Sector and AuSAE News

  • 11 Nov 2020 9:04 AM | Deleted user

    Welcome back to our AuSAE Member Chat Series – Half an Hour of Power. This week we are delighted to have sat down with AuSAE member, Ken Griffin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association.

    In a short 30 minute interview we discussed four key questions with Ken to reflect on the last six months and look forward to the future.

    What do the next 6 months look like for your association and your members 

    From our association’s perspective the next 6 months will be an opportunity to harness and grow on the foundations we have already created this year. Our key focus will be reflecting, refining and creating a strong member value proposition as we move into a new stage of this crisis. This year has provided us all with the opportunity to stop, think and redefine what we can provide and what value we contribute to our membership communities.

    This year we have been able to increase our advocacy impact and play an important role in the development of health strategies in Australia, raise our profile with government, broaden our stakeholder network and ensure the voice of our members is being heard.

    I believe every Association CEO is grappling with the same set of issues from an internal team perspective – how do we keep staff engagement high and provide support during a time where uncertainty and the unknown is all we know. We are based in Melbourne which adds further challenges. For our team, over the next few months my goal is to provide as much certainty and control where possible.

    From our members’ perspective this year has been frantic, overwhelming, and difficult. They have had to adapt quickly and will continue to do so as this crisis continues to unfold. Our members’ focus and attention is now turning to the COVID vaccine and the role they will play on the frontline of administering this, and the impact on the health care system of avoidance on chronic disease management during the time.

    Areas of concern

    Our biggest concerns moving forward will be the policy surrounding telehealth for nurses and extension of funding as well as key budget priorities and the impacts on our members.

    Like most associations the changing landscape of events and our delivery of member value is also a concern. The days of gathering large groups of members are gone and it’s time for associations to reimagine their modes of delivery. We will seek to understand members – their priorities and expectations and form our strategy from here.

    Areas of opportunity

    We have some key areas of opportunity and we need to use this time to effectively prioritise and utilise the advantages we have been given this year.

    •  At an advocacy level we will play a large part in the development of primary health care strategy for the next 10 years.
    • For all of us, geographic barriers have well and truly been removed during this crisis. This opens a doorway to new ways of recruiting and retaining new talent into the sector. Over the coming months as organisation’s restructure and people reassess what they want to do, associations and not-for-profits have a great opportunity to harness this talent in the market.
    • The innovation that comes from difficult times is something I’m particularly passionate about. The new tools and technologies that will be available to businesses to refine efficiencies and increase organisational performance and growth is exciting. This innovation will help us to better manage remote workforces, help to make people more efficient and help us to communicate and interact with each other better than ever before. What we’ve seen in the past year is just the tip of the iceberg in where we will go.

    Celebrated moments in the past six months

    Our association has managed to retain all roles, and we have been able to grow our headcount during this time.

    We are about to enter a concerning workforce issue, as students graduating this year are unable to graduate because they haven’t met their placement hours. During this time we have partnered with Monash University to secure 175 placements for students so they can graduate as scheduled.

    I think what we are all proud of and what we have celebrated across the team is that when it counted we’ve been there for our members, representing their voice and being their anchor through all of this. At the end of the day – that’s what associations are here to do and we couldn’t be prouder to represent our members during this time.

  • 05 Nov 2020 4:44 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Member retention: It’s always on our minds. And in 2020, that’s truer than ever. When people face so many competing demands for time, attention, and money, how do you plan to get your members to stick around?

    Your membership renewal strategy is a critical component of revenue — and when it’s neglected, your association risks undermining your financial health and overall ability to serve members for the long term.

    The 2020 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report asked associations why they think members don’t renew.

    If you’re wondering how to attack the retention question this year, these stats are a pretty good indicator of where you should start. While a poor retention rate is bad news, the good news is that each reported reason is addressable.

    This is precisely why you can, and should, be addressing the top six reasons associations believe their members aren’t renewing:

    • 43% of associations say it’s because of a lack of engagement with the organisation
    Note: This number is growing – up from 37% in 2018 and 41% in 2019.
    • 29% of associations feel members don’t renew due to budget cuts/economic hardship of company
    • 28% of associations report that members couldn’t justify membership costs with any significant ROI
    • 25% of associations believe it’s because members left the field, industry, or profession
    • 25% of associations say it’s because members forgot to renew
    • 25% of associations find it’s because of a lack of value

    (By the way, Marketing General Inc. added that although they conducted this research prior to the global pandemic of COVID-19, this report explores core foundations that “predict whether or not an association’s membership will thrive going into the future.”)

    Based on this list, there are obviously some common problems that plague associations. We’re not telling you these problems will be quickly solved – they’ll require serious attention from your association – but they can be solved.

    Let’s go through and address each issue and how it can be fixed.


    Engagement has a serious impact on retention. According to the report, the biggest reason members aren’t renewing is because they don’t feel engaged. Focus on improving engagement as a part of your membership renewal strategy, and you’ll see improved retention.

    Also? A reported 24 percent of associations do not have a tactical plan to increase engagement. If that’s you, or even if you think your members are pretty engaged, this is an area where you should be focusing if you want your members to stick around.

    How to fix it: Get your members engaged

    • Center your focus: To start solving this problem, you first need to recognize that engagement is a real need for your members (and it’s also not going away).
    • Next, recognize engagement as a top priority in your organization. It’s not about blasting your members with content that may or may not be relevant to them. It’s about finding out who they really are, what they want, and providing it to them at the right time. (More on this below)
    • Embrace engagement technology tools: Dedicated engagement software, like online community and automated email campaign platforms, can help you get members involved.
    •  Build an online member community: An online community for your members helps you engage your members, by giving them a specialized space for connecting with both you and other members. Discussion threads, resource libraries, gamification rules, automation rules – these are just a few of the built-in tools at your service to get members interested and draw them into participation. See how other associations are using their communities to support members during COVID-19.
    • Automate your emails: Use automated email campaigns to send more targeted and personalized messages to all segments of your membership, increasing the effectiveness of your communications.

    With these types of powerful data-driven tools at your fingertips, you’re now engaging members with highly relevant content that inspires them to engage (since you’re targeting them based on what they were already interested in).


    Of the six retention issues, this one will probably be the toughest for you to solve, since these reasons for not renewing are external. That being said, the best way to meet these kinds of retention issues is to make your association membership so valuable that dropping it is out of the question, even during this tough time.

    How to fix it: Make member success your top goal

    One of your top goals to address leaving the field should be to provide members with the resources they need to succeed in the industry.

    • Make joining your association equivalent to becoming the best in the field, so members are empowered for success in the long-term.
    • Again, look to engagement tools to help you with this task. Higher Logic’s online community software has networking tools, mentoring opportunities, learning management systems, access to experts, etc. and members can build the network they need to be empowered and well-connected in the field.

    Bonus: You could try restructuring your dues or creating special dues offers to encourage members to renew. Again, this isn’t going to be the strongest approach, since if members don’t see value, a lower price won’t be extremely convincing. Marketing General Inc.’s report provides a helpful analysis on successful strategies for association due discounts, so refer to the report for those strategies.

    Don’t miss our eBook: Streamline Your Membership Renewal Process: Go From Outdated to Automated.

    Overall, the best defense against this retention issue is going to be your engagement and value offense.  


    These reasons are combined, since they’ve got similar root causes and solutions. Between 20 and 30 percent of members aren’t renewing because they don’t see value in paying for your organization. Since we both know your association offers amazing member benefits, the problem may simply be miscommunication.

    Providing value to members entails a few key communication needs:

    • You know what value members expect from joining your organization.
    • You communicate where and when they can get what they want.
    • You make what they want easily accessible.

    How to fix it: Cover the common bases

    Of course, there are a few buckets of “association membership value” you can generally expect members want, such as professional development, networking, or certification in the industry. From that perspective, here are a few practical ways to provide more value to your members, using engagement tech:

    Match each need with a tool:

    • You know you have a network of amazing members that want to connect and mentoring each other. Give them a way to connect from anywhere in the world by developing a mentorship program through your online community.
    •  If you have an excellent webinar series going on, give members an event calendar in your community where they can immediately see all the learning opportunities that are available.
    • If you offer incredible advocacy power, connect with them through your community so they understand you’re accessible.

    How to fix it: Meet individual needs

    But how can you know what members want, specifically, without undertaking a significant project where you ask each one individually and start catering to their unique requests?

    • Look to the data: With automated email campaigns, you can gather important engagement data. Your goal of providing members with relevant value is no longer based on guess-work or intense research. Your content is based on real, active data points that inform how you engage with them.

    For example, if a member engages with your emails and visits pages on your website about a certification you offer, you can continue to nurture this interest by providing them with more information in an email nurture campaign. You act on the cues they provide and share the content they want.

    • Review conversations: What are members talking about in your online community? 

    Don’t let your members leave your association without a clear understanding of the value you offer. Make sure you’re communicating the value you have and the value they want. This is a key piece of your membership renewal strategy.


    No, no, no. You can’t let members forget that renewal is coming up. This is due to a lack of action on the part of the association (unless the member dropped off the face of the earth and stopped checking their email for three months). Your members should decide not to renew for a good reason, not because you allowed them to forget.

    How to fix it: Notify members about renewal 

    • Put renewal on auto-pilot: Maybe your staff is too busy to notify each member about their renewal expiration, but if that’s the case, you need to adopt technology to help you streamline the membership renewal process. Once you’ve created your amazing automated email campaign for renewal, you can set these renewal campaigns on annual autopilot.
    • Automated campaigns take care of your repetitive tasks like renewal reminder emails, and they’re more efficient, too. Your staff will save time that they can use to reach out to members and make those personal calls that make a difference for key members.

    These automated email campaigns will build on your engagement and value strategy well. You’re not only providing value to members, you’re letting them know when they’re about to miss out.


    Members deciding not to renew isn’t a problem you’ll ever solve once and for all, and retention isn’t something you can keep at 100 percent. But you can take control of the problem by addressing the top reasons members don’t renew.

    Engaging your members, communicating your value, providing tools for member success, and reminding your members about renewal are just some of the ways you can affect your retention rate for the better.

    But either way, the majority of the stats we shared from the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report are really about how your members perceive the value of their membership with your association.

    You could be offering what you think are the best membership benefits in the world, but if these benefits aren’t what your members are looking for, they won’t value them. Furthermore, they may not be willing to pay up when it comes time to renew their membership.

    So, how can we bridge this divide between what you’re offering, and your members’ expectations?

    We need to take a member-first approach, and we’ll get there through: 1) research, 2) refinement, and 3) follow through. 


    1. Research: Find Out What Your Members Value

    Your members join your association because they think they’ll benefit from the membership. If they’re not renewing because they’re not getting the benefit they expected, it’s time for you to do some digging.

    Finding out what your members need and want from your association is as simple as asking them. But how do you ask them? Try these suggestions:

    Online Community 

    If you have an online community, this is a great place to get to know your members. Even without asking for it, you’ll get feedback. They’ll share their needs, interests, and problems as they engage with their fellow members, and you get to hear it all because your organization owns the conversation.

    You may want to ask some specific questions about your membership. In this case, it’s usually most productive to reach out to a smaller group of members. Ask if these members would be willing to participate in a focus group. Your focus group can be a private sub-community, open only to those who accepted your offer. Ask honest questions and request honest answers. Try these on for size:

    • Do you think membership with our association is worth the dues you pay? Why or why not? (Explain)
    • Is being a member of our association what you thought it would be? Why or why not? (Explain)
    • Is there anything you could use or benefit from that we don’t currently offer? What’s missing? (Explain)

    Email Campaigns

    Sometimes your method of asking doesn’t have to be obvious. With marketing automation, you can run email campaigns that collect members’ activity on your site. This allows you to start personalizing their experience based on what they truly need. When you have the data in aggregate, you can analyze the most popular links clicked and most common web pages visited and infer what your members want to see more of.

    Individual Outreach

    Sometimes a little anecdotal evidence is helpful for justifying change. Contact a selection of new, lapsed, and long-time members, and ask them about their experience with your association. Get the details on why they joined, stayed, or left. Of course, don’t base changes to your membership solely on this feedback, as it might not be what everyone thinks or feels. But you can use their feedback to confirm things you’re already finding in your other research.

    Next, it’s time to do something about all these cold, hard facts.

    2. Refinement: Rework Your Offerings

    Depending on what you heard from members, you might need to keep up the good work, communicate what you’re offering more clearly, make your membership benefits more accessible, or change it completely. It’s likely you’ll need to do a mixture of all four. The bottom line is to use the research you’ve done to make sure your value proposition is answering their biggest needs.

    Here are 6 ideas for indispensable association membership benefits.

    Take their feedback and start a working group within your association – think about how you can better meet their needs. You might find that you need a new tech tool or a bigger investment in marketing to deliver a more personalized member experience.

    For example, if you hear members say, “I thought I’d have tons more networking opportunities than I do,” it might be time to invest in an online community and give members the connection they’re craving.

    Especially when in-person events aren’t possible, an online community is available year-round. Generally at no cost to members, it can be a great tool for linking members up with the right mentors or volunteers to fuel their professional growth.

    Or, if you’re hearing members ask for more relevant content, maybe you need to invest in a marketing automation tool that you can use to personalize and target the communications they receive.

    With the right tweaks, you can give your members the value they want.

    3. Follow Through: Communicate and Check In

    Any basketball or tennis players out there already know: follow-through is key to a good shot.

    Once you’ve finished refining your membership program, you’ve got to follow up with members to let them know you’ve made changes and to make sure they’re happy with what you did. It’s imperative.


    Instead of jamming every benefit you offer into one email, spread it out. Try creating a series of emails to welcome new members to your association, and create the workflow based on their interests.

    For example, if they’re really interested in your online community, guide them to participate in your mentoring program through the community. If they only read information about your advocacy efforts, give them more content about how to sign up.

    Check In

    This piece echoes the research you did in the first step:

    • Convene your online community focus group again, or better yet, ask a new set of members if they think the revisions will meet their needs
    • Run another drip campaign through your marketing automation platform to survey members about the feedback, and schedule one-on-one calls with those who seem particularly interested
    • Follow up with the same group of individuals you interviewed and ask how they like the changes (and if they heard about them)


    If you want members to stick around, you’ve got to help them. And by help them, we mean both help them see the value of being in your organization and literally help them – that’s why they joined your association in the first place. They were looking for something. Something they thought you could offer. But if they’re not renewing, they didn’t find what they were looking for, or even an unexpected value that made it worth staying.

    You need to know what your members want from their association membership in order to deliver on that value.

    So, dig in, and really get to know your members and how you can best serve their wants and needs. This is your key to creating a member experience they’ll find worthy of holding on to.

    Melanie Bond

    Manager, Strategic Services

    Melanie is Manager of Strategic Services at Higher Logic. Melanie advises clients on community management strategy and best practices for building a highly engaged and successful community. Prior to Higher Logic, Melanie worked at WeddingWire as a Senior Customer Success Manager.

  • 04 Nov 2020 1:56 PM | Deleted user

    Wondering how to show new members the most value during digital onboarding sessions? Here are six tips to make them aware of all the benefits that can help them maximize their membership and—ultimately—prompt them to renew.

    A thread in ASAE’s Collaborate community [member login required] asked for advice on conducting successful digital new-member onboarding sessions and how to facilitate the conversation to give members the most value. Lia Zegeye, senior director of membership at the American Bus Association, offered some excellent suggestions on what has worked well at ABA since the pandemic began. I followed up with her to learn more.

    ABA is a trade association representing many parts of the travel industry—including bus operators, tour operators, lodging, attractions, and more—and its members have been hit hard by the pandemic. Like many other associations, ABA has been working tirelessly on the advocacy front to support the industry, and the membership team is leveraging that work to recruit new members. Once they are on board, Zegeye shows them all the benefits of membership they might not know about, customized by member segments.

    Showing members value at the outset is paramount, Zegeye said. Her mantra: “Keep it clean, concise, and easy to digest.” Here’s how she and her team do it.

    Make it personal. Zegeye conducts the onboarding webinars herself. “It’s a great way for me to connect with our members,” she said. The webinars immediately put a face with a name, and members are more likely to reach out to her directly with questions about the webinar. The digital onboarding has also been a good way to keep members updated on new programs in real time. Zegeye easily updates her PowerPoint slide deck and is good to go. “Mailing out packets has become a thing of the past,” she said.

    Show, don’t tell. The onboarding session includes a short promotional video from ABA’s tradeshow, providing a personal testimonial about the value of the event from a member’s perspective. It shows why the member is there and how they benefited from attending. Zegeye said she often gets thank you notes from webinar attendees who say, “Wow, I had no idea you guys did all of these things!”

    Guided website tour. During the webinars, Zegeye walks new members through key parts of ABA’s website, like where to access a government affairs report or how to edit their company’s description in the membership directory to market themselves more effectively. With the travel industry lagging, it’s a good time for members to update their information so they can hit the ground running when the industry kicks back into gear, she said.

    Engage with social media. Zegeye shows new members all of ABA’s social media platforms during the webinar and asks them to follow ABA from the start. Members tend to gravitate toward Facebook to discuss their challenges, which gives the membership team a good way to tap into what members are experiencing and engage with them in a meaningful way, she said.

    Share incentive programs. ABA has a member-get-a-member incentive program. Any member who brings in a new member gets a $50 gift card and is entered into a raffle with a chance to win $1,000 at the end of the year. Letting members know about incentives from the beginning means it’s on their radar from the start. “Your members are your best ambassadors” for recruiting new prospects, Zegeye said.

    Highlight social responsibility. Remember to include information on social responsibility programs, such as local community service projects at events. Through its ABA Cares program, ABA conducts fundraising events for a selected charity in the city that hosts its annual tradeshow. Talking about these programs during an onboarding webinar shows new members “you are more than just an industry,” she said.

    “We all have a wealth of information to share with new members at an early stage,” Zegeye said. “It’s all about how they can maximize their investment.”

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Lisa Boylan.

  • 04 Nov 2020 1:30 PM | Deleted user

    It’s telling that when a pandemic hit, many associations moved immediately to get their members what they needed as fast as possible. This shift to quickly delivering value will be key to maintaining membership through the crisis and in the long run.

    When COVID-19 hit, one of the first things the Council for Exceptional Children did to support its members was to give away as many pertinent resources as it could—recorded webinars, journal articles, and more—and then use the value of those resources to seize a membership opportunity.

    CEC created a free membership promotion that would give new members access through the end of the year, and about 26,000 special educators took advantage of it. So far, CEC has retained nearly 20 percent of the members who came on during the free trial, says Executive Director Chad Rummel, CAE.

    Once they saw a spike in interest that nearly doubled their membership, they began to wonder why those people weren’t already members. “As we began talking to and surveying them, I was extremely excited to see how they identified an untapped need for professional development that I know we can provide,” Rummel says.

    COVID-19 has already had an enormous impact on membership, and how the future plays out is going to be different for each organization, says Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of Avenue M Group. But, she says, “I believe there are pandemic habits that are here to stay.”

    Jacobs compares the decisions many members will have to make about how they spend their organizational budgets to managing a household budget. They will assess what they really need and what they can do without. Many association members will likely need a different set of skills than they needed before the pandemic, because the way many professionals do their jobs has changed dramatically.

    “There’s going to be a significant increase in certain kinds of retraining, or new skills, or access to processes or standards that members are going to find very valuable and are going to need,” Jacobs says. “That’s a positive that presents a huge role for associations.”

    The challenge is in how to package and deliver the new offerings, especially when association budgets are slashed. Jacobs says it goes beyond planning virtual events and asking: How do we get quick, easy, and reliable answers and new ways to work out to our members?

    What Do Members Need Right Now?

    One of CEC’s solutions was a new online training program called QuickTakes—short, on-demand mini-tutorials that focus on specific topics—to quickly address pressing issues for members, such as online privacy for students. Rather than planning a 75- to 90-minute webinar, the QuickTakes sessions run eight to 20 minutes and provide fast and highly relevant answers for members with more agility than a webinar.

    At the end of the free membership offer, CEC surveyed the 26,000 participants to ask why they took advantage of it and what they found most beneficial. Over 85 percent said it was the online training. Rummel says the team took that feedback and did a deep dive into their membership package offerings, which they determined were structured more around discounted add-ons than professional development opportunities. So they changed their membership packages.

    Now CEC has three tiers of membership built around valuable content. The first tier offers access to members-only content and the in-house QuickTake video series. Middle-tier members get access to all recorded webinars in the library. And the top tier allows unlimited access to all CEC’s live webinars. In addition, they used this jumpstart to launch a learning management system and their first five-part synchronous course, a timely resource designed for new teachers in the post-COVID classroom.

    Rummel says members’ professional development needs should be addressed not just at the programmatic level, but also in membership offerings. “These can’t be seen as just add-ons when they are so fundamental to why members come to our associations,” he says.


    Staff and volunteer leaders at the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry spent the last year anticipating an economic downturn, although not to the degree of the current crisis, says Chris Williams, CAE, AWCI’s director of membership. AWCI repositioned its messaging when the pandemic struck to emphasize that it was there for members through good times and bad. The staff was confident in the association’s value to members after a 2019 focus group where members said their dues payment gave them a significant return on their low initial investment.

    Based on the organization’s position as the networking hub for the industry, a message of “Together We Are AWCI,” and the proven value of their dues payment, Williams says, “I believe we’ll be able to meet our recruiting goals even in the face of economic hardship.”

    AWCI will keep its dues as-is through the 2020-21 membership year, but it plans to help some of its chapters spread out their membership dues throughout the course of the year. Chapters collect dues from members and pay a portion of each member’s dues, in one lump sum, to the national office by July 1 of each year. AWCI is working with individual chapters to spread that lump-sum payment out over the course of the membership year.

    This will likely be a popular trend, according to Jacobs, who says there is so much more opportunity to take risks that were unthinkable in the recent past.

    There is no playbook, she says. Associations will have to plan for a likely dip in revenue while also offering members more flexible payment options and installment plans. “It’s what they’re comfortable with. It’s what they know,” Jacobs says.

    AWCI is launching a new membership management system in March 2021, which will provide an entirely new and interactive experience for its members. AWCI will tout increased access to member benefits and virtual networking and promotion opportunities created by enhanced member profiles, directories, and more in the new system.

    This is an opportunity to reinforce the actual value of not only AWCI membership, but association membership in general, Williams says.

    “Membership isn’t an expense—it’s an investment in not only sustaining your business and your employees through this unique time in history, but positioning yourself to grow now—and as we emerge from the storm,” he says.


    Nothing has turned out as planned since the advent of COVID-19—and that includes membership numbers. The American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics actually saw an increase in membership, with 100 new members joining since the same time last year, says Kathy Giovetsis, CAE, ASHI’s executive director. She attributes the growth to members’ need for ongoing education and continuing education credits.

    Rather than immediately changing ASHI’s dues structure because of the pandemic, Giovetsis’ team continues to analyze and reevaluate the membership categories and benefits linked to each tier. For example, the technologist membership category was originally offered for the first three years of a technologist’s career, but it was extended to five years to better align with the career trajectory of technologists. Recently, the ASHI board decided to lift the five-year restriction altogether and allow technologist members to retain that level of membership indefinitely.

    The unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 crisis has upended many sacred cows and forced everyone to crush the phrase “think outside the box”—maybe forever—with actions that go way beyond the brainstorming sessions and flip-chart purgatories of the past. Virtual events and webinars quickly became the coin of the realm, but Jacobs cautions that “it’s a dangerous thing to rely on what’s happening today,” because change is happening so fast.

    Jacobs credits the speed at which things are moving for waking up associations and getting them to “try new things and let the market tell them what works.” She adds, “We made decisions on what worked in the past based on the opinion of the highest-paid person in the room.”

    She sees a lot of “very smart” association professionals who have been waiting for permission to explore new ideas and innovative programs. Her optimism about the future is rooted in the knowledge that change is going to happen rapidly, and for the good.

    “I am optimistic because I’ve never seen such a great need for associations to exist,” Jacobs says. “But I’m also realistic in knowing that it’s going to take many iterations. We are not going to figure it out right out of the gate. And we’re going to have to be strong as we figure it out.”

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Lisa Boylan.

  • 29 Oct 2020 8:33 AM | Deleted user

    Whilst technology plays an important role when it comes to enabling communication, in-person networking is still the foundation of knowledge sharing, collaboration and innovation.

    Virtual conferences, online seminars and daily Zoom calls with our colleagues have been fundamental in staying connected in the current environment. But while we’ve seen exponential growth in digital tools and platforms to make this possible, face-to-face meetings remain catalytic to the kinds of conversations and collisions that spark future innovation.

    Sydney’s business events bidding specialists BESydney have kicked off an integrated marketing campaign to boost confidence, focusing people’s attention away from Zoom and onto back booking meetings again.

    Launching the It’s got to be Sydney campaign NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres said that now is the time for organisations to begin planning their meetings and events for next year, as the government continues to ease restrictions across a range of venue categories.

    “It’s now crucial for the business community to be able to get back on its feet, to collaborate, share ideas and do business in person once again and we’re working hard to provide as many opportunities as possible to achieve just that. Zoom meetings only get you so far.

    BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith said: “In our work securing Sydney hosting rights for global conferences and incentives over the past 50 years, BESydney has been at the forefront of promoting, protecting and growing our city’s reputation as Australia’s premier destination for business visitors.

    It’s got to be Sydney is about hope,” Ms. Lewis-Smith added.

    “This campaign is filled with optimism for a new COVID Safe future, where our expert Australian business events sector is once-again delivering safe ways for business gatherings to get people making real connections off-Zoom and face to face.

    The Why Sydney? proposition is delivered in a punchy promo video jam-packed with reasons. Whatever you love – great places to eat and drink, the arts, festivals, noisy debate – Sydney’s happy collision of ideas and people often provides a twist on what’s trending elsewhere.

    For access to Sydney’s expert business events suppliers, tips and inspiration, visit

  • 23 Oct 2020 4:37 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation regularly reports on association sources and ratios. According to a November 2016 report, revenues from membership dues were down to 45% of total revenue for trade associations and a meager 30% for professional associations.

    Advances in technology have opened new doors of opportunity to drive non-dues revenue. Let’s take some lessons from the business world and leverage them into association revenue ideas outside the traditional membership fee.


    For those who may not be aware, podcasts have enjoyed an enormous surge in popularity. At least 112 million Americans have listened to podcasts, a figure up 11 percent from 2017, with 67 million listening to podcasts every month.

    Podcasts supply an affordable way to drive content and engage members, as well as generate non-dues revenue. Talk about your association and its particular industry and benefits. Interview key association members on topics relevant to your membership. After you have a following, you may even consider charging to have some members or partners interviewed on the podcast.

    As your podcast grows in popularity, especially a wide local audience, you could look into sponsorships from other related businesses. Sell banner ads or even mentions in the podcast itself.

    Podcasts also supply an opportunity to collect new membership leads. End each broadcast with a way listeners can find out more about your association and its benefits.


    Depending on your association’s purpose or related industry, you can produce how-to or promotional videos and post them to your association’s own YouTube channel. Once a channel reaches 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers, it is eligible for the YouTube monetization program.

    YouTube also allows you to produce a live feed with up to 6 cameras that you control, for little to no cost. Imagine a world where you can do live telecasts at your events or interviews. And yes, even your podcasts can live on your YouTube channel.

    This combines publicity for your association with non-dues revenue. Win-win for everyone, especially your association members. And why not be the first association in your area with your own YouTube channel?


    Why not utilize the base of people that you are already engaged with to create non-dues revenue by expanding your offerings with a la carte purchase opportunities? Possible perks that could be available for an ongoing or one-time additional fee include:

    • Educational events that offer industry certification or earned credit
    • Listings in or access to an exclusive job board
    • Consultation with an expert who holds a broad appeal
    • Access to association resources (such as a state-of-the-art lab or online catalogs)
    • Paper copy of online resources (nominal fee)
    • Paid access to one-time or multiple direct mailing list
    • First look at market research
    • Opportunity to send out surveys or marketing materials to members
    • Access to pertinent industry data
    • Listing in an associate member directory

    This is another great opportunity to look at what you’re offering those associate members. Some services might work well as a free membership perk while others could be offered for an additional fee.

    Your association type and purpose will dictate which of these association revenue ideas will work for you. Whatever you decide to do, it may require a deeper dive into your association culture and structure.

    This blog was originally published by CIMATRI. CIMATRI delivers cost-effective, efficient solutions that optimize your association’s technology for complete digital transformation, and you can learn more about their offerings on their website.


    Content Intern at | | Website

    Ashley joined the content team in March of 2020. Having previously interned with Innovative Advertising, a division of People Who Think, LLC, Ashley discovered her love for mass communication through hands on experience. Ashley is passionate about making a safer, and healthier environment through education, and does what she can to make the world a better place.

  • 15 Oct 2020 8:24 AM | Deleted user

    Influencers can drive a lot of attention and engagement toward your cause. But for the partnership to work, it takes the right influencer and an association that knows how to negotiate and collaborate effectively.

    When thinking through your cause-marketing strategy, working with an influencer might not spring to mind. But influencers are powerful persuaders who have built trust with their audiences. On top of that, influencers tend to prioritize authenticity—a useful trait for cause marketing—says Kristy Sammis, executive director of the Influencer Marketing Association.

    “A lot of influencers won’t take work if it doesn’t make sense for who they are,” she says. Consider these tips to find the right influencers for your cause-marketing efforts and how to collaborate with them effectively.


    Before venturing out into the world of influencers, take a look in-house—the right influencer could be a member of your organization. “I guarantee that any association has members who are natural advocates, because they’re already members and they have a good following across social media,” Sammis says.

    If a member has a strong online presence, ask if they would be willing to advocate for your association and its cause. To promote participation, you could offer member incentives such as discounts and special benefits, similar to a member referral program.


    If you look outside your association, you’ll want to find an influencer who naturally aligns with your cause, not just someone with a large following. Instead of mass-emailing stock messages to a bunch of popular influencers—which Sammis calls the “spray and pray” method—identify ones who fit your niche and reach out to them.

    A simple online search is a good place to start. To narrow your search, check Twitter and Instagram to see who’s been using hashtags that relate to your cause or organization.

    Take advantage of tools that go deeper: The free site Upfluence offers an influencer search tool, and provides a platform where you can build relationships with influencers. Platforms like these offer data on an influencer’s performance, so you’ll get a sense for how effective his or her messaging is. As you search, keep in mind that featuring diverse and underrepresented voices will benefit your organization, as inclusive marketing is on the rise.

    Once you’ve identified candidates, do your research: Look at their entire social media presence to make sure they are truly compatible with your association’s message.

    “Even if you’re expecting them to post on Instagram, see what they’re saying on Twitter,” Sammis says. “It’s about looking at the whole picture.”


    In cause marketing, you’re asking an influencer to advocate for a cause, not a product, which is why the message needs to be genuine. Sammis says influencers who post only sponsored content might not be your best bet because the message won’t seem as authentic.

    Look for someone who populates his or her feed with a balance of sponsored and nonsponsored content—a sign that the influencer knows how to work with a brand while maintaining a distinct, authentic voice.

    To see a successful example of this, look to the the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit that partnered with popular YouTube content creators Jimmy Donaldson (better known as MrBeast) and Mark Rober on the viral #TeamTrees campaign, a fundraiser with the goal of planting 20 million trees. Donaldson’s and Rober’s positions as authentic, influential voices attracted major publicity and led to $20 million in donations in just a few months.


    When approaching influencers, it’s useful to have a specific plan of action to present to them—where they’ll post, how often, the type of content, and so forth. But Sammis says that associations will not get the best out of influencers if they treat them as if they’re freelance copywriters or photographers instead of collaborators.

    “Influencers love to be consulted, to be collaborative, and to be given the freedom to be creative,” she says. Give influencers a chance to push back on your original idea and offer their own, as they’ll be most effective when using their own words in a genuine way.

    That said, cause marketing could have you talking about serious or sensitive topics, so it’s reasonable for associations to provide guidelines on tone, topics to avoid, and what language is appropriate.


    It’ll help to have a sense of what to offer influencers based on their reach and what you’re asking of them. Sammis says while cost fluctuates from one influencer to another, an expected charge from a micro-influencer (someone with 10,000 to 50,000 followers) for a single Instagram post would be $300 to $500. Sammis says payment is usually preferred, but benefits such as a membership in your organization are appropriate as well.

    Some organizations may bristle at paying an influencer on ethical grounds, but Sammis argues that it’s not payment for a glowing recommendation.

    “You’re not paying the influencer for their favored opinion—you’re paying the influencer for their time, for their creativity, for the effort that they’re putting into this,” she says.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Michael Hickey.

  • 15 Oct 2020 8:21 AM | Deleted user

    In the first of our three-part series about data today, we invite people who typically make gut decisions to consider the value of data-based decision-making. How do you win over the skeptics? Read on for a few ideas.

    COVID-19 has made the case for the value of data-based decision making to many association pros who might have previously missed it. After all, given the precarious situations the pandemic has created, who wants to be caught guessing?

    “If you can understand the data behind a business and how it ties to the operations, you could really understand how to control the outcomes you’re going to get,” says Association Analytics CEO Julie Sciullo.

    Still, not everyone may be on board. So, how do you effectively connect with the stragglers? Sciullo offers a few ideas for selling analytics within an organization:

    Narrow your initial focus. For many associations, trying to sell an analytics-based approach to a skeptical board or executive team means building a track record of success beforehand. “I would say start smaller, and start with whatever your main revenue driver is—so if you’re a trade group, with your event; if you’re a membership group, start with your membership,” Sciullo says. During this time, it’s best not to complicate things with data that goes too in-depth, she adds: “Start simple and then show the value.”

    Present the data in a dashboard format. In the past, some people might have rolled their eyes at data in part because of the way it was presented—Sciullo notes that data can be twisted to support an argument. But presenting data in an objective dashboard format, she says, can offer a stronger baseline for understanding the state of your organization and its members—something many leaders struggle to capture. “It’s really hard to get a 360 view of your customers—I mean members and nonmembers,” she says. “Typically, you want to know just as much of your nonmembers as you do your members.” An objective data visualization can supply that comprehensive view because of the breadth of information at hand. When presented this way, its value is more likely to click with leaders. “There’s just like this lightbulb that goes off,” Sciullo says.

    Set the example at a higher level. What if the data skeptics aren’t in your boardroom but on your staff? Executives need to set the tone. Sciullo cited an example of a client who now asks employees to study the data at meetings before pitching ideas, to ensure the ideas are relevant to the data. “They don’t go in and start an agenda until data is brought to the table,” Sciullo says. “And so if you don’t have data to support whatever you’re bringing to the table, it’s not going to be entertained.” This approach, she says, will encourage data skeptics at lower levels to take the research seriously “because you know your boss looks.”

    Once everyone is on board with data analytics, she says, it can open up opportunities, something she has seen in many organizations that have invested in data analytics in the wake of COVID-19. Among other things, she says it discourages a siloed approach and allows decisions to be made from a position of offense rather than reflexively—which matters now more than ever.

    “When it comes down to you and your organization and your members and, you know, your future as an association, you have to use your data,” she says.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Ernie Smith.

  • 15 Oct 2020 8:11 AM | Deleted user

    Delivering useful, actionable information to members throughout their first year will have them ready to renew.

    So you’ve got a bevy of new members in your organization. Great news—but keeping new members engaged until renewal isn’t easy. Associations must captivate new members throughout their first year to build their member base long-term.

    “It’s about nurturing them in that first year because that is critical to them coming back,” says Rachael McGuffin, membership and community manager at the International Society of Automation (ISA). “You lose most of your members in that first year.”

    A drip campaign is an effective way to engage members, as it delivers personalized, relevant information. Some organizations run drip campaigns that last just a few months, but research shows that new members respond best to a campaign that lasts their full first year and is delivered through email, as association leaders rated email as their most effective engagement tactic for new members. Use these tips as you create your own yearlong email drip campaign.


    The goal of a first-year campaign should be to provide members with essential information that will help them make the most of their membership. At ISA, members receive four emails, one per quarter:

    • The first is about getting started, showing new members how to set up their member profile.
    • The second is about making connections, offering information about divisions within the organization that members can join.
    • The third is about staying informed, explaining how to get the latest industry news and content that will help them professionally.
    • The fourth is about getting involved, detailing how members can volunteer at ISA.

    “These emails actually had a higher open rate than any of our other emails at ISA,” McGuffin says, noting that this campaign’s key performance indicators (KPIs) exceeded industry benchmarks.


    Every email in ISA’s drip campaign directs members to a landing page with more information. Research shows that calls to action can have a dramatic effect on engagement—in some cases, a 371 percent increase in clicks.

    “You definitely want your call to action right upfront,” McGuffin says. “It’s about giving them something to do.”


    ISA’s new-member campaign is only one part of its communications strategy. Consider how frequently you contact members overall to determine an appropriate number of drip campaign emails. McGuffin has found that spreading out a small batch of emails across a full year has kept new members engaged without overwhelming them.

    “Talking to members too much might scare them at first,” she says. “They’re also going to be getting emails about our products and services, so we have to be careful not to bombard them.”

    The optimal email cadence will depend on your members, but organizations such as MarketingSherpa have found that most people would like to hear at least monthly from organizations they’ve done business with. According to SendGrid’s 2018 global email benchmark report, the nonprofit industry’s median monthly send rate is two emails a month.


    Email marketing automation platforms are powerful tools for drip marketing campaigns. You can set up a campaign that is triggered by a specific action—such as a member joining your organization—and from there, the series of emails is sent automatically. Each recipient is on his or her own timeline, so the message is always relevant.


    You can divide your group of new members into smaller groups based on location, age, areas of interest, and other factors. Many email marketing platforms let you segment your audience, so you can tweak your messages to cater to each group.

    “It adds a whole new level of complexity, and if you are able to do that, I say go for that,” McGuffin says.

    The result? Higher open rates and click-through rates, according to Klaviyo’s Email Segmentation Benchmark Report.


    Email marketing platforms track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and bounce rates. Compare these KPIs against nonprofit industry benchmarks to get a sense of how your campaign is doing. This will help you hone your campaign so you can better engage future members. And if you’ve done new-member drip campaigns before, you can see if there have been year-over-year improvements in engagement and renewals.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Michael Hickey.

  • 15 Oct 2020 5:01 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Change is an unavoidable part of life. 

    Some changes are positive, like a brilliant executive taking the helm or a sudden flood of funding transforming your association’s capabilities. Others can be difficult, like an economic downturn that prompts layoffs. And other changes are more mundane but no less monumental, such as the emergence of technology or shifts in language. 

    To survive and thrive, associations need to have change management strategies they can count on. 

    Having a change management plan that supports employees will help your organization evolve.

    Have a clear objective 

    By its very nature, change is disruptive. Before asking your entire organization to change its daily operations, it’s crucial to identify and articulate a clear objective. 

    Employees and members need to understand why the proposed change matters, what it will accomplish and how it will strengthen the organization in the long run. When organizations skip this step, widespread dissatisfaction can swiftly spread. 

    If you can demonstrate how a proposed change aligns with your association’s core purpose, you might be surprised by how quickly people adapt.

    Get the right people involved 

    Change isn’t just about telling others to do things differently — it also means listening to people with direct involvement in processes and trusting their expertise.

    When guiding an organization through a period of change, it’s important to make sure the right people are involved. 

    This doesn’t exclusively mean C-suite leaders.

    While some changes will be internal, others might even benefit from other sources of input. If your association is considering two equally promising courses of action, you could poll members or even the public to decide. The nature of the change at hand will help you determine who is best positioned to weigh in.

    As a general rule, the right people will bring lived experience, knowledge and insight to the table, helping your association to successfully move forward.

    Have an inclusive mindset

    Thoughtful, effective change management takes everyone into account. Every association is made up of people with diverse experiences, roles and identities. 

    These individuals may require slightly different support through times of change — and have unique strengths to offer.

    When assembling working groups or soliciting feedback, it’s crucial to include as many perspectives as possible. Not only is this a morally sound practice, but as the old saying goes, many hands make light work. 

    An inclusive approach to change management can help your association spot potential issues ahead of time, and come up with practical solutions. 

    Communicate like crazy

    Successful leaders never miss an opportunity to communicate with their teams. 

    When your association is experiencing significant change, a single email, meeting, or memo won’t suffice. Instead, leaders should spend time developing a plan for when and how to communicate—and reiterate—key messages.

    Though you might worry about nagging, repeating important information is rooted in empathy. During periods of intense change, your employees may need multiple reminders before they settle into a groove. 

    Reinforcing new information will help everyone cope with any bumps along the way, and help managers avoid making any one employee feel singled out. If you feel like a broken record, you’re doing something right. 

    With excellent communication and thoughtful inclusion, change management doesn’t have to be intimidating. With enough practice, your association will become nimble enough to weather changes big and small.

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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