Sector and AuSAE News

  • 04 Jun 2021 5:06 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    We heard a lot about how quickly associations made hard pivots to perform during the pandemic. What if getting there didn’t have to be so hard? Experts suggest using scenario planning to create a strong underpinning that allows your association to be nimble in uncertain times.

    Many associations were able to pivot quickly last year to deal with the changes forced by a global pandemic. The efforts included addressing member needs to generate new revenue or provide resources. And while the changes were quick, they don’t have to feel abrupt and out of the blue, say two association professionals who will be speaking at ASAE’s Marketing, Membership, and Communications Conference (MMCC) next week. They recommend using scenario planning to set up a strategic framework that will allow your association to be better prepared for the next unexpected crisis.

    “Prior to last year, scenario planning might have been small things because we hadn’t experienced anything hugely significant,” said Debbie Greif, director of corporate relations and business development at the American Society of Anesthesiologists. “This past year has made scenario planning more relevant. Organizations have to ask, what is the next really big, huge, scary disruptor that could happen again?”

    Greif and Nikki Haton Shanks, CAE, strategist at Association Laboratory, will be leading the MMCC session “Scenario Planning: The Solution to Uncertainty for the Association Executive.” With scenario planning, associations take a holistic look at different scenarios that could affect their organization, industry, and members.

    “Scenario planning is really designed to be a decision-making tool to help identify, assess, and adapt to risk and uncertainty,” Shanks said. “So, when it comes time to think about what an association’s members are facing, the association is in the best position to address it.”

    HOW IT WORKS

    According to Shanks, scenario planning has three main steps. The first is to identify the challenges that are on the horizon. “Having a really good sense of what the challenges their members are experiencing is the first step with this whole process,” Shanks said. “Identifying the issues and challenges that are most critical to their members and what the implications of those challenges might be in their association space.”

    The second step is identifying a timeline for those challenges. Is it something that needs immediate action or something that is expected to hit critical mass in a year or two?

    “The third step is actually conceptualizing this and applying what you’ve learned—what you’ve thought about from the challenges, implications, and timeframe—to an actual scenario and solution,” Shanks said.

    To figure out those issues, associations will need to communicate well with staff, members, and the board. Shanks and Greif said it’s crucial to get a diverse range of perspectives on the future, to give organizations the best shot at seeing what might be coming.

    As organizations think through potential challenges, Shanks said it’s also important to keep an open mind.

    “The future is neutral,” she said. “There is no good future. There is no bad future. If we think that it’s one way or the other, it really can prevent us from seeing all of the potential opportunities that could exist.”

    Greif agreed, noting that when her association upped its offerings during the pandemic, they had to acknowledge that while the pandemic was bad, they couldn’t find solutions coming from a place of negativity.

    “It was an opportunity for us to meet the needs of our members,” she said. “That’s our purpose, our mission. All we did was stick to our mission and deliver what we needed to deliver—education and resources—to help our members through a pandemic.”

    With scenarios in place, organizations can more easily figure out where to place their energies and focus on multiple solutions.

    “Maybe some of the challenges that have been identified aren’t really challenges the organization feels it needs to address,” Shanks said. “As you’re going through the process, you’re narrowing the focus. It’s a funnel that gets you to the most critical areas that the organization should be in the best position to address. There could be a lot of solutions to funnel in under that.”

    How does your association plan for unexpected changes on the horizon? Share in the comments.

    RASHEEDA CHILDRESS

    Rasheeda Childress is a senior editor at Associations Now. She covers money and business. Email her with story ideas or news tips

    1 May 2021 

    originally published at associations now

  • 04 Jun 2021 5:03 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Launching a podcast might sound intimidating, but it is possible—and fairly easy once you get started. These tips will get you from rookie to podcast host in short order.

    Whether or not the idea to start a podcast is yours, your supervisor’s, or from a board or committee member, if you’re starting from scratch without a background in audio, it might seem daunting. I thought so too, until I was tasked with rebooting a dormant podcast while bringing an additional three podcasts online over the course of one year without any experience in audio editing or published podcasts under my belt.

    Through that experience, I learned a few things about ramping up a podcast. These are three important steps for getting started.

    Step One: Explore

    Take a deep breath. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. If you’re not an active listener of podcasts, try a few out so you can see how they are arranged. Apple, Google, Amazon, and Spotify all carry podcasts, they’re free, and there’s one on just about any topic, so you’re bound to find something you like.

    Step Two: Plan Ahead

    It’s an exciting challenge to try something new, so get excited! Think about all the things you’ll need in advance:

    Equipment/hardware. Whatever online meeting tool you are already using (like Zoom) that will allow you to record audio and video will work. You do not need an expensive mic, just a reliable internet connection for clear audio.

    Music. You probably don’t have a musician on staff, but don’t fret, the cost of getting all the music you need will run just about $100 per podcast channel. If you haven’t utilized Fiverr for help on other projects yet, you will find it a great place filled with creative people willing to help you on a budget. I’ve used the same Fiverr musician for all four podcasts, and each one has a different sound for its specific audience.

    Podcasts are most successful when they can build up an audience of regular listeners. Aim to produce episodes on a regular schedule, but start small to get the hang of things.

    Editing software. If your organization already has Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions, you should have access to Adobe Audition. If not, here’s a great overview of other audio editing software. These usually come with quick 10-minute tutorials, which teach you the basics. That’s how I learned to use Audition. Prices range from free to monthly subscriptions (about $30 per month) to one-time purchases of $200. There’s also the option to get relatively inexpensive outside help. When we first began, I had five episodes to edit and found someone to complete the work for $100 on Fiverr.

    Podcast hosting site. You will need to host your podcast somewhere to create the RSS feeds that the distributors, like Apple, use to get your show out to the masses. There are tons of options (just look at this list), but we’ve opted for Captivate. Depending on your needs, you will find something that fits your organization and budget. Once you’ve got your hosting site set up, it’s a matter of submitting your podcast to different distributors. For Apple you will need a developer ID, but Google, Amazon, and Spotify have a simple upload process.

    Step Three: Capture Your Content

    Podcasts are most successful when they can build up an audience of regular listeners. Aim to produce episodes on a regular schedule, but start small to get the hang of things. Consider a monthly or quarterly schedule.

    Prepare your hosts and guests by giving them a script for the opening and closing of the podcast. This should fit on one sheet and include an introduction from the host stating their name and welcoming listeners to the podcast. Be sure to include the name of the podcast and introduce the featured guests. Your outro will be similar, thanking the guest and listeners and saying goodbye for now from the podcast.

    Podcast content is less formal than webinars or lectures. It’s a conversation, so the stakes are usually a little lower. If the content is not time- sensitive, attempt to arrange several recordings in advance of launching so you have a few episodes ready to go.

    You can also repurpose webinar or conference session recordings and release them as podcasts. You can even break them into chunks if they are too big to fit within one episode. Have one of the presenters from the session act as host and explain that the podcast was originally part of a webinar or conference. It’s a great way to stretch content when original content isn’t available.

    Now you’re ready to hit the record button. With time and persistence, you should be ready to build a successful podcast.

    Stephen Legault

    Stephen Legault is director of knowledge and learning assessment at the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

    Originally posted ASAE  centre 28 May 2021 
    •  
  • 04 Jun 2021 5:00 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    A new study of trade association executives shows that advocacy is no longer enough to satisfy members coming out of the pandemic.

    Trade associations navigated the pandemic from a unique position. Because those groups typically focus on federal advocacy, their strategy through 2020 was straightforward: Lobby on behalf of their member companies as best as they could for financial assistance and favorable regulations to help them get through the crisis.

    A new survey of trade associations makes clear that advocacy remains central to their mission. But there are deeper changes that suggest trades can no longer simply rely on advocacy to satisfy members.

    In April, Potomac Core Association Consulting and Edge Research conducted a survey of more than 100 C-suite leaders at a wide range of trade associations about their priorities coming out of the pandemic. Advocacy remained on top, by a wide margin: 81 percent said it was an extremely or very important priority for an association, and 74 percent said they do it extremely or very well.

    What’s changed is that other issues are becoming important, and the survey suggests they need to do a better job of handling them. For instance, 49 percent of respondents said “serving as a top resource for information, updates, and trend reports” was extremely important, yet only 27 percent say they do that extremely well. There’s similar softness when it comes to matters of institutional flexibility and nimbleness, expertise on trends, and understanding member needs.

    “There’s no way that 18 months ago ‘flexibility and nimbleness’ would’ve been seen as an issue,” says Edge Research principal Jon Kulok. “But now CEOs recognize that a lot of their organizations have become static.”

    Dan Varroney, president of Potomac Core, says the shift reflects two common threads among trades in 2020. One is that, for all of their industry muscle, trade associations represent a substantial proportion of small businesses, which have been on shakier ground during the pandemic and need more guidance through it. The second is that, with all of the focus on the economy in the past year, trades are more in the spotlight—and given that, expected to do more.

    “Trade associations have evolved into the front porch of industries,” Varroney says. “People wanted to know what was going on, what the new COVID regulations were like, what they needed to do to keep their workforces safe. They wanted to make sure that they were in compliance and had the ability to keep supply chains rolling. So the trade association became the eyes and ears for the industry.”

    And while advocacy means a lot in that context, it doesn’t mean everything. That explains why, according to the survey, trades have begun to adapt: 31 percent of respondents say they’ve made “significant” changes during the pandemic. That involves more than just putting up a virtual conference, Varroney says. It’s meant broader rethinking of product lines—especially market research that can help member businesses get through the pandemic. And it’s meant a stronger emphasis on organizational strategy.

    “Trade association leaders were asking where they see their marketplace going and how to support members in terms of overcoming challenges and helping them leverage opportunities,” he says. “It’s just changed the calculus. It’s not about a particular product or service. It’s more strategic in nature.”

    To that end, advocacy is becoming a major—but not exclusive—part of trade associations’ efforts.

    “Advocacy remains essential, because whatever happens in policy determines the nature in which an industry is going to function in their marketplace,” Varroney says. “But at the same time, something new and something different is emerging. Public perception matters. Knowing market trends matters. To increase their value, associations will require a recalibration of strategies and strategic plans.”

    BY MARK ATHITAKIS / MAY 31, 2021

    originally published at associations now

  • 04 Jun 2021 4:57 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    If you missed our recent webinar on Cracking the Code on Digital Networking, you can watch it on-demand. It is well worth your time to learn from two masters: Amanda Kaiser and Arianna Rehak , co-founders of the 2021 Virtual Networking Incubator.

    We had a lot of ground to cover and didn’t get to all of the questions. I had an opportunity to follow up with Amanda to get them answered.

    As a speaker, emcee or moderator, how do you handle a lag in chat responses?

    Sometimes you ask a question and “hear crickets” in the chat, but don’t worry because there are a few ways to deal with this situation. Participants need a warm up to get their typing fingers nimble and their brains switched to contribute-mode.

    I like to start with a chat question that needs only a one-word response. The best way to do this is to ask participants to describe feelings on your topic. For the topic of networking we asked questions like, “what does great networking feel like to you?” Or “when you hear the word networking, what immediately comes to mind?” Early in the session ask easy questions, and make sure participants know there are no wrong answers (because everyone has a different lived experience). Hold your deeply thought-provoking questions for the middle to end of the session. When there is a lag, use that time to repeat the question or even tell a very short, related story. 

    How long were the Networking Incubator live gatherings?

    Long! They were 90 minutes, plus the unofficial start, which made them 95 minutes total. We used a very similar schedule for each gathering. We opened with the unofficial start that lasted 6 to 7 minutes. Then we would transition into whole-group warm-up activities like reading the Golden Rule Haiku together, brainstorming or introducing the topic, and doing a quick tech overview; the warm-up took 10-15 minutes. Then we would move into our main activity usually transitioning into a new platform or into smaller working groups and the main activity took between 45-60 minutes. Finally, we would end with a whole-group debrief exploring together what we learned and what we could take away from the experience. 

    By the way, unofficial-start activities can also be used as energizers throughout a long session to recapture participants’ attention. We used many fun ideas from Playmeo and We and Me! Also, during the Incubator, we tried out Piccles for whole-group, feel-the- community-style networking. Gatheround (formerly Icebreaker) for 1-to-1 connections. Wonder for virtual reception-style conversations. And Circles for small-group problem-solving collaboration. 

    Tell me more about the chat waterfall idea!

    There are many creative ways to use the chat with your participants. Asking them to answer a question in the chat BUT not hit send until you tell them to (count 30 seconds or two minutes for questions that demand thoughtful answers) will give people time to think and type which will improve the quality of responses. Also, when they all hit send at the same time, everyone watches pages of comments flood in at once which can reinforce that feeling of community. One way to extend this is to have everyone spend another few minutes (you may want to spin some tunes during this time) reading everyone else’s chat contribution. You could use this activity toward the end of an event to ask them what they learned, or might use, or how they might implement the session ideas at their organization. Your participants will learn from each other and you’ll have the chat transcript as a source of rich data to refer to as well.

    I’m afraid if I tell my members this is a networking event, no one will show up. What can I do?

    Oh man, the word “networking” is such a trigger word!!!! Take a look at the one of the reports from the Incubator where we dove into the good and the bad feelings around networking. Anxiety, awkwardness, fear, imposter syndrome, lonely embarrassment and rejection are just some of the feelings networking events can provoke. 

    Our advice to you: don’t tell them this is a networking event. Instead focus on the purpose of the event or the outcome. Here are some of the benefits people get from networking: 

    • Find a mentor or be mentor
    • Get emotional support/vent/normalize experiences
    • Identify future collaborators
    • Spot future trends
    • Discover vendors or consultants to work with
    • Prepare for a job change
    • Solve problems/brainstorm solutions
    • Make friends/have fun

    Early in your event planning decide what the goal is. Will you help them solve a problem, and what problem is it? Or do you plan on introducing students to professionals? Whatever the goal of the networking event is, use that goal to inform your schedule, activity, platform selection, as well as the way you name and market the event. 

    We hope you got lots of new ideas and strategies you can immediately put to use as you think about the design and facilitation of your next digital community experience. Thank you to Amanda and Arianna for sharing your brilliance with us!

    What is one new idea or intervention you plan to try at your next digital networking or community gathering? What is your biggest challenge when it comes to designing and delivering networking value at your events?

    JUNE 1, 2021 BY SARAH MICHEL

    originally published by velvetchainsaw

  • 04 Jun 2021 4:53 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    An association overcame multiple hurdles by facing challenges head-on. An optimistic—but realistic—leader helped make it happen and led his team to success in several optimal ways, including a surge in membership and new revenue streams.

    I began my tenure as CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) last July, when the pandemic was raging, the nation was in political turmoil and undergoing a racial reckoning, and, like most associations, a financial crisis loomed over us. I arrived with an ambitious agenda and a charge from my board to take the organization in new directions. I also arrived at an empty office, with staff working remotely,  and confronted millions of dollars in lost revenue. 

    I faced a serious inflection point. 

    Should I direct our staff to focus only on the organization’s fiscal health, or should I forge ahead with an agenda for a new, bold direction? I realized I had to do both. I’m a believer in not letting a crisis go to waste, so I did the best I could to “build the plane while flying it.”

    Our efforts were not without pain, but a strategic approach to change and crisis management led to some surprising gains. In less than a year, we have seen a significant increase in membership, new revenue sources, foundation grants, new media engagement, and—most importantly—new programming that helped solve our members’ needs.

    How did we do it? My leadership team and I followed these important guidelines:

    Establish a Sense of Urgency

    In John Kotter’s Leading Change, he emphasizes that the first rule of effecting change in organizations is to create a sense of urgency. Multiple global and domestic crises certainly gave us the foundation for urgency, but it was still important for our leadership to help staff understand how the crises were impacting NACAC, and what would happen if we did not change course.

    We were transparent about our finances, shared as much information as we could about how our challenges compared to peer organizations, and communicated regularly about the difficult decisions leadership was going to have to make. While it did not make the decisions easier, it helped everyone understand that it was no longer business as usual.

    In crisis, leaders must find the balance between being honest and realistic about the challenges, but also paint a picture of what a brighter future looks like.

    Create a Sense of Shared Responsibility

    Outcomes are always stronger when the entire team feels they own the problem. We needed to ensure that everyone felt responsible for creating solutions. We established cross-departmental teams to work on the most serious challenges. The Membership Action Squad focused on ensuring we retained our members; the Revenue Generation Task Force came up with ideas for new programs and revenue streams; a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion working group focused on our efforts to become a more inclusive association; and a Steering Committee worked on the creation and implementation of staff vision and values statements.

    Our success is a direct result of these team efforts, and the staff now centers all of their work based on the values they created together. It’s important for staff members to have a sense of ownership over challenges and problem solving because they will always support what they helped create.

    Emphasize Storytelling

    Author Simon Sinek reminds us that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Constantly reminding our teams of “the why” is critical to the organization’s success. I remind our team of the values we adopted and created together. It’s important for everyone in the association to understand the vision, to know where we are going, but most importantly—why.

    Every time we make a decision, create a new program, or adopt new initiatives, we remind everyone how—and why—it fits into the overall goals and vision. If we achieve our goals, the association and profession will be stronger, but even more importantly, more students around the globe will have access to higher education. That’s the “why” everyone can rally around.

    Lead With Optimism

    Despite the challenges that crises may bring, it’s important to lead with optimism. In the words of former Disney CEO Bob Iger, “no one wants to follow a pessimist.”  In crisis, leaders must find the balance between being honest and realistic about the challenges, but also paint a picture of what a brighter future looks like. Teams will work hard and rally around a cause when they can imagine what lies on the other side. In an association’s most difficult moments, its leaders must be the most optimistic in the organization. 

    Leaders who want to effect change by shouting “the house is on fire,” won’t get very far.  However, those who say “the house is on fire right now, but we will put the fire out…and when we rebuild it together, it will be stronger and the process more rewarding than ever” will get the best results.

    1 June 2021 Angel B. Pérez

    Angel B. Pérez is CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling in Arlington, Virginia.

    Originally published at ASAE Centre 


  • 02 Jun 2021 12:32 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON, DC— Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, current President and CEO of the Chicago-based Association Forum, will become ASAE’s next President and CEO effective September 1, 2021, Stephen J. Caldeira, ASAE Board Chair and Co-Chair of the Search Committee, and President & CEO, Household & Commercial Products Association, Washington, DC, announced. She succeeds Susan Robertson, CAE.

    “After a thorough and extensive search process, the Board of Directors has voted unanimously to name Michelle Mason as its next President and CEO. Throughout her career, Michelle has demonstrated a commitment to the association community and ASAE, and a proven ability to drive alignment and results in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment,” Caldeira said.

    “Michelle is a strategic thinker, proven consensus builder, effective communicator, and fearless advocate. We are confident that Michelle is the right leader at the right time, who will bring visionary leadership to ASAE at a critical juncture in the association’s history,” added Caldeira.

    “I am honored to build upon the successful foundation at ASAE. I look forward to collaborating with a dynamic board of directors and a dedicated staff team as we create an accessible, inclusive, and transformational community for members and industry. A heartfelt thank you to Susan Robertson for her leadership and paving the way for women in the industry,” said Mason.

    Since March of 2020, Susan Robertson, the first woman to lead ASAE as President and CEO in its 100-year history, has been serving on an 18-month contract. She had previously served as Executive Vice President of ASAE and President of the ASAE Research Foundation.

    “The ASAE community owes Susan a debt of gratitude for navigating the organization following the unfortunate death of longtime President and CEO John Graham IV, FASAE, CAE in January 2020 and COVID-19. Susan has served with distinction for over 20 years, and she helped the organization to shepherd all Centennial-related activities and a new strategic plan. We wish her all the very best, moving forward,” said Caldeira.

    In addition to Caldeira, the CEO Search Committee included: 

    • Steven C. Anderson, FASAE, CAE, IOM, Co-Chair, Search Committee and President & CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Arlington, VA, and Chair-elect of ASAE, and Chair, ASAE Research Foundation.
    • Patricia V. Blake, FASAE, CAE, President & CEO, Heart Rhythm Society, Washington, DC, and Immediate Past Chair, ASAE.
    • Shawn E. Boynes, FASAE, CAE, Executive Director, American Association for Anatomy, Rockville, MD, and Past ASAE Board member.
    • Rita Chen-Fujisawa, MBA, CAE, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, California Association of Health Facilities, Sacramento, CA, and ASAE Board member.
    • Julie Coker, President & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego, CA and ASAE member.
    • Michael Dominguez, CHSE, President & CEO, Associated Luxury Hotels International, Plano, TX, and ASAE Board member.
    • Thomas R. Kuhn, CAE, President, Edison Electric Institute, Washington, DC, and Past ASAE Board Chair.
    • Lynda J. Patterson, FASAE, CAE, President & Owner, AMPED, Madison, WI, and Past ASAE Board member and current member of the ASAE Business Services, Inc. Board.
    • Stefanie Reeves, MA, FASAE, CAE, Executive Director, Maryland Psychological Association, Columbia, MD, and ASAE Board member; and
    • Lakisha Ann Woods, CAE, President & CEO, National Institute of Building Sciences, Washington, DC, and Secretary-Treasurer, ASAE.

    The search was led by Leslie Hortum, Keri Lindsay, and Ellen Pennow from Spencer Stuart. Hortum manages Spencer Stuart’s Washington, DC office and is a member of the firm’s Education, Nonprofit and Government Practice. Lindsay is based in the firm’s global headquarters in Chicago, IL and is a member of the firm’s Consumer/Hospitality & Leisure practice. Ellen Pennow is a member of the firm’s Education, Nonprofit and Government practice.

    MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Vest, CAE, 202-626-2798, cvest@asaecenter.org

    About ASAE

    ASAE is a membership organization of more than 48,000 association executives and industry partners representing 7,400 organizations. Since it was established 100 years ago, its members have and continue to lead, manage, and work in or partner with organizations in more than a dozen association management disciplines, from executive management to finance to technology. With the support of the ASAE Research Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge, and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession and provides resources, education, ideas, and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. Visit ASAE at asaecenter.org.


  • 31 May 2021 3:04 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Welcome to new and re-elected board members!

    AuSAE is pleased to announce the election of one new director to its board, as well as the re-election of two sitting directors.

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) announced last week at the Annual General Meeting the appointment of one new board member, Elise Adams, and the re-election of two directors, Lyn McMorran and Peter Saffin, to the company's board of directors.

    Coming from effective governance in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, our new and re-elected board members bring years of experience and leadership to shape the association's future.

    The new board member is Elise Adams, Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand School Trustees Association. She brings leadership in key areas that are vital to our future strategy. Elise's expertise will bring energy to our board and strengthen AuSAE's commitment to fostering a strong and robust association sector in Australia and New Zealand. We are excited to welcome Elise to our board of directors.

    The re-elected board members are:

    • Lyn McMorran is the Executive Director of the Financial Services Federation, the industry body representing responsible and ethical finance and leasing providers in New Zealand.
    • Peter Saffin is the Chief Executive Officer of the Mathematical Association of Victoria.

    These leaders will provide leadership and guidance to our network of current and future association and not-for-profit leaders in Australia and New Zealand and join continuing Directors Damian Mitsch, Holly Morchat, Leigh Catley and Paula Rowntree.

    Farewell to outgoing board member

    After one term on the board, Michelle Blicavs, this year will be stepping off the board. She has provided consistent and thoughtful guidance and her commitment to progressing the introduction of the Certified Association Executive (CAE) in Australia and New Zealand.  We farewell Michelle and we thank her for her service on our board, dedicating her time to help impact our community and organisation.

    We welcome our new members and extend a heartfelt thanks to Director’s past, present, and future for their contributions and dedication to AuSAE’s mission.

  • 31 May 2021 11:37 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Finding out what your members want and need by analyzing how they interact with your website helps increase value, guide content, and create a more responsive experience for members. Here are a few metrics to track to help you reach your digital goals.

    Now more than ever, associations must demonstrate value to retain their members. One of the keys to accomplishing this is to streamline website content and navigation to create optimized user experiences. However, data is often the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to making decisions so you can best serve your members and deliver the content they need at the right time.

    To generate the type of data needed to guide your decision making, look at several factors in your audience behavior. By identifying the most effective metrics, performing routine data analyses, and consolidating this information into regular reports, you gain insights to help accomplish your association’s digital goals.

    You can learn to analyze your audience’s behavior by asking these questions and understanding the following benchmarks:

    Where do your site visitors come from? Understanding the sources of traffic to your website can help determine which channels are performing well and which ones need to be optimized. You can find this information in your marketing channel reports to see exactly how your audience is finding your website. Popular channels include paid search from Google advertising, organic traffic from search engines like google.com, referral traffic from other website that link to you, and direct traffic from users who directly visit your website from their browser. Closely track these channels to better understand what you need to do to drive membership signups and renewals.
    How many visitors are new and how many are returning? This metric gives you a sense of how loyal your audience is. While it is normal for many websites to have more new visitors than returning ones, especially from marketing channels such as paid search, it is important to convert new visitors into returning visitors by creating engaging content that encourages them to come back. This is critical for cultivating brand loyalty and will boost your overall website engagement metrics.
    How long are members staying on your website? Tracking session duration and pages per session will provide insight into whether your content resonates with your audience. Benchmark: If average session duration on your website is more than two minutes, and if visitors view three pages or more per session, your site is showing strong performance.

    Data is often the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to making decisions so you can best serve your members and deliver the content they need at the right time.

    What causes members to leave quickly? Bounce rate tracks how quickly visitors leave your website. If your bounce rate is over 60 percent—that is, 60 percent of visitors leave after viewing only one page—try to find ways to cross-promote pages with links in your content so visitors move around the site and consume more content during their visit. BenchmarkA 40 to 60 percent bounce rate is ideal.
    Are your members converting? Email signups and downloads are common conversions on association websites. Track these actions in your analytics tools to gain visibility into how users are converting. The more conversions you have, the more engaged your members are. Benchmark: A 2 percent conversion rate is very good.

    What can I do to improve member signup and retention? Optimize channels that are key drivers of site traffic and boost lower-performing channels. Craft engaging content and clear calls to actions for conversions. Address any breakpoints on the site, such as a page where a high number of users drop off. By focusing on addressing these areas, you can create an optimal user experience for your audience and achieve your digital goals.

    Asking yourself these questions and getting familiar with industry benchmarks is an important start to analyzing user behavior on your website. (Keep this infographic handy for future reference.By following this process and revisiting these questions and benchmarks, your association can better understand its members to provide them with more meaningful content, while also getting your organization closer to meeting your business goals. 

    BY  Audane Leger,  Audane Leger is associate director of analytics at Velir

    Credit: ASAE 



  • 28 May 2021 5:48 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)


    AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner, Advanced Solutions International (ASI), a leading global provider of software and services for associations and non-profits, announced today that its iMIS Engagement Management System (EMS)™ has been selected as a Spring 2021 Leader for Association Management Software as well as for Non-Profit CRM Software by the G2 business software review platform.  Learn more about iMIS at:  http://www.advsol.com/reviewspr.

    G2 is the world’s largest tech marketplace where businesses can discover, review, and manage the technology they need to reach their potential.  Today, more than 3 million people visit G2.com to read and write authentic reviews of thousands of software products and professional services. G2 has published more than 1 million reviews that help organisations make better buying decisions.

    iMIS EMS is the world's 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. With more than 60 reviews on G2 with 4 or more stars, iMIS is top-rated by users and highly ranked for usability, relationships, and implementation.

    “G2 is an invaluable resource for organisations looking for reliable, unbiased reviews of new software systems,” said Edward Wendling, Global Vice President of Marketing. “We are very proud that so many clients have shared their perspectives of iMIS on the platform resulting in G2’s “Leader” designation for association management and non-profit CRM software.”


    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 www.advsol.com/ausae.


  • 26 May 2021 2:30 PM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    You can have the best health and safety policies in the world – but unless staff actually use them, they won’t do much good.  

    That was the problem facing Steve Wilson, General Manager of Lower Hutt commercial signage company, Sign Foundry.  

    “Our health and safety policies and procedures were all written out, but they used to sit in a cupboard and weren’t being used or followed properly,” Steve says.  

    “For example, staff weren’t using their personal protective equipment when they went into the manufacturing room, like they were supposed to. That was a big issue for me because their wellbeing is important to me.” 

    The company sought advice from health and consultant Steve Logan, of SL Safety Consulting, who came up with ideas for making health and safety ‘simple and pragmatic’ by building it into the way people worked.  

    “Steve focused on practical things we can do – like keeping everyone’s PPE in drawers right beside the manufacturing room door, so it’s convenient to put on just before you go in.” 

    Sign Foundry, which also has operations in Auckland and Christchurch, has to deal with a broad range of risks to the safety, health and wellbeing of its staff. These include working at heights to install signs and working with chemicals. Staff also sometimes work under tight deadlines or in stressful situations – like when the company stayed open during last year’s Lockdown 4 to create Covid-19 signage for other essential businesses like supermarkets.  

    Since SL Safety Consulting came on board, Sign Foundry has been able to make some big improvements in health and safety really quickly, Steve says. 

    “We now do regular toolbox talks where people can speak up if they’ve seen something unsafe. And we have an incident reporting system that means we can catch issues early and deal with them before they cause bigger problems. 

    “We also do a lot more inspections on our gear, particularly our height and harness equipment.” 

    Another benefit is that Sign Foundry has been able to achieve the highest level of accreditation in the SiteWise scheme – a prequalification system that grades companies’ health and safety capabilities and is used by many large businesses when they are selecting suppliers.  

    “Previously, we had only managed to get SiteWise Orange accreditation. Moving up to Green accreditation has given us a real competitive advantage when pitching for work.” 

    But the biggest advantage is knowing staff are safer, Steve says.  

    “I can rest easy at night knowing that everyone will get home safe and sound every day.” 

    Video: https://youtu.be/31lMYLUkkuA

     Other information  There is an ACC subsidy to help SMEs in construction and manufacturing gain access to qualified health and safety professionals through the HASANZ register.



The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

Australian Office:
Address: Unit 6, 26 Navigator Place, Hendra QLD 4011 Australia
Free Call: +61 1300 764 576
Phone: +61 7 3268 7955
Email: info@ausae.org.au

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Address: 159 Otonga Rd, Rotorua 3015 New Zealand
Phone: +64 27 249 8677
Email: nzteam@ausae.org.au

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