not have a college degree but have five-six years of experience. However, is this relevant experience or did you hold different jobs in different fields? It all comes down to how your experience is related to the job you are looking to work for. You can work and study at the same time and this makes your degree and experience even more valuable because it shows that you are a very hard working person and disciplined at the same time because doing both of these at once require dedication and discipline. If you feel working full-time is too much for you while studying, you can try summer internships or co-ops. In this way, you can increase your experience and still get your four-year degree. Also, you can stand out among the crowd because you will have both.

    This article was originally sourced from Business 2 Community.

  • 22 Sep 2017 1:54 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Creating a marketing strategy can be intimidating, especially if you’re a new business owner or creating a plan for the first time. There are various types of marketing, including digital, email, mobile and direct, so it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you and your business. If you want to simplify the process while getting the most out of your efforts, it’s a good idea to start with one type and assess its success before adding on or trying other methods. This is especially true if you have a small budget to work with.

    One type of marketing that has the potential to have a high rate of return and is one of the more budget-friendly options is social media marketing. Read on to learn more about the different social media platforms and how to choose the right one for your business!

    One of the first things you should do when creating a social media marketing strategy is select the right platforms for your business. To do that, you need to know who your target market is, such as millennials or 30 years old and over. Once this has been determined, you should look at each social network’s primary user base. Check out the following stats for what I like to call “the big three” to help you choose the best platform for business.

    Social Media Marketing Statistics

    As of June 2017, research into Facebook showed:

    • The platform has more than 2 billion users; 1.15 billion of whom are daily active users
    • Females make up 53% of them
    • 87% of their user base is 18-29 years old
    • The number of users over age 30 is not far behind

    When it comes to Instagram, WordStream reports:

    • The platform has more than 600 million users
    • Most of its users are between the ages of 18 and 29
    • More than half of all top brands are on the platform
    Twitter data shows: 

    While Twitter does have one of the highest number of monthly users, it’s said to be one of the most oversaturated social media channels as more than half of its users never post updates. However, this doesn’t mean users are not interacting with other profiles or consuming content.

    How to Select the Best Social Media Marketing Platforms

    Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are three of the most influential platforms in social media marketing. If you’re looking to target users of all ages, or specifically ages 30 and over, Facebook is your best bet. This is the best option for sharing longer content, such as blog posts, infographics, or adding longer text to go with your updates.

    If you’re looking to target millennials and young adults, Instagram and Twitter would be ideal for you. While you don’t have to choose just one, (it’s good to be on multiple channels), if you had to choose between Instagram and Twitter, it would come down to if you want to focus your efforts on males or females between 18 and 29. Both platforms are ideal for sharing photos and videos, although Instagram has higher engagement and view rates with videos.

    Hopefully these statistics will help you determine the right social media strategy for your business!

    This article was originally sourced from Business 2 Community

  • 13 Sep 2017 3:25 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Concerned about membership retention? Here’s how to create an effective renewal process. Also: Gauge your social media performance with a new benchmarking study.

    Membership-based organizations take a tremendous amount of time to come up with strategies for gaining new members. Devising ways to keep those members requires just as much thought.

    If you’re looking to increase your membership retention rates, check out this post from VP Associations, which shares tips for creating a membership renewal series.

    Start with making sure your timing is right for sending renewal notices—they should be sent well before the membership expires. “If your association provides critical benefits, don’t wait to renew a member right at their expiration and risk their losing access to those benefits,” writes publications director Jake Smith. “While losing those benefits might *make someone *’miss you’ enough to renew, the thought of losing them should be enough.”

    If your organization is sending renewal notices only via email, you’re making a mistake. It’s true that email is inexpensive, but it’s also easy for members to overlook. “A multichannel approach—snail mail, email, perhaps a phone call provided it’s from someone in the home office and an ‘authority‘* on the association*—will be sure to reach your members.”

    VP Associations also makes recommendations for personalized copy, response methods, surveys, tracking, and more.

    If your social following is smaller than those of your competitors, you may feel like you’ve done something wrong. But that’s not necessarily the case.

    A new M+R Benchmarks study says every organization needs to set realistic expectations for social performance, and you can start by examining your email list. According to the study, for every 1,000 email subscribers nonprofits have, the average group has 428 Facebook fans, 141 Twitter followers, and a measly 39 Instagram followers.

    The report also provides benchmarks for earned reach, posting frequency, and engagement rates.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now

  • 13 Sep 2017 3:17 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    SHAPE America is testing a new way to recruit and win back members: letting them decide how much to pay in dues.

    How to hack it? This year, SHAPE America, the largest U.S. association of health and physical education professionals, tested a bold membership offer: SHAPE allowed prospects to pay what they can in dues. “It’s a pretty revolutionary idea,” says Senior Membership Manager Matt Rankin, CAE. Members could opt in to a free digital-only, open-access membership, or they could name their price.

    Why does it work? The pay-what-you-can pilot has quickly added to SHAPE’s membership ranks. Rankin’s team tested pay-what-you-can in limited ways, offering the option to state-affiliate members, renewing members, and long-lapsed members of four years or more. “These were people who were already prospects,” Rankin says. “While we were completely underwhelmed by the amount of dues it generated, we think there’s tons of long-term value. We’ll know in six to eight months if they bought a book, went to an event, or participated in an advocacy effort.”

    What’s the bonus? Surprisingly, the results were favorable even for current, dues-paying members. Rankin tested pay-what-you-can with a few renewals, and many members maintained the dues they were paying previously. “It wasn’t a race to the bottom,” he says.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now

  • 13 Sep 2017 12:04 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    The Dental Hygienists Association of Australia recently announced the appointment of Dr Melanie Hayes as the new chief executive officer of the association.

    The appointment of a CEO was determined to be a strategic priority of the DHAA at its Leadership Day and subsequent board meeting held in May this year—one that would signal their commitment to ensure greater outcomes and accountability to DHAA members, the community, industry partners and government.

    Dr Hayes is a dental hygienist who has worked in both general and periodontal practices. For the past eight years, she has worked in academia, most recently as a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne. She completed her PhD in 2013, focusing on the musculoskeletal health of dental hygienists.

    Dr Hayes has also been a director and president of the DHAA Board for the past three years.

    “I am passionate about dental hygiene and what the future has to offer the profession,” Dr Hayes said. “I am looking forward to implementing the DHAA strategic plan during this exciting period of development for the association.”

    This article was originally sourced from Bite Magazine.

  • 13 Sep 2017 11:52 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Venue Management Association {Asia and Pacific} Limited (VMA) President, Steve Harper CFE, has today announced that VMA Chief Executive Steve Romer has tendered his resignation from the organisation after three and a half years in the position. Harper says that while it is disappointing to lose Romer, the VMA Board wishes him well in his new endeavours.

    Harper stated, “Steve leaves on a high, with the VMA now elevated to a new level of professionalism, along with the delivery of significant membership growth, increased membership benefits, the further development of professional and educational programs and a strong financial position to enable the organisation to return even greater benefits to its members.”

    “The VMA has benefitted from Steve’s venue management experience not only as Chief Executive but also his passion and commitment to the VMA over many years including nine years as a member of the Board and three years as Chairman of the Association.”

    Romer says it has been an absolute privilege to lead the VMA as CEO, adding "it’s been rewarding and satisfying to build a new team, and to work closely with a very passionate Board. I look forward to seeing the Association continue to grow and flourish in the future, albeit as a proud Member ”

    The VMA Board will immediately commence the search for a new Chief Executive to take the helm and guide the VMA into the future supported by the extraordinary talent and professionalism of the team based at the VMA headquarters on the Gold Coast.

    Romer will remain as Chief Executive until late October.

    For more information, please contact the VMA President, Steve Harper on 03 9286 1727.

  • 12 Sep 2017 1:38 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    All employers, not just franchisors, face significant new responsibility, a more robust watchdog and stiff new penalties after the Parliament voted to pass the long anticipated Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017.

    The new legislation follows a commitment by both sides of politics to do more to protect vulnerable workers, and comes in the wake of revelations of systematic exploitation and wage fraud involving some of Australia’s biggest businesses.

    While high-profile cases such as 7-Eleven are credited with bringing about the changes, it is worth noting that the new laws are not solely restricted to the franchise sector. Any employer who is found to have committed “serious contraventions” of payment-related workplace laws now faces much harsher penalties with the Fair work Ombudsman also being granted sweeping new investigative powers.

    What the Protecting Vulnerable Workers Bill means for you:

    The legislation aims to protect vulnerable workers by:

    • introducing a new higher scale of penalties for “serious contraventions” of the Fair Work Act with a tenfold increase in the maximum penalty, up to $630,000 for a corporation and $126,000 for an individual;
    • trebling the maximum penalties for contraventions relating to employee records and payslips;
    • giving the Fair Work Ombudsman substantially greater investigation and enforcement powers, including the power to seek a FWO Notice requiring a person to give information, produce documents or to attend before the Fair Work Ombudsman and answer questions;
    • introducing new penalties for providing Fair Work inspectors with false or misleading information or records and new prohibitions for hindering or obstructing the Fair Work Ombudsman or an inspector in the performance of their functions;
    • making franchisors and holding companies responsible for underpayments by their franchisees or subsidiaries where they knew or ought to have reasonably known of the contraventions and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent them;
    • making officers of a franchisor or holding company potentially liable as an accessory to a contravention of the new provisions by a franchisor or a holding company;
    • expressly prohibiting employers from unreasonably requiring their employees to make payments back to the business (e.g. demanding a proportion of their wages be paid back in cash); and
    • imposing the burden on the employer to disprove an allegation made by an employee in relation to contraventions of certain civil remedy provisions where the employer was required to make and keep a record, make a record available for inspection or give a payslip but fails to do so.

    The legislation is now awaiting to receive royal assent, with the majority of the provisions set to commence soon after.

    How you can protect your business:

    These new laws represent a dramatic shift in the operational framework of workplace relations in Australia.

    The Fair Work Act already contains strong accessorial liability provisions which enables the Fair Work Ombudsman to prosecute anyone who it believes is involved in a contravention. To date, these accessorial liability provisions have been used to catch HR advisers, managers, accountants and CFO’s who have been involved in workplace contraventions.

    The new laws are designed to complement these existing accessorial liability provisions and come after the Fair Work Ombudsman was granted a substantial increase in funding to help put more inspectors on the road.

    Turning a blind eye to workplace non-compliance is no longer a viable option. There is a clear expectation that all employers take reasonable steps to identify and eliminate workplace non-compliance. Those that choose not to act do so as their own peril.

    For more information, contact FCB Group

  • 11 Sep 2017 10:47 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Your members are inundated with email every day. When you know and cater to their habits and preferences, you make it far more likely that your next email will be received, opened, and read. Here are the important takeaways from two new reports on the email marketing landscape.

    Do you suffer from email fatigue? According to a new survey, nearly three-quarters of us admit to feeling overwhelmed by the number and frequency of messages in our inbox.

    Count me in—especially as I stare blankly into the abyss of my inbox after a holiday weekend. Email fatigue is an all too common problem, and chances are your members are experiencing inbox overload too.

    Two surveys, released earlier this summer by Adobe (last week) and Informz (in June), detail a plethora of useful data points related to email habits that should influence every association marketer’s thinking about email.

    The Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report from Informz is required reading for membership teams considering how to tweak their next email campaign based on their members’ behaviors. Here are a few of the top-level findings:

    Email volume is rising. Associations sent 12.3 percent more email messages last year than they sent in 2015. And nearly 90 percent of associations say they’re concerned about sending too many mass emails.

    Open and click rates are dropping. While certainly not cause for alarm, email open rates declined slightly, from 36 percent in 2015 to 35.6 percent in 2016. And click rates dropped from 16.1 percent to 15.6 percent.

    Marketing automation is growing—significantly. Associations are getting savvier about how they interact with members and other audiences via email. In 2016, associations sent 70 percent more emails through marketing automation campaigns than in 2015, which means they are delivering more customized experiences to individual members based on how and why they interact with the association’s communications.

    Less may be more. Associations sent a large majority of subscribers (86.6 percent) 10 or fewer emails per month, and associations that sent 1 million emails or fewer per year achieved the highest average open rates overall.

    Fridays are better than you think. Many association marketers subscribe to conventional wisdom about email, such as the “rule” that you should email members only in the middle of the week, avoiding the beginning- or end-of-work-week rush. While most emails (64 percent) were delivered on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, it turns out that Friday afternoon might be the best time to hit “send.” Email open rates (36.7 percent) and click rates (16.2 percent) were highest on Fridays, and messages sent late in the afternoon had the highest open rate overall (36.5 percent).

    The Adobe report, a survey of white-collar workers, may not speak directly to how members are feeling right now, but it does reflect how organizations and businesses alike can engage with audiences via email. A few key findings:

    Email frustration is a real problem. Twenty percent of respondents said they were frustrated by having to wait for images to render and load in an email, 19 percent were upset when they had to scroll too far down the page to find important information, and 40 percent said they wanted emails that are less promotional and more informative.

    Timing is everything. As a broad trend, many people wake up in the morning and immediately go to their inbox. In the Adobe survey, 26 percent reported checking email while still in bed, and 37 percent do so while getting ready or eating breakfast in the morning. But that doesn’t mean consumers are constantly consulting their inbox. One in five respondents said they never check work email outside of work hours.

    “Five-minute member” opportunities abound. Email doesn’t require a lot of time to get a message across, especially when five-minute members are accessing their inboxes as they stand in line for coffee or wait in the lobby for the next elevator. For example, according to the Adobe survey, 28 percent of consumers ages 18 to 24 read email while working out.

    Finally, while it’s not backed by survey data, there are some quick and easy ways to improve your next email campaign. Start by using a headline analyzer tool, like the ones offered for free by ShareThrough or CoSchedule. Something as simple as a subject line or message headline can increase the odds of a member engaging with an email. It also helps to know the various writing styles (the expository, narrative, descriptive, and persuasive email) as well as the ideal length and tone for receiving a reply message.

    This article was sourced from Associations Now

  • 30 Aug 2017 10:27 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Beacon Foundation's MyRoad eMentoring Program has officially launched for 2017/18, following a successful pilot in 2016. We need 200 industry mentors to help deliver the program to 2,000 young Australian women in their senior years of high school. This is your opportunity to share your own career story and broaden students' understanding of different industries, pathways and jobs, without leaving your desk! 

    MyRoad is an online mentoring program that supports secondary school students to develop essential work skills such as communication, resilience, team work and networking by connecting them to working professionals who utilise these skills on a daily basis. The program will run for 2 hours  via zoom – video conferencing platform and mentors are trained and guided through the whole process. 

    For more information on MyRoad,

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