Sector and AuSAE News

  • 10 Jan 2022 10:03 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, has released a new whitepaper “3 Critical Steps to Digitally Transform Your Association”.

    If you have been thinking about creating a Digital Transformation Strategy but aren’t sure how to get started, download this complimentary new whitepaper from ASI at:

    The whitepaper provides best-practice advice from association clients that have successfully transformed their organisations and will show you how a well-executed plan will impact every aspect of your organisation — streamlining how you operate and how you deliver value to your members.  

    • How to structure an effective strategy
    • Where to focus your initial efforts 
    • What you need to build an innovation group that will challenge the status quo
    • Which technology can best support your objectives  

    Download a complimentary copy

    About ASI
    ASI is a leading global provider of cloud software and services for associations and non-profits. We help clients digitally transform, streamline operations, and grow revenue through industry expertise, best-practice advice, and high-quality SaaS solutions. Our portfolio of solutions includes iMIS — the only engagement management system (EMS) purpose-built for associations and non-profits — and TopClass LMS by WBT Systems, the #1 association and continuing education learning management system. 

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

  • 10 Dec 2021 8:59 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Understanding the importance of continuing professional development, or CPD, and its role in furthering the progress of individuals, professions and professional associations encompasses a range of factors.  

    Among them are regulatory shifts, consumer/client expectations and wider changes to the techniques and practices of professions. However, there is also the drive to improve competencies, enhance competitiveness through the use of new technologies and grow an association’s reach and revenue base. 

    One of the key steps in developing an effective CPD program is gaining a clear picture of how it can benefit members and practitioners, and how these benefits will be tracked and measured over time.  

    There are two main pressures driving CPD: 

    1. Your members’ clients, employers and general public – who need to trust your members are up to date and competent in their professional skills and judgement.  
    2. Governing bodies – who will impose regulation if they feel a profession is not meeting required professional obligations and standards.  

    When thinking through your professional development and compliance programs, the outside view of your profession is an important starting point. There are also commercial pressures on your organisation, with a growing number of local and increasingly international companies eyeing off the CPD market with profits in mind. It is no longer safe to believe being the natural repository of standards and knowledge gives you an additional advantage in the new environment.  

    Your members will also create pressure to drive the development of your CPD Programs. They will rightfully look to your organisation as a leader in their field and want to see a clear pathway of learning which will help them develop their knowledge and skill base, so they can be at the cutting edge of their profession. They are also looking to support their own internalised ethic of professional integrity and reputation. 

    AUSAE has partnered with Pointsbuild, a leading online CPD provider, to help members to understand the opportunities that continuing professional development can benefit both your organisation and your members. Pointsbuild will work through the elements of and process for developing a CPD program for your organisation. 

    A great place to start is with AUSAE’s new an online learning platform and CPD course, “Association Essentials”, which was developed with Pointsbuild. This course provides associations with an effective new staff induction tool, providing staff with key background and foundational knowledge as they start their journey in association management. The course provides practical examples of the support and activities associations provide to their members and their collective contribution to society. 

    Pointsbuild empowers professional organisations to deliver flexible, tailored and engaging educational experiences to members, helping them advance careers, enhance credentials and meet their regulatory requirements all the while helping lead conversations that advance the wider industry as a whole. To find out more about Pointsbuild, visit 

  • 03 Dec 2021 4:20 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Think back to the last time you joined a new group, professional or otherwise — it was probably a little intimidating. Everyone seemingly already knows one another and what to expect, and the unknown can be a bit scary. It feels a little bit like showing up to a party where you don’t know anyone else there. 

    Your association’s new member welcome and onboarding process sets a valuable first impression for your recently joined members. A strong start gives you an advantage in facilitating long-term happiness and success as part of your community. 

    Here are some tips on how to welcome new members to your association or membership-based organization. 

    Start with a helpful welcome letter to new members

    Have you ever been thrilled to become a member of a group, only to feel ghosted and lost after signing up? This doesn’t exactly create the best first impression. One major mistake that associations make is neglecting a comprehensive onboarding process for members. 

    The new member welcome letter may be the first piece of direct communication your members have with your association and is critical for increasing the odds of retaining them in the long run.

    9 Things to include in a new member welcome letter

    1. A personalized greeting

    Always be sure to include a personalized greeting in your welcome letter, as opposed to a generic one like “Valued Member.” Using a first name in your greeting fosters a friendly and caring atmosphere for the new member to feel comfortable getting to know you more. Being called a “valued member” will make them feel significantly less valued!

    2. Gratitude for joining

    Let your new member know how much you appreciate them joining your organization — after all, members keep you running! The earlier you can thank a member, the better they will feel. This is a positive step in building a long-term relationship. 

    3. A recap of the benefits they receive for being a member

    In the same vein as providing access to a member portal early, you want to make sure to highlight any benefits your new members may want to use immediately. This is also a great way to remind them why they decided to sign up.

    4. Instructions on how to log into their account and access the member portal

    Show your members how to get engaged right from the start! Include brief, easy-to-understand instructions on how to access their member portal inside the welcome letter. The earlier this is done, the more likely your new member will dive into all of the resources you have available. 

    5. An overview of next steps or upcoming events

    Remind members that there’s more to their membership! Let them know what to expect next from you, whether that is a new member packet in the mail or a full onboarding series of content. Let them know of any upcoming events that they may want to attend. 

    Pro tip: if you know their specific interests, tailor this list to events that you think would be of particular interest to them. You may also want to tell them about special committees or councils they might be interested in joining.

    6. Links to important resources and/or training guides

    Give your new members a roadmap to becoming informed, established members. However, be sure to keep this list of resources short to avoid overwhelming them. 

    7. Information on where to go to for help

    In case your new members hit any snags while looking through the resources you provided above, provide an easy, straightforward process for where to go for help to avoid any early frustrations with members. You want your members to feel like your association is easily accessible and always there for them.

    8. A request to whitelist your domain so they don’t miss your communications

    Now that you’ve provided value to your new members early, take this opportunity to remind them to whitelist your domain so they won’t miss any future emails! Many associations’ emails get blocked by email firewalls, so requesting they save your email address as a contact can help improve email deliverability.

    9. An invitation to ask questions or share why they joined

    Just in case there is any pertinent information that your email didn’t cover, invite members to ask you questions directly. This is also a good opportunity to ask them to share why they joined your association! 

    New member welcome letter template

    Need some more help getting started? Here is a template for a new member welcome letter you can tailor for your own association or membership-based organization:

    Dear [new member first name],

    Thank you so much for joining [your association’s name]! We’re so excited to have you on board and can’t wait to get to know and serve you.

    We invite you to log in at [website URL] to complete your membership profile with the following information:

    Email: [email]

    Password: [password]

    Once you log in, you’ll be able to access these exclusive, members-only resources!

    [list top resources available in member portal]

    To help you get involved, here are a few upcoming events we think you’ll enjoy. Attending our events is a great way to learn, meet other members, and have fun!

    [list upcoming events here]

    In addition, we want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the membership benefits now available to you! Here are a few other things you can get started with right away:

    [List primary membership benefits]

    We’ll be following up next week with our full membership welcome package, so keep an eye out for that! Be sure to add this email address to your contact list to avoid missing out on any important messages and exclusive content!

    Should you need any assistance or have questions about your membership at any time, please feel free to contact us at [phone number] or email us at [email address]. 

    Got everything you need? We still welcome you to reach out and let us know your thoughts on your experience so far!

    Best of luck to you, and thank you for being a part of the [association name] community.

    [Your name]

    [Your title]

    Follow up with personalized information

    If a new member indicated they are interested in a particular member benefit, be sure to follow up and direct them to those specific resources and how to access them. Be sure to do this in the earliest stages of their membership so they can find exactly what they’re looking for, right from the start. 

    Hold quarterly new member social gatherings

    New member socials are a great way to facilitate networking and foster a sense of community among those who recently joined your organization. New members can ask questions and meet each other in a non-intimidating environment. The frequency of these new member socials will depend on your individual association — if you have a lot of new members each month, monthly events might be a better fit.  

    Check in with your new members

    Checking in on new members a few months into their membership not only provides your association team with insights on your member onboarding process, but also helps you build meaningful relationships with members that will keep them a part of your organization for the long haul. 

    Provide an online forum where members can welcome and interact with one another

    Your association should have some sort of digital forum where members can connect with one another. This is a great place to introduce new members with a short bio and open the doors for existing members to welcome them into the fold. Another nice touch would be to add a new member’s welcome section to your email newsletter. 

    Create a buddy system

    A great way to make new members feel comfortable and connected is by creating a buddy system that connects new members with veteran members. This will automatically make them feel like they’re not alone and they have an experienced person to whom they can direct their questions. It’s always less intimidating to attend an event when you know someone who will be there!

    Keep the communication going 

    It is easy to let communication with new members fall by the wayside once they have completed initial onboarding. However, in order to keep them engaged and happy in the long-term, be sure to continuously make members feel valued and appreciated!

    How you welcome new members to your association sets the tone for their overall membership experience, so don’t neglect this important part of the process.

    Posted Here 

  • 03 Dec 2021 4:17 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    The pandemic’s impact has been inconsistent—affecting people in vastly different ways. One association came up with a plan to keep dues revenue steady, while also giving its members a part to play in building—and sustaining—the community in crisis.

    By Lisa Boylan Nov 30, 2021

    Making the decision to raise dues is an ongoing dilemma, exacerbated by financial uncertainty—and at times inequity. The American Sociological Association found a way to help its members—and give them a chance to help one another—with an inspiring initiative that ended up increasing membership.

    With the pandemic raging by mid-2020, it was clear to Margaret Vitullo, Ph.D., CAE, ASA’s deputy director, that the group could not proceed with a business-as-usual approach to membership dues because its members were not impacted equally by the crisis.

    Some members were facing extreme financial straits, including those at smaller institutions that were cutting staff, while others were able to continue their practices in home offices. Not only were those latter members able to maintain their salaries, they also lowered their expenses because they were not commuting or incurring any other in-office-related expenses. “It’s a very complicated situation,” Vitullo said.

    In discussing what to do with her team, three things became clear.

    • ASA had no way of knowing who needed financial help and who might be able to help others.
    • The community of sociologists needed each other more than ever.
    • ASA’s mission—to support sociologists in their work, advance the discipline of sociology as a science and profession, and promote the contributions and use of sociology to society—was paramount.

    Pay-What-You-Want Pricing

    So, ASA developed the Pick Your Own Sponsorship program to respond to a complex reality. Under PYOS, ASA was able to keep membership dues steady. The group gave members the opportunity to either take a sponsorship—reducing their dues by 10, 20, or 30 percent, or give a sponsorship and add a donation of 10, 20, or 30 percent on top of their regular dues payment.

    ASA refined the idea for the program by studying business management literature on pay-what-you-want pricing and then built risk-ratio modeling for what might happen if they did implement the program. Research into pay-what-you-want pricing revealed a need for a suggested price point. ASA used its 2020 dues rate and then gave members a range they could choose from—but limited that range.

    The support of ASA’s elected leadership was a critical element in making the program a reality. “PYOS could not have happened without their vision and willingness to take risks at a time when courage was needed,” Vitullo said. The board’s willingness to go out on a limb was rewarded: More than a quarter of members participated in the program, and ASA’s membership grew by 14 percent in 2021.

    An Intangible Member Benefit

    ASA developed a three-question pulse survey and 70 percent of members who took a sponsorship said they likely would not have joined without the sponsorship options. “They said the sponsorship option made them feel seen, valued, and that they weren’t alone,” Vitullo said. Sponsorship donors also praised the program: “They commented on how happy they were to help their colleagues, build community, and contribute to keeping the association strong.”

    The importance of community, especially in times like this, cannot be overstated. “When you start to focus on concrete membership benefits, you can lose sight of the intangible benefits of membership like community,” Vitullo said. The PYOS program reinforces that sense of community.

    “In the midst of a pandemic, that’s one of the things we all need,” she said. “We all need community to make our way through this.”

    Posted Here 

  • 03 Dec 2021 4:14 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Associations can leverage the mission-driven nature of their work to help employees find meaning at a time when many are struggling to rediscover their passion for their work.

    By Michael Hickey Nov 30, 2021

    National trends indicate that at least some of your team is suffering from burnout. Some of the issues that drive burnout are a part of today’s work life: a stressful public health environment, questions around remote work, and isolation.

    But there’s one factor behind burnout that associations are uniquely positioned to combat: a loss of purpose. After all, associations are built on a mission.

    “The work that we do is mission-driven, purpose-driven, serving certain industries and communities,” said Mariama Boney, president and CEO of Achieve More LLC. “Recognizing the impact we make in the world is absolutely critical.”

    How can associations help their employees revitalize their sense of purpose? Consider these tips from Boney.

    Connect Employees With the Community They Serve

    Associations often do work on behalf of a particular community or group, but employees may not always be able to see that impact firsthand. Organizations can revitalize employees’ sense of purpose by sharing member stories that demonstrate that impact. Have you received correspondence from a community member lauding the work that your organization does? Pass that on to the entire staff to give employees a chance to connect to the community in a way that doesn’t add to burnout by placing additional demands on their time.

    “[Connecting with the community] is helpful so long as it’s not giving employees one more thing to do. That’s where we get to burnout, because people already feel like they have enough stuff to do,” Boney said.

    Dan Cable, author of Alive at Work, presented a real-world example of this in Harvard Business Review: A leader at pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG shared a story of the profound impact a new technology had on a patient with diabetes, which made those who developed the technology “feel more purpose” for months afterward.

    Let Employee Voices Be Heard

    If workers feel their concerns and suggestions aren’t being heard, they may start to believe that their hard work and long hours are for nothing, further disconnecting them from your organizational sense of purpose. Show employees that their input matters by providing plenty of opportunities for them to voice their thoughts: town halls, all-hands meetings, one-on-ones with direct reports, surveys. From there, show the impact employees have by working to implement their ideas.

    “Pulling people together, asking them for their ideas, allowing them to utilize their expertise, and taking some of their ideas creates a sense of connection, belonging, purpose, confidence, and pride,” Boney said.

    Provide Opportunities for Continual Growth

    One of the hallmark signs of burnout is a feeling of cynicism or hopelessness toward one’s career, which could arise if someone doesn’t think there’s any possibility for growth or advancement. Organizations can keep this feeling at bay by consistently giving employees opportunities to learn new things, pick up new skills, and develop relationships with senior leadership.

    “People want to continue to grow,” Boney said. “They want training and learning around what they do every day.”

    Professional development can take many forms—training courses, webinars, workshops, certifications—but Boney emphasized coaching, where managers and senior leaders mentor younger employees and guide them to the next stages of their careers.

    Humanize Your Organizational Culture

    Because the pandemic has brought on challenges that may erode one’s connection with others, organizations should focus on humanizing their cultures so that employees can develop genuine connections with each other, which will help reinvigorate their sense of purpose. And the job starts with leadership, who should be checking in frequently to get a pulse for how employees are feeling, what they’re struggling with, and what they need right now.

    “It’s key that we have inclusive and compassionate leadership, because of the way in which the world of work is changing and the trauma we’ve seen on a number of different levels,” Boney said.

    It’s also about finding ways for your staff to come together, such as planning staff retreats or events outside the workplace.

    Posted here: Burnout Recovery & Prevention: A Sense of Purpose Rekindled - Associations Now
  • 03 Dec 2021 4:10 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)
    I was riding on a bus in Rotorua the other day and thought about associations and how they interact with society. If you ride on a bus – you’re dealing with the Bus and Coach Association.

    As you step off the bus and walk on the footpath…

    Let’s think about the footpath for a moment. There have been multiple associations that have assisted in developing and building one important product. Architects NZ, Planning NZ and Engineering NZ for designing the concrete. The Concrete NZ Association for ensuring the correct concrete is supplied and laid. Civil Contractors NZ members build the footpath. The Building Officials Institute of New Zealand trains and supports the local council that signs off the finished product. Taituarā and Local Government NZ supports the council. Retail NZ and Business New Zealand members supply the products and tools that were purchased to make the footpath. I’m sure I’ve missed other associations along the supply chain that have also assisted in some way to build that footpath.

    With all processes there must be standards, both in delivery and specifications. This is one of the most important explanations as to why trade and professional membership organisations exist in New Zealand and around the world. And this is just the footpath. As I walked down the street I saw fences, houses, cars – every single one of these items have had multiple dealings with associations. Associations touch every single item in our daily lives.

    Think about when you’re sitting down at your desk, looking at a magazine or book. How was it produced, how was it delivered to you? It is of a high standard to ensure the best user experience. How many associations assisted in this? Even your ability to read the magazine – how many associations have touched your education? Early Childhood New Zealand, kindergarten associations, NZEI, Primary and Post Primary Schools Association, New Zealand School Trustees Association and many more.

    Conferencing and meetings touch all associations. They are held to discuss new ideas and be educated by subject matter experts and their peers. When we hold our conference, there is an expectation of delivery standards. Think about how many associations a delegate / client uses when they are at a destination. From the airport, to using a taxi or transportation vehicle, to a hotel or motel, to a restaurant or bar, to the venue, to the products and services that are utilised when running a conference. That’s just at the conference – how many people purchase gifts or go shopping when they’re in your destination? Every single one of these services that delegates use is attached to an association. When associations can finally meet safely, hopefully in the early part of 2022, the big questions need to be asked of the conferencing community, as many organisations have not delivered many face-to-face conferences and meetings for numerous months.

    What support are you going to give delegates to ensure that they can meet safely, over and above any government-mandated policy? Are you communicating this to the respective associations to ensure delegates have confidence in coming to your venue / hotel or destination? I believe the most important question is what do the delivery standards look like for delegates that are conferencing at your place? Like the footpath we don’t want it to crumble when walking on it. And at the same time, we don’t want our conference to fall over because of delivery and service standards. The question for the industry is who you are looking to, to ensure that your standards are not compromised when we lead back into recovery mode from this awful mess where are in at the moment?

    What standards are you striving to achieve? Think about that when you’re walking along the footpath.

    Truly yours Brett Jeffery

    Brett Jeffery Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) Phone 027 249 8677

    December 2021

  • 23 Nov 2021 2:21 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    We recently invited our Premium Alliance Partner, Advanced Solutions International (ASI), to talk to association leaders about what they should be looking forward to and planning for in 2022.

    In our webinar, Paul Ramsbottom, Managing Director of ASI, shares his insights on how associations can focus on continuous performance improvement and be a learning organisation.

    To become a learning organisation, having good data to make good decisions is the key. It allows you to be agile and accelerate your digital transformation, keep driving member engagement and retention, and deliver a modern online learning experience for your members.

    Given that many associations are planning for 2022, we want to ensure that you can access this relevant and timely resource. We encourage you to watch the webinar recording to hear your year-end checklist for planning for a successful 2022.

    Key Takeaways for Planning for 2022

    • Create an “innovation group” to test and pitch new ideas
    • Use strategy as the key driver for technology
    • Eliminate legacy systems and processes, and data silos
    • Build a member journey map to better understand your members
    • Create and test a “digital-only” product or service such as micro-credentials - digital accreditation member cards
    • Consider a mobile app as a digital-only offering for your members

    We hope this resource will help your association plan for 2022.


  • 19 Nov 2021 9:23 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    New Zealand’s Business Events industry will be at AIME 2022 in force, with three new convention centres aiming to attract new events business.

    Tourism New Zealand will be anchoring the stand with an increased number of New Zealand partners on board to showcase their new developments.

    Tourism New Zealand General Manager Domestic & Business Events Bjoern Spreitzer says: “Our industry revolves around meeting face to face, and New Zealand is very excited about returning to AIME and meeting in-person again. We’ll be turning up with a bigger contingent than last time to showcase what we have to offer the Australian and regional market.

    “We can’t wait to update the world on what’s new in New Zealand, from our amazing incentive activities to our three new, purpose-built convention centres in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.”

    This includes Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, which is due to open its doors imminently. Its 28,000 sqm of flexible space includes: a 1,400-seat tiered auditorium, divisible into two 700-seat venues; a 1,000-seat banquet space overlooking the beautiful Avon River; plus extensive meeting space and expandable exhibition halls.

    Next in the pipeline is Tākina, the new Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre, opening in 2023 in New Zealand’s capital city. Tākina can be customised to accommodate a plenary of up to 1,600 delegates, with two divisible plenary halls on separate levels which can be easily combined; plus a 1,800sqm exhibition hall, stand-alone meeting rooms, and fully integrated best-in-class AV and ICT systems.

    Meanwhile, work continues on the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) in the heart of Auckland city. Its flexible convention and event space can cater for up to 4,000 people across 32,500 sqm. The configurable spaces over 4 levels present opportunities for a wide range of events including theatre capacity for 2,850 and up to 33 meeting rooms.

    For more information on holding your next event in New Zealand, head to:

  • 19 Nov 2021 5:20 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Deliver the Goods

    If an abrupt pivot wasn’t part of your previous business experience, it’s on your radar now. One of my personal pandemic resets taught me that sometimes a sudden challenge is also an “aha moment”. Of the many shifts in strategy .orgCompanies made over the last year, .orgCommunity’s approach to sponsorship held one of those epiphanies.

    When the pandemic drove our signature events to a virtual platform, like everyone else, we had to rethink how we could offer value to the partners who help make our conferences possible. We found success in a new sponsorship equation. Instead of looking at how sponsors could contribute to .orgCommunity, we began considering what our partners could offer our members and how we could use digital strategies to deliver that value.

    Shift Perspective

    Even before the online migration, it was clear that sponsors were searching for new kinds of relationships with associations. Logo placements and exhibit booths are one-and-done events. The for-profit world understands that technology puts a continuous stream of communication and value within reach.

    Although visibility will always be important, thought leadership and education take brands to a new level of recognition. Companies realize that by creating their own expert content, they can bypass the gatekeeper and step into a new and more influential role.

    In the past, it was not uncommon to view the associations/sponsor relationship as a minefield of potential conflict of interest. Interaction was primarily transactional and, at times, adversarial. There were more barriers than enhancements to communication.

    This shift in perspective may seem like a threat. But when associations take the initiative to utilize their partner’s expertise, it becomes an opportunity. .orgCommunity’s Solutions Center is an example of how we’re delivering on the new sponsorship equation.

    The Solutions Center is a hub on our website where our preferred partners post up-to-the-minute information about their products and services. Video case studies, testimonials, and a host of other materials allow the viewer to self-educate.  Members have a 360-degree view of multiple providers that is searchable in a variety of ways. The information is available 24/7, maintained by the sponsors themselves, and offered in a variety of formats.

    Video is prominent on the Solutions Center platform. We give the medium pride of place because it is a gateway to deeper engagement and a preferred communications vehicle for younger generations.

    Dan Stevens, and his company WorkerBee.TV, helped .orgCommunity maximize our video capacity. WorkerBee.TV specializes in making video accessible for associations. Their Virtual Videographer technology and service lets any group create professional productions. Dan is an authority on all things small screen, an expert at multimedia marketing, and is always at the head of the pack on technology strategy.

    During a recent webinar, Dan and Doug Coombs, WorkerBee.TV’s Director of Client Solutions, shared five of their most innovative ideas. These are strategies that offer value for both members and sponsors. This post recaps highlights of our conversation.

    Serve What Your Members Want

    When you serve the menu members are looking for everyone wins.

    When we offer the menu members are looking for, everyone wins.

    “Members want three things,” Dan advises. “They look to the association to be informed, educated,  and inspired. Sponsors are seeking to position themselves as thought-leaders and share expertise. Integrating sponsorship goals with your content model is a good strategy to ensure that these interests intersect.”

    Each of the five strategies Dan presented fulfill these criteria:

    • Benefit both members and sponsors
    • Generate non-dues revenue
    • Are a proven success
    • Offer a lifetime of at least one year, and often longer

    These are powerful ideas because, although they begin with video, there is the potential to repurpose and restructure in a variety of mediums at a wide range of price points. This flexibility aligns well with what I call Association 4.0™ leadership and the digital marketplace.

    1. Reimagine the Magazine

    When was the last time you purchased a magazine? These days, it can even be hard to find one in an airport. A video-zine gives the old-school format a truly contemporary makeover.

    “The idea,” Dan advises, “Is to produce lively or thought-provoking content on a consistent theme over a determined time period. The topic might be best business practices, member profiles, or an exploration of a professional innovation or challenge.”

    A video-zine gives the old school format a contemporary makeover

    This format provides opportunities for multiple partners to contribute content and sponsorship at varying levels. You can structure your video-zine to deliver premium, midrange, and lower-priced solutions. Just like a print publication, you can offer a full-page ad, a front or back cover, or a range of alternatives. The options are only limited by creativity.

    2. Make Your Best Content Better

    Whether the event is in-person, virtual, or hybrid, associations invest precious resources in producing conferences. That content is too valuable to sit on the shelf.

    “We tend to firehose our members with content. That’s not a good digital strategy,” Dan cautioned. “Facebook and the other big online platforms release content at a continuous slow drip so users keep coming back. You can do the same thing.”

    Members don’t want to consume all their content in one bite. An ongoing stream of quality information gives your brand and your sponsors continuous visibility. Review your best offerings and consider how you can repackage them to meet users where they are at a given moment.

    For example, you might consider turning a full-length presentation into a two-to-three-minute microlearning video or even a social media post. Or create a multipart podcast series or a Video-Zine based on your annual meeting.

    3. Promote the Pundits

    Your members aren’t the only experts out there. Sponsors have access to cutting-edge information and research. Find out who the pundits are in your corporate community and give them the thought leadership they are seeking. They can help you create an entire portfolio of learning materials with minimal effort and resources. Just be sure that the topics are timely and of interest to your constituents.

    When your sponsor posts the video on their website, everyone gets double points. The association maximizes its brand reach, and your partner gains the credibility that only a professional organization can offer.  

    4. Provide Solutions

    “Exhibitor portals at virtual events typically had a poor result,” Stevens observes. “That’s because they were a temporary solution. After the event, finding your way back to that information is a challenge. Also, gatekeeping sponsor exposure based on a company’s level of support isn’t helpful to members who want to educate themselves and shop online. Members are looking for more than a logo.

    Solutions Center, similar to the site that .orgCommunity created, is a strategy that exemplifies both the new sponsorship equation and a digital perspective. Members can filter, find, and search vendor offerings on their own time. And sponsors receive continuous exposure to the largest possible audience.

    5. Distribute Broadly

     Omnichannel distribution is an idea that WorkerBee.TV is piloting with a new docuseries on the future of work, called “Jobs of Tomorrow.” Dan believes the rate of change in the workplace, compounded by a talent shortage, will be a hot-button issue for associations and their members.

    “Each episode is designed to tell the story of a member’s changing career,” Dan explains. “We’ll explore how their profession is being transformed by technology, industry, and culture. There’s the opportunity to feature a member or a student in every segment, and highlight experts and sponsors who are helping make these jobs better, faster, safer, and perhaps, greener.”

    The series will be promoted in a multimedia campaign. But WorkerBee is also taking distribution a step further by planning to launch the documentary on OTT (over-the-top, or streaming across different devices) distribution, such as Amazon Prime.

    “This more public-facing exposure builds awareness about the profession and is a pipeline into organizational pride for today’s members and perhaps for tomorrows too,” Dan observes. “We sold out season one in the first 10 days.”

    Use Data

    Successful sponsor relationships depend on proving that you can deliver a return on investment. A significant benefit of being digital is the ability to provide those results. When I interviewed Dan for our book Association 4.0: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Risk, Courage, and Transformation, he made this observation.

     “Today, you can measure engagement, satisfaction, and revenue. But many associations are still asking sponsors to support activities where success can’t be evaluated. It’s impossible to count the sales leads you received from having your logo on a lanyard or a sign on the door. When the 60-year-old chief marketing officer retires, the new 35-year-old executive is going to say, ‘I can’t buy it, if I can’t measure it.’ Associations that are empowered to change are seeing incredible gains.”

    Whether you try one or all of these ideas, it’s important to remember that in the new member/sponsor equation, digital strategies deliver the value.

    Originally posted here

  • 19 Nov 2021 5:11 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    I’LL START WITH the obvious: 2020 and 2021 have brought a new operational mode for associations and for the members you serve. Everyone is operating in crises – and staying relevant is not only a challenge … it is a make-or-break proposition for all associations, industries, organisations and workers.

    As we have been isolated from one another, and largely unable to meet in physical spaces in our normal ways, we also find ourselves “out of sight, out of mind” such that communication isn’t another thing. It is the only thing. Communicating with our members and employees effectively impacts everything from membership and retention to worker attrition, productivity, success at the legislature and the success of our programs. And all of that adds up to your members’ sense of value from the dues they pay your association.

    The thing about a crisis is that, while disruptive, it can show what your association is made of to your membership, partners and employees. How you behave in those trying times is a glimpse into your worth, your expertise, your temperament and how you serve. Right now is when you can really show why your association is invaluable – and your members won’t understand that unless you are in touch.

    As COVID-19 response, social justice and other #TXlege issues continue to eclipse business as usual, you need to know how to get your message through with confidence … even when you don’t know what’s around the corner. Here are some of the best practices we learned and helped support with associations and other sectors throughout the past year and a half:

    In a crisis, it comes down to if your people care about you.

    This year, we all saw a lot of industries and associations in crisis.

    Some failed and some floundered. But the ones that survived and even thrived did so in large part because they had done the work beforehand of learning about their workforce and customers – establishing trust and a sense of mutual respect. This was the glue that kept people loyal and as companies had to pivot. Where people cared about the brand, they were willing to follow.

    But of course, just having the appreciation for your membership doesn’t cut it. You need to say it and you need to show it. Reliable communication on platforms your members frequent – with compelling and concise storytelling – is key. You may think your newsletter is great, but if your open and click-through rates aren’t strong, you may need to rethink your efforts. Thought leadership in trade publications, video, podcasts and live streams may be worth exploring IF your stakeholders use those platforms.

    Communication is essential.

    “Marketing is the first thing to go” people like to quip. But as it turns out, when push comes to shove, communication is a discipline that stands firmly in the middle. In a time when we’re separated physically amid great uncertainty, it is communication that keeps people informed and confident and productive. Think of the industries, colleagues and other brands in your life that took the time to tell you what they knew, what they didn’t and their plan to keep you safe and comfortable throughout the pandemic. That created loyalty and value whether or not you realized it along the way.

    When delivering unquestionable value to your members via communication, you must be timely, respective of their time and attention, attuned to their needs and make each transmission a must-view for them. The best messages are always concise, compelling, authentic and thought provoking. Every time you connect with your audience, you want them to remember why they belong to your association – and how they belong within it.

    MacGyver had the right idea.

    The 1985 series starring Richard Dean Anderson as the guy who could get out of any tricky situation with his ingenuity was fun to watch because it seemed just within the bounds of reason. In 2020, we’ve been reminded of just how cunning people can be. Watching our respective industries and colleagues piece together platforms and new best practices from other fields with their innovative mindset has taught us that the settings and tools are unimportant.

    It is not uncommon to have your association’s communication efforts revolve around what you have always done or what leadership likes to see (or even what other associations do). But if you are tired of putting them together, there’s a good chance the recipients are tired of reading them. What matters in terms of getting things done is keeping your members’ interests at heart and to feel empowered to turn over every stone (and, if you have to, blow them up with a battery, some chewing gum and a paperclip).

    Most importantly, communication is a two way street.

    The turmoil of the ongoing public health crisis, social justice conversations, political unrest, disrupted supply chains and the “great resignation” has unquestionably changed your association and your relationship with your members, who are operating in a whole new world. If you expect to remain among their priorities and to serve them in a robust way, then you need to be asking them regularly what they need, how they want to hear from you, what keeps them up at night and how you can be of service to them.

    And then you need to keep that conversation going.

    David Wyatt is Senior Vice President at Elizabeth Christian Public Relations (ECPR), a public relations firm specializing in projects involving media relations, video production, legislative and grassroots efforts, social media planning and execution, business development, event planning and crisis communications. He can be reached at

    Originally posted here

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

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