Sector and AuSAE News

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

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

    Your role with us

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

    Primary functions will include:

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

    Additional skills will include:

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

    What we need from you

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

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

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

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

    Why a Business Model for Sponsorship Programs?

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

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

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

    What is the Sponsorship Business Case for Associations?

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

    What is the Sponsorship Business Case for Companies?

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

    What are Associations Selling? What are Companies Buying?

    Association members have four perceptions of companies:

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

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

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

    Can Associations Perform Like Marketing Agencies?

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

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

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

    How Can Associations Implement a Sponsorship Business Model?

     Here are six steps:

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

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

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

    by Bruce Rosenthal

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

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

    “Yes, if.”

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

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

    Instead, say, “Yes, if.”

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

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

    Do you see what we did there?

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

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

    by Dr. Michael Tatonetti

  • 30 Jul 2021 5:49 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    This question can give you hints to your purpose or remind you, in times of confusion, of one way to prioritise your next steps.

    My take:

    I’ve thought a lot about the activities, behaviors, and people who give me energy. But I haven’t thought as much about how I energise other people.

    I’m not sure how to answer this part of the question.

    Do I energise other people? I’ll be thinking about that for a bit.

    How would you answer this question?

  • 30 Jul 2021 5:40 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Search engine optimization changes with the times just like everything else, and what might have been true years ago isn’t necessarily still true. Here’s where SEO stands today.

    Search engine optimization can seem scary, thanks in part to the fact that it’s a moving target.

    What SEO looked like five or 10 years ago doesn’t necessarily fly today. That doesn’t stop some of the truisms of the past from sticking around years after the march of time has made them obsolete, turning best practices into hazy myths.

    With that in mind, here’s a little myth-busting to get you up to date on your SEO knowledge.


    Keywords are naturally a major focus for many SEO efforts. After all, they’re what people use to search. But after years of keyword-packed content filling search engines, there’s been a push to create less keyword-dense content that’s more useful to users.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t strategically use keywords, of course. It just means to be thoughtful about how you use them. For one thing, you need to be careful that you aren’t just building content around industry-specific jargon.

    Emily Patterson of the digital outreach firm Bee Measure notes that there can be a disconnect between terminology used within your organization and the ways your members actually look for information they care about.

    “[Associations] tend to use jargon, keywords, and things that are internal to their organization rather than thinking, ‘How do the people that we serve and the people in this field actually talk about things and search for things?’” she said in an interview earlier this year.

    Instead, the content should be driven by what the audience is likely to read and engage with in their own jobs. Understand the difference—and put the end user first.


    You’re building your platform on a laptop or desktop machine—clearly your users are primarily using a desktop too, right?

    Well, you’d be incorrect on that front. According to recent statistics from Statcounter, Windows and MacOS together make up about 37 percent of internet users—while Android by itself makes up 41 percent of users, and iOS adds another 16.07 percent. In other words, people are more likely to find your content on mobile than desktop devices, and as a result, you have to build for both.


    Associations famously have a lot of content spanning the entire spectrum of topics that might be relevant, and a desire to not get rid of any of it. After all, what if someone is looking for that random story of yours that you published six years ago?

    But the truth is, most websites get a large portion of their traffic from a small number of articles, and some of those less-visited assets can duplicate or harm the potential of what you already have by competing against your better-performing content. For that reason, an occasional content audit is worth doing, with an eye toward pruning.


    You might recognize this content strategy situation: You have multiple domains, and you’ve decided to publish the same thing in multiple spots to align with your mission. Or perhaps you’ve decided to syndicate a piece of content on an external site with a broader reach. Or you’re running a press release that lives on multiple pages online.

    Whatever the case, duplicative content can complicate your search traffic by making it so you’re competing against yourself for relevant search terms. Google directly says that this is a bad idea.

    “Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results,” the company states on its website.

    One way to manage this: If possible, have any sites linking to your content use a canonical tag, so it’s clear to search engines where the original source is.

    Myth #5: Your Site’s Speed Doesn’t Impact Its Ranking

    Does your site load so slowly sometimes that you feel like you’re still on dial-up? That’s a telltale sign that you’re not offering a great experience for your members—and search engines are noticing.

    Google is taking site speed seriously. It launched an initiative last year around what it calls “core web vitals,” which the company has recently started taking into account when ranking its search results, especially on mobile.

    For that reason, a major component of search engine optimization in 2021 involves optimizing the speed of your site, which can be bogged down by external scripts, poorly optimized servers, and a lack of caching. So good SEO might mean focusing on things you once hadn’t—like fast-loading websites.


    Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun.

    Article originally posted associations now

  • 23 Jul 2021 6:45 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    The past 15 months have put a damper on discussions surrounding pricing strategies. Many associations have chosen the path of social responsibility and dramatically reduced pricing on many of their offerings to keep providing support and services to members who are struggling.

    As we ease back into the world, now is the time to change your pricing strategy. Here’s how to do that.

    Why change your pricing strategy now?

    Many associations tend to look at pricing conversations as greedy. It's good to give value, but it's harder for us to set pricing based on that value. We often think that pricing (especially price increases) goes against being a purpose-based organization that's trying to do good —  but that's not the reality. 

    The reality is that correct pricing is all about financial sustainability. Pricing is the biggest lever to impact your bottom line. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Can you make it through another crisis like COVID-19? 
    • Do you have a reserve? 
    • Do you have the funding to keep programming going without having to cut anything? 

    If the answer to these questions is “no,” then now is the time to act. It’s not that your organization should be overpriced. That places a burden on your members and is also unsustainable. But you also can't undersell and be underpriced because then you can't fulfill your mission in the most impactful way possible.

    How correct pricing impacts your bottom line

    To realize how dramatically pricing affects your bottom line, take a look at these two scenarios. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say that in a $100 program, 70% of the price goes towards costs – admin, tech, events surrounding the program. We will use that as a baseline for both scenarios.

    Scenario 1: Offering a discount

    Your organization organizes a video conference for $100 and offers a 10% discount (a pretty average discount for many organizations). Most people would look at that discount and say, no big deal, right? We lose about $10 per person, so we need to get one more person for every ten that we sell to make the same amount of money, right? Wrong. 

    What you are doing is giving away 33% of your profit with no reduction in costs. That means that you need to increase enrollment by 50% just to break even. And it’s optimistic to think that the amount of work needed would stay the same, given the 50% increase in enrollment, so costs may go up (and profit down). Giving a 10% discount right now means you're losing money on this program.

    Scenario 2. Implementing a modest price increase

    On the flip side, if we look at that from a price increase perspective, imagine you raise that $100 to $105. That's not a big difference – the price of a fancy coffee. If you were paying $100 for something that you felt was valuable, surely you would pay an extra five bucks for, it right?

    But consider the impact: a 16% increase in your bottom-line profitability. In this scenario, if you were selling 100 seats, and you're making an extra $500, that's a small scale. But what about a $400 membership every year at 5,000 members? 

    The scenario you choose has the power to revive or kill your bottom line without much effort.

    Four steps to changing your pricing strategy

    Changing your pricing strategy – no matter the product or service – follows four steps.

    Step 1. Data analysis

    Data analysis looks at: 

    • How members/sponsors are engaging with your products
    • The value-to-effort ratio
    • Segmentation

    Each of these data points can offer insight into what prices you can change. Ideally, you want to see which products and services offer high value to your members with little effort on your part. There might be some offerings that are high-effort, but if they are also high-value, that’s a win.

    Step 2. Market research

    Market research uses focus groups and one-on-one interviews to determine what members need, what they want, and how valuable it is to them.

    This step helps you determine which products/services can be discontinued, and which areas to ramp up.

    Step 3. Market testing

    This step looks at the following two questions to refine pricing and offerings:

    • Based on our market testing, will we see an increase in our profits, or a decline?
    • Based on our market testing, can we provide more meaningful value to our members and our sponsors to best fulfill our mission?

    Depending on the answers, you may need to backtrack a bit and refine your strategy.

    Step 4. Execute

    This step is all about execution. Putting your new pricing strategy in place might not be quick  - you might ease into it over a month (or more). 

    You also need prepare for change management, both internally and externally. Externally, you're communicating an exciting change that’s coming because members asked for it. Internally, you’re building enthusiasm in your organization because nothing kills an initiative faster than a staff that has not bought in.  

    Pricing strategies are living things – consider how you will evaluate the change and what you might need to refine as stakeholders adjust.

    Easing into pricing strategy changes

    If your association has traditionally offered a wide variety of products and services, the idea of changing all of your pricing all at once can be daunting. The good news is this: you don’t have to change everything overnight.

    Start by asking yourself if there is a pricing strategy in place, and look at the last time you changed your prices. Figure out where you are and what you’ve done in the past, and then pick one thing - a monthly webcast, a membership, an event, a small product - and then take it through the four steps. Do the data analysis, the market research, and the market testing, and then execute the pricing change. 

    See how it goes, and learn from it.  You're going to get some things wrong, but guess what? You're also going to get a lot of things right. 

    Once you have this test pricing strategy under your belt, create an annual plan of how you're going to do this for all of your products. Commit to raising the price of everything every year. This doesn't mean that you're going to make a drastic value change to everything every year, but it does mean that you are going to strongly consider what that might look like. You’ll create an annual plan, and then every two or three years all pricing will be adjusted. 

    Normalize implementing the four steps of your pricing strategy on a regular, predictable basis for the benefit of all of your stakeholders.

    Originally posted at sidecar, Suzannah Kolbeck

  • 23 Jul 2021 6:25 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Marketing General Incorporated’s annual report on membership has some predictably dire findings. But there are also lots of positive trends and revelations about how associations weathered a mighty storm and never lost sight of meeting member needs.

    It’s probably no surprise that Marketing General Incorporated’s 13th annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report has some bad news, but there is also a lot of good—and intriguing—news. Let’s start with the bad news, and then move on quickly to the promising findings.

    Here goes: 47 percent of associations reported a decline in membership and 45 percent saw a renewal rate drop, which is pretty dramatic after only a 24 percent drop last year. Eighty percent canceled in-person meetings, which had financially devastating effects. “Far and away, it’s one of the worst years we’ve seen,” said Tony Rossell, senior vice president of MGI and the report’s coauthor.

    Ready for the good news?

    Overall, the long-term membership trend for associations remains positive. Nearly half of associations—45 percent—still show an increase in membership and 71 percent of associations said the level of member engagement increased this year. “An important point this year was that associations really did step up and meet the needs of members,” Rossell said.


    And that responsiveness paid off. Eighty-three percent of associations said they saw a significant increase in webinar participation, which is up from 53 percent last year. An impressive 78 percent of associations reported that they developed new products and services to assist members and member companies over the past year.

    And don’t ever underestimate the importance of a strong value proposition because it is essential for successful membership recruitment. Associations that reported increases in their new member and overall membership in the past year were significantly more likely to say their association’s value proposition is very compelling.

    “Associations really did rethink their value proposition,” Rossell said. “Whenever you have pain and challenging times, it’s a really great opportunity to rethink, innovate, and change.”

    There is no doubt it has been an extremely challenging time. There were panic lapsers—members who left because they lost their job, or their company was cutting costs. But Rossell remains optimistic because the people most likely to join an association are lapsed members.

    “You have a gold mine sitting in your database, because people have lapsed in the last few years,” he said. “If you go back to them, the likelihood of them joining is much higher than just going to a cold prospect.”


    In a drastically changing world, associations are a constant and still provide all-important professional development through certification programs, webinars, or other training. People want to keep their skill set up, whether they’re looking for a new job or trying to maintain their current position.

    The report found that there was a 57 percent increase in members attending professional development programming. And 37 percent of associations said they saw an increase in members accessing career services.

    “The best unemployment insurance you can buy is joining your professional association,” Rossell said, “because you have a career center, networks, and you can reach out to people.”

    Having a community to turn to in troubled times also mattered a lot, specifically members-only areas. The report showed an uptick in visits to members-only sections of websites—56 percent, up from 44 percent last year. And there has been a 53 percent increase in participation with private social networks, which Rossell said is a “revolution for associations.”

    That online accessibility, with people seeking information, community, and interaction, was a big step up in members connecting. “You’re buying into a community that can help you,” Rossell said. “That will be a powerful pull for associations.”


    Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now.

    Originally published associations now

  • 23 Jul 2021 6:19 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Managing through a pandemic has demanded new communication skills and no small amount of empathy. But it's also been a time to innovate, even as day-to-day operations are strained.

    Former President Barack Obama reportedly kept a plaque on his desk that stated this short and incontrovertible fact: "Hard things are hard."
    In the stark light of the pandemic, episodes of social unrest, and challenging economic conditions in the world, this quote has triggered my thinking around the circumstances that forge great leaders.

    In my experience, great leaders are made, not born. The genetic twists of fate that might give one person an accidental edge on an athletics track don't hold the same power for those who would be our greatest business luminaries. To successfully lead any business, to enable it to withstand continuous change while balancing efficiency and innovation, to build diverse, inclusive, and psychologically safe teams and unleash their collective intelligence, all of this requires a very special set of skills.

    A leader's innate ability to do their job -- the choices they will make, the perspectives they will work from, the judgments they'll employ -- will be a blend of the multitude of experiences they have had from birth to the boardroom. Some, like Fidelity Investments CEO and president Abigail Johnson (whose father built the company into a multi-billion-dollar behemoth), will have come from extreme wealth, and some, like former Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, from a humble, working class background. Some will have had a prestigious education, while others will have dropped out and made their own way from their earliest years. For example, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson started his first business after dropping out of high school at age 15.

    Clearly, the set of experiences that forms a leader's most fundamental instincts is as unique to them as their own fingerprints, but formative experiences aren't limited to childhood -- they continue to shape a leader's perspective throughout the entirety of their career. So what are the experiences that matter most? What are the conditions under which great leaders are uniquely forged?

    For me, it's relatively simple: What doesn't knock you flat will propel you forward.

    Great leaders acknowledge the emotional labor of their positions.

    Trying, uncertain times inevitably create change, and leaders need to know how to keep their teams going without inflicting whiplash. To navigate change while at the same time maintaining integrity and effective communication is a talent that's the preserve of a special few. It's not a skill set you can obtain through a master's degree, an MBA program, or any number of inspiring TED Talks -- it needs to be forged in the fire of actually leading teams through these challenging circumstances.

    While it has likely been tempting for leaders over the last tumultuous year to look enviously at our most celebrated technology companies, given their deep reserves of capital, resources, and sheer momentum, I will ask you to reframe that perspective.
    Not because it isn't an understandable sentiment. In countless areas of global business, leaders have taken a pandemic pummeling -- from travel and tourism to entertainment, dining, retail, and many other sectors, the cataclysmic changes that have occurred as a result of the pandemic have asked things of leaders that the multitude weren't prepared or adequately equipped for. From being confronted with eviscerated customer demand, suddenly unworkable business models, disrupted supply chains, and dispersed, unnerved workforces, the challenges experienced by leaders have been unique, incessant, and unyielding.

    The winners in this scenario are not the ones who didn't struggle. The winners are the ones who struggled and triumphed, because they will emerge from this crisis stronger, more adaptable, and more capable than ever before.

    The widespread brush fires that were ignited throughout innumerable businesses and threatened to engulf them weren't experienced in anything like the same way within many successful tech companies such as Netflix or Amazon (which experienced a boom as we stayed at home and, well, shopped and watched Netflix). Leaders in this group of companies have generally lived in a world where growth has been up and to the right for the last decade, and crisis fires seldom burn too hot. The downside is that their middle management won't naturally forge the critical leadership skills that come as a result of staring down fires and, one by one, finding ways to put them out.

    That's not to say there aren't lessons to learn or inspiration to draw from big tech. You just have to look back a little further. Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple forged new paths and succeeded during times of economic downturn. In the early 1970s, as the U.S. entered a 16-month recession, two college dropouts -- Bill Gates and Paul Allen -- conceptualized home and office computing, catapulting Microsoft on its path to success.

    Knowing what those companies have become today, I want you to think: What would have happened had these leaders given into hard times instead of seeing opportunity in adversity? And how many inspiring success stories have you heard that begin with someone working firmly inside their own comfort zone?

    Now is the time to innovate.

    The needs of the business community, the country, and entire world have shifted drastically, so how can your company pivot to meet new demands? What systems have shown themselves to be antiquated, unsustainable, or unreliable -- and where is your window to disrupt them? These are the questions today's leaders must ask themselves.

    Another challenge will lie in finding the balance between innovation and efficiency: One enables us to compete today, the other allows us to keep competing tomorrow. In her pathbreaking book Radical Candor, CEO coach Kim Scott writes about entering the office of a newspaper executive whose industry seemed doomed only to find him staring dreamily out the window. What he was "daydreaming" about turned out to be an idea that would pivot the company for a decade.
    Business leaders today must dream big and find the right mix for their unique organization. They need to identify what's not working and burn it down, then replace it with something better. They also need to find what is working and set their minds on how to make it even better. Give your people latitude to make big mistakes, keeping a growth mindset. This is a time for action -- but to know the right action to take, you'll need to listen carefully to your people as well as your own instincts. And while you're at it, show yourself compassion as well.

    Working to maintain a high-performing and psychologically safe workforce while laying off 50 percent of the staff takes an extreme amount of empathy. Betting the last capital reserves on taking one path over another to meet a moving target market takes immense courage and fortitude. Pivoting to learn unfamiliar and untested systems when the old ones fail takes remarkable agility.

    Each of these experiences, however challenging in the moment, are the building blocks of great leadership and, in the end, will make you better.

    As difficult as it can feel to have systems you've relied on crumble around you, try to alter your viewpoint so that you see each new hurdle as a chance to sharpen your crisis management skills, each complication a catalyst, each obstacle an opportunity.
    Yes, hard things are hard -- but you can do hard things. The business hellscape many industries have faced down over the past year is the testing ground for the next generation of great leaders. Will you be one of them? 


    Article originally posted here

  • 20 Jul 2021 9:00 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    In light of the current COVID-19 situation and the latest Government health advice, the Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) today announces that the ACE 2021 in-person conference is transforming into a virtual event. With local pop-up events to follow in the coming months.

    "With lockdowns in Greater Sydney, Victoria and South Australia, AuSAE wanted to create a virtual experience for association professionals to reconnect with their peers and gain thought leadership insights to ensure sustainability for the future. ACE 2021 Reimagined is an excellent way for the association community to be supported, stay connected and be inspired, remotely and virtually," said Toni Brearley, CEO at AuSAE.

    As ACE 2021 moves entirely virtual on 2-3 August, AuSAE look forward to offering the same vibrant program and opportunities to connect over emerging topics in the sector. The ACE 2021 Virtual Conference is a broadcast style event that will include keynotes, interactive sessions, educational content, a virtual exhibition, and delegate networking opportunities.

    AuSAE's ACE 2021 Reimagined Virtual Conference is now more important than ever for the association community to be supported, stay connected and be inspired during extraordinary times.

    The ACE 2021 Reimagined Virtual Conference will be FREE and entirely virtual, with two days of engaging and inspiring content and discussions, happening August 2-3, between 1pm and 5pm AEST.

    We hope you will join us for this reimagined ACE 2021 Virtual Conference and celebrate our collective resilience and dedication to forge connections without boundaries.

    For more information and to register, visit  If you have any questions, then please contact AuSAE at or call 1300 764 576.

    We look forward to seeing you at the ACE 2021 Reimagined Virtual Conference.

    From the AuSAE Team

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

    Even before the pandemic, many associations were beginning to realize that adapting to the needs of members meant implementing a new membership model. The pandemic has just accelerated that need for some associations. Developing a new membership model is no easy task, but staying the course has its own risks, especially now. Below are four key recommendations your association should consider when undertaking this endeavor.

    In Start with your value proposition: Switching to a new membership model is a great way to improve retention and growth. Still, even a great model alone will not increase the tangible and intangible value your membership provides. Without membership value, a new membership model cannot succeed.

    Exploring a new membership model should start with evaluating your value proposition. Does your association’s value proposition need to be updated, expanded, or merely repositioned? There are several signs of a weak value proposition:

    • Usage of key product lines is decreasing
    • Engagement is low or declining
    • Members indicate the value of membership is lower than the cost of dues
    • Former members cite lack of value as the main reason for not renewing

    If a weak value proposition is the starting point, then improving the value of membership becomes a critical component of building a new model.

    Alternatively, the value of membership may be strong, but awareness and usage of that value are low. A new membership model can enable your association to reposition its value proposition, emphasizing the value in a way that resonates with former and prospective members, as well as current members.

    Focus on retention: While expanding to new markets and maximizing member growth are often the impetus for a new membership model, retention of current members should not take a back seat, particularly in light of COVID-19’s impact on many industries. When you consider the cost to acquire and onboard new members far exceeds the cost of retaining current ones, associations should make retention a priority in a new membership model for the sake of current and future revenue stability.

    While expanding to new markets and maximizing member growth are often the impetus for a new membership model, retention of current members should not take a back seat.

    Moreover, with companies’ and people’s budgets tightening because of the pandemic, members who drop membership now might be less likely to return. In other words, former members might be less willing to give your association a second chance if membership value doesn’t meet their expectations or needs during this crisis.

    Know your total addressable market: If one of your primary goals of a new membership model is growth, then it is crucial to understand your current market share and total addressable market. A common mistake some associations make when creating a membership model is overestimating their market by assuming the entire universe of their profession will want membership when that may not be true.

    Related to understanding market size is understanding the competitive landscape. Are many prospective members getting their professional needs met by another association? Does your association have value to meet this audience’s unmet needs? Be ambitious when exploring new audiences but also realistic when measuring your market.

    Finally, consider how the size of your market may change in the future. Is the profession your association serves thriving during the pandemic, with plenty of future members coming down the pipeline? Or has the pandemic made things less certain? Both your current and future market potential should factor into the model you choose and the risk your association is willing to undertake.

    Don’t let fear of change be debilitating. Every new model has risks, but so does your association’s current membership structure. Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, CEO & President of Avenue M Group, often shares the following advice when talking to risk-averse associations about their membership models: “Making no change is also a choice, and it’s a risky one.”

    Matthew Cavers, Senior Director, Research and Consulting, and Emily Thomas, M.Phil., Senior Research Consultant, are with Avenue M Group, a global, full-service marketing research and consulting organization with in-depth expertise in driving member growth, increasing revenue and building brands. Learn more at This article was originally published in Associations North’s Focus North magazine.

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

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

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software