Sector and AuSAE News

  • 16 Jul 2021 6:25 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Before the pandemic, when talking about the future of work, remote work might have been a trend to consider. How things have changed. Now, remote work is the present, no longer the future.

    What else has changed? What new ideas do you need to include in your future scenarios planning? Granted, nothing is certain, but you can’t go forward without thinking through different outcomes and making sure your association is positioned to take full advantage of opportunities while minimizing risks.

    We’ve identified 11 emerging trends that could affect the future of work and create opportunities for your association and its professional development programs.

    #1: Accelerated Change Increases the Need for New Competencies

    During the pandemic, medical professionals had to ramp up their skills under crisis conditions to deal with a new infectious disease. Restauranteurs had to figure out a new carryout and delivery business model. Event planners shifted gears to become experts on virtual experiences.

    Your association’s leadership, professional development, and marketing teams need to respond quickly to changes in your industry. How long would it take to launch a new digital badge program when the next crisis or market shift hits? Think in terms of months, not years.

    During the pandemic, companies discovered that their ability to change direction and adapt to new conditions determined their viability. Their employees must have the willingness, capability, and resources to learn new skills quickly. Lifelong learning is now a corporate imperative. Seize new opportunities by continuously marketing the value of your online learning programs to both employers and employees.

    #2: Businesses Stuck in Place

    Are there companies and business owners in your industry that can’t easily switch from a “bricks and mortar” to an online business model? Will they remain viable? How can your association assist them?

    What about the ones who have developed a new online business model? What do they have to teach? What skills do they still need to learn?

    #3: New Leadership Skills are in Demand

    The pandemic revealed which leaders were equipped to handle change and which weren’t. Some people had the skill set to manage remote teams and some still struggle with that responsibility.

    People who are good at managing stable systems and processes aren’t necessarily the ones who can lead a team through times of change. The most successful leaders will be the ones who can manage amidst uncertainty.

    Leaders must be able to balance priorities, keeping an eye on both profits and people. They must ramp up their empathy so they stay in tune with the needs of their employees (and customers) during stressful times.

    Leadership now requires fumbling forward with grace, staying creative and curious, and taking advantage of emerging opportunities. Leaders must know how to nurture an organizational culture in which agility and innovation are prized, and relationships are built on trust and empathy.

    Your association can help your members and staff develop these leadership skills through online courses, discussion groups, masterminds, and book clubs.

    #4: Outcomes Matter, Not Hours Worked

    Going remote has been tough for managers who are sticklers for hours worked in lieu of results produced – in other words, lousy managers. However, organizations that have knowingly or unknowingly adopted a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) aren’t experiencing as many challenges.

    In a ROWE, results are the focus, not the number of hours worked. ROWE creates “a work culture where there is an equal balance between accountability and autonomy for every person.”

    ROWE only works if everyone understands the organization’s goals and how their work fits into the organization’s strategy. It requires a culture built on trust – and that means hiring and promoting the right people.

    Would employers in your industry – or managers in your association – benefit from learning how to implement ROWE or adopt similar practices and mindsets?

    #5: Millennials Setting the Agenda

    Millennials – the 24- to 39-year-old generation – are moving into management and leadership positions. By 2025, they will make up 75% of the workforce. Millennials have always been focused on work-life balance, which is especially challenging now when working from home. Watch for this new generation of leaders to influence organizational culture and workplace norms.

    Working conditions have become more flexible because of the pandemic’s unusual demands on employees’ personal lives. But this flexibility is something millennials have always valued – and it’s here to stay.

    In survey after survey, millennials have emphasized their interest in professional development. Make sure you have sufficient certificate/digital badge and online learning programs for early- and mid-career professionals.

    #6: Here Comes Gen Z

    Generation Z – ages 23 and under – are now entering the workforce. Gen Z takes professional development seriously because they know that’s how to get ahead financially and professionally. They understand the need to pivot and adapt to keep moving forward.

    Gen Z values early-career resources, such as information about career pathways, networking, interviewing, and navigating your industry, particularly when working remotely. They’re an eager audience for introductory certificate programs and digital badges.

    This is a generation that never knew a world without the internet. They grew up learning new skills from watching YouTube on their phone. Are your online education programs compelling enough for them? Can they access everything you offer on their phone? If they can’t do something on their phone – like join, renew, read, network, learn, register, or purchase – they may never do it.

    #7: The Rise of HR

    The role of the HR department has become more significant as companies adjust to a permanent state of remote work and the need for effective diversity and inclusion initiatives. New training needs are emerging, for example, communicating with a virtual team and cross-departmental collaboration.

    Staff hiring, onboarding, and training has moved online. If you don’t have relationships with the HR teams at industry employers, now’s the time to start building them. Talk to them about partnering on corporate training programs.

    #8: Scalable Staffing

    Many organizations are laying off staff or freezing hiring until they can stabilize their budgets. The outsourcing trend is still going strong since it allows companies to “staff” up without worrying about benefit packages.

    Keep an eye on outsourcing trends in your industry. If more professionals are becoming freelancers (independent contractors) or solo practitioners, they will need industry-specific training in business management.

    #9: The Urban Exodus

    As remote work becomes permanent for some companies, their staff no longer have to pay higher rents or mortgages to live within commuting distance of the office. They can live and work anywhere.

    Companies can downsize or give up expensive office leases. As a result, office and apartment rents, as well as housing prices, could fall, as people move out of metropolitan areas. Expensive cities could become more affordable.

    What impact could this have on your chapters after the pandemic? For example, they could still have a geographic focus but offer a mix of in-person and virtual activities to a larger audience beyond their metropolitan area. You may need virtual chapters to serve those who’ve moved well away from population centers.

    #10: Intensified Challenges for Women

    Women are shouldering extra responsibilities during the pandemic, particularly childcare and virtual schooling challenges. For many, this situation is not sustainable. One study found that women are nearly twice as likely as men to report that they will leave their workplace within the next year.

    How can your association help women who are experiencing career setbacks? Can you find ways for them to stay involved in their professional community? Consider alleviating leadership burdens for association and chapter volunteers by sharing responsibilities and leveraging technology.

    #11: The COVID Divide

    Many companies have begun to invite their employees back to the office, but some may choose to continue working from home. They may not be willing to brave public transport or spend hours around other people all day. Will this result in a two-tier culture – those who see each other frequently in the office and those who are out of sight and, perhaps, out of mind?

    The same phenomenon could happen when in-person conferences and other on-site training programs return. Will you continue to serve your virtual audience as effectively as you serve your in-person audience? Are all your educational programs available online or will people have to attend in-person programs if they want to earn certificates or CE credits?

    The pandemic caused an acceleration of digital transformation for associations. In a matter of weeks, the way we work and deliver value to members changed and may never go back to what it was before. But these changes also bring opportunities as disruptions continue to affect your industry’s workforce and new educational needs emerge.

    WBT Systems has been helping Associations, Extended Enterprise and Training Organizations to build and improve education and certification programs since 1995 by offering a world class Learning Management System, TopClass LMS. Learn more at

  • 16 Jul 2021 6:21 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    New research suggests the pandemic changed the needs of association members. Leaders will have to spearhead creative responses.

    What do your members and customers value?

    That shouldn’t be a scary question: Associations are used to paying close attention to what services people find useful and which benefits people find attractive. But the pandemic has disrupted clarity about that, along with much else.For example, see the latest edition of Marketing General Inc.’s Membership Marketing Benchmark report, which includes some sobering findings. In addition to the familiar news about meetings taking a hit, membership has suffered a blow as well: Nearly half (45 percent) of associations surveyed reported a decline in membership renewals, doubling the rate of the previous year. And a larger proportion of associations say they’ve seen a decline in new member acquisition (37 percent) than those who’ve seen an increase (29 percent).

    According to the report, a key factor in getting those first-time members has been its value proposition: “Associations reporting increases in their new members and overall membership in the past year are significantly more likely to say their association’s value proposition is very compelling or compelling.”

    Addressing weak membership numbers may demand a more holistic approach—and more ambitious thinking about what members want from you.

    Associations say they haven’t been sitting idly by: 78 percent of the survey’s respondents said they’ve developed “new products and services to assist members and member companies.” That’s meaningful, though I do wonder how much of the innovation being trumpeted by respondents involves much beyond launching a virtual conference in 2020. Addressing weak membership numbers may demand a more holistic approach—and more ambitious thinking about what members (and potential members) want from you.

    I was thinking about this while reading about a recent effort by the magazine Outside to move away from its familiar subscription model to one that more closely resembles an association membership. As The Washington Post reported last week, Outside is a legacy brand that’s been pummeled by weak ad sales and an internet audience that expects free content. Robin Thurston, who bought the magazine in February, thinks he’s found a fix: Rather than peddling magazine subscriptions, he’s selling memberships around the lifestyle that the Outside audience represents.

    That involves a $99 annual fee that includes access to not just the magazine but other publications, books, apps, online courses, and reduced entry fees to athletic events. That doesn’t sound radically different from an association membership’s familiar mix of content-plus-education-plus-events-plus-discounts. But as professor Sharon Bloyd-Peskin told the Post, the heart of Outside’s effort is to put it at the center of member’s everyday lives: “Here’s this brand saying that a magazine or two is part of our value proposition, but what you are really buying is a whole package of things that you’re used to paying for.”

    And that’s the challenge that association leaders have to address now: What puts your association front-and-center in members’ professional lives, when so many of them have had their professional lives upended? Thurston’s bet may not pan out—it depends on converting 10 percent of online readers to members, which is a big lift. But it recognizes that standing still will mean falling behind.

    In Fast Company, Tadiran Group CEO Elad Peleg points out that legacy companies have a hard time accessing their “inner startup” because they’re used to their tried-and-true processes. To resist that, he proposes a kind of “genetic therapy”: Looking beyond revenue growth and closely studying what products and services people actually use, and whether they sustain their engagement over time. Associations can get caught in similar ruts. Now is a good time to start breaking out of them.


    Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel

    this article will was originally posted at associations now

  • 16 Jul 2021 6:05 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    It was a casual remark by my Society’s treasurer that led me to rethink the final stage of my membership renewal campaign.  He recounted a conversation with a colleague who hadn’t renewed his subscription believing it was “just too hard”.  Luckily my treasurer, always keen to collect revenue, was happy to demonstrate this wasn’t the case, his colleague even saying as much.

    This got me thinking.  What if other members were not renewing their subscription for the same reason?

    Our members have a generous three month’s grace to pay their renewal subscription.  During that time, they’d been sent several reminders, all focussing on membership benefits and why they should renew.  With just a week to go before subscriptions would be auto cancelled, I decided to send a final email laying out step by step, with screenshots, how to renew.

    The campaign was sent to 231 members.  The subject was: GSNZ membership - final reminder, so it was clear what the email was about. 

    In spite of this, it achieved a 58% open rate and a 25% click rate. 

    We collected subs from an additional 57 members on the back of this ‘last ditch’ email, which is approximately 8% of our total membership.

    We updated our membership database a year ago, so this was the first time we’d used this software for our renewals.  This unfamiliarity possibly contributed to some members’ hesitancy to engage. 

    That of course won’t be known until next year, but I will certainly include at least one ‘how to’ email in my renewal campaign in 2022.

    Nicki Sayers,  Geoscience Society of New Zealand.

    If you have any other good news stories please share with the AuSAE NZ team
  • 09 Jul 2021 1:57 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    One hundred thirty-one association executives recently earned their Certified Association Executive (CAE®) credential from the CAE Commission of ASAE, joining more than 4,600 industry leaders worldwide who hold the distinction.

    The Summer 2021 class of CAEs successfully completed the CAE examination administered nationwide May 1-14, 2020. They will be honored, along with the Winter class of CAEs, during the 2021 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition on August 13-18, 2021. A full list of the Summer 2021 class can be found at the end of this release.

    “Earning the CAE demonstrates deep commitment to the association profession and the communities we serve. The competencies measured and knowledge gained through the certification journey enhances careers, benefits organizations, and ultimately, serves the public at large through the work CAEs do every day,” said DJ Johnson, IOM, CAE, chair of the CAE Commission and VP, Membership and Volunteer Engagement for the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

    The CAE Program elevates professional standards, enhances individual performance, and designates those who have acquired and have demonstrated the knowledge essential to the practice of association management. The CAE Program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

    For more details about the CAE, visit

    MEDIA CONTACT: Dani Mackey, 703-283-9698,

    Read the full ASAE release here.

    CAEs By Country, State Summer 2021 Class


    Jon Bisset, CAE
    Chief Executive Officer
    Community Broadcasting Association of Australia
    Enmore, NSW

    Lester Lambert, CAE
    Chief Executive Officer
    Restaurant & Catering Industry Association of Australia
    Greenwich, NSW


    Brett Jeffery, CAE
    General Manager New Zealand
    AuSAE NZ
    Rotorua, BOP

    Holly Morchat, CAE
    General Manager
    Association of Consulting Engineers of New Zealand
    Queenstown, OTA

    Hilary Beaton, CAE
    Executive Director
    Public Libraries of New Zealand
    Wairarapa, WGN

  • 09 Jul 2021 5:24 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Making onboarding all about the member is an excellent strategy for recruitment, retention, and engagement.

    “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” is a saying that applies to membership, says John Lingerfelt, CAE, senior manager of member communities at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. After all, retention efforts begin as soon as you start the onboarding process for a new member.


    It’s important to understand why a member has joined your organization. “You can’t put everyone in the same bucket and assume that they must all want the same benefit,” Lingerfelt says.

    Using information from surveys, member applications, and onboarding webinars helps to personalize the member onboarding experience and shows that you are prioritizing their interests and being responsive to them from the get-go.

    “You have to make sure the member feels like they’re not just a member of the organization, they are the member of the organization,” he says.


    Personalization makes the new member feel like it’s their association and that the organization has a vested interest in what matters to them, he says. That builds a foundation of loyalty that extends the lifetime value for a member, and they also are more likely to remain a member.

    It also increases recruitment efforts because a satisfied member is more inclined to tell their friends, colleagues, or businesses about the value they get from being a member, which can encourage others to join too.

    “If you really want your retention efforts to be fruitful, you have to start with personalization in the onboarding process,” he says.


    It goes back to: What’s in it for me? When a member joins an organization, they want to feel like they’re getting a benefit out of it—something that is important to them.

    For associations, it can result in increased retention or more members. “Word-of-mouth advertising is some of the best recruitment any organization can ever have,” Lingerfelt says.


    Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now

    originally published associations now

  • 09 Jul 2021 5:18 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    In-person events are making a comeback, but happy days are not quite here again. Labor shortages and rising costs are straining event planning budgets and putting a damper on the resurgence. 

    In-person events are on the road to recovery, but it’s one laden with potholes and detours. Rising costs on everything from venue rentals to french fries, along with widespread labor and staffing shortages, are challenges facing planners in the current landscape.

    F&B Staffing Shortages Raise Rates While Straining Service Standards

    Just how staffing problems are affecting services and amenities was apparent to MaryAnne Bobrow of Bobrow Associates Inc. when attending a meetings industry convention at a major Las Vegas resort in mid-June. She was stunned to find that a very high-end restaurant and a food court were the only dining options at the hotel, which had offered a huge variety of them prior to the pandemic.
    “Planners need to educate their stakeholders as to the current market with staffing issues,” she said. “I understand in some locations that busboys and dishwashers are being called to step up to work as chefs. Many of our supplier hospitality folks who are the most experienced have been gone for a very long time and will not return. Event facilities are still understaffed as many of their former employees have gone in other directions as well.”

    In some cases, these staff shortages are directly impacting event budgets, according to Renee Radabaugh, president and CEO of Paragon Events.
    “We have had conversations with venues about hosting an event and needing staffing surcharges to ensure the appropriate number of staff,” she said, adding that the problem is compounded by the fact that culinary teams are having to add labor for staffing buffets as self-serve is no longer acceptable in the Covid era.
    Managing expectations among attendees who think they will find pre-pandemic service levels at hotels and other venues is another current pitfall, according to Joan Eisenstodt of Eisenstodt Associates.
    “Demands on existing or newly hired staff are heavy,” she said, referring to reports from a colleague of poor banquet service at a recent large event. “I asked if the staff were new and was told that some were but many were ‘just out of practice.’”

    Staffing Shortages in All Sectors Are Pushing Budgets

    Jennifer Brisman, founder and CEO of VOW, is also finding that staffing shortages are being felt throughout the event industry, with both sales and production teams. “Everybody is challenged in getting the quality and quantity they need in terms of experienced staff,” she said.
    Brisman also noted that the problem is exacerbated by the number of companies vital to event planning that went out of business after the pandemic hit. “Where once you would send out RFPs to dozens of caterers and production companies, you now find that 50 percent of those resources are no longer there,” she said.
    However, Brisman believes that staffing shortages will ease as event business rebounds. “People are not going to bring on and train new talent without guaranteed business — they will staff up when the business is there,” she said.
    Jeff Goldstein, CEO of production company Legend Productions, similarly anticipates a return to relative normalcy. He doesn’t perceive the rising costs as necessarily inflated, suggesting instead that they are now rising to “pre-pandemic levels” after having been depressed through simple supply and demand shifts during the pandemic — though adding that in certain cases, “the labor market is even tighter than pre-pandemic levels, which may force staffing costs to go up, even if temporarily.”

    Brisman, whose company recently launched VOW Digital Health, an app that enables users to upload Covid test results or proof of vaccination, said Covid vaccination compliance and protocols are the key to getting the event industry, including staffing, back to a healthy state.
    “Clients are asking us if the whole event staff is vaccinated, so as the event industry becomes more vaccinated, it will be easier to satiate customers who request this,” she said. “It’s an ecosystem in which one affects the other.”
    Solving the event industry labor shortage may also require reforms in remuneration and working conditions, according to Eisenstodt.

    ”People in service jobs have left the industry, realizing there are other jobs that take place on weekdays, pay more per hour and bring respect,” she said. “For all the kvetching by planners about unions, it appears that union labor, which is experienced in what they do and often more loyal because they have representation, is more likely to return.”

    Rising food costs are another current challenge. While labor shortages are partially to blame, Eisenstodt noted that the unprecedented drought conditions over much of the Western U.S. is another factor impacting food supply. So are rising transportation costs.

    Another factor straining event budgets are increased shipping costs, particularly for overseas products, according to Brisman. She also said the increased demand for hybrid events involving both digital and live components is also bringing greater expense.
    Goldstein confirms that while many planners may already be familiar with the AV and production requirements of broadcasting content, those embarking on hybrid events for the first time will have considerable additions to their budget associated with things like camera kits and switching equipment, camera and engineering crew to operate, high speed dedicated internet and backup 5G, staffing to organize inbound traffic, tech checks, streaming tests, etc.

    However, planners who have engaged these services before may have a low tolerance for any sort of unjustifiable AV surplus charges. These planners are empowered both by their familiarity with event AV and by the expectation that venues and production companies be accommodating as they bring event business back with limited budgets and maximum wariness.
    “My client’s budget is very sensitive to AV charges,” said Magdalena Bonnelly, founder and CEO of Event Strategies, “so any kind of fee associated with bringing your own AV vendor is a no-go from the get go.” Her clients “will not go anywhere with an excessive surcharge for an AV contractor unless it’s rigging or power,” but said that this level of vetting at the sourcing stage has not significantly limited her options.

    Hotel Rates and Fees Are Following Suit

    While it may be possible to vet specific types of fees, hotel stays and venue rental costs are also on the rise. “The overall increase in room booking costs has been significant,” said Bonnelly, noting that a hotel she is considering for a large national sales meeting quoted room rates at $179 compared to $139 at the same hotel and time of year in 2019 — a 28 percent increase.
    This is hardly surprising given the setbacks suffered during the pandemic.
    “Hotels and venues who have been dormant for 12-18 months now are coming back on line and have pressure to perform and get back their budget numbers,” Radabaugh said. “They’re also seeing demand as the public gets more comfortable and excited about live events.”
    Along with higher rates, she said many hotels and venues are tacking on fees to cover the cost of Covid precautions. “Hotels and venues are charging for the extra cleaning, hand sanitizers and costs associated with staffing,” Radabaugh said. “It can be as much as 3 to 5 percent of a bill.”
    Notably, this Covid effect is not limited to first-tier cities. Client sensitivity to the risk of cancellation in cities like New York have pushed Bonnelly to consider second-tier cities that would normally be cheaper, but comparing New York and Baltimore for a corporate client recently, she was shocked to receive quotes that were more or less the same.

    “Normally the savings second-tier cities confer by way of lower room rates and F&B minimums give you a more flexible budget for other things, but the room rates were essentially the same. There are also new surcharges for complying with different Covid measures, like per-person fees for setting up outdoor spaces in addition to the per-person F&B fee.”
    This parity pricing could be because of disproportionately rising prices in alternative cities, but Bonnelly speculated that hotels in large metropolitan hubs like New York may be somewhat less inclined to try on inflated rates or foist additional fees on planners due, ironically, to the higher perception of risk associated with them.

    Dealing with the Rising Cost of Onsite Events

    What can event planners do in the face of rising expenses? One answer is to drive down overhead and operating costs and develop new efficiencies, Brisman said.
    “We need to look at how we communicate with vendor teams and customers,” she said. “At how we manage our jobs and how we can streamline and automate repetitive functions. We need to learn to take time back, so we can assure that time is optimized for the talent we do have.”
    Another strategy is to engage in long-term planning whenever possible, Brisman added.
    “This is a good time to be planning events that are several years out — the sooner you can lock in long-term dates, the better,” she said. “If you can book, say, three years out, you can get competitive pricing at some extraordinary spots.”
    A little grit can also go a long way. Bonnelly notes that she has had to be creative in balancing her clients’ interests with her other venue and supplier partners.
    “My corporate clients are very attentive to anything that might exacerbate a cancellation fee,” said Bonnelly, who has had to challenge cancellation fees and arbitrary fees that might drive them up at the sourcing stage. “If you want to get this business,” she tells her partners, “you have to start the cancellation fees at 15 percent, not 50 percent.”

    While she hasn’t received much pushback from hotel partners yet, demand is steadily rising and an obligation to make a firm commitment with a higher cancellation fee is likely to follow.

    If clients balk at rising event costs, Radabaugh said it’s important to make them understand the bigger picture.
    “Help them see that it’s similar to what’s happening in their personal lives, whether it’s higher prices at the grocery store or shortened hours at their favorite restaurant. It’s not the event planner adding to their personal budget.”

    Rashaad Jorden has worked as an Editorial Assistant at Skift since May 2021. But before joining the site full-time, he contributed several articles on a freelance basis. He has taught English at public schools in Japan and France, and holds a Master's degree in Responsible Tourism Management from Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom.

    originally published at EV=NT

  • 06 Jul 2021 10:39 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner, Advanced Solutions International (ASI), a leading global provider of software and services for associations and non-profits, is hosting a live webinar exclusively for Association & Non-Profit Executives on Thursday, 15 July 2021 at 11am to 12noon AEST/1pm to 2pm NZST on “Selecting a Cloud System”.

    The complimentary webinar will offer valuable insights, tips, and advice on how to make a successful cloud technology investment for your Association.

    ASI Asia-Pacific Managing Director, Paul Ramsbottom, will guide participants through all aspects of the cloud system selection process including:

    • Cloud 101
    • The procurement process when considering a cloud system
    • How to ensure your business strategy drives your technology investments
    • The real costs of pay-by-the-month cloud systems – customisations, integrations, and upgrades
    • Where accounting fits in the mix?
    • Common questions and concerns about moving to the cloud – including security, data storage, training, support, and implementation.

    Registration at

    ASI’s full schedule of webinars is at

    Association Executive Webinar
    with AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner, Advanced Solutions International

    Topic: Selecting a Cloud System – A Guide for Association Executives
    Date: Thursday, 15 July 2021
    Time: 11am to 12noon AEST / 1pm to 2pm NZST

    There is no cost to attend.

    About ASI
    Advanced Solutions International (ASI) is a leading global provider of products, programs, and services that help associations and non-profits improve operational and financial performance. Since 1991 we've helped thousands of clients grow revenue and reduce expenses by providing industry expertise, best practice advice, and proven solutions. 

    ASI is the developer of iMIS EMS, the world’s #1 association and non-profit software solution, and the only Engagement Management System (EMS)™ – fusing database management and web publishing into a single system – leading to operational efficiencies, revenue growth, and continuous performance improvement. Harnessing the power of Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform, iMIS EMS is purpose-built to meet the most important challenge facing associations and non-profits – Engagement. We have a global network of nearly 100 partners to provide you with a full range of services to implement and support your iMIS EMS platform.

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

  • 30 Jun 2021 8:52 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE), and Brancher, an evidence-based mentoring platform, have partnered to provide an exclusive industry-leading mentoring program to support association professionals in Australia and New Zealand.

    Toni Brearley, Chief Executive Officer at AuSAE, says, "We are delighted to be working with Brancher. Our mentoring program focuses on association leadership. It was developed to encourage experienced professionals in our sector to pass on their knowledge and experience to new and emerging professionals in the association and not-for-profit sector."

    Recent research found that 76% of professionals think that having a mentor is important; less than half (37%) have one now. "That's why we are so excited to announce applications are now open for our industry-leading evidence-based mentoring program. It’s an excellent opportunity for our members and association professionals to build their networks, strengthen their skills, and advance their career,” add Brearley.

    Holly Brailsford, the Co-Founder of Brancher, says, "We are incredibly excited to be partnering with AuSAE to roll out this mentoring program. We are excited to provide even more professionals with the opportunity to accelerate their careers, amplify their capabilities, and reach their potential through mentoring. What's exciting about this program is it's available for association executives employed in the not-for-profit sector. – regardless of where they are located, what career stage they are at, or what area they are working in."

    The eight-month mentoring program leverages technology to make mentoring and career development easy, personalised and digitally accessible. Program participants can meet their mentoring match when convenient and via a means that suits them. Additionally, participants can complete the online training at a time and place that suits them. And it’s a self-driven development program. That means each participant is in control of their development.

    Brearley says, "The mentoring program is just one of many benefits of being an AuSAE member and presents a great opportunity for our members to connect with and learn from one another. Feedback has been positive, and we are committed to providing opportunities for continuous professional development for association professionals.”

    For more information, visit or questions regarding the mentoring program; contact Brett Jeffery, General Manager NZ, at or +64 27 249 8677.  

  • 25 Jun 2021 6:01 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Time away from the expo hall might offer an opportunity to try things in a new way. Read on for ways to tweak your offerings in response to COVID-19—or just because it’s time for a rethink.

    In-person events are slowly coming back—but the time away from them offers an opportunity to rethink some of their common features.

    And it’s not just health and safety protocols that are getting a fresh look in the wake of COVID-19. The pandemic’s forced pause has given meeting planners a chance to see their events in a new light.

    With that in mind, here are a few areas you may want to consider refreshing before your next in-person event:

    1. SWAG BAGS

    During the pandemic, branded items, or swag, took a bit of a back seat to other priorities, giving event planners an opportunity to rethink the whole swag concept while in-person events were on break.

    One notable way this played out was the rise of tangible items mailed to virtual attendees’ doors, and there’s evidence that mailed swag may find useful life beyond the pandemic. How so? Well, The Wall Street Journal reports that the somewhat wasteful nature of swag has given way to a concept called “gifting as a service,” essentially giving swag recipients the option to get items that they are more likely to want mailed to their doors.


    Even as Americans continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s still important to come up with ways to manage exhibit halls so that they are more spread out and don’t cause crowding. The blog for Kalahari Resorts & Conventions has a few ideas for building exhibits with physical distancing in mind, including creating wider aisles, organizing booths in quads to allow extra aisle space, using dividers, and carving out additional space between exhibits.

    “Whatever modifications you make, be sure to communicate these with your exhibitors and attendees so they know your exhibit hall is designed with everyone’s health in mind,” the blog explains.

    As time goes on, there may be room to loosen these standards, but for now this could be an effective way to make room for social distancing while keeping the energy of the in-person exhibit hall.


    Codes of conduct were seeing big changes even before the pandemic, but in light of recent discussions about diversity, they have become increasingly important as a tool to ensure that members are following standards of professionalism that make strides toward inclusivity.

    One other type of document that could come in handy in an in-person environment is the meeting agreement, which gained attention during the pandemic as a way to help set a standard of comfort and engagement during virtual events. Given the discussions around giving attendees room for social distancing, it could prove an important addition to your in-person event repertoire, too.


    If associations hope to get people back at events again, they need to emphasize that the organization is taking safety seriously—a job that is likely to fall on an association’s planning team.

    With that in mind, creating a COVID-19 protocol document to keep attendees safe could be the way to go. Julie Ann Schmidt, CMM, CMP, the CEO of Lithium Logistics Group and a certified COVID compliance officer, told Associations Now about the importance of building a document like this back in February.

    “Your protocol document is your standalone document that states everything your association is doing to keep everyone safe,” Schmidt explained. “It encompasses several elements—from cleaning, to screening and testing, to transportation, and everything in between.”


    During the pandemic, concerns about going to restaurants were common, with the buffet facing particular challenges. While the business is slowly coming back, most notably to Las Vegas, consumers may be more wary of buffet-style dining than they used to be.

    Given that many in-person events traditionally have offered buffet options for attendees in the expo hall, a rethink is likely. Some observers, such as Sean Willcoxon of Mazzone Hospitality, see the buffet sticking around—but not in the form most people expect.

    “To minimize shared tools, buffets are no longer self-serve. Instead, attendants serve each guest,” he wrote for TSNN last fall. “While this may slow line speed and efficiency, health and safety must be the priorities.”

    As the Cvent blog notes, others see a move toward single-serving grab-and-go dining options, as well as meals pre-placed at seats during the event.

    Originally posted Associations Now 

    BY ERNIE SMITH / JUN 18, 2021

  • 25 Jun 2021 5:57 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Board nomination and selection can be a lengthy and complex undertaking. A study from the ASAE Research Foundation highlights how CEOs and other staff can support the process for better outcomes.

    The right combination of board members can make all the difference for an organization. Effective recruitment, nomination, and selection processes are critical to getting the right volunteer leadership, but CEOs have an important role to play in guiding those steps.

    Governance research from the ASAE Research Foundation shows that CEOs and other staff are invaluable in facilitating the process, establishing effective connections to qualified candidates, and providing insight into candidates to ensure that the board has the right balance of experience and competencies to drive success. The Board Member Competencies and Selection Study—performed by Mark Engle, FASAE, CAE, of Association Management Center and Texas A&M professor William Brown—found that CEOs and staff at associations with effective processes have a role in most aspects of board nomination and selection, though not all.

    Support the Process

    CEOs and other staff are responsible for making the nomination and selection process run smoothly. That means ensuring compliance with bylaws and other requirements, managing the administration of the process, ensuring that nominating committee members and other volunteer leaders are sufficiently trained and prepared, and attending meetings and documenting decisions.

    CEOs also have a role in defining and prioritizing competencies needed on the board. There is no single, most effective way to define the right competencies for an organization, but effective organizations define and recruit for needed competencies and diversity. CEOs can help volunteer leaders set priorities in relation to gaps on the board and organizational needs.

    Connect the Right Candidates

    CEOs and staff often serve as the first point of contact for candidates and make the connection between candidates and the nominating committee. Some CEOs and staff also keep a running list of potential candidates. After competencies are defined, CEOs or appropriate staff may reach out and recruit applicants from the list to fulfill competency gaps, advance board diversity, or provide other qualities sought for the board. This practice helps to ensure a highly qualified slate of candidates.

    CEOs and staff also must ensure that messaging around the process is consistent and accurate. Whether candidates are recruited or respond to an open call, each must receive comparable information about requirements and procedures.

    The connections they have with candidates also means that the CEO is the point of contact for those nominees who were not selected. Engle and Brown highlight the importance of compassion in this role. An effective practice cultivates relationships regardless of the outcome for the candidate.

    Provide Insights

    Given their role in the organization, CEOs often have valuable insight into candidates’ background, participation, and engagement within the association. CEOs and staff also ensure the consistency and integrity of candidate files.

    In some associations, the CEO may sit in on interviews and deliberations and provide input on whether certain candidates have qualities desired for the board. The CEO may be the participant framing deliberations in relation to the overall composition of the board. CEOs can also contribute by ensuring that the process yields one or more strong board chair candidates for the future.

    When to Step Back

    While CEOs have a valuable role to play, they must be careful not to bias the process. Engle and Brown developed case studies that highlight a variety of different approaches, but across all cases, CEOs and staff felt a responsibility for maintaining boundaries even as they sought to support their volunteers.

    To be effective, the CEO should focus on facilitating the decision-making process, not actively participating in it. When providing insight into candidates, the CEO should not weigh in on individual candidates but offer background information as requested. Though CEOs may participate in interviews or deliberations in some organizations, they should not be present during voting. 

    Originally published ASAE learning Centre

    June 22, 2021By: Jenny Nelson

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

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