Sector and AuSAE News

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:51 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

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:48 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Making improvements to your association’s programs, products and services might feel like too much to take on. After all, you’ve got an organisation to run. But there are small things you can start doing right away that have the potential to make a big (and positive) impact on your organisation and your members. Here are three of them.


    Continually developing new content for your members—from articles and papers to presentations—can be overwhelming. So, before you start developing content from scratch, look at what you already have. You likely have more than you think—content that can be reused, repurposed, and used as a launching point for new content.  Also, consider asking if you can reshare or repost your members’ content in your own online community and on your social media channels. You can also ask your volunteers and more involved members to help you produce content.


    Whether your member events are virtual, in-person or hybrid, there are a few simple things you can do to take member engagement to the next level. For example:

    • Send members a short series of emails to get them excited about your event and let them know what to expect. For instance, in one email you might include event highlights. In another, include top tips for getting the most out of the event.
    • Send attendees an email on each day of the event. Focus on updates and key events for the day. Include links so attendees can easily access sessions and other event features.
    • Engage attendees outside of the event. For example, post highlights of the event each day on your social media accounts. Also, start discussion groups about topics from your event in your online member community.


    You probably send attendee surveys after your organization’s meetings and events. But do you get member feedback in other areas? Start reaching out to members to learn what they think about your products and services. For example, send a periodic survey to gather members’ thoughts and ideas about your organization’s programs and benefits. Also, gain insights by spending a few minutes each day reading what members are saying in your online community and participating in conversations to spark more feedback. You’ll likely uncover some simple tweaks you can make to provide even greater value to your members.

    Originally posted here

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:45 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    While the 2021 ACE Conference and Exhibition did not travel to Melbourne this winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we reimagined and transformed the event into a 100% live and truly immersive 3D virtual experience on 2-3 August 2021.

    AuSAE's ACE 2021 Reimagined Virtual Conference saw over 350 associations professionals tune in to watch 23 speakers gather for 16 sessions to discuss the theme 'Advance, Connect and Engage'. The conference offered 2 days of inspiring and educational content designed so that delegates could learn and network virtually with their peers and industry leaders.

    Day one started with Andrew Klein, our master of ceremonies opening the ACE 2021 Virtual Conference, calling it the 'Association Olympics 2021', and ACE is the place to watch and participate, virtually and without barriers.

    Shadé Zahrai, an Award-Winning Leadership Strategist, presented the opening keynote on Embracing an Opportunity Mindset and shared her insights and science-backed strategies to thrive during change. She showed us how to choose what we see, take time to name our state and just remember to keep things 'CHILL'.

    We then took a deep dive into thought leader sessions. We explored the evolution of membership models with Belinda Moore and skilled-up on organisational culture with Michelle Stanton.  Followed by express learnings on metrics your association must measure with Michelle Lelempsis, increasing engagement with data with Marcus Duhon, and the value in virtual with Banu Kannu.

    One of the conference highlights was the incredible panel discussion with association leaders Charles Cameron, Lyn McMorran, Merlin Kong, Tom Dunsmore, Toni Brearley, Chris Roberts, Amy Flint, Andrew Hiebl and moderated by Paul Ramsbottom. Delegates could ‘Ask Them Anything’, and our association influences shared their insights and ideas on driving member engagement, new business models to replace lost event revenue, and technology updates and investments to consider for their association. Day one wrapped up with a networking session where delegates connected and shared experiences with their colleagues and peers.

    Day two kicked off with networking sessions in the Virtual Tradeshow, showcasing the latest solutions reshaping the association sector offered by our sponsors and exhibitors. Delegates met with 30+ exhibitors in their virtual booths via live video and message chats to answer their questions and help their associations thrive.

    Gihan Perera, a futurist and author, gave us a glimpse into what’s ahead with his opening keynote address on Disruption: Future of Leadership in a Fast-Changing World. He showed us how to become fit for the future, lead in uncertainty, share some great ideas - to expect the unexpected, start before you're ready and always remember to ooch!

    Next up, thought-leaders sessions featured the science of community management with Venessa Paech and communicating a message that counts in moments that matter with Shane Hatton. Followed by express learning sessions on navigating virtual AGMs with Vera Visevic, who’s sponsoring who with Julian Moore, and strengthening member value with advisory services with Alistair McDonald.

    Over the two days, delegates were connecting via the meeting hub and social media and sharing photos of how their viewing, where they are. We saw dogs, cats and two horses, lockdown beards, crazy hats and breath-taking settings.

    In the final session, Antarctic Expedition Leader and Adventurer, David Knoff presented Leadership Through Adversity, sharing his story of leadership, motivation, inspiration, and endurance. He spoke about his year-long Antarctic Expedition in 2019, being away from Australia for an epic 537 days, and missing the entirety of 2020 and the pandemic response. His adventure, leadership lessons and mental health resilience lessons was a great way to close the conference.

    Toni Brearley, CEO of AuSAE, said, "With lockdowns being enacted in our major cities we had to quickly and decisively move the ACE 2021 Conference to the online world during the pandemic and reimagine learning and development value for our members. We realised the importance of keeping our association community connected no matter what the barriers."

    Brearley added, “The camaraderie and learning from a supportive association community are always important. Still, in a year filled with so many challenges – a strong community is essential.”

    "The ACE Reimagined Virtual Conference provided an interactive platform for association professionals to stay connected, be supported and inspired, wherever they may be located.” This has demonstrated the vital role AuSAE plays in providing professional development opportunities, support and networking opportunities for existing and emerging association leaders in Australia and New Zealand.

    We hope to see you either in person or digital (depending on COVID-19 regulations) at our upcoming pop-up networking events, webinars, and ACE Conference & Exhibition in July 2022.

    We'd like to thank our amazing event partners, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors for their continued support and making the ACE 2021 Reimagined Virtual Conference possible.

    Tourism New Zealand Business Events, Advanced Solutions International, Pullman Melbourne on the Park, Adelaide Convention Centre, Higher Logic, EventsAIR, Outstanding Displays, uncommon conferences, ICMS, Saxton Speakers, Adelaide Expo Hire, APT Solutions Ltd, FineHaus, Beaumont People, Destination Gold Coast Business Events, Canberra Convention Bureau, Causeis, FCB Group, Guild Insurance, hmh Advisory, Mills Oakley, NT Business Events, Pointsbuild Pty Ltd, Professional Advantage,Prosple, Strategic Membership Solutions, Survey Matters, Melbourne Showgrounds (Victoria Pavilion)

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:40 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    The stakes are high for associations in regards to ransomware attacks—which have been rising in notoriety this year.

    It’s hard to get away from ransomware these days—in no small part because of the outsize impact it can have on large organizations.

    "This will be a topic at the AuSAE LINC conference in September"

    Beyond the direct repercussions for individual organisations, ransomware is an issue of diplomacy and has even affected the supply chain on more than one occasion.

    Given the data that associations have about their members and the stored data that’s vital to their continuity, associations need to pay attention to ransomware, even if it seems like something that happens to other organizations.

    It’s a question of risk. Derek Symer, a partner at AHT Insurance and director of its nonprofit practice, says that in addition to presenting a financial problem (experts recently estimated that the worldwide cost of ransomware will top $265 billion by 2031, from about $20 billion this year), ransomware could be a significant deterrent for members concerned about protecting their sensitive data.

    “Think of your membership,” he says. “These folks may not want their individual or corporate names associated with an association. Associations could have proprietary information about their members, competitors, an industry, or trade secrets that are sensitive. All of these risks are on the table in a ransomware attack.”

    And the best way to handle risk is to mitigate it.


    One thing you should not do when mitigating risk: wait.

    Some people may have an instinct to tackle ransomware issues as they occur, but Symer stresses that the scope of ransomware’s potential toll can’t be underplayed. Victims face significant costs that are both tangible—the literal cost of additional security, data restoration, and infrastructure upgrades—and intangible.

    “People may need to work around-the-clock without sleep, which can exact a significant emotional toll,” Symer warns. “Strategic initiatives may be put on hold, and overall a ransomware attack will be a huge time drain. If this comes at membership renewal time or heading into a virtual conference, it could be costly, time-consuming, or worse.”

    The recommended course of action is straightforward: plan ahead and budget for an attack. With that in mind, Symer says budgetary concerns must also be front of mind when discussing ransomware. He recommends that associations “be very thoughtful and analytical” about managing cybersecurity risks. That might mean more frequent backups or infrastructure upgrades.

    “This can include the costs and benefits of things like cyberinsurance premiums and deductibles, as well as the spend on self-insurance and IT security costs,” Symer says. “The budget is the budget, but how these various factors impact the budget will be carefully weighed.”


    Of course, not every association is large enough to have a technology team to manage its infrastructure in a way that can help avoid ransomware issues. Associations in that position can lean on an outside vendor to help manage their technology needs.

    Symer notes, however, that even security vendors are having ransomware issues at this time, so it’s important that executives understand the issues at play.

    “There’s no magic wand,” he says. ”Any executive or board member today, even without a formal IT background, should be able to understand IT fundamentals, ask questions, and get answers. How are we protected? Is our cyber coverage adequate? How does our security posture compare to our peers’? Senior leadership and the board must be engaged on this.”


    Nobody wants to have to resolve a ransomware attack, but developing a strategy in advance will save time and money down the line. Consider going through an exercise to figure out how your organization would respond to an attack—including whether your organization would be willing or able to pay a ransom.

    “A tabletop ‘war room’ exercise with a ransomware scenario is a great mechanism to give you the proactive chance to think through exactly how you would respond if the worst case presents itself,” Symer says.

    He also recommends that associations review their insurance policies, which probably already offer access to information on phishing, security awareness, and password education.

    “Many folks need to better understand what free resources are available, tucked into insurance policies they are already paying for,” he says.

    Symer emphasizes the importance of employees sounding the alarm on issues that could lead to a ransomware attack—and says that training people to spot the signs of an invasion is critical.

    “Employees are truly the last line of defense,” he says. “Like in soccer, a strong back line will keep the ball safely away from the goal. If employees are educated and trained in common phishing attack vectors, basic security awareness trends, your whole organization will be safer and better off.”

    Originally posted here

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:31 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    What’s the first thing you typed into Google today? Was it a question? What kind of question was it?

    Questions are a phenomenal place to start if you ever want to get closer to understanding something – whatever that thing happens to be. And that’s what I’m thinking about today when it comes to business and how we can better show up for ourselves and the people we serve. 

    Earlier this week, I was listening to a webinar hosted by AnswerThePublic about how non-profits should be using search data to truly understand the public and the gold from the session really arrived toward the end when one of the panelists talked about how disappointing it was when the search results for a common question related to COVID-19 started with media companies and news agencies and not governmental organizations. 

    Whether or not you give two figs for understanding or talking about SEO or search engine optimization – which is an ever-changing art and science at the same time – understanding how to provide answers to the people you want to reach by answering their questions proactively is providing a service. It is teaching humans and search engines what you do now and whether you have the answers they are looking for today. 

    Thinking this way should make you ask the question, “Is my organization doing a good job answering the most relevant pressing questions?” and also, “am I doing a good job of answering the questions I can help with the most?”

    Following the webinar, I immediately went to my colleagues at Tecker International, the consulting firm I partner with, and asked for all of the members on the team to send me the top five questions that their ideal client would type into Google when they were needing help in an area we serve.

    What would these clients be looking for help with? What would their symptoms be? What would the pain be that they are trying to alleviate?

    Once we arrive at the questions our clients likely have, then we must work to be helping answer those questions through resources like articles, blog posts, webinars, and more. 

    Lest you think you’ve already done the work, let me warn you that this kind of work is never really done.

    Women holding a question mark, likely asking the question of whether or not this article is worth her time reading. (It is.)It’s easy for us to congratulate ourselves too early on this front. We might look at the content collecting dust on our website and say, “Why, we’ve already done the work…see! Look at all this content!”

    But unless your content is coming up in the first few answers on Google when the question is asked, most of the people you want to serve likely aren’t seeing it. 

    So, for your businesses, blogs, associations, not-for-profits of all stripes, you can do better. I can do better. Almost everyone I know can do better. 

    But it all comes back to questions. 

    And right now, for many of our clients and members, some of the questions have changed. 

    For example, with the pandemic making in-person conferences a struggle for the past year and with a questionable immediate future, how quickly has a change in the business model for organizations relying on large in-person trade shows become a high-priority question? What about figuring out how to best communicate about risk-factors related to attending in-person conferences? What about how to better build camaraderie with employees who are experiencing more flexible schedules or working remotely permanently now?

    The questions change as the world changes. As culture changes. 

    The onus is on us to show we can help. We can give. We can serve. 

    So…let’s explore the questions and see where that leads us and who knows? Maybe we’ll find we understand how to connect with our clients and members and partners better. 

    by KiKi L’Italien

    Originally posted here

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:24 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    The other day I read an article where some venues overseas are requiring delegates and staff working to have a Covid-19 vaccine before they attend a conference. One conference had also decided to reduce the attendance to 1,300 delegates, to ensure that they created a more comfortable experience for not only the audience but for the supplying companies of the conference.

    As the Business Events sector being a vital part of the Association community in New Zealand. Should we also adopt this policy in 2022, when our vaccine levels exceed over 75% of the population. Yes, there absolutely needs to be exceptions as living in an equitable and diverse society we never want to restrict people due to that are prevented from getting the vaccine, such as religious beliefs and health conditions and other conditions under the Bill of Rights act in New Zealand. But to keep our respective Association community is safe, in addition to the people that are at the venue, should this be a part of the terms and conditions that conferencing associations have as part of their conference registration package.

    Reading overseas literature, it seems to be more the corporate companies holding a firm position on requiring staff to be vaccinated to hold their positions in the company. And that central and local government organisations seem to be putting messaging out there that it’s a good idea but tend not to have the foresight to mandate this.

    As we want to open up our borders, so we can continue strengthening New Zealand as a conference destination in the Australasian, International markets, Should associations and corporate conferencing companies lead by example and ensure that we are safe to conference. With this we are also ensuring that when people are travelling into and around New Zealand, that we are being responsible and ensuring that not only the venue was safe, but the hotels, the conference services staff and the city that is holding the event.

    I believe strong and messaging such as “working with the venue we believe the quickest way to return to normal is through Covid 19 vaccination. To stress the importance of getting the public vaccinated, and ensuring the health and safety of the conference participants and the venue and city residents and workers, the associations will require a full Covid 19 vaccination for all conference participants.” This should come from both Association and corporate leaders in consultation with the business events sector.

    Like always, happy for your feedback at

    Brett Jeffery, General Manager New Zealand, Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) July 2021

  • 04 Aug 2021 1:33 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The number of ASX 300 companies with one or no female directors has halved since 2016, as the number of women on boards surged by 60%, a national report measuring five types of diversity has found. 

    The Board Diversity Index, released today by Watermark Search International and Governance Institute of Australia, put five types of diversity under the microscope, examining gender, cultural background, skills, age, and tenure and independence. 

    The national report examined 300 organisations and more than 2000 board seats. 

    As well as an almost 60% increase in the number of board seats occupied by women in the last five years (633 in 2021, up from 399 in 2016), the report also found the number of boards with at least 30% women has tripled, up to 161 in 2021 from 54 in 2016.  

    Boards with no women have decreased from 59 in 2016 to 14 in 2021. 

    Governance Institute CEO Megan Motto said the rate of change on gender diversity uncovered in the Board Diversity Index is significant for Australia’s boardrooms. 

    “On this current trajectory there will be no ASX 300 companies without a female director by 2026, and gender parity achieved in the boardroom by 2030,” Ms Motto said. “These milestones, while well-overdue, will be truly momentous and we urge companies to ensure they keep up the positive action and strategies.” 

    Watermark Search International’s Managing Partner David Evans said while the trends on gender diversity are positive, cultural change in the boardroom is moving at a much slower pace with 90% of directors of Anglo-Celtic or European background. 

    “The report highlights that Australian boardrooms remain dominated by those of Anglo-Celtic and European ethnicity. Based on current trends, it will take 18 years for the boardroom to be reflective of Australia’s cultural diversity,” Mr Evans said. 

    Other key findings include:

    • Education: The report found that women are studying harder to reach the boardroom, outstripping men in virtually every category of qualifications. It found 8.4% of female board members having a PhD compared to 5% of males. And 22.1% females have an MBA, compared to 16.9% of males. 
    • Skills: Those with technology, healthcare and property experience are starting to entrench themselves at board level, and while accounting and financial skills are still the most prevalent, they have decreased from 39% to 34.4% among board members.  
    • Age: A male director on average continues to be slightly older than his female counterpart. The average age of directors is about 60 years, and there is a much higher proportion of women directors under 50 than men. The average age range for an ASX 300 board is around 19 years. The youngest director is 27 and the oldest is 89. 
    • Tenure: Around 65% of directors and 72.5% of chairs have tenures less than 10 years. It has become quite rare (2.9%) for a director to serve more than 14 years on the same board. Longevity on boards is more closely correlated with men than women. 
    • Independence: Listed boards are substantially independent — at the very most, one in five directors are regarded as non-independent. 

    Mr Evans said the breadth of the data in the report provides meaningful analysis of where corporate Australia currently stands on diversity, the direction it is heading in — and what else needs to be done. 

    “The Board Diversity Index offers organisations valuable insights into trends in Australian boardrooms — but it also delivers a roadmap for continued improvement. Organisations can use this report to drill down into these key issues and see where further work may be needed.”  

    Ms Motto said greater diversity is not just reflective of broader society, but it is also better for business — and organisations need to pay close attention as pressure continues to build.  

    “We are seeing investors and other stakeholders increasing pressure on companies to be more reflective of the community within which they operate. Consumers are increasing the pressure, choosing to spend their dollars with diverse organisations which can demonstrate strong ethics and good culture.  

    “Internationally, we are seeing countries list diversity as a reportable benchmark for companies and firms are starting to link executive remuneration to diversity targets. Momentum is gathering and organisations really need to be on the ball.” 

    Download the Board Diversity Index Report 

    Article written and published by the Governance Institute of Australia,

  • 30 Jul 2021 6:56 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    We are a small but passionate representative organisation of Allied Health Care Professionals, with the vision of advancing quality and access to our members services.  Our current Executive Officer will be retiring early next year after 10 years in the role and we are keen to continue to grow the organisation with a new team. We have a diverse number of workstreams within the profession ranging from sports and injury management, to aged care and critical care.  The variety offers plenty of diversity and challenges.

    Your role with us

    Reporting the Board, you and your team will need to deliver dynamic and evolving solutions for our strategies. You will oversee membership management, marketing and communications, public relations, advocacy, stakeholder and community engagement, governance support and administrative functions.

    Primary functions will include:

    • ·        Maintaining a close working relationship with the Board
    • ·        Developing and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, MIBE and ACC.
    • ·        Advocating for our profession to key stakeholders
    • ·        Developing membership experience and engagement programmes
    • ·        Providing advice on association management around governance, membership engagement strategies and value proposition
    • ·        Financial monitoring, and developing and managing budgets in line with strategic objectives

    Additional skills will include:

    • ·        Delivery of events and professional development opportunities ranging from small scale in person or online meetings to large scale conferences.
    • ·        Oversight of special interest groups, both functioning and in development, and advocacy for those special interest groups to be recognized as key contributors to the profession within their fields

    What we need from you

    Someone with a passion for people, and a proven ability to build relationships will be integral to your success. Core strengths should include thinking outside of the box, developing and communicating the value proposition, the ability to be proactive, resourceful, and highly self-motivated to achieve outcomes for the profession. You will be detail oriented and strive for quality in all aspects of your work. Previous experience working at an executive or governance level is essential, and a degree in business management would be ideal.

    Applications for this job close 20 Aug. We will be screening applications as they arrive to move swiftly to the interviews once the application process closes. Please forward all applications to

  • 30 Jul 2021 5:58 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    If we were going to open a new restaurant, we would develop a business model before we create the menu. Similarly, if we’re going to develop an improved corporate sponsorship program, we should develop a business model before we create the list of sponsor benefits.

    Why a Business Model for Sponsorship Programs?

    When I worked at an association, a Vice President on staff said our not-for-profit association should not engage in business relationships – like sponsorships – with companies. I disagreed; “not-for-profit” is a tax status, not a business model. There is nothing inconsistent or inappropriate about a not-for-profit association having a robust sponsorship program.

    From the vantage point of companies, sponsorship fees are almost always a marketing expense …. a business expense. Corporate expenditures for sponsorships are seldom philanthropy.

    Therefore, from the perspective of the association and its prospective sponsors, a sponsorship program is a business endeavor.

    What is the Sponsorship Business Case for Associations?

    • Associations need more revenue and members need more services. According to “Association Economic Outlook Report” from Marketing General Incorporated, half of associations surveyed lack the revenue and personnel to develop programs for members.
    • Associations face competition. According to “Looking Forward 2021” from Association Laboratory, 4 in 10 associations said other national associations are their competition; one-quarter said for-profit organizations are their competition.

    What is the Sponsorship Business Case for Companies?

    • Since sponsorships fees are a marketing expense, companies consider the wide range of ways they can accomplish their marketing goals.
    • Association sponsorship is no longer an automatic commitment for companies that sell products or services to an association’s members. Many companies review sponsorship options based on the return on investment (ROI).
    • When I’ve interviewed corporate sponsors on behalf of client associations, marketing executives explain they are seeking value beyond the several days of a conference sponsorship. Comments include “The conference is 3 days; we market 365 days a year” and “only 9% of conference attendees are of interest to our company.”
    • Corporate sponsors also report that they want a partnership that is beneficial to the company and the association; “we won’t just cut a check.”

    What are Associations Selling? What are Companies Buying?

    Association members have four perceptions of companies:

    • Visibility: they recognize the company’s name
    • Awareness: they have some knowledge about the company’s product or service
    • Attitude: they have a positive or negative perception about the company
    • Behavior: they access information from the company, attend a company event, or purchase something from the company

    The problem is that many associations are offering sponsorships that provide visibility – logo placements, recognition, and banner ads. At the other end of the spectrum, companies are buying behavioral change.

    A successful business model is predicated on offering what customers are buying.

    Can Associations Perform Like Marketing Agencies?

    Associations can benefit by performing like marketing agencies because associations have many similarities to marketing agencies:

    • Audiences: Members, non-members, and other stakeholders; associations can segment those audiences
    • Communications channels: E-newsletters; magazines; website; social media; listservs
    • Communications forums: Board meetings; committees and task forces; focus groups; conferences; webinars

    Marketing agencies don’t sell their services in Platinum/Gold/Silver/Bronze levels; they offer customized services to meet the needs of each client. Associations can do the same.

    How Can Associations Implement a Sponsorship Business Model?

     Here are six steps:

    • Ask prospective sponsors about their goals and objectives; ask follow-up questions. Don’t give companies a prospectus or a list of “sponsor benefits” or levels.
    • Develop a proposal brief for a year-long sponsorship that is (a) based on what you learned from the company and (b) in alignment with your association’s mission and member needs.
    • Review the proposal brief with the company; ask if the document accurately reflects the company’s goals and objectives; ask if the sponsor benefits align with the company’s needs.
    • Develop a full sponsorship proposal incorporating changes discussed in the meeting about the proposal brief.
    • Present the full proposal; discuss; close the deal.
    • Fulfill sponsorship benefits like a marketing agency by having a staff person serve as “account executive”.

    A sponsorship business model is a way for associations to increase sponsorship revenue and member value.

    Bruce Rosenthal is a strategic advisor, consultant, and educator; he creates corporate partnership programs for associations that increase revenue and add member/stakeholder value. Bruce is also Convener of the Partnership Professionals Network.

    by Bruce Rosenthal

  • 30 Jul 2021 5:56 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    I want to share my absolute favorite tip to give associations on negotiating with sponsors.

    “Yes, if.”

    When a sponsor asks if they can get a lower price, don’t say no. That can come across as confrontational, although I do recommend clear boundaries of the price that matches the value you provide.

    Don’t say yes – then you’re diminishing your value.

    Instead, say, “Yes, if.”

    “Can we have a $700 price on this package of 3 webinars that is normally $1,000?”

    “Yes, we can do $700 if we lower the value to 2 webinars.”

    Do you see what we did there?

    We created an environment of agreement while holding firm to the price matching the value we deliver. It builds trust with your sponsors to know that you know your value – they’re trusting you to deliver on it.

    Will they always like the answer? No. But will they respect you for it? Yes, if you follow through on it.

    by Dr. Michael Tatonetti

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

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Address: 159 Otonga Rd, Rotorua 3015 New Zealand
Phone: +64 27 249 8677

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