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Sector and AuSAE News

  • 09 Sep 2020 10:21 AM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    Associations are rallying and coming up with solutions they might not have thought of before the pandemic. Here’s a look at what one small-staff association with a tight budget is doing to keep its community close in difficult times.

    In a recent article, I covered member engagement strategies some larger associations with deeper pockets were using. I also wanted to see what smaller associations were doing to engage and retain members with fewer resources. I spoke with Lindsay Currie, CAE, executive officer of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), who shared four ideas.

    Talk it out. People are lonelier and more isolated than ever, she said. They don’t have typical pathways to interact with colleagues in their own organizations, and they aren’t meeting new people at in-person conferences. Recognizing that members were missing the connectivity of community, CUR established CUR Conversations, a low-cost way for members to connect on a video-calling platform.

    Any member can propose a topic for the call, which is limited to a specific number of people. Members can join the casual forums to discuss hot topics, issues they are struggling with, success stories, and more. The calls connect members who don’t know each other, which eliminated a stumbling block for members who didn’t know who to contact, Currie said. CUR sends out an email inviting members of the community to get together and share ideas for an hour on the video calls.

    “We don’t have to develop any content, and it’s not a heavy lift for us, but members are getting a lot of value out of being able to connect with their colleagues,” she said.

    Take five. Knowing that people are short on time and overloaded with emails and articles, CUR developed Five in Five, videos that provide five tips, solutions, or answers to questions in five minutes. The association recently created a Five in Five video on how to better leverage their online community platform, and a member provided five tips on how to host a virtual symposium.

    Since CUR’s small staff doesn’t have any video technical skills, Currie said they use an inexpensive platform called Animoto to produce polished videos very quickly. The videos are uploaded to CUR’s YouTube channel and then shared on various communication platforms, which allows CUR to find members where they are.

    “We wanted to focus on things that would support our members when they had time and bring them together. They’re the experts. We’re the facilitator of the conversation,” she said.

    Welcome aboard—again. Many of CUR’s members have been with the association for a long time, so they realized they needed to launch a re-onboarding campaign to update members on new benefits they might have missed.

    They highlight one area of CUR benefits each month and explain how members can access the benefits and use them. They recently launched the first in a six-part series, and Currie said the click-through rate was very high. “We’re really trying to reengage our members and remind them of the benefits we have right now,” she said.

    A month of thanks. In November, CUR will launch a month of thanks with a Twitter takeover. The association will ask members to share positive stories to provide an opportunity to celebrate within their community and exchange ideas.

    The silver lining in all of this tumult, Currie said, is that associations are coming together and finding new ways to share. Another positive is that people are much more willing to test and try new things. “None of us are experts in this environment,” she said. “Being willing to test is critical.”

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

  • 03 Sep 2020 3:16 PM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    The “Hub” — a stand-alone entity of the Australian Council of Trade Unions — brings unions together to share best practices and ways to leverage the iMIS for Unions software.

    Advanced Solutions International (ASI), a leading global provider of software and services for associations and non-profits, and the company behind the iMIS Cloud Engagement Management System (EMS)™, announced today that the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ (ACTU) newly launched Union Innovation Hub is ASI’s latest Authorised iMIS Solution Provider (AiSP).  Learn more at:    

    The Union Innovation Hub is a standalone entity supported by the ACTU — the peak body for unions in Australia.  It will allow all ACTU-affiliated unions and their 1.6 million members to take advantage of the most modern member platform in the world: iMIS for Unions.

    To date, many unions have been forced to develop their own customised system or modify existing CRM systems to work for the union environment.  Customisations were expensive, time-consuming, and inefficient.  Complex integrations with events, marketing, campaigning, finance systems and other third-party solutions resulted in data siloes that made decision making difficult.

    iMIS for Unions Software — cloud based and powered by Microsoft Azure — is specifically designed for unions and fuses database management and web publishing into one single engagement management system (EMS)™.  It provides a single record of truth for all union members and constituents. 

    The “Hub” will help unions achieve growth, efficiency and impact by fast tracking progress and reducing the cost of digital and other innovation. It will also serve as a “user group” for unions already using or moving to iMIS and ensure that its learnings and best practices related to member engagement, onboarding, scoring, member journeys and more are shared across the movement.  

    The iMIS for Unions template has been built by union people for Unions. The staff, organisers portals and modern, engaging and dynamic website, will change the way unions can engage with their members.

    “We are excited to work with ASI and iMIS to bring the benefits of the Hub to union members across Australia,” said Chris Walton, Chief Executive Officer, of the Union Innovation Hub.  “Through the Hub, unions and their members will benefit from a system that’s specifically designed for unions, supported by central expertise and fast-tracked implementations based on proven, effective union templates.”

    “The Union Innovation Hub is a game-changer that will be a huge advantage to ACTU’s members,” added Paul Ramsbottom, Managing Director of ASI Asia-Pacific.  “Unions will no longer have to do everything on their own — they can collaborate with their peers, leverage the strength of their collective knowledge, and learn from the best practices of those who have gone before them.  ASI is proud to be an integral part of this initiative which brings best of breed software iMIS to the union community in Australia.”

    About ACTU and the Union Innovation Hub The Australian Council of Trade Unions is the peak body for Australian unions, made up of 38 affiliated unions that together represent about 1.6 million workers and their families.  Created in 1927, the ACTU coordinates union campaigns, represents workers at a range of government and non-government forums in Australia and overseas, and provides industrial, policy and other support to affiliates. Its head office is in Melbourne, with smaller offices in other state capitals.  Learn more at

    The Union Innovation Hub is a stand-alone entity supported by the ACTU.  It helps unions retain members, achieve efficiency, improve organising, campaigning, and growth through the use of new technology and other innovation. The Hub wants to see growing, innovative unions positively impacting workers and society.  Learn more at

    About ASI Advanced Solutions International (ASI) is a leading global provider of cloud-based software to associations and non-profits. We're the company behind iMIS Cloud, the Engagement Management System (EMS)™ that empowers you to engage your members anytime, anywhere, from any device. Since 1991 we've helped thousands of clients grow revenue, reduce expenses, and improve performance by providing best practices, pragmatic client advice, and proven solutions. Learn more at .

  • 02 Sep 2020 2:43 PM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    Switched-on Membership Managers are looking to proven techniques to cut through the digital clutter now increasingly getting in the way of growing relationships with Members.

    Things may just have gone full circle as Members become increasingly difficult to connect with.  Rather than throwing up your hands, it’s worth examining what you are doing to recognise your valued Members – and then what you can do to nurture these relationships for mutual gain!

    Loyalty programs need to reward Members according to the value they bring to their organisation. So if you’re not segmenting, then you’re at risk of rewarding Members who are bargain hunters anyway and who aren’t going to be loyal. Why not consider analysing your best Members according to their frequency and offer them the best rewards, rather than giving everyone the same rewards?

    The problem with an emphasis on short-term gain is that it ignores the fundamental tenets of lasting relationships and the conditions that breed Member loyalty. It also forgets that in a world of multiple channels and near-infinite product choice, Members remain fixated on valuable experiences with organisations they can trust.

    Until an organisation understands who their most valued Members are and what their drivers are for their patronage, they really are at sea. As all the marketing theorists and practitioners will tell you, it costs in the order of ten times as much to acquire a new Member as it does to retain an existing one. For that reason alone, it’s useful for any organisation to have an integrated loyalty program that will identify who your most valuable Members are, what their drivers are and what your best Members look like. That should then shape your marketing program. Sounds simple – well it actually is!

    Segmentation then becomes the first step towards determining who your best Members are, analysing their needs and tailoring communication in line with what you’ve learnt. This then serves as a guide for acquiring potential Members who share the same profile as those you wish to retain.

    Before we go into some universal ‘must do’s’, lets briefly examine some of the reasons for having loyalty programs in the first place. This is clearly where it starts – and finishes if you don’t have the ‘ammunition’ required to convince the ‘bean counters’ that this can – and should be included in the ‘things’ you do to achieve and exceed your activity goals!

    The following are some of the key reasons BRewarded advocate that you consider implementing a loyalty program at the core of their marketing activities: 

    • Lets you differentiate yourself Having your own company branded loyalty program is a distinct way to differentiate your Cause and stay front of mind amongst your Members. Here’s your chance to step out from the crowd and truly engage at a personal level.
    • Opens up the conversation with your Members Having your own branded loyalty and rewards program enables you to keep your Members consistently engaged with your organisation, brand and message. They can now receive promotions, checkpoints, balances and make redemptions on products or services.
    • Show that you care Offering an exclusive loyalty and rewards program to your Members correlates to how you value them, which then builds Member loyalty and true lasting relationships.
    • Shows that you’re progressive Demonstrate to your Members and prospects that your organisation is advanced in marketing and online initiatives and demonstrate your innovation towards your Member needs and wants.
    • Enables your Members to become your advocates Members will become advocates of your company as a result of the rewards you give them.

    And now to some of the ’must do’s’… 

    1. Segment your Members In order to determine who your most valuable Members are you typically need to go through the process of ‘slicing and dicing’ them into clear groups that represent different values to your organisation. This then enables you to determine how best to engage with each group.
    2. Get the matrix right! Developing an effective loyalty program takes time and careful consideration. Many call it a science! The ‘give and the get’ can be measured to the dollar and, as part of our ‘getting the matrix right, we encourage you to explore where you could potentially take your valued Member relationships – and then map out over time how to get there - profitably.
    3. Develop your Communications Program Loyalty communication is not a promotion – it is a program! We usually allow 6 to 12 months to ‘witness’ the results that we seek. Patience is a virtue in this regards.
    4. Reward each and every Member Key to the success of growing your membership programs is to ensure that your Members remain on your ‘radar screen’ – best achieved by simply rewarding them! While the level of reward may differ, offering a base level of reward to all Members is key to driving the results we seek.
    5. Get your systems in place Busy Members have a basic expectation that they will not need to change the way they interact with you – so having systems in place to seamlessly collect transactions – whether at point of sale or via your backend systems is key.     
    6. Measure your results Like all good marketing, your loyalty program needs to be measured for its effectiveness. For only through effective measurement can you effectively determine what needs to be tweaked to deliver the best outcome. With your program in place you are at least in the game – and best able to keep your marketing program in line with the needs of your valued Members.
    7. Exceed their Expectations The easiest, and possibly the most affordable way to build Member loyalty is to satisfy the Member. At least it used to be! Today, Members not only want their expectations met or satisfied, they want them exceeded. Commonly known as the Golden Rule, this practice is fading quickly.

    “Listening offers data. Hearing offers empathy and intelligence. Activity, action, and engagement steer perspective and encourage a sense of community and advocacy.” – Brian Solis 

    So there you have it…identifying who your valued Members are – and developing plans to grow your membership by simply engaging with what is important to them is not new. And with the tools we now have at our finger tips, there really is no excuse to ‘getting real’ with your most valuable asset, your Member base.

    Ivan Schwartz is the Director of BRewarded, a specialist loyalty solution provider based in Sydney, Australia. For more information you can connect with Ivan via Linkedin or go to the website    

  • 02 Sep 2020 11:41 AM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    COVID-19 upended most 2020 member engagement plans. But it also created an opportunity for associations to elevate how they interact with their members, according to a session at ASAE’s Virtual Annual Meeting. Here are three ideas to consider.

    Membership engagement, like many things, is having a “that was then, this is now” moment.
    Associations learned that they needed to respond to member needs immediately to help them do their jobs effectively in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Suddenly it was less about a linear, one-way flow of information—and more about listening to what members needed in the short term.
    “Engagement used to be transactional,” said Susan Cato, senior director of digital communications at the Association of American Medical Colleges, during the “Member Engagement 2020 and Beyond: Everyone Wants It, but What Does It Mean?” session at ASAE’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting & Exposition. Engagement used to be all about reading content, clicking on a link, and conversions. The current crisis has presented an opportunity, she said, to “elevate the way we interact with each other around a shared purpose.”

    Give members power. 
    AAMC created a collaborative resource with clinical guidelines on COVID-19 so its members—composed of teaching hospitals and medical schools—could quickly share potentially life-saving information with each other. Cato said AAMC was focused on putting the power in members’ hands.
    For example, as AAMC assessed how to transition to a virtual meeting, they knew they had to get member buy-in. After listening to members and hearing that they wanted more content related to combatting racial injustices within healthcare and current challenges in public health, AAMC quickly created an entire series of content based on those two high-priority issues in partnership with members and people in the community.

    Flip the script. 
    Letting members tell the story became a focus for the Food Marketing Institute, said Margaret Core, CAE, vice president of marketing and industry relations. FMI opened its virtual meeting with footage of members talking about the importance of grocery stores and communities during the pandemic, the role they played, and how they gave back to their communities. “Opening the event with the stories was so powerful,” she said. “That’s engagement: We let the actions of our members tell our story.”

    Put members first. 
    The rules of engagement became more about building loyalty, the power of the brand, and giving members access to resources and connectivity in a time of need, according to Erin Lee, vice president of marketing operations and customer experience at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

    BIO’s members were on the forefront of helping to develop solutions to the pandemic, so as the organization transitioned its in-person meeting to a virtual one, BIO surveyed members to find out what would be most helpful for them. “We focused on being a service to the industry,” Lee said.

    BIO Digital was held in June with over 7,000 participants from 64 countries across 28 time zones—no small feat. To foster a spirit of connectedness, BIO changed the meeting’s tagline from “Beyond” to “Nothing stops innovation.” Then, in advance of the conference, the group mailed all speakers a custom mug with the new tagline. Lee said while it was a premium price point, it was worth it because it gave speakers brand recognition onscreen that reflected togetherness.

    “We will continue to be disrupted,” Cato said, “and we need to be prepared to ride this roller coaster together.” The thinking has shifted to a more participatory process where associations are partners with their members to create value. “We are co-creating the future together,” she said.

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

  • 02 Sep 2020 11:22 AM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    Your association’s next great project won’t necessarily come out of a brainstorming session. Keep an eye on your staff and members’ individual experiences too.

    Talking to 100 associations will give you a few ideas about how to run an association. More than 100, even.

    One of the fun parts of being part of the team that worked on the “100 Associations That Will Save the World” package in the latest issue of Associations Now is the sheer range of ideas coming out of the organizations that are featured. Whether the emphasis was research, education, government relations, public safety, or something else, there’s a breadth of ways that organizations are meeting their mission and making a difference in the wider world.

    But one thing that struck me in the course of working on my own batch of stories for the package is that the range isn’t just about the ideas themselves, but how they come into being. The germ of a great idea doesn’t always come out of a volunteer committee or a senior-staff meeting. Sometimes they come from one person having a singular, enlightening experience—and an organization that’s savvy enough to take that experience and make something of value from it.

    Consider the case of Sapna Budev, now executive director of the Sign Research Foundation, who had an epiphany when she attended a conference on wayfinding and saw that three important stakeholder groups needed a way to better communicate with each other. That realization led to the creation of a manual that’s now the primary guiding document on wayfinding signage.

    “There were all of these different areas where people were just a little bit ignorant of each other’s needs, through no fault of their own,” as she put it.

    Jane Moore, CEO of the Missouri Hospice and Palliative Care Association, had that kind of experience when a state budget manager told her that if she was going to appeal for funding for end-of-life care, she needed to be able to show how it was going to save the state money in the long run. And at IEEE, a member worked on telecommunications projects to support people displaced after natural disasters in India—an experience that inspired IEEE leadership to make that idea scalable.

    The solutions that came out of these singular experiences started with one person fostering their curiosity about the problem they were seeing. When Budev noticed the communication problem within the signage community, one of the first things she did was figure out whether it had already been addressed.

    “I wondered if there was something that existed that was a user manual—not a book, there’s tons of books on wayfinding—but something that the average layman could pick up and understand all of the steps in a very simplistic way,” she told me. “The costs associated, what kind of materials are the right ones to use, what kind of design process they should expect, like a timeline, all of these things.” Turns out, that simple manual didn’t exist, until the organization took the initiative to make one.

    Associations have a lot of established ways to gather up ideas: mind-mapping sessions, ideation retreats, and so on. But good ideas don’t always come out of such deliberate contexts. Often they come out of an individual experience or challenge—one that might vaporize if organizations don’t encourage people to surface them.

    Making those ideas visible can help make them actionable. An article at Association Success published earlier this year spotlighted the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America, which created a physical space in its offices—dubbed a “parking lot”—that preserved those kinds of “why don’t we … ?” or “I just noticed …” ideas. Collecting them in this way allows the organization to sort and prioritize. More importantly, they don’t slip through the cracks, and employees see their ideas as valued.

    Not all of those ideas will be winners. But neither are all that come out of that dedicated ideation session. The crucial thing is that you create an environment where those stray ideas get a chance to be heard. You might uncover one that’ll be worth keeping for 100  years or more.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Mark Athitakis.

  • 02 Sep 2020 11:13 AM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    Despite the challenges of remote work, employees are more committed to their jobs. The leader’s job is to make sure technology supports their commitment, instead of standing in their way.

    Workers may not like the reasons why they’ve been working at home in 2020. But even with the stresses of a pandemic and various challenges to work-life balance, they’re feeling good about remote work. According to research from the HR software firm Quantum Workplace, the percentage of employees who described themselves as “highly engaged,” spiked in the early months of the pandemic, in some cases more than 10 percentage points over the same period in 2019.

    Similar research from McKinsey & Company found that remote workers “are more engaged, and have a stronger sense of well-being than those in nonremote jobs with little flexibility.” Leaders are taking the hint. According to a survey of CEOs by the accounting firm KPMG in July and August, more remote-friendly offices are in the works: More than two-thirds (68 percent) say they’ll downsize office space, and 76 percent say that plan to build on “use of digital collaboration and communication tools.”

    Remote work demands more than thrusting new technologies upon employees.

    This isn’t temporary, to hear the CEOs tell it: According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey conducted this summer, solid majorities of CEOs say that remote collaboration (78 percent) and low-density workplaces (61 percent) will be “enduring shifts” that will last beyond the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Whether employees are working better because they prefer the flexibility of remote work, or are digging in harder because they’re anxious about their job status in the midst of a recession, they’re clearly demonstrating commitment to their employers. But they deserve a boost from leaders to make sure they continue that engagement.

    Doing that right can be a matter of providing the right tools. Earlier this month my colleague Ernie Smith shared some examples of productivity software that equips workers to better manage work-at-home life and its attendant distractions. But leaders also need to be training up their workers for what a remote workplace culture looks like—after all, you likely didn’t hire for remote-work tech skills before 2020. So part of a leader’s job now is lowering the barriers to technology in your organization.

    It’s easier said than done. As two corporate chairs, Frank-Jürgen Richter and Gunjan Sinha, pointed out recently in Harvard Business Review, many organizations cite a lot of barriers to a remote-savvy workplace: “employee skills, lack of senior management awareness, lack of remote working opportunities, organizational culture, issues of complexity, cost and risk, and inadequate infrastructure.”

    To combat that problem, Richter and Sinha recommend building incentives for employees around technology—applying their engagement to performance review scores, for instance. But employers also need to make the investment in both tools and training. As they write, “rather than thrusting new technologies upon employees, organizations should provide them with the right training and support to better use and adopt those tools.”

    This isn’t just IT strategy: Richter and Sinha frame the issue as a cultural one, which I think is the right way to look at it. Every tech tool from Zoom on down is essentially a means to facilitate communication and collaboration, which is where your organization’s culture lives. As the McKinsey report points out, remote work doesn’t eliminate culture, but instead puts more pressure on leaders to emphasize it. “Having a foundation of involvement, fairness, respect, and equality can help employees adopt to new ways of working and interacting,” the report explains. “Building such an integrated culture now will only benefit organizations in the future.”

    Technology in itself won’t create your culture. But it’s worth making the effort to ensure technology isn’t standing in culture’s way.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Mark Athitakis.

  • 26 Aug 2020 5:51 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    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, Julie Dwyer, Communications, Media & Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Australian Physiotherapy Association. 

    In a short 30 minute interview we discussed four key questions with Julie to reflect on the last four months and look forward to the future post this crisis.

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

    As with all organisations across the country, COVID has had a huge impact on the physiotherapy profession, in particular private practitioners. The constantly updated health information, which has been different in each state, has been challenging for our members, as has the second wave of infections in Victoria with its increased level of restrictions.

    Member value has always been our top priority, so helping rebuild business support and ensuring our professional development options are accessible to all members, whether that be face to face or online, is very important. Our focus on key advocacy priorities is also going to be a big part of our continuing work – ensuring that the voice of physios and their patients is heard and valued particularly in relation to treatment accessibility, funding and scope of practice.

    Areas of concern

    The unknowns around COVID continue to cause concern for our members and staff, ie how the pandemic will affect our member renewal and acquisition programs, and what other key priority issues will emerge for us to prosecute fully for our members and their patients in the post-COVID world.

    The ability for our professional leaders and wider membership to congregate in person for events such as our annual conference as well as professional advisory council meetings is another longer term concern. While we have all learned to Zoom, FaceTime and Team-meet, it really isn’t the same as being together in a room to discuss, debate and agree on measures to best represent the profession.

    Areas of opportunity

    We have really learnt to move fast and communicate in new ways with our members over the past several months to support their needs; this is an area that we’ll continue to develop and innovate in. For example, instead of our long planned annual face to face conference and professional development courses this year, our professional development team pivoted quickly to virtual exhibitor show cases, job shows, live lecture series and an increasing number of online courses and webinars to engage and further enhance professional learning within our membership.   

    Telehealth is another area of opportunity for physios, many of whom had not taken up this option prior to COVID. In a matter of a few weeks the organisation put together fully detailed telehealth guidelines and significant FAQs to support members transitioning to this platform.   

    Celebrated moments in the last four months

    Definitely a key achievement has been how agile our communications and advocacy support has been for our members. We worked around the clock during the heady days of the 1st and 2nd waves of infection and our teams really stood up to the challenge. Fast, accurate and detailed communications has been a hallmark of our work and our members have appreciated that enormously in these uncertain times.

  • 26 Aug 2020 2:35 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Proving print’s alive and thriving in business-to-business (B2B) publishing, The Surveyor, published by Consulting Surveyors National, has recorded a stunning victory by winning top honours in the Best Single Issue category in the 2020 Tabbie Awards—an prestigious worldwide competition for publishers of business, trade and custom magazines.

    “The entire magazine is clean and easy to read. The style and tone fit the industry and are cohesive throughout. There is no wasted space, yet the issue is not cluttered,” the judging panel wrote in its comments about The Surveyor.

    Published for the Association of Consulting Surveyors by Brisbane-based publishing house TMPC, The Surveyor is a cutting-edge business title that profiles the incredibly important work of surveyors in Australia.

    “We started this publication to tell the stories behind one of Australia’s oldest professions,” Association of Consulting Surveyors CEO Michelle Blicavs explains.

    “Surveyors from Sir Thomas Mitchell and John Oxley explored and founded our original boundaries. But today, surveyors work on major infrastructure including Sydney’s second airport, inland rail and cross-river rail as well as greenfield housing developments.

    “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised for The Surveyor magazine. It shows that publishing is not dead and remains a vital source of information for the association sector and our members. While many main stream magazines have stopped printing, we are increasing our readership and subscriptions each issue.

    “The outstanding success The Surveyor has achieved highlights the importance of the tactile feel and nature of receiving something in the post or a hard copy to read over coffee and share with colleagues and friends. It allows us to highlight the achievements of our members, the professionals, their practices and their projects.

    “The Association sector has become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic providing support and advice to their members. This award recognition is a good news message for our industry.”

    Toni Brearley, CEO of AuSAE, the peak body for the association sector in Australia, agrees.

    “This award is recognition that associations have an integral role in providing quality information, celebrating and sharing best practice and upholding professional standards throughout their sector,” she says.

    TABPI president Paul J. Heney, says B2B journalism continues to thrive in what has been a difficult few years for publishing companies.

    “Even before the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of turbulence in both B2B publishers and publishing associations. The last decade has been a tough one to navigate with the Internet becoming a preferred source for many readers. But each year, the editorial and design work submitted for the Tabbies continues to show the astonishing journalism that continues to happen in this space,” Heney comments.

    “Around the world, editors and designers are doing quality work, meaningful to the industries they serve—and we’re proud to help spotlight it.”

    Complete results, along with selected comments from the judges and samples of the winning entries, are available at See online copies of The Surveyor at

    Media Contact: Michelle Blicavs – 0425 244 055

  • 25 Aug 2020 1:18 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    With small teams and big aspirations, association executives need to have a grasp on the way that strategy helps to shape their team’s use of technology. That’s a key takeaway from a virtual annual meeting that took place in home offices and living rooms, rather than a convention hall.

    For many association pros, technology is a common part of life, but understanding what it actually does to make your association better can feel a bit cloudy. (And not just because most of what we do these days is being managed in the cloud.)

    Association executives increasingly need to understand the integration of technology, especially if they are in a small-staff organization where there simply isn’t room for a dedicated technology executive on the team.

    The plus side is that many executives across industries understand this need. The Gartner 2019 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey found that, after growth, the second-most-important business priority for respondents was information technology, at 32 percent. In many ways, tech is the glue holding everything together, so it makes sense that leaders need to understand it.

    For attendees of ASAE’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting & Exposition last week, the concepts of leadership and management were key points of discussion during multiple technology-focused sessions, and “management” was not limited to the CIO or the head of the IT department. Often, the advice targeted the broader executive team, which benefits from having and implementing the right types of technology.

    For those who didn’t attend or haven’t had a chance to dive in, here are a few highlights:

    Executives need an understanding of how tech and strategy work together. In “Digital Strategy: How to Integrate Strategic and Technology Goals,” Tecker International senior consultants Duane Capuano and Donna Dunn broke down the ways that technology challenges emerge for associations, with the session centered on a case study involving the Society for Vascular Ultrasound. One thing was clear: Executive leaders often face challenges managing a digital strategy. Part of the problem comes down to the role IT plays, a resource that’s often outsourced or handled by a team without senior management experience. This can lead to strategic chaos.

    “Every department wants something different,” Dunn said of the challenges executive staff may face, citing examples of LMS platforms, databases, or AMS systems failing to work effectively or integrate across departments. “All of those things come up, and the person in that chair is going, OK, we have some challenges here.” Another problem, she said, is a lack of understanding by the board of a need for IT resources—something that executive directors or CEOs might have to make the case for.

    Leaders need to focus on the cultural shift. It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that things are working correctly on a project just because the deliverables are being met and there’s a go-live date. There needs to be a strategic focus on putting the right people on the team to ensure a large-scale technological process will take. This focus on change management was a key idea from “What Could Go Wrong? Navigating Your Technology Transformation Initiatives to Success,” led by speakers Jeremy Lurey of Plus Delta Consulting, LLC, and Lynn Plummer of SingerLewak, LLP.

    “These change efforts are complex, they’re multifaceted. It’s not just about programming the code; we can get great technologists to do that,” Lurey said. “It’s about having the right people involved in these projects from the beginning who are process owners and experts, who can deliver the process change we’re talking about.”

    Leaders who know their history may be able to make sense of the future. Lisa Rau, executive chairman of Fionta, designed her session, “The Future of Technology for Associations,” with leaders in mind who won’t attend ASAE’s annual Technology Exploration Conference, by offering insights on how to evaluate new technology with the perspective of what came before. Citing examples such as Moore’s law, Rau noted the way that technology suddenly emerges with such sophistication that its benefits are everywhere. “By the time that the technology is ubiquitous like this, it’s like we almost forget what the time was like before,” she said.

    In this context, evaluating new technologies and implementing them requires strategic thinking. “By and large, you want to be a fast follower,” Rau said. “You want to be proactive about evaluation of new technologies, but you really want to wait until the technology has achieved a certain market penetration and a certain level of maturity.” Some associations can get away with bleeding-edge technologies, she said, but most can’t.

    Whether your association is built around a small staff or a big team, it’s increasingly important to have an understanding of how these many pieces work together. Taken as a whole, this is what many of last week’s technology sessions hinted at.

    Because, let’s face it. As complex as this stuff is, there’s only so much handing off that you can do before it becomes a strategic problem at your doorstep.

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

  • 25 Aug 2020 1:14 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    With budgets tight, selling association products and services can be a tough. Using personas to identify members and prospects and then leading them to services that really meet their needs can boost the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

    With the pandemic touching every part of the economy, it’s crucial that marketing tactics target the right prospects and make them realize that an association’s products meet their needs. Creating the right personas and using the right lead generation can help associations achieve this, said Aimee Pagano, senior digital marketing advisor at HighRoad Solutions.

    “It all starts with the persona,” Pagano said.

    The persona can be fictitious—based on what you believe are the qualities of your ideal customer—or based on the characteristics of current members. “You are building a persona, whether that is a fictitious persona, or if it is really categorizing members into member segments,” Pagano said. “After that, every piece of information is going to further round out that persona.”

    A good marketing automation system—or data intake process coupled with manual campaigns—can help associations fill out their persona details. The key is to understand what each persona craves and steer them toward learning, events, research, and other products that are a good fit. While associations can align current member data to personas, they can also find nonmember prospects by using small bits of free content.

    “Lead generation is gating content behind a form. We call that a lead magnet,” Pagano said. She provided the example of a fictional persona called Mary, who is new to the association. “Mary would then download that [content] and the association would get her contact information and persona identifying information.”

    Information like where Mary works and what she does, such as whether she’s a manager or not, could be required for Mary to get the free content and would provide information for your database. “You want that so you can send them into the right channel,” said Pagano.

    The information would be used to slot Mary into a persona and provide her with the type of information that people fitting that persona typically want and need to better do their jobs. “If you were promoting a conference, you would map to that,” Pagano said. “There would be a nurture journey, where you send subsequent communications—maybe two or three—and give them more free content. The ultimate ask would be at the end: ‘You can get more great content like this at our conference.’”

    Pagano said to always watch the data with campaigns like this. “It comes down to what your data is telling you,” she said. “If you run this campaign and see people are downloading one piece of content and going directly into registering, then you don’t need to add content to the campaign.”

    As your industry changes the needs of people involved in it change, it’s important to keep personas and databases updated. “It’s not just set it and forget it,” Paganao said. “Once you categorize, then you’re setting up lists and fields and filters so that you’re creating those journeys based on the persona.”

    While associations may have data in their system about prospects or members, just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it. Mobile phone numbers would fall into that category. “[Text messaging] gets attention because people open 98 percent of them, compared to email opens, which are 35 percent,” Pagano says. “Texting is not good for getting people to buy, but for providing information, if they’re already at a learning session or event.”

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Rasheeda Childress. 

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