Sector and AuSAE News

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  • 20 May 2020 3:15 PM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    With many associations entering renewal season, they are looking for ways to enable affordability for members during these unprecedented times, whilst balancing their own cash flow. There are direct debit options, membership extensions, pauses and many possibilities in between. An option that you may like to explore is what AuSAE Industry Partner Openpay can offer.

    Openpay is a part of the buy-now-pay-later industry in Australia and uses the mantra “Buy Now, Pay Smarter”.  If your member chooses to use Openpay for their membership fees, Openpay will pay your association the full value of the membership upfront but allow your member to repay that amount – interest free – back to Openpay directly over 3 or 6 months.

    Importantly, your association will get paid the full value of the membership up-front resulting in no adverse effect on your cash flow.

    The benefits of allowing your members to pay in instalments through Openpay include:

    • No More Chasing Payments:  Responsibility for collecting repayments rests 100% with Openpay.
    • Improved Cash Flow:  With certainty that payment in full will be made within 24 hours, cash flow concerns are eliminated.
    • Modern Payment Solution:  Buy-now-pay-later solutions have been embraced by the marketplace and are now the preferred method of payment for a very large (and increasing) part of the population.
    • Increased Sales:  With the opportunity to pay fees over time the price (and any future price rises) will become less of an issue for your members resulting in an increase in sales.

    How does Openpay work?

    If you process payments through your website, Openpay can easily integrate with the most of the popular ecommerce platforms.  Openpay will be listed as a payment method option, making the membership purchase seamless.

    Alternatively, without website integration onto your payment platform your members will simply need to install the Openpay app on their phone and then call you to process the payment manually.

    While the service is interest-free for your members, Openpay charge a small merchant fee to your organisation.  Note:

    • Openpay’s merchant fee replaces the existing bank merchant fees you currently pay (it is not in addition to) and
    • AuSAE have been able to negotiate some special member-only rates on your behalf.

    To find out more information or to set up an account, please contact Jon Urquhart at Openpay on 0407 004 470 or email him:

  • 20 May 2020 2:18 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    COVID-19 may inspire (or force) association leaders to go on the job hunt. Candidates and search committees alike will need to adjust.

    This may seem like a bad time to talk about searching for that bigger and better CEO gig. Most executives at the moment are busy enough in their current jobs, leading their staffs, members, and volunteers through office closures, postponed and restructured meetings, and a recession.

    But disruptions do exactly that—disrupt, moving organizations and their leaders in unexpected directions. According to an ASAE Research Foundation survey conducted in late April, nearly two-thirds of associations (64 percent) say their workplaces have experienced moderate to extreme disruption. For CEOs who are thinking of a different perch, or other leaders who want to rise to the corner office, it’s a good time to at least consider what skill sets will be meaningful in the future, and what a new-normal job search might look like.

    In a new white paper, “Search in the Time of COVID: Becoming a CEO in the 2020s” , Leaders’ Haven founder Cynthia Mills, FASAE, CAE, and Vetted Solutions president and founder Jim Zaniello, FASAE, explore some of the themes that will mark job searches in the coming years—more intense scrutiny of associations’ finances and culture, an emphasis on leaders’ transformational skills instead of resume lines, and a more conservative approach to compensation. (The paper addresses the job search from the CEO’s perspective; a forthcoming follow-up will look at boards.)

    “As this plays out, we’re going to see mergers, we’re going to see movement to AMCs, and we will see some associations that will go out of business,” Mills told me. “So CEOs who are doing an excellent job of looking at the landscape are recognizing that they’ve got to look out for their organization, and then they also have to look out for their career. People are looking at the idea of a plan B.”

    I spoke with Mills about the white paper and some of the things that boards and CEOs alike should be thinking about in the job market, and she shared a few additional insights.

    Associations will want a tested change agent in their next executive. “All of the baseline fundamental skills, all of the CAE skills, all of those things still have to be there—those haven’t gone away,” Mills says. “But being a transformational leader has moved up the list.” Candidates should be prepared to answer how they responded to divisive issues, and not just COVID-19. “How are you going to navigate disparate views at a time in which we need to make sure that we are retaining our membership and providing value in a potential long-term financial crisis? And during the biggest transition and transformation that we’re going to ever have seen with AI, and so on? Those are the kinds of complex questions I think [candidates] are going to get hit with.”

    Non-CEOs needn’t feel shut out from the CEO job search. If you’ve proved your leadership mettle as a CEO in the current moment, that speaks well of you. But candidates from elsewhere in the C-suite aren’t at a disadvantage, so long as they can demonstrate innovative qualities. “If you’ve got a change-leadership track record, if you’ve got the entrepreneurialism, I believe that boards are going to be looking for that,” Mills says. “They want to be confident that you’ve handled something, whether it’s COVID-19, or the financial side, or the organizational dynamic.”

    Candidates need to ask tough questions. Search committees need to get comfortable fielding them. As the white paper explains, a scan of a potential employer’s latest Form 990 and other financial statements isn’t going to provide a satisfactory picture of an association’s financial health. In interviews, Mills says, candidates should be willing to ask follow-ups on questions about finances and strategy related to the pandemic. Similarly, search committees should be ready to open up. “You must be comfortable with candidates asking you for more detailed information earlier in the process, because we’re just not in a ‘trust us’ space,” she says.

    There’s no room for ceremonial slots on the search committee now. The right CEO fit is always crucial, but more so now, which means that it’s better to save search-committee seats for people actively leading the organization instead of past presidents and other figures who are relatively disconnected from an association facing a crisis. “I would be a lot more uncomfortable as a candidate if the search committee was not primarily made up of members of the current board,” Mills says. “Those are the people who are currently charged with leading the organization through this very unique time. So if you’ve got a search committee that’s made up of former leaders or people who aren’t right there in the fire with you, how are you going to get the answers to important questions?”

    This article was written by Mark Athitakis, and sourced directly from Associations Now here

  • 20 May 2020 2:07 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Not everyone will want to rush back to your office the minute it reopens. Here are a few things to consider as you decide whether to extend a work-from-home option beyond the immediate COVID-19 emergency.

    There’s an obvious question being asked at the moment by many organizations that sent people home to work two months ago: Should we let all (or at least some) of these newly remote workers stay remote?

    Some people thrive working in an office environment and may be eager to return. Many others may find the flexibility of working in a place where they feel comfortable and safe difficult to give up. As you start to think through your plan for reopening your office, here are some considerations that could influence your decisions about ongoing remote work:

    Some employees like working from home more than others. The response to remote work varies: Some employees love it, while others can’t wait to get back to the office. But those who like it really like it: In a recent Gallup poll, 59 percent of respondents said they’ll likely want to work remotely more often after the current crisis is over. “These fans of online work worry that they—and the country itself—will lose important benefits discovered during this unprecedented experiment in mass remote work,” Maria Cramer and Mihir Zaveri wrote for the New York Times. “People who have never liked schmoozing with colleagues have found new heights of productivity away from meetings and office chitchat.”

    People working at home are only slightly less productive. A recent study from the research and services firm Valoir found a 1 percent decrease in productivity, on average, among remote employees, and a 2 percent decrease among employees with children. Those who worked without anyone else in the house were 3 percent less productive. What’s behind the modest decrease? The Valoir report suggests that it’s social media, which may distract workers as much as two hours a day. But they tend to be spending more time at their desks to make up for it, about 9.75 hours per day. And the report notes that distractions would be an issue at the office as well. “Many workers said that remote work enabled them to reduce day-to-day distractions around the office including boss and coworker interruptions,” the report stated.

    Long-term remote work will require long-term adjustments by workers and employers. Making remote work permanent will require some mindset and policy shifts, writes Forbes contributor Enrique Dans. “For workers, it means understanding that the future will not simply involve balancing a laptop on your knees while sitting at the sofa, or clearing a space at the kitchen table, but redesigning the home to allocate an area to work, or not assuming, for example, that children will always be home,” Dans writes. “For companies, it involves creating appropriate methodologies, using certain technologies — not necessarily those made under pressure at the beginning of confinement proves to be the best option — launching training for the workforce, or even considering covering some of the costs involved, from connectivity to the necessary infrastructure, which can go beyond just a laptop.”

    This article was written by Ernie Smith and sourced from Associations Now here

  • 20 May 2020 2:03 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Most economists agree based on recent reports on GDP and unemployment that we are entering a recession. And many association executives are wondering how this downturn will impact their membership numbers and what to project for the future.

    Amidst the current challenges, there is data to provide some hope and insights. For over a decade the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report has captured association membership best practices and statistics. One of the major disruptions impacting association membership was the Great Recession in 2009. Looking back at the benchmarking survey data can serve as a guide on how associations responded to this recession. The data suggest that there are some near term challenges for some groups in the current environment but for most associations they can look forward to a strong membership rebound in the future.

    Past Recessionary Membership Results

    The findings from the 2010 benchmarking report published showing results for this recessionary time found that the percentage of associations seeing increases in membership counts dropped to a low of 36%. While an all-time high of 48% of associations reported an actual decline in their membership counts. Membership renewals were also a challenge. A total of 44% of respondents said that their renewal rate declined for the year. Using these past results as a guide it is likely that in 2020 many associations will see a dip in their renewal rates and total membership.

    However, the data did show that even during that time of economic dislocation, over a third of professional and trade associations still reported that their membership increased. And 42% reported that they improved their new member input. These groups were able to sustain growth and add new members because they found a way to provide value and to continue to effectively reach prospects. I remember one association executive described how members regularly hired other members who were out of work. His association shared with members the effectiveness of their networking with the message that the cheapest unemployment insurance they could get was joining the association. Likewise, today we are aware of some clients seeing the biggest new member months in their history by providing members and prospects with critical information, advocacy, and community during this pandemic. For some associations, growth is still achievable right now.

    For other organizations facing declines in the current environment, there is still long-term hope from our benchmarking data. The results from our research following the Great Recession shows that membership counts made a remarkable recovery in subsequent years. Following the economic downturn, the proportion of associations reporting increased membership rapidly rose from a low of 36% in the 2010 report to nearly 50% and higher in the following benchmarking years.

    Additionally, the driver for this rapid improvement appears to be associations refocusing on membership recruitment. Each of the four years after the Great Recession produced the best new member recruitment years to date in our research. Just three years after the low point, an all-time high of 63% of associations reported that their new member acquisition had increased.

    Membership Strategy Going Forward

    The encouraging news from the trends in our longitudinal benchmarking data shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Associations that have messages and services to help members' immediate needs can flourish even in this challenging time. For those that are seeing a drop in membership and struggling with renewing members, the data provides hope for the future.

    In either case, what should your membership marketing playbook look like for right now? For those associations that are currently offering indispensable services that are bringing in new members the plan should be to aggressively market to gain market share by reaching out as broadly as possible to your house prospects and third-party databases. For groups that are facing membership challenges, the strategy is to do everything you can to hold on to the members that you have worked so hard to gain over the years. Just like there was panic selling in the stock market you likely have many lapsed members who might leave in a cost-cutting panic. These are prime prospects to invite back with a special offer. Reach out to them with all the tools you have available including email, telephone, texting, and digital media.

    Going forward it is a time for all associations to invest in building the foundation and capacity for future growth. Maintain a presence in the marketplace, gather knowledge of member needs through research, test new marketing messages, and tactics to see what works. Build your marketing plan now so that you are ready to capitalize on the coming membership growth opportunities.

    This article was written by Tony Rossell from Marketing General Incorporated here

  • 19 May 2020 7:58 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Recent statistics show that many marketers have paused campaigns or cut ad budgets due to COVID-19, causing digital advertising to drop for the first time ever. Those that still have a marketing budget may have an advantage on digital platforms as a result.

    If you’re a digital marketer, you might be in a holding pattern as a result of COVID-19. But if you still have a bit of budget to spend on digital ads right now, you might be able to take advantage of a rare gap in the industry.

    Recently, the global marketing insight firm WARC reported a decline in marketing budgets in the digital space in April—the first such decline it has ever reported. Both traditional and mobile ads are down.

    On top of this, the Interactive Advertising Bureau reported survey data that found 37 percent of ad buyers paused their campaigns in April, up from 24 percent in March.

    This is a significant change in fortunes for digital advertising, one that organizations with smaller budgets may be well-positioned to take advantage of. Although Facebook and Google continue to see revenue growth and may not be the best places to find discounts right now, other options may provide good opportunities:

    Smaller publishers may be ready to offer discounts. Some publishers, such as Barstool Sports, have tried to stem the broader decline in advertising by focusing on smaller, more focused deals with advertisers in the hopes of long-term relationship growth. “Singles and doubles matter right now,” the firm’s chief revenue officer, Deirdre Lester, stated to Digiday.

    Now might be a time to focus on trust-based messaging. A recent Gartner post notes that even before the recent crisis, many consumers had grown skeptical about brands and large organizations, instead favoring local organizations. “The current crisis seems poised to amplify the distrust customers have of brands,” writes Gartner contributor Laura Starita. “Brands can push against that wave by rising to the occasion to reestablish trust through customer-centric actions.” Starita says that marketing that focuses on listening to consumers and a balanced response about what your organization can and cannot do right now could help your organization reverse the trend.

    The current environment requires tactical changes. The marketing messages that you put out there will have to reflect the situation in the real world, where some traditional marketing channels, such as in-person events, are off the table for now. And that requires changes in mindset, writes Business 2 Community contributor Susan Friesen. “Part of brand marketing during this pandemic is knowing when to re-strategize and pivot, rather than continuing with an ad campaign that’s not going to resonate with—or even offends—your target audience,” she writes.

    BY ERNIE SMITH / MAY 12, 2020


    Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun.

  • 13 May 2020 1:42 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    There continues to be a lot of uncertainty about what business will look like short-term and long-term. An initial reaction by many marketers during this volatile and uncertain period has been to limit marketing efforts for channels such as email marketing.

    But from our campaigns and testing, we’re seeing that email marketing campaigns, done correctly, are still proving highly effective. In fact, we’re seeing current email programs outperform those from several months ago when the economy was strong and life was operating business as usual.

    So, what are some things that can be done right now to make your email marketing campaigns more effective? Here are five tips:

    Test everything, especially deployment day and time. Because the lives of many email recipients have been completely turned upside down and the “new normal” may consist of working from home and during odd hours, the best send days and times may be completely different now from what was optimal in the past. It is best to test to ensure that audiences are reached when they will be most engaged.

    Review content for all automated campaigns. It is always wise to periodically review and update content in automated campaigns. Due to the current global crisis, it is even more important to review and update all automated content, ensuring it is sensitive and relevant to what’s happening right now. This is vital to ensure that rapidly changing events are accurately being represented in all content, as well as to avoid being tone deaf to specific evolving circumstances.

    Keep audiences engaged. For those audiences where transactional marketing still doesn’t feel right, instead offer highly relevant weekly content marketing emails. Provide them with valuable webinars, podcasts, whitepapers, industry/association specific breaking news, study guides, reemployment training and placement assistance, etc. The key is to keep the audience engaged with your organisation, while being as helpful as possible. When the appropriate time comes to convert these individuals and “sell” to them again, they will be ready to purchase from a trusted source.

    Provide flexible terms. For anything that is transactional, consider testing more flexible payment terms. Allow for installment payments, extend your grace period, etc. for purchases with a financial commitment.

    Be empathetic. Probably the most important adjustment to make to any email marketing campaign is to ensure that an empathetic tone is conveyed in all content. Your audience is going through an awful lot right now, both personally and professionally. It is important to ensure that your message conveys helpfulness, support, and emotional intelligence.

    This article was written by Marketing General Incorporated here

  • 13 May 2020 1:31 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Testing out new ideas can seem overwhelming right now. But there may be no better time to do it.

    Association boards are slow. Association projects are slow. Associations are slow.

    Plenty of myths are getting debunked in the COVID-19 era. There’s no reason we can’t add the myth of “slowness” to the pile.

    Last week, I checked in on a video conference hosted by the New York Society of Association Executives titled “Navigating the New Normal,” and much of the conversation by the collected leaders centered on the ways things have sped up in the past two months. Lingering discussions about what projects to sunset have become firm decisions. Associations have ramped up their capacity for virtual events, and have begun planning future meetings anticipating that they’ll likely be at least partially virtual—with greater potential to connect with more attendees outside of North America. Leaders are getting creative about new membership tiers and nondues revenue, and boards are getting comfortable with setting strategy online and efficiently.

    “This is the time to try it—if it doesn’t work, just blame COVID,” said the conference’s moderator, Gregory Offner. He was being tongue-in-cheek, but not entirely. “We’re seeing a lot of red tape in every industry just miraculously disappear. People that you could never get on the phone before are now willing to get on a phone call.”

    Lest this all come off as pollyanna-ish, it’s clear this newfound urgency is happening due to real concerns among associations about their survival, now that their biggest revenue sources have quickly dried up. Asked to innovate, many might think that the goal in the current moment is to invent a single whiz-bang revenue driver. But experts advise being creative in small ways.

    In a recent article for Stanford Social Innovation Review, three leaders from the nonprofit consultancy Community Wealth Partners write that this is the moment for organisations to develop their “adaptive capacity,” looking at the likely environment in the next year and making minor but meaningful adjustments. “Set short-term financial and impact goals, along with plans for what you’ll do if you don’t meet them,” they write. “As you consider creative new approaches or solutions, think about experimenting with rapid prototyping approaches, rather than launching major initiatives that require extensive analysis and proven track records.”

    And sometimes innovations aren’t the result of particular projects or initiatives but changes in behaviors and expectations. In the Harvard Business Review, professor Gary P. Pisano points out that efforts to produce a big response to COVID-19, such as a vaccine, have to work in tandem with smaller but meaningful efforts to change social norms about hygiene and medical treatment.

    “Many improvements in medical outcomes have nothing to do with technology or drugs; they come from better patient management practices,” he writes. “Figuring out when [is] the best time to intubate a patient or whether to put them on their stomach rather [than] on their back is unlikely to make headlines, but it can lead to better outcomes. You don’t necessarily need game-changing drugs or technology to change the game; you just need a lot [of] learning about what works and doesn’t in practice. Fast learning from experience will be critical.”

    And the path to being creative may be smoother than you think. Last week, my colleague Ernie Smith noted that it may be easier to take on ambitious projects these days, with more remote-work tools coming available, many of them free.

    It’s unlikely that any of us will look back at this time romantically. But your outlook needn’t be gloomy, either. We’ve been thrust into a moment where leaders can demonstrate their creativity, test new ideas, and (perhaps best of all) trust that the people around them are more flexible and capable than they’d previously imagined.

    This article was written by Mark Athitakis, and was sourced here from Associations Now. 

  • 12 May 2020 6:08 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    COVID-19 might have derailed your project plans, but it’s worth considering what might still be possible remotely. There might be more to salvage than you think.

    There might have been a time when you thought 2020 was going to be the year you’d take on that big project you’ve been planning. But if you’re looking a bit longingly at your resolutions and thinking that the opportunity has passed you by because of the strange times we’re in, I’d like to encourage you to take a deep breath and reconsider.

    It might be possible to save those big projects. Here are a few remote project management considerations for associations looking to revive a project that’s been put on hold since the coronavirus pandemic began.

    Assess what’s done and what needs to be done.  The software review firm Capterra offers (with the help of a few Dilbert comics) some advice on what to do to fix a project that’s not working. Start by taking a step back to analyze what’s gumming up the works. Check in with stakeholders to figure out what is and isn’t working. You might find you need to shake up the current team to get things moving again. “Even the best project managers—those with excellent project plans, appropriate budgets, and fantastic scope control—struggle, on occasion, with project failure,” Capterra’s Rachel Burger writes.

    Find out how your vendor is faring in the crisis. Your vendors may be facing challenges similar to yours due to COVID-19. Those factors could cause delays and even work stoppages for some projects, which may trigger some contract-related questions. “As schedule slippages are not uncommon in technology implementations, most technology development contracts will anticipate them and include provisions that address them,” attorney Jeffrey D. Neuburger writes in a recent article for The National Law Review. “However, it is unlikely that these provisions consider slippage caused by the external factors like COVID-19 impacting both parties, and, therefore, the remedies and procedures that they provide may not be practical in this situation.” But if there’s a way to move forward after assessing potential risks and challenges, don’t be afraid to go full steam ahead. After all, you are likely communicating with a vendor remotely already.

    Adjust your communications as needed. When you’re not in the same room as your team anymore, managing a project can get more complicated—video calls can be chaotic, and email threads can inadvertently introduce tension between colleagues. Over at CIO, writer Christina Wood interviewed a number of tech-industry figures on remote project management issues, and many cited the importance of clear communication. “There are all these lightweight, nuanced, subtle ways we talk with colleagues in an office,” Ethan Fast, CTO and cofounder of the cryptocurrency exchange firm Nash, told Wood. “When you work remotely, you can no longer rely on those. You have to be proactive and intentional about communication.”

    Do a quick assessment of your software tools. You might find yourself questioning whether the tools that worked well when you were going into the office still make sense in a shifting work environment. Many software firms are offering free versions of their remote work tools to organizations as they try to figure out what works best for them. While it’s not necessarily easy to try something new, the remote environment may offer a little more flexibility than you had before.

    If, after doing your homework and asking the right questions, you still believe a certain project just can’t proceed right now, don’t fret. There are always other places where you can divert your resources. After all, the shifting global climate isn’t doing anyone any favors right now.

    But if you think these issues through, you’ll come away with a stronger understanding of the mountains your team can still move right now. You might be surprised.


    Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun.

  • 07 May 2020 5:45 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has made an urgent call to Federal and State Governments to distinguish exhibitions and business events from mass gatherings to expedite a restart date for domestic events in the Australian market.

    Claudia Sagripanti, EEAA Chief Executive said that it was vitally important that Government, at both the Federal and State level understood that the business events industry can operate under a controlled set of ‘bio-safe’ principles and should not be subject to the ‘mass gathering’ restrictions that apply to other large scale public events such as sporting fixtures, festivals large-scale consumer events.

    “The business events industry run highly organised events where we can trace every one of our visitors, delegates, speakers and exhibitors as well as monitor, track and put in place a range of measures that can ensure these events comply with Government measures on hygiene and physical distancing,” said Ms Sagripanti.

    “The business events industry, which includes exhibitions, conferences and business meetings contributes $35 billion to the national economy, with another $17.2 billion in value add and employs over 229,000 people across a range of sectors and trades. The re-opening of this important sector will support the Government’s objective to implement work safe guidelines to get Australian’s back to work. It is of vital importance to ensure that Governments understand the role business events plays in restarting the economy,” said Ms Sagripanti.

    The EEAA together with the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) along with other major industry associations including the Venue Management Association (VMA) is developing Safety and hygiene principles for the Government and Health officials and the business events community. The principles will support stringent public health guidelines to manage exhibitions, conferences, meetings and events and ensure exhibitors, speakers, attendees, customers and venue/contractor employees are safe.

    The EEAA is recommending that Governments provide a clear timetable on when the business events industry can restart. The planning cycle for exhibitions and events is of paramount importance require adequate lead-time for planning and implementation.

    “The sector needs support now with a clear timetable on when we can run events – August/September and the last quarter of 2020 is vital to recovery, but the industry needs a confirmed date to commence planning,” said Ms Sagripanti.

    “An August restart allows government and the health authorities further time to ensure the state’s COVID numbers continue to decrease and stabilise and to enable an agreed Bio-Safe environment for our controlled and organised events where the business community comes to do business,” said Ms Sagripanti.

    The EEAA has been in talks with all State Governments and the Chief Medical Officers in each state this week to negotiate the restart terms for the exhibitions and business events industry.

    The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has lobbied at the Federal level to ensure a consistent and clear message regarding the distinction between business events and mass gatherings is achieved nationally.

    The business events sector contributes more than $35 billion in GDP, runs over 430,000 events annually and employs more than 229,000 people. The sector is a major contributor to Australia both financially and for its powerful enabling ability to deliver practical business outcomes,” said Ms Sagripanti.

    This media release has been sourced directly from the EEAA website here

  • 07 May 2020 11:04 AM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    These are tough times for almost every organisation, but some for-profits are finding ways to make membership or subscription models continue to work for them. Here’s what they’re doing.

    A lot of organisations are struggling right now as the coronavirus creates new challenges for their business models. But some are finding ways to thrive—or at least discover bright spots in an otherwise dreary time—by leaning into the membership model.

    As a result, these for-profit organisations offer examples worth learning from in the association space. Among their strategies:

    Don’t be shy, ask for support. Case in point: The Daily Beast, which has nearly doubled its membership growth rate since mid-March, according to Digiday. Site visitors are encouraged to financially support the media outlet, which currently is offering a one-month trial for $1 and says its coronavirus coverage earns only 77 cents on the dollar in ad revenue compared to other content. The Daily Beast also displays a “give more” option, which has raised the average order size by 35 percent, says Chief Revenue Officer Mia Libby.

    Offer promotions that help others. With millions of commuters working at home instead of consuming audio content on the way to work, it’s not a great time to be a podcast or an audiobook company. But membership in one audiobook firm,, jumped by 300 percent in March. What’s its secret? A campaign that supported its brick-and-mortar counterparts. According to Forbes,’s #ShopBookstoresNow campaign offered two audiobooks for the price of one, along with the pledge that the customer’s full payment would go to a local bookstore of their choice. The campaign not only helped local shops but gave the audiobook service access to a new audience.

    Lean on your content offerings. Did you get sucked into the latest season of Ozark or the wacky weirdness of the Tiger King documentary? If so, you represent evidence that Netflix has been doing its job. According to Adweek, the company added 15.7 million subscribers in the past quarter. And it’s being realistic: “We expect viewing to decline and membership growth to decelerate as home confinement ends, which we hope is soon,” the company wrote in a recent letter to shareholders. Netflix has worked through a significant production backlog—it has filmed most of its 2020 shows already—which is helping serve its audience during a difficult time. When content consumption is peaking, emphasise your content game.

    Leverage your natural advantages. During normal times, a service like Blue Apron can offer a nice change of pace for a family whose idea of a home-cooked meal is takeout. But during a time of crisis, such a service can be critical. Blue Apron’s first-quarter sales were up 8 percent over the prior quarter, according to, and the company plans on leveraging trends that have driven up subscriptions. “As we move into the second quarter of 2020, we are focused on driving customer retention and establishing longer-term consumer habits out of the heightened demand we have been seeing as a result of the impact of COVID-19, including stay-at-home and restaurant restriction orders and other changes,” said CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski.

    Many associations have advantages that can offer benefits during a pandemic, including online education and access to virtual networking and online member communities. As engagement in these offerings increases during the crisis, look for insights into how you can maintain that momentum long term.

    This article was written by Ernie Smith, May 4 2020 and was sourced from Associations Now here

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