Sector and AuSAE News

  • 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, CAE (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, CAE (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, CAE (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, CAE (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

  • 25 Jun 2021 5:51 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    If e-learning courses are underperforming, it may mean your courses aren’t designed for success. By removing dull content, getting creative with formatting, and helping people see themselves, you can increase your content’s quality and engage members more effectively.

    If your association’s e-learning courses are underperforming, is it time to throw in the towel? No. It’s time to make a few small changes that will elevate your courses to the next level. These three simple changes can make your courses more engaging and valuable.

    Cut the Dull, Less Actionable Content

    Have you ever sat through a presentation from someone who is an expert in their field, but not in the art of public speaking? First, they take a deep dive into the history of their research and then they get so caught up in the granular details, the audience checks out.

    Avoid this scenario with your association’s e-learning courses by removing information that’s dull or otherwise unnecessary. You may feel tempted to create highly comprehensive courses that cover topics in-depth—but the fact is, members want direct, actionable tips that can make them more effective in their fields.

    Switching up the formatting of your courses takes learners into content that’s engaging and more likely to be retained over time.

    To evaluate your content, ask the following questions:

    • What do I want the learner to do better or differently?
    • What skills do they need to do that thing more effectively?
    • Is this information actively helping the learner develop that skill?
    • If not, is there another compelling reason to include this information?
    • If I was a busy association member, would I find this information interesting?

    Elevating your courses doesn’t always mean adding in new, innovative information. Sometimes, it’s just as valuable to cut the fluff and keep your learners’ attention for the full course.

    If you’re struggling to figure out how to move from an information or “tell-based” course to an application or “do-based” course, you can work with an e-learning content-development partner that has knowledge of course design best practices to increase engagement and knowledge retention.

    Switch Up Your Formatting to Add Interest

    We’ve discussed what you can remove from content to increase its value for members, but what about what you can add?

    Members are probably completing courses from their homes. These homes also have family members to chat with, chores to complete, and favorite TV shows to catch up on. Oh, and this is on top of day-to-day work.

    Your content is competing for their attention, and strong formatting decisions can help it stand out. Here are a few quick ideas that you can use to add interest to your courses:
    • Slider and dials. Rather than “click on this image to learn more,” this interactive, multi-layered variant increases engagement.
    • Labeling and sorting. This is an alternative to multiple-choice knowledge checks that uses imagery to increase interaction.
    • Audio review. You can use character audio to have a character tell their own story or switch up narrators to break up the monotony of a single speaker.

    Switching up the formatting of your courses takes learners into content that’s engaging and more likely to be retained over time.

    Help People See Themselves in Your Courses

    While 70 percent of respondents in an ASAE Research Foundation study acknowledged the importance of DEI, only half had developed policies to advance it. By making one small adjustment in how you think about building your e-learning courses—helping people see themselves in your courses—you can take a big step in the right direction.
    Some organizations think that swapping out a few images in the course will provide diversity. Instead, ask yourself a few questions to adjust your thinking to meet the needs of your learners:
    • Look at your images—Are they representative of your membership? What about the future of your membership?
    • Listen to your audio—Would you benefit from some variety in narration or character voices?
    • Try to experience your course as if you had a sight or hearing impairment.
    • Imagine what it would be like to take your course on a mobile device because you don’t have access to a computer or your Wi-Fi signal is low.

    Not only should association members be able to take your courses and recognize themselves and their peers in them, but this can also impact how they apply your lessons to their workplace. For example, let’s say you’re a medical association and you’re creating healthcare e-learning to help members maintain their certifications. Since your members work with diverse patients, your diversity-related content prepares them to provide effective care for all races, genders, cultures, abilities, and more.

    With a new way of thinking and some relatively minor tweaks in course design, you will open your learners’ hearts and minds to what you’re teaching.

    Original article posted at ASAE learning Centre

    June 21, 2021By: Amy Morrisey

  • 25 Jun 2021 5:43 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)


    • The biggest mistake you can make when implementing a CRM project is to not be involved – success comes from engagement with the process.
    • Thorough planning is essential and must include timelines, project teams, communication plans, project scope and outcomes.
    • No project will ever be perfect but the more shared understanding you have in place from the beginning, the better chance of success you will have.

    Focus Area 1: Timing is everything

    Even the most well-oiled IT project demands the time and focus of your Association and staff.
    Planning when to do the project is key. Associations often have busy seasons so make sure you choose the right time (most likely in your down season).

    As we mentioned in the previous article, you must be confident that your partner has outlined a realistic timeline that works for you.

    Focus Area 2: Building your team

    You need to think of CRM implementation like any other transformational project. This means it’s not a case of ‘leaving it to the IT guys’.

    Don’t just hand over the scope to the external project or partner team and expect them to come back with the solution. You need to be involved. And you want to have enough internal prioritisation and resourcing from your side so you can contribute to the project.

    It’s important to build an internal project team that has management buy in. The project will require top down engagement to push forward, and to get similar buy from all staff members.

    The team needs to be a multi-disciplinary ‘A Team’. By this we mean you need good representation from your entire organisation on the team. This ensures that the needs and requirements of every area are represented and heard, that the project will get input from all stakeholders and – again – that you will get good buy in across the board.

    Focus Area 3: Communication. Communication. Communication.

    Should we say that again? Communication is the bedrock of implementation success. Think of communication as a matrix:

    • Between the partner project team and your internal team
    • Between your internal project team and your management and board
    • Between your internal project team, management and any other key stakeholders

    Digital transformation is heralding a steady evolution in how projects are managed and structured. Transformation projects traditionally had a very hierarchical or ‘command’ structure.

    As we push into digital there is an equal and necessary push to adjust these structures. Think of the rise of the ‘Team of Teams’ approach. The structure is flatter, more collaborative and more interactive – ensuring better communication and more effective implementation.

    Focus Area 4: Project scope

    Do as much work on the project scope up front as you can. The clearer and more comprehensive it is, the better. It is extremely common for scope to change as a project progresses and the impact is nearly always negative.

    You must develop a shared understanding of scope including:

    • Expectations
    • Parameters
    • Assumptions
    • Outputs

    Any discrepancies in any of these areas between any project teams or members should be cleared up and resolved as soon as possible.

    Keep up to date with project status. Regular check-ins and updates must be built into your implementation plan.

    You need to focus on governance around ‘scope creep’.

    It looks like this: We initially had a conversation and understood the scope to be a certain size and then new elements were introduced (often assumed to be involved but not clearly articulated) and those new elements mean there is more work to do.

    Is this is a variation? Should it have been included originally?

    This is why that time at the start of the project is so important. The better the conversation around scope up front, the more this can be avoided.

    It’s impossible to have absolutely perfect design before starting a project. The way to avoid too much stress is – you guessed it – communication.

    Be prepared that change may happen. And if it does, you have a plan in place for how to negotiate the impact. For example, you may choose to prioritise certain features and rule others out if they are going to impact the timeline too much.

    A good rule of thumb is Pareto’s principle also known as 80/20 rule – to focus on the 20% of the project that will give 80% of rewards.

    Finally, remember the GOOD FAST CHEAP rule we laid out in the previous article. You will need to keep an eye on managing these variables as implementation progresses.

    Focus Area 5: 

    Don’t become so focused on project management that you neglect to focus on outcomes though.

    You must develop a set of measurable outcomes from the get go so you will have a way of knowing if the project is a success.

    Continually track these outcomes all the way through the project.

    Then, keep evolving your goals and outcomes. A good CRM implementation will continue to evolve and deliver over time. Tech will improve. Market forces will change. You don’t want to have to start a whole new CRM project every time this happens.

    Continual support and maintenance must be built into your project and into your relationship with your partner.

    Our next – and final – article in this series outlines the top features that associations are looking for and using in their CRMs.


    • Every Association is unique, but it helps to know what other Associations prioritise when it comes to CRM features.
    • The top six CRM features used by Associations are; user portal, membership management, marketing hub, event management, creating online communities and integration.
    • Clade has deep experience successfully implementing CRM solutions for Australia’s Associations.


    CRMs come with a seemingly endless list of features. How do you know which will suit your Association best?

    Looking to other Associations and what they’re using it for is a great place to start. These are the top CRM features Associations are currently using.

    Feature 1 – Membership self-service web portal

    Members love being able to interact via an easy to use web portal. This includes basic functions such as managing their own profile, picture, and password. But it can be much more sophisticated with options such as:

    • Member access to articles, events, and items equivalent to their level of membership
    • Members being able to add content
    • Members being able to interact with each other

    The better the portal, the more members will engage, share, and recommend it. Don’t skimp when it comes to how your self-service portal looks and behaves. It needs to reflect the quality of your Association’s brand and work seamlessly and responsively across a variety of devices.

    Feature 2 – Membership management

    They say the devil is in the detail, but the detail is your friend when it comes to membership management.

    Your CRM should allow for a comprehensive level of tracking, updating, and managing all aspects of membership. The basic functionality you should ask your partner to include in your CRM is:

    • Easy to use membership dashboard
    • Membership reporting – providing a 360-degree view of your membership
    • Track any communication and interaction against member profiles
    • Easy to use invoicing function – including automation
    • Create, segment and define different types of members by using a robust and flexible system

    Feature 3 – Email marketing and communications

    How are you communicating with your members? Is it a laborious manual process to send a newsletter via email once a month? Are you able to track which content your members respond best to?

    Marketing often comes second fiddle when it comes to CRMs. But it’s THE most important tool in your arsenal when it comes to communicating with members and getting a clear picture of who your members are and what is meaningful to them.

    The marketing hub of your CRM should enable to you:

    • Track leads by source – including types of advertising that brought them to you
    • Segment your customer base – and set up your own rules for this
    • Have access to a range of email templates including inline editing options
    • Create and track member journeys – with variations built-in (e.g. if they don’t open, a follow up is sent; if they reply they immediately, they get a confirmation email)

    Feature 4 – Event, training and conference management

    Events are crucial for the life of an Association, whether virtual or face to face. Having a CRM that allows you to manage your events end-to-end will save you and your staff from dealing with the pain of multiple, static spreadsheets, syncing information, and unnecessary double handling.

    Information and functionality can include details of speakers (and all communications with them from your team), travel and dinner bookings and registration processes.

    An event timeline that takes you through organizing an event step-by-step (and you have to tick each one off before you can move on) is a good way to streamline and regulate event management processes.

    Also included in event management should be the capacity to send out automated feedback surveys after every event. These capture crucial information and tag them to that specific event in your system.

    Feature 5 – Creating online communities

    In addition to regularly distributing engaging member communications, Associations can benefit from creating and encouraging online communities. Digital forums present excellent networking opportunities, a benefit that is often a driver in gaining and retaining members.

    Online communities can also become a good channel to host or promote events, renewals, and key member communications.

    Association members are known for their willingness to network, share their experiences, and learn together, by creating an online community your Association can provide the framework for this to take place.

    Feature 6 – Third Party System integration

    Your CRM should enable Association growth, not stunt it. The right CRM will integrate with your other software solutions including finance, payments, reporting, and learning management systems.

    What is most important here is the integration with Microsoft Outlook, so your team don’t have to enter information about meetings, emails, and calls into multiple locations.

    Additionally, every CRM needs to integrate with a finance system and a payment gateway. Check with your vendor and partner to see if they can seamlessly integrate with systems such as Xero and MYOB, and payment gateways such as eWay or Paypal.

    Your partner should also be able to help you implement parts of your chosen CRM solution at different stages. For example, you may choose to start with the membership management solution and then add in more elements over time. Open architecture, ongoing support, and careful attention to detail from your trusted partner are essential for success.

    Original article published by cams

  • 25 Jun 2021 5:40 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)
    • A CRM vendor or partner needs to provide you with confidence and a good relationship up front so have a checklist about your values and needs.
    • You should always get proposals from 2-3 partners to ensure you have something to compare when it comes to cost, timeline and approach.
    • Remember the GOOD FAST CHEAP triangle and how you cannot get all of these met, so you must assess proposals and your own requirements accordingly


    Technology projects should reall the answers run free y be called people projects. Humans connecting with other humans to create a positive outcome. Implementing a new CRM within your Association isn’t a small thing. It takes budget, time and dedication.
    That’s why it’s so important to have a vendor and partner on board who understand you, who you enjoy working with and who exceed your expectations.
    In the previous articles, we talked about starting with your Association’s goals and finding the technology to support those. In this article, we’ll be talking through the top things you need to consider when choosing a vendor or partner for your CRM project.

    But first, what is the difference between a vendor and a partner?

    A vendor authors the software or application (e.g. Microsoft).
    A partner delivers the app, customises it and provides ongoing support (e.g Clade). Sometimes the vendor and the partner sit within the same organisation, sometimes they are different. Often vendors will have multiple partners so when you decide on a product you like you still have a choice about who to partner with in terms of implementation.

    What to look for in your vendor and partner?

    This checklist provides a guideline of things to look for in your vendor and / or partner:

    • That your functional and tech requirements are met
    • The vendor has road map and R&D expenditure into the product, so they are continually evolving and improving it, allowing you to take advantage of improvements
    • The vendor and partner have good reputations (read reviews, check out industry forums)
    • There is a good partner network and ecosystem
    • Even if you originally choose one partner of a vendor, there is the flexibility to change if needed down the track (i.e. you are not locked in)
    • The size and financial backing of the vendor or partner
    • Any specialisations they have, including recent projects

    How ongoing support will look – do they only want to deal with you on the project or is there good ongoing support on offer and customer-for-life engagement process

    Requesting a proposal

    Once you have your shortlist of vendors or partners, you need to select 2-3 and send out a ‘request for proposal’ or ‘request for quote’.
    That requirements list you developed during the previous article – this is where that comes into play.
    Put all your functional and technology requirements into a document and include this with your request.

    Evaluating the proposals you receive

    To adequately evaluate the proposals you get back, you need to look for all the same clues you would with any business partnership. Consider the promptness and thoroughness of each response, attention to detail, and specificity of the proposal.
    Some other key points to look out for include:

    Have they indicated a probable timeline?

    1-3 months? 3-6 months? It is crucial to know long they think the project will take and what the scope of the project is.

    What is their project approach?

    The main two approaches these days are:

    • Waterfall approach with big bang delivery
    • Agile approach with phased delivery – beginning with MVP (minimal viable product)
    • A good partner will work with you on what will suit you best in terms of how to approach the project.

    Scenario demonstration

    Part of any evaluation is a demonstration. You may want to come up with a few key scenarios you want your system to achieve and your partner should be able to demonstrate solutions.
    Some will have these pre-built, some will customise them – so you may not get to see everything. But you at least want to see a genuine response and feel a sense of confidence they can meet your needs.
    Finally, the proposal should include best and final pricing. Get your management and board to review the proposal.

    Remember the GFC rule

    No, not that GFC. We’re meaning when GFC equals the GOOD FAST CHEAP equation.
    As a general rule:

    • Good and fast = not cheap
    • Good and cheap = slow to deliver
    • Fast and cheap = not high quality

    Keep this triangle in mind as you get your proposals back including factors such as timeline, your own urgency, budget and other issues. As the project evolves these three variables will come into play and will keep changing – so you may need to keep adjusting your values and goals along the way.
    Thankfully, the next article in our series will delve into just that – the essential steps for a successful CRM implementation.

    Original article posted here at cams

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