Sector and AuSAE News

  • 03 Nov 2021 8:27 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    After almost two years that have been like no other, it is now more important than ever to recognise individuals making extraordinary contributions to their Associations and the sector more broadly across Australia and New Zealand.

    Nominations for the 2022 Association Influencers Awards are now open and will close at midnight on Sunday, 5 December 2021.

    Associations are well known for bringing together people and making a positive impact through their value across society, the economy, and the environment. In it’s second year, the Australasian Society of Association Executive’s (AuSAE) Association Influencers Awards provide an excellent opportunity to recognise people who make significant contributions to the lives of the people they represent and serve.

    The awards were established in 2020 to recognise association leaders for their outstanding contribution of the sector in Australia and New Zealand. In the inaugural year, AuSAE recognised 13 Association Influencers.

    Toni Brearley, Chief Executive Office of AuSAE says, "It’s our privilege to recognise outstanding individuals making a significant and lasting impact within our tribe and setting the benchmark for association professionals into the future".

    Countless people play a vital role in creating a stronger association sector and making their community a better place to live, work and play.

    A panel judges the awards, including representatives from a group of prominent leaders in Australia and New Zealand with knowledge, experience, and passion for the association sector.

    Associations have gone above and beyond to help their members and community during the COVID-19 pandemic, drought, bushfires, and floods. Now, it's time to recognise individuals for their outstanding contributions to the association sector.

    Nominating is simple and can be done online. More details on how to nominate and eligibility information can be found here.

    Take the first step and register your interest to nominate here. 

  • 29 Oct 2021 7:17 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Over the last year we’ve seen the insidious rise of ransomware and other common attack vectors attacks across the globe and even here in Aotearoa New Zealand - with one of the most recent high profile ones taking down the networks at the Waikato District Health Board.

    In a time where we are constantly being disrupted, this upswing in attacks reminds us that we need to be ever vigilant of this type of activity. In this session we’ll be looking back over 2021 at all the highlights of the year, the learnings we’re gathering and also share latest news on how we can be prepared for any attack.

     Our speakers will be:

    Peter Bailey, the Executive General Manager at Aura.

    As Executive General Manager of Aura Information Security, Peter’s role comprises of two key functions: delivering high quality customer service and solutions; and helping businesses of all shapes and sizes understand the need for robust security practices.   He is part of the Kordia executive team headed by Group CEO Shaun Rendell.

    Hilary Walton, CISO Kordia Group

    Hilary Walton is the Chief Information Security Office of the Kordia Group Limited, responsible for the overall security position of Kordia in both Australia and New Zealand.  She is an Information and Technology and digital business transformation leader, and hosts a diverse background in organisational psychology and risk management.  She also has significant experience from offshore roles, having worked for Mi5 in London, and the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games leading the Information Security programme.

    This is a free online event thanks to the support of Kordia.  The second event in this series is planned to be in person in February 2022.

    Register here

  • 29 Oct 2021 7:09 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Someone recently asked me, “your blog posts keep coming and coming. Where do you find all these ideas?”

    Ideas are a renewable resource in the best sense of the phrase. Thoughts spawn more thoughts. We all have access to more idea opportunities at our disposal than we could ever possibly do.

    So what do you do when good ideas seem scarce?

    Train your brain and the minds of your staff.

    1. Commit to a deadline: I’ve committed to publishing a post every Tuesday and Thursday, and so my mind works away in the background identifying and sorting through publishable ideas.
    2. Create space: Usually, an epiphany strikes during a quiet time like walking, and I’ll voice record a few notes, so I don’t forget the idea.
    3. Remind yourself of the objective: When I first set out on my morning walk, I usually think, “it’s time to come up with this week’s post idea.”

    A New Metric for Associations

    Start coming up with ideas, and you might find that more and more great ideas keep coming your way.

    You are never going to please everyone” is one of the truest statements in association management. Members have different lived experiences, so each one perceives things differently. Some members may LOVE your keynote, while others won’t. Some people flock to the reception while many others stay in their room. Some use the research, while others can’t be bothered, but they’ll read the short articles.

    It is emotionally difficult to pour your heart and soul into an event, or report, or any other member-facing endeavor and get a more tepid response than you hoped for, or worse criticism. The natural impulse to these reactions is to pull back, make your output so generic, no one can criticize it. But when no one can criticize, no one can fully engage either.

    Having a few haters (and lots of lovers) might be a good metric of success for associations.

    By Amanda Kaiser 
  • 29 Oct 2021 6:53 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Asking members what they want isn’t enough if you’re not listening to what they say and are disconnected from who they are. Find out two ways to really connect with them to boost engagement and build a meaningful relationship.

    You already know member engagement matters. Everyone touts it as the silver bullet to save associations. But time and again, it is frustrating to see members lapsing or leaving because of a lack of engagement. Here’s the thing: Member engagement has less to do with getting your members to do something; it’s more about creating a feeling of connection.

    There are two critical steps for driving outstanding levels of engagement with your members and getting them to stay.

    Develop a Member-First Focus

    The critical first step to help drive member engagement is focusing on your members and what they need. To drive outstanding levels of engagement, shift your focus from what your organization wants to what your members need. The best way to make that shift is to listen and pay attention to what your members are saying.

    Be fully present with your members because they will know if you are not listening to them. Act on what you learn about what your members are saying. Members will tell you what they want if you ask, listen, and respond. One way to start a member-first focus is to have board members, leaders, and staff, roleplay a day in the life of a member.

    To drive outstanding levels of engagement, shift your focus from what your organization wants to what your members need.

    Step into their shoes and experience what it feels like to engage with your association. This will help you gain a better understanding of your member value proposition. Your member-first culture is foundational for positioning yourself to better drive outstanding member engagement.

    Tip: Member engagement is not an activity—it’s a connection.

    Create a Genuine Rapport

    The second step to engage your members is creating a “genuine rapport,” which is a sympathetic and empathetic connection with another person. Accomplishing this requires showing concern for your members by putting yourself in their shoes.

    A good way to start? Identify something you have in common with them rather than inviting them to your next conference or asking them to sign up for your newsletter. For example, one way you can identify something in common with your members is to ask them. Relationships don’t happen without conversations. The moment your members reach out either in your online community, social media networks, or when they complete their online profile, they are looking for you to have a conservation. Reach out and send them a private message with a nice welcome. Start by sharing a few things about yourself such as, “I like Italian food, taking photos of wildlife, and exercising. How about you?”

    This one small step will open the door for your members find common ground with you and to get comfortable with your organization. Moving forward, they will be more willing to share what they need and how your organisation can provide the solution. Before you know it, you will move from a conversation to a relationship and your members will feel like they belong.

    While encouraging your members to use their benefits is essential, building a relationship with them is just as important. Relationship-building will provide you with the insights you need to ensure that your benefits and offers are relevant to each specific member.

    Tip: Personal connections build member engagement—not products.

    Next Steps for Outstanding Engagement

    Armed with a member-first focus and a genuine rapport, you are ready to open the door to drive massive engagement. Imagine having your members feel so connected to you they always want to be a part of your community. Then, think about them raising their hands to volunteer and serve your organisation’s cause—not because you asked them to, but because you now have a strong connection with them.

    Now picture your members renewing, again and again, because they can’t even imagine not being a part of your organisation. If you engage them well, you will not only have members who feel like they belong, you will have members who believe.

    September 3, 2021By: Velma Knowles

    originally posted here

  • 22 Oct 2021 5:03 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    You work hard to deliver for your members. But the pandemic has disrupted your professional life and increased demands on your home life. Even with all the talk about things opening up (or not), your workload has increased and you’re spending more time than ever in meetings. You know there must be a better way to balance work, life and distractions that seem to be getting in your way more often than they help you focus on mission-critical activities.

    I know because I used to be like you. For many years, I worked at a public health association focused on ending HIV and hepatitis. I know first-hand no matter how long, hard or smart you work, it seems there will never be enough time or resources to get it all done. 

    Your day-to-day challenges have been complicated by the fact you’re a year and a half into a challenge you initially thought would be resolved in two weeks. Although vaccines offer some hope, the challenge of how to find work-life balance and maximize your time in a post-pandemic workplace remains.

    The Challenge

    You’re not alone and you’re not imagining things. COVID-19 has caused a number of stressors that have made finding balance and get things done more challenging:

    • Uncertainty: With no clear end in sight, the pandemic has created prolonged uncertainty and disruption, which make planning difficult. The problem is too many unknowns for too long creates stress and anxiety that eventually takes a mental, emotional and physical toll on you.
    • Social Isolation: Physical distancing has prevented you from having the type of human-to-human connections that help you thrive. Working in the post-pandemic workplace can feel lonely. 
    • Work-Life Balance: Boundaries between work, life and even the days of the week have been blurred beyond recognition. And it’s become increasingly harder to manage expectations from a distance.
    • Technology Burnout: The onslaught of using video conference platforms and other virtual tools for everything in our lives from work meetings to family holiday celebrations has resulted in overload, burnout and screen exhaustion.

    7 Work-Life Strategies to Reclaim Time in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

    So what do you do?

    Unfortunately, you can’t wave a magic wand and have things go back to “normal.” But here are a few things you can do right now to be more productive and find more balance in today’s changing world.

    1. Make a plan for your day and week

    Survey data show one of the biggest distractions in the workplace is a lack of clarity about what’s important to focus on in a particular moment. Consequently, when we are distracted, we may find it difficult to get back on track because we’re not clear about what’s important.

    You can correct this by controlling what you can control by taking a few moments at the beginning or end of your days and weeks to map out your vision for success and the priorities that will help you get there. You can think of this process as setting the address for your intended destination in your GPS. Without a destination, you drive around for hours and end up in no place in particular. This is like being busy without making a real impact.

    Research shows that when you do this process by hand, you are more likely to remember AND follow through on the intention and priorities you set. 

    2. Know your Zoom number

    You've probably seen advertisements for the Sleep Number bed. You know the one where you change how firm or soft you want your bed to feel by adjusting the Sleep Number setting? What if you could do the same with the volume and length of Zoom meetings you participate in? 

    In other words:

    • How many meetings should you have in a day?
    • How long should they be?
    • Do you really need to meet at all?

    The volume of virtual meetings has increased alongside our reliance on tools like Zoom to sustain collaboration and connection in a remote-first world. But the truth is our time, energy and attention spans are limited in comparison.

    3. Have intentional meetings 

    The increase in remote work has been accompanied by an increase in meetings, but it doesn't have to be this way. Before scheduling a meeting, pause to consider:

    • Is this meeting really necessary?
    • What challenge am I trying to solve or what question am I trying to answer?

    Consider meetings as a last resort. If you determine a meeting is absolutely necessary, have speedier meetings by changing your calendar settings to shorten the default length of your meetings by 5-10 minutes.

    So if you have 30-minute meetings as your default, your calendar would block 20 minutes or 25 minutes instead.

    This gives you and your team a buffer so you're not rushing directly from one thing to the next.

    4. Practice being socially distant from your devices

    When working, eating and sleeping, we have a perfect opportunity to be socially distant from our devices. These breaks allow our brains and bodies to recover from the stress of being constantly connected.

    • Start by charging your devices outside of your workspace and adding tech breaks to your calendar to check in throughout the day on any important calls or messages.
    • Turn off notifications for non-mission-critical apps.
    • Put away your devices during meals.
    • Buy a real alarm clock and charge your devices outside your bedroom so you can get uninterrupted rest at night.

    5. Establish your rules of engagement

    One of the biggest challenges we face with our increased workload is unwritten assumptions about when we need to be available for work. We can address this and begin establishing work-life balance by having explicit conversations with our teams to address key questions such as:

    • Which hours will you be available for work each day?
    • Which hours will you be available for life outside of work?
    • Which tools should colleagues use to reach you for urgent matters? What about non-urgent issues?
    • What’s an urgent matter?
    • How soon should someone expect a response from you depending on the level of urgency?

    Establishing and communicating these boundaries removes the guesswork around when and how you are available for your work and personal life and reduces any anxiety you may feel about needing to be on and available 24/7.

    6. Create a start and stop routine and add it to your calendar

    Too many of us are up checking emails, responding to text messages, scrolling through social media, and going through our mental checklists before even rolling out of bed.

    We spend our days in back-to-back meetings and sitting behind a screen all day.

    You can break this pattern by identifying a start and stop ritual for your day. This is something you do for yourself (like having a cup of tea, walking the dog or doing yoga) before jumping into your day. Similarly, having a stop ritual (like putting away your work computer or starting dinner) helps to bookend your days.

    If your time is limited, consider starting with just five minutes for yourself at the start and end of the day.

    7. Be gentle with yourself

    Creating the right balance between work, life and tech is about being at peace with the natural ebbs and flows of life.

    Life doesn't stand still. So it stands to reason balance isn't a destination you arrive at; it's an ongoing practice that shifts with the seasons of your life and work.

    It's also not one-size-fits-all. What works for you may not work for someone else.

    Creating work-life balance is an ongoing process of aligning (and re-aligning) our time, talent, energy and resources vs. a one-time flip of the switch.

    If you're struggling with juggling ALL the things on your plate, take a moment to pause and know there's nothing wrong with you.

    Celebrate you're doing the best you can with what you have right where you are. And that's all anyone can ask of you.

    Your Homework

    So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to put away your devices and make an appointment with yourself within the next seven days to do one of the things on the list above.

    These small changes won’t make things go back to “normal,” but they will set you up for a more mindful approach to your work, life and technology in a post-pandemic world.

  • 22 Oct 2021 5:00 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Professionalism isn’t just about choice of attire—it encompasses diversity and personal discussions too. As people return to the office, the topic promises to get complicated. Here are some tips on how to navigate.

    After a year and a half of people regularly wearing dress shirts with sweatpants, you weren’t expecting everything to go back to the way it was in the office before the pandemic, were you?

    The pandemic and other major events over the past year shifted expectations for what professionalism means. As offices reopen—and as some workers stay remote—this multidimensional issue gives leaders a lot to think about. Here are some considerations for organizations trying to discover what “professional” means to them now:

    See professionalism through the lens of DEI. Being professional in a work environment might be seen as a basic requirement, but the guidelines of what exactly constitutes professionalism have traditionally forced people to behave in a way that caters to the dominant culture. In recent years, however, some cultural observers, such as Stanford Social Innovation Review contributor Aysa Gray, have questioned professionalism as forcing a culture that “explicitly and implicitly privileges whiteness and discriminates against non-Western and non-white professionalism.” With that in mind, now might be a good time to consider whether professional standards are serving all of your workforce.

    Make room for discussions of family and personal challenges. Millions of people contracted COVID-19, and there’s a good chance that the virus directly affected some in your office. But even if they remained physically healthy, your employees may have suffered in other ways—mental health and substance abuse issues were heightened during this period, and those concerns don’t necessarily vanish with a vaccine. Traditionally, “professionalism” has discouraged these discussions, based on a theory called Protestant Relational Ideology, which sets aside personal concerns to focus on the work at hand. But after a tough year where many families had to manage Zoom calls around children stuck at home, there may need to be more room for personal discussions when they emerge in the workplace.

    Accept that difficult discussions might happen. Perhaps it was inevitable that a company like Basecamp would run into a conflict over political discourse in the workplace (ironically, this unfolded on the platform the company developed to boost productivity). But the conflict resulted in something that was not inevitable: mass resignations. Perhaps the key for associations hoping to avoid this is to build a culture that can handle those discussions in meaningful ways—and to avoid banning political discussions.

    Let your employees get a little more casual. Businesswear often took a back seat over Zoom (sweatpants and button-down combos aside). As people head back to the office, they may buck against a return to business attire. This might be even more of an issue for offices operating in a hybrid model: With recent studies finding that most people working remotely don’t adhere to a dress code, enforcing a strict dress code for in-office workers sets an inconsistent standard. (Luckily, clothing makers are adapting, according to The Wall Street Journal [subscription], with some retailers offering “hybrid dressing” that combines professional with casual.)

    Embrace a diversity of emotions. Diversity isn’t limited to demographics. It can also be about how employees feel and react to things, and that not everyone sees eye to eye on everything. As Associations Now blogger Mark Athitakis wrote in January, the pandemic offered us a reset on emotional diversity, allowing leaders to shift away from attempting to emotionally align teams. “Perhaps a better place to start is to double-check that you know where your people are emotionally in the first place,” he wrote. “And if there’s a silver lining in 2020 when it comes to management, we’re doing a better job at prioritizing that.”

    Originally posted here

  • 22 Oct 2021 4:47 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    The pandemic created much economic uncertainty for associations. With some sponsorship programs not providing the return on investment that partners sought, associations should take a measured approach when addressing partner concerns.

    If your sponsorship program suffered over the last year, you are not alone. Association leaders are asking what to say to their sponsors because of the uncertainties regarding COVID-19. They know that remaining silent is not the answer. Yet, they struggle with the best approach.

    A major mistake when communicating with sponsors is to focus on your own organization and what you have to offer. However, if you change your approach and instead focus on the needs, desires, and motivations of your sponsors, you’re more likely to secure funding from them. This means asking your top sponsors questions. I recommend the S.C.O.R.E approach, the acronym I use when coaching association staff on sponsorship outreach. We’ll go through it here.

    Find out how sponsors work with others by saying, “Please tell me about your most rewarding partnership.” Their response will provide a roadmap of what benefits your association can offer. 


    No matter how well you know your sponsor, now is a time to check in on their current situation and show that you’re interested. Ask your contact at the company the following questions: Tell me about your role with the company? What are you trying to accomplish now? How does your department interact with other areas at your company?


    While COVID-19 has changed for everyone, people are sometimes reluctant to share challenges. Find out how the company changed during this time. Ask how interactions with prospects and customers have changed. Learn how this has affected the sponsor on a business and personal level. This is an opportunity to discuss business and personal experiences. Briefly sharing challenges and issues you have dealt with is likely to strengthen the relationship.

    Objectives and Obstacles

    A natural next step is to focus in on the sponsor’s objectives, goals, and future ambitions. These include plans for this year and next, how they are targeting and reaching prospects, and what marketing channels they are using.

    Once they have shared their objectives, it is far easier to ask about problems or obstacles. Consider these questions:

    • In trying to reach your target audience, what are the biggest hurdles? (Yes, lack of live events will be the first one. Probe to find out how they are adapting.)
    • What is the impact?
    • What is getting in the way?
    • How have you responded?
    • What happens to you and the company if you are unable to solve them?

    When asking these questions, showing curiosity and concern builds trust. The responses can reveal information about the company’s budgeting, staffing, and decision-making process, along with obstacles they are facing. This sets you up to offer relevant sponsorship solutions.


    Find out how they work with others by saying, “Please tell me about your most rewarding partnership.” Their response will provide a roadmap of what benefits your association can offer. Questions to consider:

    • What stands out about this relationship?
    • Why is this relationship valuable?
    • What do you view as the key benefit?
    • Why did your company establish this partnership?
    • Who within your company was involved in the partnership?

    If the answers to these questions are unclear, it means that your contact may not be the decision-maker or that the company lacks sponsorship experience and is not a strong prospect. Determine which situation you’re in and then either work toward finding the right person or presenting an introductory offer that’s more in line with this organization’s capability. 


    In wrapping up your questions, you want to understand what success looks like. How would your contact envision a successful relationship a year or two down the line? Let them describe success and explain how they think, feel, and act.

    As your contact is describing success, they will subconsciously or consciously view you and your association as helping them reach their goals. This is exactly where you want to be. At this point, you should have enough information to either present benefits and ask for support or defer the actual request to a second meeting when you’ve had time to create a package that will meet or exceed their needs.

    By following this model, you’ll create stronger and deeper bonds with your contact, which will ultimately build additional sponsorship support for your association.

    Originally posted here

    October 20, 2021By: Lewis Flax

  • 11 Oct 2021 12:22 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Advanced Solutions International (ASI), the provider of iMIS the world’s #1 SaaS solution for associations and non-profits and AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner — announced today that its 2022 Global Membership Performance Benchmark Survey is now open, and responses will be accepted through Friday, 5 November 2021.  Take the survey here.

    This is ASI’s 7th annual survey of association and membership organisation executives from the United States, Asia-Pacific, Canada, and Europe/Middle East/India/Africa (EMEIA).  It explores how association executives are managing member engagement and retention, achieving operational goals, crafting digital transformation strategies, and coping with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

    Since 2015, ASI has received nearly 3,000 survey responses from membership professionals.  This year’s survey takes just 5-10 minutes to complete, and all responses are confidential.  Survey participants will receive an advance copy of the findings before they are made public in the highly anticipated annual benchmark report that will be published in the first quarter of 2022. 

    About ASI
    ASI is a leading global provider of cloud software and services for associations and non-profits. We help clients digitally transform, streamline operations, and grow revenue through industry expertise, best-practice advice, and high-quality SaaS solutions. Our portfolio of solutions includes iMIS — the only engagement management system (EMS) purpose-built for associations and non-profits — and TopClass LMS by WBT Systems — the #1 association and continuing education learning management system. 

    ASI is proud to be an AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner.  Learn more at

  • 08 Oct 2021 10:31 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Associations offering trial memberships need to make sure the trial is appealing enough for people to see value in upgrading, says membership expert Joy Duling.

    Bringing in new members via a discount or a free trial can be a real kick in the pants for your engagement—but it needs considerable thought before it launches if you want temporary members to stick around.

    Joy Duling, CEO of The Joy of Membership, says that associations often set up free or trial memberships that can bring in new potential members and boost advocacy engagement.

    Duling says that strategies like this can be effective if associations know what their goals are for offering a trial, with a keen eye on how it will convert trial members to long-term ones.

    “If an organisation is looking at free memberships, it all goes back to thinking about why,” Duling says. “Why do we need free? Is it so that we can give a little tease, or is there another way to do that?”

    A few insights on the matter when structuring your own offering:

    Target specific groups. Whether it’s students, those new to the industry, or retirees, putting a narrow scope on who you’re targeting with trial memberships can help you round out your base or boost participation for specific initiatives. Duling says that this kind of membership structure may be useful if, for example, you’re looking to increase your advocacy efforts or build a talent pipeline in your field.

    Consider charging a nominal fee. Just because it’s a trial doesn’t mean it has to be free. In 2019, the International Public Safety Association offered the opportunity to test out its membership for just $5, giving trial members access to publications and webinars, and timing it to the group’s fifth anniversary that year.

    Don’t give away the whole thing. Duling warns that giving trial members access to your entire slate of member benefits may create challenges in trying to further incentivize them to stay with the organization. “I think that it is better to carve out a piece for the free members to have access to,” she says. “You really want to show three things: You want to show that you understand the problems that the target audience is facing, you want to show that you understand them and how they need to solve problems, and you want to show that you understand the path forward for them.” She says the goal is to show them value “while still encouraging them to take the next step.” One successful example: The Healthcare Financial Management Association offered a month-long trial that offered all membership benefits except access to the association’s print magazine, and found that nearly half of all trial members signed up for full membership.

    Build with an end date in mind. Whether the free or trial membership ends because, say, a student graduates from college, a startup reaches a certain level of revenue, or a promotional period has simply ended, it needs to end, Duling says. She compares the strategy to what Baskin-Robbins does with its little pink spoon, allowing customers a taste of the full offering. “I think the little pink spoon model works really well for free memberships,” she says. “The intent is not that you stand there all day and eat ice cream with your little pink spoon. You’re given a taste of what you actually like, and then you’re invited to eat the big bowl after you’ve had the little spoonful.”

    Analyze what’s working and what’s not. For organizations that already have a trial membership option but find the approach to be ineffective in converting members to full status, Duling suggests analyzing the process from the trial members’ perspective in an effort to understand what is most likely to lead them to take the next step. “I really find that a lot of organizations that haven’t been necessarily strategic in creating a free membership, they just lack that next step,” she says.


    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

    originally posted here

  • 30 Sep 2021 12:55 PM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    If your association has an existing scholarship program for students in your industry or is considering starting one, here are a few ideas that can help ensure its beneficial to your organization and scholarship recipients.

    Does your organization have a scholarship program for students in your industry, or are you interested in launching one?

    “Scholarships are a powerful way to help attract, empower, and advance the future of our industry,” said Matthew Rosales, senior manager, scholarships and grants, at the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

    But thoughtful administration is necessary to ensure a return on your investment and impart positive change in alignment with your mission. Since the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA) is an expert in scholarship administration, we wanted to share tips for developing a successful program, along with some ideas from a few of our members.

    Scholarship Program Intent 

    When developing a scholarship program, consider what your association hopes to accomplish. That will determine which students to support and how best to support them. It will also help define program specifics, such as the resources required, activities to pursue, and potential benefits to recipients. 

    For example, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants was looking to increase the number of future accountants in the pipeline, boost diversity in the accounting profession, and establish relationships with students.

    “We accomplish this by exposing high school students to the field and providing them with scholarships, supporting Black/African American and Hispanic accounting students, and giving students free memberships, with the hopes that those students become dues-paying members later in their careers,” said Edwin Gonzalez, scholarship program manager at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

    Scholarship Program Administration

    Associations offering scholarships focus most of their administrative efforts on four key phases of the scholarship lifecycle: recruitment, application, selection, and awarding. 

    Recruitment. Strategic recruitment efforts can yield a robust pool of qualified applicants. When messaging and marketing, consider ideal candidates and tailor content and communications (including images) to target populations. Share information about your program with groups or organizations that serve the types of students you’re looking to support. 

    Application. Include application questions that collect must-have demographic and educational data, as well as those that generate information that help determine the strength of an applicant’s fit with the scholarship opportunity. Through written or video essay prompts, for instance, applicants can share about their interests in the industry or their involvement in the field to date. 

    Selection. This should reflect program intent. Selection criteria and tools such as rubrics or scorecards should allow evaluators to assess how applicants compare to ideal recipients. Build and steward relationships with members by inviting them to participate in the selection process, and feature award winners in your member communications.

    “We highlight scholars in our member communications and issue press releases on each cohort, showcasing them in national accounting and business publications,” Gonzalez said.

    Awarding. The size and scope of awards depend in part on what the association hopes to accomplish. Consider the intended impact, then define which expenses the scholarship will cover to determine a meaningful award amount. An association can disburse award payments directly or outsource that aspect of scholarship administration to another organization. 

    Accountability in Scholarship Program Administration

    Scholarship providers must abide by relevant federal, state, and local laws governing scholarship provision. Such regulations include student records release and retention, IRS reporting, and more. NSPA recommends that associations consult their legal counsel and tax attorneys for advice specific to their organizations and activities. 

    Associations that offer scholarships should also adhere to the highest ethical standards. In particular, ensure ethical conduct in the areas of student information collection and protection, conflict of interest, bias, equity, and selection. Also document policies, procedures, and examples of exceptions to such rules. 

    Program evaluation can provide further accountability. Develop a framework for collecting and analyzing information about program activities and outcomes; then use that information to track progress towards identified goals (and pivot as needed).

    “Make sure to routinely compare your scholarship recipients’ demographics against your industry’s demographics to see how your breakdowns compare against the industry at large. This act of benchmarking will give your organization a better perspective of what segments of the population are underrepresented in either the industry or within your own scholarship constituency,” said Rosales. “It is good practice to regularly review your application and selection processes to identify ways to help support more students from underrepresented communities within your industry. Additionally, this may also help show where your industry may be lacking in terms of specific demographic representation.”

    By taking these steps, your association is sure to get a strong start to its scholarship program or improve its current one.

    Originally posted here

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

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