• 22 Feb 2017 3:24 PM | Deleted user

    The world is changing, and because of that, associations are facing several obstacles that they’ll need to overcome. Also: How to create content optimized for short attention spans.

    Change is hard. But we all know associations have to adapt to industry and societal forces to stay relevant and valuable to members.

    While organizations may be straining against change for hundreds of reasons, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting’s Midcourse Corrections Blog points out six common 21st-century challenges that many associations are struggling to meet.

    The unrelenting digital transformation of the modern world is the biggest pressure point that many associations face.

    “Our association’s success or failure hinges on digital tools and ultimately becoming digitally mature organizations,” writes blogger Jeff Hurt.

    While the digital revolution has us more connected than ever, there is a downside to that information overload. “Connectivity—the measure at which people are connected to each other, networks, and the internet, and the ease or speed at which they converse—is replacing knowing,” Hurt contends.

    He goes on to say, “In a world where information is commoditized and is boundless, associations can’t compete with just dispensing information. What’s scarce is feedback, understanding, and application.”

    Associations must keep up with what people want to learn, because there’s a lot of competition out there. “Associations have to compete with other possibilities that are frankly more compelling, creative, and social than marching through a passive, one-way webinar, outdated newsfeed, lecture, or recording,” he says.

    These days, attention spans last for mere seconds on average, and your group may not even get access to those precious seconds unless your content can rise above the messy fray. What is your association doing to create content that your audience will want to read?

    HubSpot provides several ways to make sure you’re creating engaging content that will provide value to your members.

    Ask yourself if you actually need to write that blog post. Writer Sophia Bernazzani says associations should validate content topics first by doing “industry and persona research and selecting keywords to target.” She says to audit your competition to learn what types of content have performed best across your industry.

    Bernazzani also recommends meeting your readers halfway. They may give you only a few seconds of their time, so give them content that they can digest quickly. Use bullet points, headers, and bold fonts to make blog posts easy to read. Clearly indicate your takeaway section so readers can find it quickly when skimming.

    Read more here.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now and written by Raegan Johnson. 

  • 22 Feb 2017 2:51 PM | Deleted user

    It’s no secret that in this day and age, everything’s going digital. Meetings, events, methods of communication - you name it, it’s all going online.

    That said, is an online event, such as a virtual conference, something your association should consider? What exactly are the benefits of hosting a virtual conference versus a traditional, in-person event?

    Well, as it turns out, there are several. Take a look!

    Benefit #1: They allow more people to potentially attend

    Sometimes, in-person conferences can be difficult for people to attend. First, there’s the issue of having to get away from the office. Some people simply can’t swing that. But then, there’s also the issue of travel and hotel costs. Depending on where the conference is, some people can’t afford and/or justify that. A virtual conference eliminates those barriers, allowing more people to register and attend. (Plus, when it comes to networking, virtual conferences can be much less intimidating than in-person events - another draw for some people.)

    Benefit #2: They can save you time and money, operationally

    Think about how much time and money you spend planning an in-person conference. It’s a lot! Sure, virtual conferences still cost money, but not necessarily as much money. With a virtual event, you can cut back on costs for hotel room blocks, conference center rentals, food and drinks, onsite signage, and more.

    Benefit #3: They leave you with evergreen content (and something to leverage)

    Last but not least, virtual conferences provide you with valuable content to use in the future. Because virtual conferences take place entirely online, everything can easily be recorded. That means your association can then use that content and information for years and years to come. Your attendees should, of course, be able to access that content for free, but as far as non-attendees go, you may want to consider leveraging that information as a source of non-dues revenue for your association.

    Ok, let’s say you’ve decided to host a virtual conference. What now? Where do you even begin when it comes to planning and executing?

    Allow us to help! Check out our free guide, How to Plan a Virtual Conference at Your Association, below! It’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your association’s online event (from the content to the technology) is a MAJOR hit!

    This article was originally sourced from Association Universe and written by Callie Walker.

  • 22 Feb 2017 2:25 PM | Deleted user

    Did you miss these? Jamie’s Association Success posts in December focused on the visible parts of culture….

    The Link Between Office Design and Culture

    Several years ago I saw a presentation from an association CEO who had recently redesigned their office space. He started by talking about the core values of the organization, which included one on “Having Fun” (or something of that sort). This was a place that viewed fun as an integral part of getting their work done.

    He then showed a photo of their old work space (pre-redesign), that looked remarkably like many association offices I’ve seen: a sea of grey cubicles enveloped by fluorescent lighting. As he pointed to the photo, the CEO was really clear about his message:

    You can’t claim that you’re all about fun, and then make your people work in an environment like that.

    >> Read more

    Redefining Dress for Success

    Whether or not you have a written policy about it, all organizations have a dress code. It’s a part of your culture—the kinds of clothing that you are expected to wear (or not wear) actually says something about what is valued internally at the organization.

    But honestly, I don’t think most organizations realize this. They choose their dress code based on some vague understanding of WHY the code is required. I hear that we want a “professional atmosphere” or are concerned that certain items of clothing are “unprofessional.” Um, okay. But what does that really mean? And who gets to define it?

    Because I know for a fact that my previous boss (a former Ambassador) would not have accepted someone coming into work with a suit jacket, suit pants, collared shirt, BUT NO TIE—yet such an outfit is a staple for companies today with very formal dress codes. And don’t get me started on the definition of “jeans” (if you pay $200 for them, and that keynote speaker you hired was just wearing them, can they really be called jeans?).

    And before you start debating the no-tie thing or the jeans thing—stop. The deeper you get into that conversation the more folly it becomes. There is no right answer once you get into the details. It’s all debatable. And trying to figure out whether something is a sweater or a blouse is a huge waste of time, because it’s avoiding the underlying question: what purpose does your dress code serve? Or, put another way, how does your dress code drive the success of your organization?

    > Read more

    What Does Your Annual Meeting Say About Your Culture?

    In the association world, we tend to think of our annual meeting in terms of what it delivers to the members. It is typically a crown jewel type of program—that part of our annual calendar where it’s all hands on deck because a large number of our members get a LOT of their networking and education there (two pillars of your strategic plan). And all that is certainly true, but there’s another piece that you might be missing here:

    Your annual meeting defines your culture.

    Well, not ALL of your culture, but part of it. Remember, your culture is the collection of words, actions, thoughts, and “stuff” that clarifies and reinforces what is truly valued inside your organization. So how you run your annual meeting can have some important implications about what is valued, yet we often don’t make decisions with that in mind. That means you’re shaping your culture WITHOUT intention, and that can be a problem.

    > Read more

    This article was originally sourced from Social Fish and written by Maddie Grant.

  • 22 Feb 2017 2:21 PM | Deleted user

    Onboarding is an essential piece of the membership engagement puzzle. While many associations have an onboarding campaign that includes targeted messages, it can be easy to overlook the value of making face time with new members.

    The new relationship—is there anything more exciting, and at the same time terrifying, than getting to know someone for the first time? Associations, like people, spend a lot of time and money on the process.

    Onboarding programs are tactical efforts that “show the love” to new members, says association consultant Ed Rigsbee, CAE. He recently wrote a blog post that shows what an onboarding program can look like. In his “relationship banking” approach, associations need to put in sufficient relationship currency, or deposits, to justify the member making a withdrawal.

    If there’s one thing we know about associations, it’s that they’re pretty good at making those transactional deposits. According to Marketing General Inc.’s 2016 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report [PDF], a majority of associations surveyed are sending new member communications in the form of email welcomes or welcome kits.

    But a smaller fraction take the time to gain intentional face time with their members: 21 percent of associations said they hosted a new member reception or orientation event as part of the onboarding process. While events like these can happen in a number of ways, association consultant Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, says that face time can be particularly valuable for creating a deeper experience.

    “There has really been a shift in how associations onboard new members,” Aplebaum says. “And it’s one that favors more experience-based membership. And at the heart of that experience is the creation or feeling of a sense of belonging to the organization.”

    In other words, putting a name and a face to your member is just as important as sending information about membership benefits and opportunities. That might mean changing your meeting approach slightly.

    “Associations can use existing events, like their annual conference or chapter meetings, and take a proactive step toward welcoming new members,” Aplebaum says. “So that by the very first time the member participates, they feel a part of the organization; not apart from the organization.”


    One way in which associations can build experience into the onboarding process is through a “micro-involvement” event, Aplebaum says. These usually work best in associations with a chapter setup and are opportunities for first timers to ask questions, sign-up for an event, or possibly volunteer their time.

    The Kansas City chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry hosts micro-involvement events monthly, through a series called New Member Mingles.

    “In our welcome message, we invite each new member to attend an upcoming Mingle,” says Jan Burchett, NARI Kansas City’s executive director. “Most of the time people are just curious. We try to bridge that curiosity gap. It’s also an opportunity to network in a small group setting.”

    The incentives to attend are a pretty small, but turnout is strong, Burchett says. Attendees come for coffee and doughnuts or cookies. As they leave, each attendee receives coupons, which can be used in their first year of membership for special discounts on educational programming, events, and membership renewal.

    “Our goal is to get them to attend an educational program, join a committee, and eventually renew their dues,” Burchett says. “Renewal is always our biggest challenge and biggest goal.”

    The chapter hosts two Member Mingles per month: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Much of the program’s success is due to the fact that NARI Kansas City’s onboarding process revolves around member participation.


    But what if you’re a national association that doesn’t have a chapter structure that allows for face time with new members? Aplebaum says there are a number of ways for associations to use existing events, like your annual meeting, to target and engage new members.

    That’s exactly how the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) tweaked its semiannual meetings to pay closer attention to student members. One of their biggest problems was getting student members to convert to the professional membership status.

    AMCP’s membership department decided to implement a conference buddy system that paired student members with existing professional members. The pairings are marketed as a career mentorship, and it’s helped to incentivize meeting attendance for younger members.

    “The buddy system model is something that I see as fairly common amongst associations now,” Aplebaum says. “The ones that are doing it successfully are changing their program, from a buddy who will inform you about membership benefits, to a buddy who will listen to your problems.”

    AMCP’s mentors volunteer their time and serve as membership evangelists, says Susan Noell, assistant director of corporate relations and membership. In three years, the program has grown from 27 to almost 150 pairings. Now, AMCP’s biggest challenge is managing a program that has grown in size and popularity.

    “It’s so big that we have tapped other departments for help,” Noell says. “Our goal is to make sure that the student and professional have a good fit. We want to plant seeds for a mentorship to take root.”


    Of course, the world is a big place, and your membership might be spread across several countries, making it virtually impossible to do face-to-face meetings. That’s the main issue for the Control System Integrators Association, which counts members in 27 different countries. Face time for Tony Veroeven, CSIA’s exchange community manager, means signing on to Skype.

    “My job is essentially to welcome new members and give them that warm and fuzzy feeling through the platform of their choice,” he says. “Everyone joins an association for a different reason, so I try to listen and see what that individual has to say.”

    No matter if it’s Europe, South America, or Australia, Veroeven will make time to meet with members, and he says it’s important to be platform agnostic—most recently he used Google Hangouts to host a meeting.

    These individual and remote hangouts prove valuable for associations, particularly if they coincide with their automated email campaign. Essentially, you’re giving the member a chance to ask questions, Aplebaum says.

    “In the end, everyone wants to see their onboarding program boost engagement and membership loyalty,” he says. “An automated email campaign can only go so far. Why not recognize and invite the individual to connect personally? Those follow-ups can often be the easiest way to advance the relationship.”

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now and written by Tim Ebner.

  • 22 Feb 2017 2:10 PM | Deleted user

    Our recent reader poll may have seemed like it was penned by Captain Obvious, but our staff enjoys getting back to basics every now and then and taking a look at the foundations of association life. One of those foundations is why members attend events, which often play a central role in an association’s operations.

    Events are a major conduit for members to meet and grow professional relationships and friendships. They are a major way for members to take in continuing education.

    They are just plain fun, too: What member, for reasons other than budget or time constraints, has said “No thank you” to an association awards night, a pre-conference brewery tour, or a charity event that benefits their own community?

    On the association staff side, events provide a way to become more personally familiar with the membership. Knowing members personally hones the ways in which staff can better strive serve them. Serving members better leads to more membership renewals and the creation of association ambassadors, which leads to new members. Better-served members who enjoy quality events also leads to repeat attendance at such events. Both increased membership and repeat attendance leads to more non-dues revenue, and a financially healthy association that can afford to make desired changes in the industry that benefit its members and stakeholders.

    That’s a lot of potential success riding on events!

    Going back to our spirit of getting back to basics: With so much potential riding on a successful association event, we wanted to know: What is the main reason your members attend your events?

    Out of four potential choices, our readers responded accordingly:

    Not too surprisingly, networking (46%) and education (36%) were the top two reasons chosen for event attendance. These choices reflect the basic reasons many professionals join associations; that is, to connect with like-minded individuals in their industry and to grow their professional knowledge beyond their formal education.

    Sharing ideas/expertise and simply getting out of the office tied for third place as the reasons members attend events. Closely related to networking and education, sharing ideas is another foundational reason many members join an association. Younger members can offer insight into current research or technology they may have been taught while earning their recent degree/certification. More seasoned members have the benefit of years of experience in the field, and often want to share that knowledge with others just starting out in an effort to pass on the same type of professional kindness and guidance they were shown when they began their careers.

    And who can blame members for wanting a change of scenery every now and then? Simply getting out from behind the desk for a midday lunch program such as TSAE’s Learn@Lunch program can be a breath of fresh air for some. For others, a longer event in an alluring destination, such as NAFA Fleet Management Association’s Institute & Expo, to be held in Tampa this year, can provide a professional jolt of ideas along with a mental and emotional rejuvenation that leaves a member refreshed and ready to tackle their next challenge.

    Thanks to everyone who participated in our polls. A new poll is up in the sidebar and on our Open Polls page: For what type of project are you most likely to work with a third-party vendor?

    This article was originally sourced from Association Adviser

  • 22 Feb 2017 11:15 AM | Deleted user

    Every board needs to consider the appointment of new directors and it is important to have a board succession plan to help with the recruitment of the new directors. Here are some things to consider in developing a succession plan and undertaking a director search.

    Step 1: Know the requirements of your governing documents and legislation

    What does your association’s constitution say about directors’ appointments? Does it specify things such as: term limits; a specific list of skills; geographical representation (eg, a director from each State/Territory) or other representative requirements; and/or minimum and maximum board size. Also must a director be a member of the association? This information will set some of the parameters for the succession plan.

    You should also consider any requirements in associations or companies legislation. For example a company limited by guarantee must have at least 3 directors on the board, or an incorporated association in NSW must have three committee members

    Step 2: Identify the skills needed on the board

    It is important for the board collectively to have the range of skills required to manage the association. This can be established through the board undertaking the following exercise:

    A. Identify the skills that the board would like to see sitting around the table. A useful aid is to refer to the current strategic plan – eg if the association has a focus on fundraising, you might decide that a director with an understanding of fundraising or relevant networks is important. You might end up with a list of eight or more skills required.

    B. Once you know what you want, you need to look at what you have already. Have the current directors assess their skills and knowledge against that list. This will highlight any gaps.

    But my constitution requires us to have a representative board!! If this is the case, this is still a useful step. Even within a representative board, you may be able to find people to be directors with the desired skills.

    Note that the skills required may change over time and it is worthwhile undertaking this exercise every few years.

    Step 3: Prepare a director position description

    Prepare a position description for the role of director and include information about expected time requirements, travel, remuneration arrangements (if any) and the specific skills sought. Also include background information on the association.

    Step 4: Finding a director

    There are various options for sourcing new directors:

    - Director networks; where directors tap into their network for likely candidates.

    - Advertising; there are places to advertise for directors for free. When using this type of service, it is important to be very specific about the types of skills required. Otherwise you may be overwhelmed with generic applications.

    Your plan should outline the proposed process for recruitment of new directors.

    Step 5: Put the succession plan in writing

    Capture the work you did in the previous steps as the succession plan and have it approved by the board and review it every few years. That way, you have already done the critical thinking on the type of director and how you will go about the recruitment process when board vacancies arise.

    Corporate Companion is a boutique provider of corporate governance advice, services and training specialising in the not-for-profit and charitable sector. Corporate Companion can provide practical advice for a value-for-money price to your association.

    Contact Charlie Robinson on 0400 404 929 or for more information

  • 21 Feb 2017 4:51 PM | Deleted user

    The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has developed a new governance code that reinforces the importance of member representation on the boards of superannuation funds and aims to keep profit-to-member funds positioned at the leading edge of governance practices.

    The draft code –which has a proposed start date of 1 July, 2017 and has been circulated to AIST’s membership for feedback and consultation –will apply to more than 50 profit-to-member funds with recommendations that exceed existing legal and APRA regulatory requirements on Australian super funds.

    This will ensure the continued protection of millions of Australians’ retirement savings.

    The code has been developed separately but in tandem with the Fraser review and follows a commitment made by AIST and Industry Super Australia to the Australian Senate.

    AIST CEO Tom Garcia says AIST’s code – modelled and built around the ASX Corporate Governance Principles - reflects the importance of safeguarding members’ retirement savings through robust governance practices.

    “Despite the overwhelming legal and regulatory requirements that already apply to super funds, AIST believes more can be done to safeguard members’ compulsory retirement savings,” Mr Garcia says. “We are asking our member funds to sign up to a code that recognises the key role that the equal representation system plays in delivering superior results for members.”

    The code covers a broad range of governance issues, with 22 recommendations including recommendations on member engagement opportunities; equal director voting rights; strong risk culture; board renewal, chair appointment, disclosure, transparency and remuneration.

    The code requires funds to maintain an equal representation governance structure (involving both member and employee representation) whilst also allowing the appointment of up to one third independent (nonrepresentative) directors.

    Mr Garcia says the code recognizes that a host of factors contribute towards best practice governance.

    “You can’t sound-bite good governance – it doesn’t come down to one factor,” Mr Garcia says. “Good governance is fundamentally about a group of people making good decisions, having the right skills and also having a strong commitment to the members they serve. AIST’s code provides a framework to ensure this continues to be front and centre to profit-to-member superannuation practices.”

    This Media Release was originally sourced from AIST

  • 21 Feb 2017 4:45 PM | Deleted user

    All government agencies should follow the lead of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and release details of their spending on contractors, the PSA says.

    MBIE’s annual report shows the ministry spent $38.9 million on external contractors and consultants in the 2015/16 year.

    PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says although that’s down from the $46 million spent in 2012/13, it’s still far too high.

    "This multi-million-dollar spend is a direct result of the government’s cap on public servant numbers," Mr Barclay says.

    "Since National came into power in 2008, pay and working conditions have deteriorated, so that many people with in-demand skills choose to leave permanent jobs and become contractors.

    "A healthy and vibrant public service should be able to provide good jobs which are fairly rewarded, and these figures show that’s not happening."

    Mr Barclay says all public sector agencies should follow MBIE’s lead, and the government needs to explain why ministries are becoming increasingly casualised.

    "New Zealanders expect good public services to be delivered by dedicated employees.

    "Instead, millions of dollars is going straight into the private sector’s coffers.

    "I notice the new Economic Development minister Simon Bridges has issued a ‘please explain’ to MBIE.

    "We would ask him to photocopy that letter and send it to all government agencies, asking them to justify their use of contractors instead of permanent, well-trained staff."

    This Press Release was originally sourced from Scoop.

  • 21 Feb 2017 3:33 PM | Deleted user

    The first bookings have been secured for the New Zealand International Convention Centre, with Auckland winning the bids to host two large-scale international medical conferences in 2020.

    The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO), and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) will hold back-to-back conferences over about five days at the NZICC, which is scheduled to open mid-2019.

    The events will deliver some $11 million in economic benefit to the city, including an estimated 15,000 room nights.

    Brett O’Riley, Chief Executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), says securing international conferences of this scale and prestige demonstrates that Auckland is a world-class business events destination.

    “The development of NZICC has meant Auckland is now able to compete internationally for these larger scale conference and association meetings,” he says.

    About the NZICC

    • Five times larger than the current largest convention facilities in New Zealand.
    • Can host conferences and one-off events for approximately 4000 people.
    • Will have New Zealand’s largest theatre, with seating for 2850 people.
    • Open for business mid-2019.

    This article was originally sourced Auckland Council

  • 21 Feb 2017 3:17 PM | Deleted user

    The Australian Bar Association has welcomed in the 2017 law term with the announcement of the association’s new President, Will Alstergren QC and new CEO, Cindy Penrose.

    In announcing the new appointments, the ABA acknowledged the work of 2016 President, Patrick O’Sullivan QC, referencing his tireless efforts and energy invested into advocating for legislation changes to help reduce the nation’s Indigenous incarceration rates.

    “Patrick’s work over the past year demonstrates his passion to assist those in our legal system who are most in need. He has been committed to right the social injustice that is the level of Indigenous incarceration, and it is a great testament to him that the Commonwealth Attorney General invited the ABA to partner with the government in the settlement of the Terms of Reference for the upcoming ALRC examination into Indigenous incarceration,” said 2017 ABA President Will Alstergren QC.

    In accepting his appointment as ABA President for 2017, Mr Alstergren QC said, “It is a great honour and privilege to represent such a uniquely independent body as the Australian Bar Association. I hope to continue Patrick O’Sullivan’s great work to further promote the availability and quality of Australian barristers, and to act as respected voice of reason and advocate for the wider community.”

    Mr Alstergren QC confirmed his plans to continue the ABA’s focus on alternative practical solutions to the challenges presented by the country’s legal assistance budget.

    “Australia’s legal assistance services are increasingly under-resourced leaving thousands of Australians without adequate access to quality legal advice and assistance. Of course we need to be looking at ways to increase the funding of legal assistance, but we should also look at how we can deliver justice differently and more efficiently through better use of alternative dispute resolution,” said Mr Alstergren QC.

    Mr Alstergren also highlighted his commitment to members to better educate corporate counsel and law firms about the need to have barristers briefed more effectively and earlier in litigation to help clarify the management of the entire dispute resolution process, empower clients to make informed decisions, and potentially reduce overall legal fees.

    The ABA has also thanked Philip Selth OAM for his work as the Association’s CEO for the period 2015-2017 and has announced the appointment of Cindy Penrose as the ABA’s new CEO.

    ABA President, Will Alstergren QC said Ms Penrose ‘brings a wealth of experience to the ABA at this important stage of its development, and I am confident she will make a significant contribution to the role’.

    As the first female CEO of the ABA, Ms Penrose comes with extensive experience both as a criminal lawyer and lecturer, as well as serving the NSW Bar Association as its Senior Policy Lawyer for five years. Ms Penrose holds a master’s degree in law and currently sits on the board of the Tristan Jepson Foundation.

    The 2017 ABA Council –

    • President - William Alstergren QC
    • Past Chairman (2014), The Victorian Bar
    • Vice-President - Christopher Hughes QC
    • President, Bar Association of Queensland
    • Vice-President – Noel Hutley SC
    • President, New South Wales Bar Association
    • Treasurer - Matthew Howard SC
    • President, Western Australian Bar Association
    • CV – Will Alstergren QC

    Mr Alstergren QC is based in Victoria and has an extensive practice in the Supreme and Federal Courts. He has advised on large commercial matters and is often brought in to lead in specialist areas including company law, trusts, industrial, tax, intellectual property, construction and large complex disputes (including ASIC matters).

    Mr Alstergren is a founding member of the committee to set up the Melbourne Arbitration Centre and is a current board member of the Australian Centre for International Arbitration in Sydney.

    Will was the founder of the Victorian Bar's Duty Barristers Scheme and won the Victorian Bar's Pro Bono Award in 2012. He is currently completing a PhD in this area. He is a former Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council is also Vice President of the Victorian Olympic Council.

    He has also conducted substantial Inquiries for the Royal Australian Navy and is a serving member of the Navy Reserve Legal Panel (Lieutenant Commander).

    This Media Release was originally sourced from ABA

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