Sector and AuSAE News

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  • 30 May 2024 2:08 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, associations are strategically employing various paid and unpaid digital channels to enhance member engagement, drive event attendance, and achieve broader organisational goals. The latest survey of Australasian associations provides a brief look at the current state of digital marketing within this sector, shedding light on the most used channels, the metrics employed to assess effectiveness, and the perceptions of these efforts.

    Unpaid Digital Marketing Channels

    Unpaid digital marketing remains a cornerstone for many associations, with direct emails (91%), LinkedIn (89%), and EDM’s (84%) being the most widely used channels. Associations leverage these tools to maintain direct and personal contact with their members, ensuring high engagement and effective communication.

    Facebook (76%) and Instagram (59%) also play significant roles, particularly in community engagement and raising the association's profile. YouTube (33%) is used to a lesser extent, likely due to the resource-intensive nature of video content creation, while TikTok (4%) and other platforms (9%) have minimal usage, indicating a cautious approach towards newer, perhaps less proven platforms in the association sector.

    Paid Digital Marketing Channels

    When it comes to paid digital marketing, the survey reveals a diverse array of strategies, albeit with a notable reliance on more traditional platforms. Facebook (41%) and LinkedIn (30%) are the most used paid channels. These platforms offer targeted advertising options that are effective in reaching specific member demographics. Few associations used Instagram paid advertising (11%).

    Search engine marketing (19%) and marketing automation platforms (18%) are used to a lesser extent, reflecting less interest or success in leveraging broader web traffic and automated workflows to drive engagement.

    Of note, a significant portion of respondents (39%) reported not using any paid digital marketing channels, suggesting either budget constraints or a preference for unpaid methods.

    Assessing Digital Marketing Effectiveness

    Effectiveness is key to any marketing effort, and the associations surveyed employ a range of metrics to evaluate their digital marketing initiatives.

    Email marketing metrics such as open rates and click throughs (82%), member engagement and participation (81%), website traffic metrics (81%) and social media engagement (78%) are the primary measures used. These metrics provide tangible data on how members interact with digital content and the overall reach of marketing efforts.

    Surprisingly, marketing effectiveness is less commonly assessed using outcome measures such as membership growth (44%) and return on investment, possibly due to the complexity of tracking and attributing these outcomes in a multi-channel environment.

    Perceived Effectiveness of Digital Marketing Channels

    The effectiveness of various digital marketing channels is a crucial consideration for associations as they allocate resources and refine strategies.

    Direct emails (90%) and EDM’s (89%) are perceived as the most effective channels. This underscores the value of direct, personalised communication in driving member engagement. In the words of one association executive, “consistent communication not only keeps our members informed but also fosters a strong sense of community and loyalty, contributing significantly to our overall engagement and retention efforts."

    Both unpaid (82%) and paid (79%) LinkedIn activity also score highly, indicating its utility in professional networking and streamlined communication. One respondent suggested that “in terms of profiling and community engagement, LinkedIn has been effective in creating a sense of FOMO for non-members and increasing the profile of the association and our activities." Another indicted that “LinkedIn carousels and polls (generate) high engagement."

    Among the small number of associations who use it, Instagram paid advertising (80%) is also perceived as an effective targeted outreach channel, with one association indicating that “Instagram stories always work well for us."

    Conclusion

    The survey data offers a comprehensive overview of the digital marketing landscape among Australasian associations. It highlights a strong reliance on traditional, proven channels like email and LinkedIn, while also pointing to areas of potential growth and innovation, such as video content and newer social platforms. The insights underscore the importance of tailoring digital marketing strategies to the unique needs and preferences of association members, as well as the value of continuous engagement and content relevance.

    As associations continue to navigate the complexities of digital marketing, we hope these insights will be invaluable in shaping future strategies and ensuring continued member engagement and organisational success.

  • 08 May 2024 1:51 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    In a sign associations are adjusting to the new normal post-pandemic, a majority indicate their next annual event will be in-person only, and most are seeing greater attendance at in-person conferences and online webinars than pre-covid. This attendance will need to be sustained, as many associations report that contribution to financial performance from conferences and events will be important to their financial health over the next five years.

    The April Associations Matter Poll looked at associations’ experiences of conferences and events in a post-covid environment, the formats that are being used, whether attendance is higher or lower than pre-covid, and the financial contribution from conferences and events to associations’ overall financial performance.

    Overwhelmingly, associations plan to host their next annual event in-person only. Almost three in five (59%) of respondents indicate their next annual event will be in-person only, with comments that “we are returning to more and more in-person events this year”. A much smaller proportion of associations are planning either a combination of in-person and virtual (19%) or mostly in-person with some virtual sessions or elements (11%) for their event. Those planning some virtual sessions, or a hybrid commented that “events need to reach all members … that means a mix of online and in person”. Only 2% will hold their event in a virtual-only format.

    When asked how in-person and virtual event attendance has changed compared to pre-pandemic activity, responses are mixed, although a majority indicate there is increased attendance over the last year. Online webinars (48%) and in-person conferences has increased by 48% and 42% respectively since the pandemic. Fewer respondents have experienced an increase in face-to-face networking events however, with only three in ten seeing an increase while 34% have seen a decrease in attendance at a networking event. Conversely, 31% of associations report decreased attendance at their in-person conference, and 19% experiencing lower attendance for online webinars. Around one in five associations report there has been no change in attendance at their events, either in-person or online.

    When it comes to contribution from events to association financial performance, it appears that many associations will rely on attendance and revenues from their conferences and events for at least the next five years. A large majority (73%) indicate revenue from events is either important or extremely important to them. Perhaps concerningly, just 8% report that contribution to financial performance is not important to their financial position. While some associations mention “making a profit from the event is secondary as we have external revenue streams to support financial sustainability…” others indicate a strong reliance on events as a source of revenue, saying “revenue generation from conference and online workshops keeps us afloat”. This means finding a way to ensure attendance at paid events either virtual or in-person, to ensure financial sustainability.

    “We are being much more strategic about our event delivery, ensuring we know the 'why' for what we are doing as well as ensuring we have the right target market. We are learning that bigger isn't always better.”

  • 24 Apr 2024 1:40 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Tourism New Zealand has launched a new Delegate Marketing Hub featuring more than 150 assets to help conference and event organisers promote their upcoming event in New Zealand.

    The library of free marketing tools includes videos, eDM headers & footers, social media tiles, postcards, factsheets, maps, sample itineraries, pre-written copy, and website design tips. White label promotional material can be downloaded and customised with the logo and information for a specific event.

    The one-stop shop also offers a suite of new and refreshed Toolkits to support conference organisers. These offer advice, timelines, and strategies for the conference planning process. They include:

    • Your Guide to the Conference Hosting Journey – a PCO-approved timeline of what to do when
    • The Art of Maximising Attendance – a best practice guide for marketing your event
    • Incorporating Māori Culture into your Conference advice on how to authentically include Māori culture in your event, from content to experiences
    • Sustainability Toolkit – of key considerations to reduce the footprint of your event
    • Conference Impact Aotearoa – a new, easy-to-follow legacy framework to ensure your conference creates positive benefits

    Tourism New Zealand General Manager NZ & Business Events Bjoern Spreitzer says: “We know the opportunity to explore New Zealand plays an important part in enticing delegates to attend conferences hosted here. We want to make it easy for organisers to promote their event and New Zealand to attract as many registrations as possible and ensure the success of their event.

    "The how-to guides not only support organisers on their conference hosting journey, but ensure the events held here enrich New Zealand beyond the economic impact, by providing meaningful connections with our culture, people and environment."

    Marketing materials will be organised by Asset Type and Region/City, and the hub also includes a filter tool for easy use. A helpful guide is available to make the most of the resources. 

    To learn more and sign up for free, visit: Delegate Marketing Hub | Business Events (newzealand.com) 

    Watch the video  https://youtu.be/1OE3uGCIQCE

    -----------------------------------------------------------  

    Tourism New Zealand’s dedicated Business Events team provides strategic funding and support to attract conferences and business events to New Zealand. For more information, visit businessevents.newzealand.com

  • 18 Apr 2024 1:28 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    In today's landscape, where integrity is a cornerstone of effective leadership, this session delves into the "Importance of Ethical Leadership for Associations."

    Led by Damian Mitsch, this session explores the critical intersection of leadership and ethics.

    You will learn:

    • Ethical Decision-Making Frameworks: Gain practical insight into frameworks to navigate complex ethical dilemmas and make principled decisions that uphold your organisation's values.
    • Fostering Trust and Transparency: Learn how to cultivate a culture of integrity within your association, fostering trust among members, stakeholders, and the community.
    • Leading by Example: Discover actionable strategies to embody ethical leadership qualities, inspiring others to follow your lead and driving positive organisational change.

    To watch the On-Demand Webinar on Ethical Leadership, visit www.ausae.org.au/on-demand, and sign in using your AuSAE membership credentials.

    If you need further details or assistance, reach out to AuSAE at info@ausae.org.au.

  • 02 Apr 2024 2:05 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Australasian associations saw mixed membership growth in 2023, with most reporting either increases or stability in member numbers.

    Membership Trends:

    Over the year ending 31 December 2023, participating associations exhibited a mixed but generally positive membership trend. Most associations (44%) reported a slight increase in membership, with an another 6% seeing a significant increase. Just over one in five (23%) experienced a decline in their membership numbers, while 26% saw no change.

    For associations experiencing growth, the majority (46%) reported a moderate increase in membership between 3-5%. Almost three in ten (29%) enjoyed membership growth of more than 10%.

    For those whose member numbers declined, a majority (42%) noted a decrease of less than 3%. However, 26% experienced a decrease of more than 10%, underscoring continuing challenges for some associations.

    Factors Driving Membership Growth

    The main drivers for increased membership included improved brand awareness or reputation (66%), successful engagement with targeted demographics or industries (32%), and effective marketing strategies (27%). Educational offerings and member referrals were also notable factors, each contributing to 24% of the growth.

    The verbatim comments reflect this, with mentions that “the rise in our voice has improved the reputation of the association” or that “clearly communicating value of membership both intangible and financial” helped attract more members.

    Factors Behind Membership Declines

    Economic challenges are the primary reason for membership declines, affecting 79% of associations. Other factors included perceived lack of value (47%) and shifts in industry demographics (37%). Some mentioned “a number of businesses closing in our industry” or that the “fall off is largely related to changes in ownership and/or the financial situation of the business…”

    Conclusion

    The sector's ability to adapt, engage, and innovate was reflected in the varied factors influencing membership changes, from economic conditions to strategic marketing and engagement efforts. The critical role of advocacy and representation is apparent, with those experiencing the largest growth in membership citing brand awareness and reputation as improving the overall value proposition.

  • 01 Mar 2024 10:01 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    A majority of Australian associations leverage benchmarks for performance tracking, recognising their crucial role in strategic planning and service improvement.

    Benchmarking is the process of comparing an organisation's processes and performance metrics to either internal markers, such as historical performance, or to industry best practice. For associations, it serves as a critical tool for identifying areas of improvement, driving strategic planning, and ensuring that they remain competitive and aligned with the needs and expectations of their members.

    Positively, the latest Associations Matter Survey reveals that 70% of Australian professional and industry associations employ benchmarks to track their performance, actively measuring and tracking a variety of performance metrics.  

    According to the Poll, financial performance is tracked against internal benchmarks by 91% of associations. While this shows a robust internal framework for performance management within associations, only one in five compare their financial data to external benchmarks.

    Membership metrics are also closely monitored. A large majority of survey respondents measure membership growth (89%), new member acquisition (87%), and member retention (87%) against internal benchmarks. Most respondents also have internal benchmarks to measure member attendance at events (82%), digital engagement (76%) and engagement with CPD and training (69%).

    While this suggests a strong focus on membership dynamics as key performance indicators, external benchmarking of membership statistics is less common. Approximately three in ten associations compare their membership retention (36%) and membership growth (27%) against external benchmarks. Digital engagement metrics are externally benchmarked by 33% of those who took part in his month’s survey.

    Understanding members' views of their association's value, especially in comparison to competitors, is a key measure of member engagement and loyalty. In line with this, 70% of associations internally monitor their members' satisfaction, and nearly half (49%) assess their Net Promoter Score (NPS), a key barometer of member loyalty. When it comes to external benchmarking, 20% of associations measure overall member satisfaction, and 24% evaluate their NPS against industry benchmarks, ensuring they stay competitive, and member focused.

    The survey data shows that Australian associations primarily track benchmarks for strategic and service improvement purposes. Half of the participating associations (50%) cite the use of benchmarks as input to strategic planning and goals, proving the role of benchmarks in shaping long-term goals and directions.  

    A similar proportion (48%) track benchmarks to identify potential improvements to services or service delivery, as well as to help with budgeting and forecasting, highlighting benchmarks as tools for both operational efficiency and financial management.

    Despite a strong adherence to benchmarking practices, Australian associations face several challenges when it comes to measuring their performance.

    Resource constraints and a lack of relevant benchmarks are the most common barriers to more widespread monitoring of performance. About one-third (32%) of respondents indicated that they struggle with finding relevant benchmarks, and an equal percentage (30%) have trouble with comparability between benchmarks and their internal data. Another 30% of respondents find a lack of specific benchmarks that suit their needs, while 27% are concerned about the accuracy and reliability of the benchmarks they do have access to.

    Notably, two in five associations not currently benchmarking their performance say that a lack of Australian specific benchmarks is the main reason they do not track their performance against external measures. Consequently, while some respondents indicated that benchmarking association KPIs was problematic due to the nature of their activities, there were several calls from respondents for “access to industry benchmarks”. Others suggested that “benchmark data that is split between the different types of association would be useful for more like for like comparisons.”

    Nearly half (45%) of the survey respondents reported that resource constraints, including time and financial limitations, prevent the implementation of benchmarking practices within their association.

    About the Associations Matter Monthly Poll

    The Associations Matter Monthly Poll is an initiative by AuSAE and Survey Matters. To stay up to date with the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities facing associations the Associations Matter Monthly Poll aims to provide insights into the thoughts and opinions of association leaders, giving them a better understanding of how others are responding to current situations and developments. The Associations Matter Monthly Poll is conducted by Survey Matters, experts in association and membership research.

    Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Associations Matter February 2024 Poll. You can register to receive future polls here.

  • 29 Feb 2024 4:26 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) announces changes to its Board of Directors following its recent meeting. As an association dedicated to fostering leadership and excellence within the association management profession, AuSAE takes pride in acknowledging the contributions of its board members and welcoming new leaders to guide its strategic direction. 

    Firstly, AuSAE bids farewell to directors, Holly Morchat Stanko and Elise Adams, who have served with distinction on the board.

    Holly Morchat Stanko, the General Manager of the Association of Consultants & Engineers New Zealand, has been a long-serving member of the board for the past six years. Holly's dedication, expertise, and commitment have significantly contributed to AuSAE’s success and growth. As Holly relocates to the United States with her family, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for her service and wish her the very best in her future endeavours.

    Elise Adams, Chief Executive Officer of the NZ School Trustees Association, has also been a valuable member of the board for the past two and half years. Elise's insightful contributions, passion for excellence, and tireless efforts have left an indelible mark on AuSAE.

    In light of changes, AuSAE is pleased to announce the election of Craig Young as the new Vice President of the Board. Craig Young CAE, the Chief Executive of the Technology Users Association New Zealand (TUANZ), brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective, which will undoubtedly enhance AuSAE's initiatives and objectives.

    Craig Young CAE joins the distinguished leadership team of AuSAE, which includes John Winter CAE, AuSAE President and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA), Paul Nicolaou, Executive Director of Business Sydney, Alan McDonald, Head of Advocacy, Strategy and Finance for the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA), Lindsay McGrath CAE, Chief Executive Officer of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia and New Zealand (SPASA), and Nick Pilavidis CAE, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Credit Management (AICM). Together, they will continue to steer AuSAE towards achieving its mission of empowering association executives and driving excellence in the sector.

    AuSAE President John Winter CAE expressed appreciation for Holly and Elise’s contributions, stating, "We are grateful for their dedicated service and invaluable contributions to the AuSAE Board of Directors. We extend our appreciation and best wishes to them. Additionally, we warmly welcome Craig Young to his new role as Vice President." “The retirement of both Elise and Holly from the Board also unfortunately negatively impacts our gender balance on the Board. The AuSAE Board is very mindful of this imbalance and for us to reflect our membership properly. As a result, we are proactively in discussions with acknowledged female leaders from amongst our membership with a view to making direct appointments to the Board that will both address this imbalance and also lift the capacity of our Board more generally. 

    “We are also quickly approaching our annual board elections and we urge female associations leaders to consider making themselves a candidate at those elections. These roles will be key to driving strategic initiatives the board has identified during its recent strategic planning session." added Winter

    For more information about AuSAE and its Board of Directors, please visit www.ausae.org.au/board

    Nomination information for the 2024 Board of Director elections will be distributed to eligible members in early April. 

    About AuSAE

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) is the leading association for association and not-for-profit professionals in Australia and New Zealand. AuSAE provides education, leadership development, advocacy, and networking opportunities to empower association executives and drive excellence in the association sector.

  • 29 Feb 2024 4:17 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Associations play a critical role in representing and serving their members. However, as member demographics, expectations, and behaviours evolve, associations must continuously adapt to remain relevant. Understanding key benchmarks and trends is essential for associations to provide maximum value in our rapidly changing landscape. 

    The recent Association Benchmarks webinar, presented by Survey Matters offered invaluable insights into the top membership benchmarks trends that association executives should watch and take advantage of in 2024. 

    In the introductory remarks, Brenda Mainland, Co-Founder and Director at Survey Matters, emphasises the importance for associations to adapt to changing member expectations and behaviours. As younger generations comprise a growing share of members, associations must provide more personalised and on-demand experiences. 

    Here are five key benchmarks to consider: 

    1. Virtual and Hybrid Engagement 

    The pandemic accelerated the shift towards virtual and hybrid engagement models. Members now expect options to participate and network remotely. Successful associations will adopt tech tools to seamlessly integrate in-person and virtual experiences. For example, a survey revealed that 87% of association members want hybrid event options. 

    2. Data-Driven Insights 

    Leveraging the wealth of member data available, associations should tap into analytics to extract actionable insights. Monitoring metrics like member sentiment, engagement, and satisfaction enables to delivery of more tailored offerings. One association saw a 10% increase in renewal rates after implementing a data analytics platform. 

    3. Career-Focused Learning 

    Members increasingly seek professional development and skills training from associations. Providing career-focused education and networking caters to this demand while driving loyalty. Over two-thirds of millennial members identify learning opportunities as a top benefit. 

    4. Community Building 

    Members highly value networking and connecting with peers in their industry or profession. Associations should facilitate community building through forums, meetups, and social platforms. One association achieved a 20% increase in engagement by launching a members-only online community. 

    5. Personalised Experiences 

    Customisation is key. Associations should leverage data to provide targeted recommendations and tailored journeys based on each member's needs and interests. Personalised content generates about 14% higher member satisfaction on average. 

    In summary, associations must continuously evolve as member behaviours and expectations change. By embracing virtual engagement, data insights, career development, community building, and personalisation, associations can remain indispensable to their members in our digital-first world. 

    The Association Benchmarks webinar provides a wealth of practical advice and examples for implementing these trends. Make sure to watch the full webinar to equip your association for continued success in 2024 and beyond. 

    To watch the On-Demand Webinar on Association Benchmarks, visit www.ausae.org.au/on-demand, and sign in using your AuSAE membership credentials.

    If you need further details or assistance, reach out to AuSAE at info@ausae.org.au.

  • 13 Feb 2024 7:56 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The 28th Asian Seed Congress exceeded expectations, attracting more than 1,100 people from 45 countries to Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.

    It was the first time New Zealand had held the Asia and Pacific Seed Association’s (APSA) premier meeting, co-hosting with the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) and with the support of New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries, ChristchurchNZ and Tourism New Zealand Business Events.

    Delivering value
    Visitors experienced New Zealand’s Māori culture with a traditional welcome, then it was down to business. Organisers believe close to 10,000 meetings were held during the event.

    APSA President Dr Manish Patel says: “We estimate that as much as US$150m to $200m of new business is generated from Congress directly, and upwards of $1bn indirectly.

    “Important collaborations were formed related to agricultural R&D and innovation.”

    Experiences around the conference

    Sold-out Post-Congress tours included visits to Plant & Food’s research centre and a new seed coating technology plant.

    Some 50 delegates also took part in a charity fun run, donating NZD$4,050 to Ronald McDonald House Canterbury Charities.

    The event also hosted its first ever Ladies Luncheon aimed at cultivating equity in the seed industry.

    Watch the 28Th Asian Seed Congress video here: https://youtu.be/Z6LvaxXfoo4

    Would you like to take your association event to New Zealand or partner with your New Zealand counterpart to hold a regional conference in New Zealand?

    Contact Tourism New Zealand’s Australia-based Business Development Manager, Helen Bambry, about the business-specific funding and support available: helen.bambry@tnz.govt.nz

    About Tourism New Zealand
    More than an extraordinary destination, New Zealand is where connections are made, new experiences are shared, and relationships are forged.

    Tourism New Zealand’s dedicated Business Events team is passionate about making every event a success. They offer personalised advice and flexible business-specific funding to help you host a successful conference in New Zealand. This includes proposal assistance, GST consultation, site inspection coordination and marketing resources. For more information, visit businessevents.newzealand.com

  • 02 Feb 2024 11:16 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    AuSAE is thrilled to announce the addition of eight outstanding professionals to our esteemed cohort of Certified Association Executives (CAEs) in Australia and New Zealand.

    Warm Congratulations to Kylie Clarke (MBA), Matt Connor, Danielle Kacmar CAE, Neil Haynes, Lauren Hunt, Eithne Irving CAE, MBA, RN, Grad Dip Neuro, MAICD MACN, Nicolas Pilavidis, FICM CCE, and Shirena Vasan (CAE) for achieving this distinguished global credential. The CAE designation represents the pinnacle of excellence within the association industry, representing unwavering dedication, expertise, and visionary leadership.

    The CAE credential sets a standard of professionalism that is recognised and respected worldwide. It signifies a commitment to advancing the association sector, fostering innovation, and driving positive change within our communities. As Certified Association Executives, these individuals have demonstrated a commitment to excellence, leadership, and continuous learning, reflecting the highest standards of competency, integrity and professionalism, serving as role models and leaders within their organisations and beyond.in their respective fields.

    Elevating one's career to the status of a Certified Association Executive is a significant milestone that opens doors to unparalleled opportunities for professional growth and advancement. It demonstrates a profound understanding of the complexities of association management and a dedication to continuous learning and development.

    For those aspiring to excel in the association profession, the CAE credential serves as a beacon of achievement and a pathway to success. By pursuing this esteemed designation, individuals not only enhance their own careers but also contribute to the advancement of the association sector as a whole.

    To learn more about the CAE credential and its significance, visit the AuSAE website. Explore the resources available to support your professional development journey and discover how you can distinguish yourself as a leader in the association community.

    Once again, Congratulations to all our new CAEs! Your achievement is a testament to your dedication, expertise, and passion for advancing the association profession. We look forward to celebrating your continued success and contributions to our vibrant community.

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The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

Australian Office:
Address: Unit 6, 26 Navigator Place, Hendra QLD 4011 Australia
Free Call: +61 1300 764 576
Phone: +61 7 3268 7955
Email: info@ausae.org.au

New Zealand Office:
Address: 159 Otonga Rd, Rotorua 3015 New Zealand
Phone: +64 27 249 8677
Email: nzteam@ausae.org.au

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