Sector and AuSAE News

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  • 31 Mar 2020 3:08 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    AuSAE Member Update from CEO, Toni Brearley

    I trust you have kept safe, well and in good spirits over the past week.  I have to admit I have been overwhelmed (in a good way) with the true “connectedness” of the AuSAE community through the many phone calls and video meetings I have had with the AuSAE team, members, staff and our valued network of partners and stakeholders.  I am privileged to work among such a kind and caring community who are working day and in many cases well into to the night to support their members and their livelihoods through these extraordinary times.

    In light of the Prime Minister’s third economic support package announcement yesterday, we have outlined below what this means for you and your members.

    COVID-19 JobKeeper Payment

    Yesterday the Australian Federal Government delivered a historic wage subsidy to the value of $130 billion, impacting around 6 million workers. The payment will ensure eligible employers (including not-for-profits) and employees stay connected while some businesses move into hibernation.

    • This subsidy will see workers receive a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer, before tax.
    • The payment will be paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer.
    • Where a business has stood down employees since 1 March, the payment will help them maintain connection with their employees.
    • Eligible employers will be those with annual turnover of less than $1 billion who self-assess that have a reduction in revenue of 30% or more, since 1 March 2020 over a minimum one-month period.
    • Eligible employers include businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders. Not for profit entities, including charities, will also be eligible.
    • The program will commence today, 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by eligible businesses in the first week of May as monthly arrears from the ATO.
    • To register your interest visit the ATO website here:

    To read more about yesterday’s announcement please click here:

    Comprehensive fact sheets from Treasury can be found here:

    We hope the recent announcements and support packages over the last week have been able to provide you and your members with some certainty and parameters for decision making whilst we navigate these unchartered waters.  

    AuSAE have curated a collection of resources including the latest government announcements on our website which can be found here

    Please don’t forget that we are here for you, we understand first hand how this is affecting your organisation and your members and we will continue to provide you - our members with the information, resources and support you need to do your jobs and move your associations forward.  

    AuSAE Support Services

    AuSAE Members Virtual Coffee Catch Up – 3 April

    We are continuing our weekly member virtual coffee catch ups to provide a platform for our members to connect, share and ask questions of each other in an informal virtual environment as we navigate our changing landscape.

    In this week’s member virtual coffee catch up, we will be joined by AuSAE’s Alliance Partner, Wes O'Donnell, National Workplace Relations & Advisory Manager, FCB Group who will provide support and guidance on workplace relations topics and questions that you might be facing in these uncertain times. If you have any specific questions you would like answered please email me directly and I will send this onto FCB to answer during the discussion. To register for this week’s catch up please click here.

    Webinar Event, Protecting your Organisation during COVID-19 – 8 April

    Join AuSAE online for our webinar event with Vera Visevic, Partner, Mills Oakley Lawyers. Vera will discuss:

    • Covid-19 as a force majeure;
    • The duties of directors:
      • Particular focus on the duty to not trade while insolvent;
      • The importance of longer-term strategy;
    • Issues relating to holding conferences and AGMs during government restrictions;
    • Government incentives and how your organisation can access them; and
    • Other issues your organisation should consider, including employment and contract law.

    To register for this webinar please click here.   All AuSAE webinars and complimentary for members.

    As always please email or call me on the details below if we can be of any assistance or just an ear to listen.

    Take care and stay safe


    Toni Brearley
    Chief Executive Officer
    Australasian Society of Association Executives

    M +61 458 000 155   W

  • 31 Mar 2020 9:40 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    What to do and what to avoid when it comes to connecting with your audience during the current public health crisis.

    Have you been flooded with emails from what feels like every place you’ve ever bought a cookie?

    To be sure, some of the correspondence is welcome and quite helpful. It’s your favorite Italian restaurant letting you know they remain open for takeout and delivery or the travel company sending you information on how to easily cancel your upcoming trip to Spain.

    If your product or services are affected by COVID-19, then your customers would probably appreciate an email update, according to Campaign Monitor.

    The somewhat less helpful is what Fast Company called the “Brand Friend”—“This is where brands who have built a direct line of communication with customers feel obligated to at least acknowledge the situation, even if it’s just to say hi with a ‘We’re all in this together’ drum-circle vibe.”

    The third category are the ones marketing experts say can easily alienate recipients: emails that don’t impart anything of value, are basically a rehash of what folks already know about the pandemic, and feel almost like a cheap attempt at driving engagement.

    “Be helpful, relevant, informative, constructively distracting, or authentically compassionate,” Ryan Ku, head of strategy and brand innovation at Eleven, said in Fast Company.

    “Recipients are hungry for something new,” says Jay Schwedelson, president and CEO of Worldata, according to MediaPost.

    Another thing to keep in mind at this time? Cancel any campaigns that simply don’t make sense given current government recommendations about social distancing and travel. An example of why this matters: Spirit Airlines sent out the prescheduled email “Never A Better Time To Fly” right as COVID-19 was upgraded to a pandemic.

    So, what should you be doing? Offer resources for your community, like free livestream yoga or meditation classes, or organize food dropoffs to the people who cannot leave their homes.

    Above all, be generous. “That’s what people will remember when this is over,” Reuben Turner, co-founder of the Good Agency, told The Drum.

    SARA CUTCLIFFE - Sara Cutcliffe is a longtime editor and writer who often covers health and consumer topics. 

  • 31 Mar 2020 9:14 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    As virtual meetings become the new norm, more associations will need to Zoom strategic discussions. Here’s how to make that process effective.

    The past few weeks have given many of us a crash course in teleconferencing. We’ve set up Zoom meetings, watched our colleagues’ cats and children stray across our feeds, and most likely discovered that short virtual meetings can be effective for small groups in your office.

    But what about more complicated, days-long strategic conversations with a far-flung board? As travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines remain in place, more associations will have to conduct their board meetings virtually. And getting that right will require more of organizations than making sure everybody has a Zoom link.

    You have to be paying attention to who has spoken, who is engaged, and who hasn’t spoken.

    Earlier this month, association leadership consultant Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, helped coordinate a day-and-a-half leadership retreat for the board of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). The rapidly changing situation around the coronavirus meant that some were able to travel to Chicago for the meeting, while some were stuck at home. It was, accidentally, a hybrid board event. Aplebaum shared a few of his insights about the experience on LinkedIn, and I wanted to hear more about what worked during the event and what challenges strategy sessions still face.

    The bottom line is that the system can work: “I’m not sure there’ll be a run to embrace all virtual all the time, but I think there’ll be more latitude toward hybrid approaches,” he says. “We’ve gained experience enough in this way of functioning digitally that we can blend in-person with virtual in meaningful ways.”

    Aplebaum offers a few tips for how to make the most of a virtual or hybrid board meeting:

    The conversation leader needs to be free to lead. Whether it’s the board chair or the CEO directing the conversation, that person should not be expected to be the ad hoc IT staffer in addition to moderating conversations. Assign a person to handle the technical issues. “In a digital environment it’s nearly impossible to be both a facilitator and contributor,” he says. “You need a back-end person to take care of logistics and knowledge capture.”

    Recognize that virtual conversations aren’t introvert-friendly. A board member who is cautious about engaging during in-person meetings may feel all the more so in a virtual environment. A mass of little video boxes can be intimidating, and as Aplebaum points out, the virtual environment repels quiet—people will talk to fill the space. So be intentional about gathering input. “You have to be paying attention to who has spoken, who is engaged, who hasn’t spoken,” he says. “It’s harder for there to be moments to pause and process. A facilitator has to be really intentional about inviting voices you haven’t heard.”

    Kill oral subcommittee report-outs. Kill them dead. Extended chatter from committee chairs about finance, events, membership, and so on can be boring on a good day. In a virtual environment those reports can feel like sitting through the most tedious, slow-moving art film you can imagine. “Do you really want every group reporting out for five minutes? That’s an hour of just sitting and passively listening except for your five minutes from your group,” Aplebaum says. “Take advantage of a digital platform to have the groups report out through digital means. During a break, have the facilitator go through it and then come back to the group with overarching themes that emerged from all the groups.”

    Icebreakers and opportunities to connect still matter. Overall, Aplebaum says, the CSI retreat was a success: “We heard that every person felt that they were engaged and invited and there was space for their voice.” But the experience showed that even the best-planned virtual meeting will leave some people craving opportunities for social connection. Setting up a virtual “happy hour” where people can connect over meals can help. So can group activities that encourage people to share something personal. After all, these days people have their personal lives near at hand.

    “One thing that I would do next time is have everyone find their beverage and then pick one picture on their computer or phone that shows me something about your life,” he says. “Or a physical object in your home. Something that tells the story of who you are, that lends itself to personal narrative. That can build cohesion in the group.”

    Whether it’s leading virtual meetings, managing staff, or coordinating with stakeholders, I want to hear how you’re putting your leadership skills to use during COVID-19. If you have a story to share, please drop me a line at

    MARK ATHITAKIS - Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications.

  • 31 Mar 2020 9:10 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    nonprofit board leadership

    If there was ever a call to action for board members, this is it. Your staff needs you. Your beneficiaries need you. Your community needs you. Whether you’re a new board member or on your third term, it’s time to lead and act.

    And I’m not just talking about sitting at a table and voting, I’m talking about rolling up your sleeves, eagerly speaking up and saying, “What can we do to help?” and “What can I do to help?” This is the time for effective nonprofit board leadership. Your board should set aside busy schedules and egos to become the most active, selfless, and engaged it’s ever been, transforming itself into a “do something,” “get it done,” “you can count on me” board.

    Here’s a checklist of ways your nonprofit board can show leadership during these unsettling times:

    1. Include your staff. No one knows your programming and the intricacies of your organization better than your staff. When you hold your “crisis” meetings, include the executive director and key staff, and encourage them to share and discuss their needs and those of the organization. The last thing your anxious staff needs to feel right now is that the board is making unilateral decisions without their input. Staff members want to know you’re supporting them, not controlling them. Think inclusion and empowerment, not exclusion.

    2. Pay your staff. The nerves of staff are fragile. Many are very scared. Many young staff members live paycheck to paycheck, have insufficient savings, and have little experience with traumatic events. Older staff worry about their children, spouse layoffs, mortgage payments, and their shriveling 401k’s. Everyone seems worried about the health of their parents and grandparents. For your staff to adequately care for the needs of your beneficiaries, they need to feel secure— financially secure. This is the time to be generous at all costs. Give paid time off. Pay for childcare. Extend the number of paid sick days. Help pay bills and mortgages. Talk with your major funders, the bank, or other board leaders to raise emergency funds or provide zero-interest loans. These funds can also help pay business expenses, program expenses, and utility bills. It’s the board’s responsibility to ensure the financial sustainability of the organization. This is no longer a limp line in your Roles and Responsibilities document, it’s reality. Remove the burden from your staff. Rally together and find the money . . . it’s your job.

    3. Ensure workplace safety. Right alongside your organization’s financial needs are their safety needs. If you’re an advocacy organization, it may be easy for staff to work from home. However, if your nonprofit is a food bank, your staff is probably overwhelmed with demand right now and feel obligated to work. Effective nonprofit board leadership means you’ll protect your staff members’ health in times of crisis. Create a task force to find and buy whatever is necessary to protect your staff and sanitize their workplace. This is all pretty obvious by now and there are hundreds of websites outlining how to sterilize a workplace environment. Your job? . . . help make it happen.

    4. Provide crises and trauma counseling services. In times of crises and trauma, people often lose their sense of place and direction. You can assume many staff and volunteers are feeling quite scared and anxious, even if they won’t openly admit it. Some are traumatized by watching the news, experiencing sleepless nights, concerned about grocery scarcity, fearful of catching the virus, or worried that a loved one might die. Allocate funds to pay for crisis and trauma counseling for staff and family members. We’re talking about people’s psychological health here, and it’s just as important as investing your staff’s physical health. Find some top-notch clinicians in your area and let staff know they and their families can access these services. This is also an important time to make your staff feel valued and appreciated. Have board members do some little, unexpected things for staff: Make phone calls expressing appreciation, hand out gift certificates for take-out meals, or write handwritten appreciation cards. Brainstorm other ideas that would warm the hearts of staff and make them smile . . . something we all need more of right now.

    5. Postpone events and inform donors. If you were planning to have your annual gala this spring, or any fundraising event, postpone it. Even if the virus curve flattens, people may still be leery of crowded venues. Push your event to late summer or fall. The worst thing you can do right now is cancel your event and then scramble to try to hold it online. From my experience, these quick-fix solutions often look cheesy and the responses are typically small. Remember, many people are worried about their finances. Some have lost 10 to 20 percent of the wealth they had in stocks. Instead of putting together a haphazard online event, make specific appeals to specific donor segments for specific needs you have. I’ve had huge success creating sponsorship lists and wish lists of items I needed funded. Work with your executive director to contact donors and keep them informed. For detailed information on fundraising and donor relations, read this article I recently wrote: COVID-19 Fundraising and Donor Relations Tactics.

    6. Regularly inform the community. People who support your mission want to know what’s happening at the organization during these trying times. Create talking points and FAQ’s for board members to share in the community and on social media. Work with staff to write super short and regular updates about what’s happening with staff, programs, beneficiaries, operations, and events. I’d suggest a daily brief no longer than one or two paragraphs. Include local media on your recipient list because they might want to write an article based on what you sent them. Your board chair and executive director should be the points of contact with the media.

    7. Meet regularly. We’re all chasing a moving target. News about the virus and its impact on families and businesses changes daily. Therefore, have regular conference calls until things settle down (daily if you must). Avoid getting bogged down in details. Discuss topics of concern, create a prioritized ToDo list, assign work, do the work, share the status of the work, and then start the process over. What’s most important right now for nonprofit board leadership is to lead and act in a collegial fashion with your staff. The virus has affected everyone. Once it passes, we might just find a few strands of silver lining in all this as boards and staff learn to work together to overcome unexpected challenges as they work passionately to propel their missions.

    What are your board members doing to help right now? Let me know in the comments below!

    By Tom Iselin |March 25th, 2020 |COVID-19 / CoronavirusNonprofit Boards

  • 27 Mar 2020 6:27 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    In the association community, talk of a recession had crept up a few times in the past year. Now, it’s at the top of the agenda. Many industries, including associations, are already experiencing recession-like conditions as revenue streams are cut short by cancellations or government mandates. How can your association help members cope with the economic impact of COVID-19?

    Steps for helping members cope with the economic impact of COVID-19

    Assess the damage

    This economic downturn could mean the end to many businesses. Ask members about their biggest challenges and needs right now, and ways you can help. Email them a survey and post it as well in your online community and on your website.

    In last week's post on the new set of member needs due to COVID-19, we also suggested using virtual town halls and smaller virtual meetups to ask members about the impact of COVID-19 and their need for resources. Meet online with survey respondents to brainstorm ideas for leveraging the collective power of your association to help your industry or profession.

    Provide recession-focused information and education

    Triage immediate challenges and focus on the ones that are do-or-die for members. For example, members need to figure out how to pay bills in the face of revenue loss. Host virtual panels with members whose businesses survived the 2008 recession and have advice to share.

    Your members may benefit from other topics, including.

    •    Leveraging online options to keep in touch with their market
    •    Understanding the requirements of federal and/or state COVID-19 response legislation
    •    Marketing during a recession
    •    Bringing their banker to the table
    •    Exploring the pros and cons of bankruptcy

    In the ASAE Collaborate forum, an executive from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization described their Coronavirus Business Resource Center. The resource center provides remote working guidance as well as other critical information. She said they’re collecting response plans to post on the website as a set of models and samples. They’re also “launching a page with information on COVID-19 related services that member companies are providing (cleaning services, webinars from law firms, etc.).”

    Take a look at these examples of COVID-19 resource pages:

    •    RIMS
    •    ISACA
    •    CUPA-HR
    •    Industrial Designers Society of America

    Consider partnering with an allied or industry-related organization. What can you do better together by splitting up the work? If your memberships can benefit from the same type of information, then consider pooling resources.

    help members cope with the economic impact of COVID-19

    Help members deal with tough times

    Business data collection. Become indispensable by doing for your members what they can’t do on their own. Collect data that will help your association lobby for financial and/or regulatory relief for your industry.

    On ASAE Collaborate, an executive from the International Association of Tour Directors and Guides said, “We've considered a survey that would track lost work for our members in the hopes this might highlight the impact and better support funding for individuals.”

    Connection and community. In last week’s post, we emphasized the increasing member need for connection and community. Promote the benefits of participating in your online community and virtual events. Even better, give members the opportunity to see each other’s faces in virtual meetups hosted on web-conferencing platforms.

    Career resources. With layoffs in the future for many, help members prepare for the next step in their career. Ramp up job board promotions to both employers and members. Include resources on your career site that will help members find a job, for example, resume and job interviewing tips.

    Credentials. Remind members about the market value of having a credential beside their name. Design learning pathways that can help members earn certificates or digital badges.

    Membership dues. Consider offering a transitional membership level for members who find themselves unemployed or unable to afford dues. You might also consider extended grace periods or payment plans.

    It might be a good time to rethink your traditional membership tiers. You could offer a less expensive digital membership, maybe even one that includes a limited number of e-learning credits. These options could help members get back on their feet so they’re able to repay you with a full membership later.

    Another option is hybrid memberships. Give companies the option of paying for one organizational membership instead of relying on individuals to make their case for membership to their employer. However, make sure your AMS can handle these types of membership structures.

    Develop talking points that help different member segments make a case for professional development and/or membership.

    Put e-learning front and center

    Education is never more needed than in times of change. Members must deal with new challenges alongside the impact of a recession. If they’re a victim of layoffs or closures, they must prepare themselves for the next step in their career.

    Take advantage of this opportunity to introduce your members to online learning—a sustainable source of education for them and revenue for you. If you had to cancel an in-person event, shift those resources into online learning. Repurpose the content for webinarspodcasts, or online courses.

    E-learning expands your audience for education. It gives you something to offer people who could never take time off to travel to events or couldn’t afford travel expenses—a large percentage of your membership and market.

    A recent Collaborate discussion provided anecdotal and evidence-based data on the low percentage of members who attend annual meetings. Discussion participants from national associations said only 16 to 27% of their members attended their annual event. A survey of 12 state society of association executives (SAEs) found that only 41.5% of their members attended their annual event, despite not having to travel far.

    help members cope with the economic impact of COVID-19

    Pricing considerations during a recession

    Here’s the conundrum: everything you want to do to help members has a cost in staff time or a budget for new technology. But, if you’ve had to cancel an event, you’ve seen your revenue plummet too.  

    You need to keep earning revenue from education, no matter the delivery format. Yet, your members’ ability to pay depends upon how badly their industry has been affected by COVID-19.

    What are your options?

    •    Split the costs (and revenue) by partnering with another organization.

    •    Ask sponsors to underwrite program expenses. Consider giving them an opportunity to participate in the design or delivery of the program.

    •    Provide sponsored scholarships to members.

    •    Offer three pricing tiers: free for members in hardship, a suggested member price, and a non-member price.

    •    Barter: members can earn promo codes by volunteering on specific tasks that would otherwise be done by staff.

    Tips for marketing online learning during a recession

    Tweak your marketing messages. Sell education as a form of career insurance. Education increases a member’s value to their employer. If they lose their job, their pursuit of professional development demonstrates their commitment to growth and better positions them in the talent marketplace.

    In many professions, credentials result in higher pay. Do you have industry research to support that?

    You could use a variant of the old networking trope… this is where the winners hang out. In tough times, successful people and businesses seek opportunities as well as the support and resources they need.

    In program descriptions, describe the value learners will receive. Highlight the impact the program will make on their business, career, and job.

    Although what we’re experiencing now is nothing like business as usual, in a sense, business must still go on as usual. Remind members that your association never stops working on their behalf—whether it’s lobbying, providing information, hosting discussions, and/or educating. No matter what’s going on, you continue to fulfill your mission and membership promise to them.


  • 26 Mar 2020 5:56 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    It’s time to act like it.

    Several weeks ago, when it was first becoming apparent to association executives (and everyone else) that the coronavirus pandemic was, in fact, going to be quite serious, most of the industry discussion seemed to revolve around “Do we REALLY have to cancel our conference? What about our revenue!”


    Yes, it was appalling.

    I do get it – many associations derive 30-50% of their annual revenue from their conference or trade show, and – at least at that time – hotels and convention centers were being utterly intransigent about negotiating. (I’m guessing they’re going to have to change their tunes. I’m also guessing a lot of lawyers are going to be quite busy litigating this for some time.)

    Fortunately, we’ve all regained our senses, and conversation has shifted to various incarnations of: How can we do right by our members and broader community right now?

    There’s no one answer that’s going to work for every association.

    Basically everyone is cancelling or postponing any big events for at least the next several months. Some are refunding reg fees across the board, while others, looking to move events to the summer or fall, are holding onto those fees for the moment, while reassuring registrants that cancellation and refund rules will be significantly relaxed.

    Many associations are standing up COVID-19 discussion groups in their online communities and making them available to the entire profession or industry, regardless of their usual practices for non-member access.

    Association execs are also considering options for dues renewals, granting extensions by request, pausing renewal campaigns, or even extending everyone automatically across the board.

    Staff teams are vetting ways they can support local chapters that are heavily dependent on in-person events and run by small – or no paid – staff.

    One thing that seems really important to me is: Think through how the pandemic is affecting your particular profession or industry, and respond accordingly.

    If your association serves any segment of the hospitality industry, this is a MASSIVE crisis. You are going to have to take drastic steps to try to help keep your industry and association afloat. That may mean suspending dues entirely for some significant period of time, drastically changing – or curtailing – the services you offer as a result, and almost definitely dipping into your reserves.

    If your association serves a profession or industry that’s not being as significantly impacted, you may want to look to what you did to weather the September 11 terrorist attacks or the 2007-2008 Great Recession for clues as to what you should do now.

    Some industries that are being heavily impacted are not being heavily financially impacted. Grocery stores, for instance, are doing great financially, but they are in crisis related to supply chain and staffing. Medical personnel are absolutely still hard at work and getting paid, but they are dealing with significant personal and professional stress related to fears of being overwhelmed with patients, of the need to quarantine from their families at home, and of falling ill themselves. University faculty are already facing the fact that their students are not returning this term, and K-12 teachers may be facing that in the near future. They have to adapt – quickly – to remote instruction and assessment.

    Everyone is dealing with significantly disrupted day-to-day life, and uncertainty about how long it’s going to last.

    Many states and localities are moving quickly to pass emergency relief legislation. The federal government will get there eventually. Your members may need guidance about what’s available to them and how to get it.

    How can you repurpose staff – membership, meetings, GR, IT, professional development – to help your community with their REAL challenges right now?

    If you have some members who are willing and able to get on the phone with you and have frank conversations about the pressures and worries they’re facing at the moment, CALL THEM. Right now. And then bring your team together to do their best thinking about how your association can pivot to respond to those needs, which may be VERY different from what you all normally do and provide. Your association is their community. You can help them.

    Now is the time when we in the association world MUST look at the world from our members’ perspective, think carefully and empathetically about what they need from us, and respond accordingly.

    Written by: Elizabeth Weaver Engel, M.A., CAE

  • 24 Mar 2020 1:38 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    AuSAE Member Update from CEO, Toni Brearley 

    It’s the start of another week, and we’re not sure what we’ll be facing by the end of this week. The situation we find ourselves in is truly changing every hour. All we can promise to do for our members during this time is provide you with the most up to date information that we have on hand, in a concise, collated and relevant manner for you and your association.

    COVID-19 Second Stimulus Package

    On Sunday 22 March, the Australian Federal Government delivered a second stimulus package estimated to be worth $66b. Key points for businesses:

    Boosting Cash Flow for Employers:

    • This assistance is aimed towards companies, including not-for-profits, with an annual turnover of up to $50m.
    • The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not‑for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses’ and not-for-profits’ cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.
    • The cash injection will be linked to your company’s wages bill through the taxes an employer withholds during the year.
    • The assistance will be paid via the current ATO system once the March BAS is lodged direct to your company’s bank account. The payments will be delivered by the ATO as a credit on your business activity statements.

    Regulatory Protection and Financial Support for Businesses:

    • The Government will establish the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme which will support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get access to working capital to help them get through the impact of the coronavirus.
    • Under the Scheme, the Government will guarantee 50% of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs. This will unlock up to $40b in finance available for SMEs.
    • There will be more flexibility in respect to creditor initiated insolvency and voluntary administration actions. Moving the outstanding amounts limits from $2000 to $20,000, and timing to respond to 6 months instead of 21 days.
    • Relief for directors while trading insolvent will also be provided over the next 6 months.

    To read more about the above information please click here:

    AuSAE is working to procure information for specific commentary around what the new stimulus package means for associations, and where possible state packages also. We will have an update on this information towards the end of this week.

    Guidelines for Upcoming AGM

    COVID-19 may temporarily impact on your associations’ ability to hold an annual general meeting. This issue is most immediately relevant for companies with 31 December balance dates that are required to hold an AGM by 31 May 2020. For these entities, ASIC:

    • Confirms it will take no action if the AGMs are postponed for two months; that is, until the end of July.
    • Supports the holding of AGMs using appropriate technology.

    To read more about this please click here.

    Current Partner Resources to Help You

    • Our partner, FCB Group – HR Assured, have created a dedicated page for information relating to COVID-19. During these uncertain times, you may need some support and guidance on staff leave entitlements or other workplace relations topics. This page will provide you with useful content to equip you as an association manger moving forward: 
    • Our partner, SMS, has created a free “Pandemic Management Strategy for Associations” template to use as a starting point for developing a plan. To download this please click here. A free webinar on this topic will also take place this Friday 27 March. To register please click here.
    • Our Partner Redback Connect is Australia’s foremost expert in delivering digital events and as a valued and long standing partner to AuSAE and the sector have confirmed they will extend a discount to any AuSAE member that wishes to take their live events online or who wish to enable their remote workers with collaboration services. Email Sara Drury for more information.

    AuSAE Members Virtual Coffee Catch Up

    Last Friday AuSAE kicked off our virtual coffee catch ups with members via Zoom. Given the ever-changing landscape and exceptional circumstances we all find ourselves in, we are focused on connecting our members now more than ever. It’s important to share how associations are navigating this new landscape and offer help and advice to each other where we can.

    Our virtual coffee catch ups will continue weekly and will take place on Fridays at 10am AEDT. For this week's catch up please come with your questions - what do you need to know now that will help your association and your members. We will aim to provide the answers that you need or connect you with other AuSAE members who can help.

    To register for this event please click here.

    AuSAE will release our Association Support series of webinars in the coming weeks to assist you to re-focus on what impact the current situation has had on your Association, and the critical things you can do to see this through.

    That’s it from me for now, during this last week I have received many emails from our members with direct questions which the team and I are working hard to answer. Please continue to email me with any questions, concerns or opportunities

    And lastly a big and heartfelt THANK YOU! I know some of you have worked almost every day over the past 2-3 weeks keeping abreast of this situation for your members. I know you have felt the very real pain of some of your members that are experiencing difficulties that they never thought they would, and you and your teams and trying the very best you can to work through scenarios to achieve the best outcomes for your entire sector. The Association community should stand proud at the contribution they have made during this time. Associations do matter and there has been no greater evidence of this than right now.

    AuSAE is here for you – while you are servicing your members and their needs during this time – we are here for you to ensure the longevity and success of associations long past this crisis.

    Stay safe.

    Warmest regards


    Toni Brearley
    Chief Executive Officer
    Australasian Society of Association Executives

    T +61 1300 764 576 M +61 458 000 155
    A Unit 6, 26 Navigator Place, Hendra Q 4011
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  • 24 Mar 2020 7:40 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Staying organized can be a real challenge in today’s technological age when it’s become nearly impossible to unplug. As challenging as getting and staying organized can be, it’s a critical component of personal efficiency and productivity.

    While certain people seem to have effortless, calm days, others rush through their days, weeks and even months in a whirl of bleary-eyed chaos. If you’re interested in improving your organisational skills, some of these time-saving, energy-reducing, life-enhancing habits can help you run your days more smoothly.

    1. Protect Your Time Fiercely

    Good time management skill is an asset when it comes to staying organized. When you organize your time on any scale, you automatically create order.

    “Time is what we want most, but what we spend worst.”

    William Penn said that. It’s profound and very true. There are lots of ways to slice your working hours every day. 8 hours is a lot of time you may be spending on too many things that have little or no value to your long-term goal —low-value meetings, reacting to urgent but unimportant emails, social browsing, responding to notifications etc.

    Time management works on a weekly basis when you’re making important plans and establishing recurring events. It works on a monthly basis when you’re deciding where you need to be and when. It also works on an annual basis when you’re planning which events to attend, or when to start a new habit.

    A little bit of organization can go an incredibly long way toward increasing effectiveness, boosting productivity, and creating new habits that foster the efficiency you crave.

    2. Have a Place For Everything — and Put it There

    Highly organized people strongly adhere to the “a place for everything and everything in its place” philosophy, which makes it much easier to stay organized. They are habitual declutterers.

    Decide where your keys will go and put them in the same place every time you walk through the door.

    Store away summer clothes in winter to declutter your closets. Declutter your drawers and get rid of everything you don’t need to make room for things you’ll actually need and use.

    “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle,” recommends Marie Kondō, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

    “I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely,” she writes in her book.

    By getting rid of, or storing away, things you only use occasionally (or things you never use but can’t seem to part with), you create instant organization. That’s because you know where the things you really, truly use are and that automatically makes them easier to find when you need them.

    3. Make Time for High-Value Priorities

    What are the priorities in your life? Organised people block their priorities — relationships, personal development, career growth, financial goals, healthy habits etc. Everyone’s priority list is different but the same concept can be used to make time for the most important things in your life.

    With a printed calendar (versus the one on your phone) you can create a colour-coded, time blocked schedule that keeps everyone and everything in your world organized.

    Time blocks also help you schedule downtime, dinner plans, and important client tasks. Need to beat a deadline? Schedule in five uninterrupted work hours. Have a repeating weekly event? Build a time block into your calendar. Need to just create daily routines?

    Time blocks can help you do it. Learn to break your day, week, or month into valuable time blocks to improve your personal efficiency, increase your productivity and recover from your workload.

    4. Purge Your Schedule to Build Efficient Routines

    It can be tough to get things done when you feel as though your schedule is taking over your life. Purging your schedule once (monthly or quarterly) a while saves you time and helps you achieve your goals as planned.

    The aim of a productivity purge is to reduce unnecessary repetition and improve your autopilot routines. It’s an opportunity to analyse every task or action, and identify items you can move around, delegate, slice, spread out, or even stop working on right away if it’s not helping you get closer to your goals.

    “The productivity purge is a necessary piece of project gardening. By doing these regularly, you keep yourself focused on what’s important. You get at least one month after every purge in which serious work gets done on a small number of projects,” says Cal Newport, author of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.

    It might seem irrelevant and unimportant to set aside time to pause and purge unnecessary tasks from your routine when you have a lot to do. But that time to analyse your routine, measure your results and make that important change may be the fresh start you need to get more done.

    5. Have a Routine — Even On Nights and Weekends

    How you spend your days is how you spend your life, which is why it’s so important to carve out daily routines. A life without a positive daily routine or structure is so much more draining mentally, physically, and emotionally than you can ever imagine!

    To make the most of your day, develop a routine for when you awake, for when you first start working, for when you finish your workday, and for the end of your evening.

    Whether you wake up 30 minutes before everyone else in your family, read important news every morning or workout at the same time after work, routines provide stability and organization to each day.

    Routines predetermine your schedule, allowing you to use your time efficiently. They provide a sense of structure and familiarity. You wake up with a sense of ownership, order, and organization of your life.

    6. Configure Your Phone to Work For You, Not Against You

    Our phones connect us with people we love, help us work on the go, and make online purchases easier. But if not managed, your phone can work against you — notifications, badges, banners, games, inboxes and social media can create an environment of interruption and distraction.

    But you can change that. That amazing little device gives us access to an incredible suite of organizational and productivity tools — use them to organise your life and work. Use your notes app to make shopping lists. Use your photo app to organize picture albums.

    Use productivity apps to organize work. Use the calendar app to purge unnecessary tasks, block off time and organize your day. Almost every activity of your day-to-day life can be found in an app. Since your phone is going to be with you all day, anyway, make it work to your advantage.

    7. Treat Emails Like Appointments

    The business world runs on email. While communication is great for business, email can ruin your productivity if you don’t tame it. Beyond necessary communication (sending and responding to important emails that advance work), email can be just as much of a distraction as it is a great communication tool.

    Learning when it’s productive to pay attention to email and when you should ignore it is a necessary skill. It’s counterproductive to check your inbox every five minutes. To defend your time from unnecessary emails, schedule time to check or respond to incoming emails. This keeps the incoming work in order while getting other tasks completed.

    To tame the chaos, you need an ongoing process for managing incoming emails; prioritising and weighing the value of different messages appropriately and responding to them at the right time without interfering with your workflow.

    In Gmail, you can create tabs that tell your emails where to go when you receive them. That little touch of organisation could mean you never have to see a spam email, again, except when you empty your email box. Many email providers have that same functionality and organization.

    Another way to organize your email inbox is to have multiple email addresses. Multiple email addresses will allow you to have one email for work, one for entering contests and signing up for freebies, and one for whatever else you want. Since people communicate by email on an ever-increasing basis, you can save an incredible amount of time with this simple organization hack.

    Finally, build email responses into those beneficial time blocks by opening emails only at certain times of the day and not allowing yourself to get sucked into the email rabbit hole over and over on a daily basis. You’d be surprised how much organization you can lose just by losing control of your time in small batches.

    Highly organized people are crystal clear of what needs to be done, what has to be put away, what needs be automated or delegated. They don’t complicate things because confusion breeds chaos. If you are unclear about anything, it would reflect in your execution.

    To keep your life organised, purge things daily and routinely — organising is should not be a separate event. It should be part of your day.


    Thomas Oppong

    Founder @AllTopStartups | Featured at Business Insider, Forbes, etc. I share practical tools for wealth, health, and happiness at

  • 24 Mar 2020 5:22 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    open letter 

    Dear AuSAE Member,

    Thought I would email you to let you know if there is any support in terms of education and content for newsletters etc we can provide to you and/or your members during this time please do not hesitate to contact me.

    As you are more than likely aware, on Tuesday 17 March 2020 the NZ Government announced a Business Continuity Package to help those struggling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  One part of that package proposes to give Inland Revenue the ability to remit use of money interest (UOMI) for businesses or individuals who are unable to make their payments on time due to the impact of COVID-19.

    In brief, this could apply for all payments due on or after 14 February 2020, and could be remitted for a maximum of two years past the date of enactment, but the actual length will depend on the circumstances of each business. These changes are contingent on legislation being passed.

    It’s proposed that any business or individual that has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak could receive the remissions.  Once legislation is passed Inland Revenue will create guidelines to help you establish whether a business or individual might be eligible.

    To find our more please visit

    If you and/or your members are struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19 coronavirus, we strongly encourage you to contact your tax professional to discuss how we might be able to help.

    Our normal options for re-estimating provisional tax, setting up instalment arrangements, remitting late payment and filing penalties, and severe hardship debt write-offs are available. We encourage impacted businesses to take advantage of them.

    The Government has also announced it will introduce legislation for four more tax changes to help businesses given the impact of COVID-19.  They are:

    •  to increase the provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000
    • to increase the small asset depreciation threshold from $500 to $1,000 – and to $5,000 for the 2020/21 tax year
    • to allow depreciation on commercial and industrial buildings.
    • Removing the hours test from the In-Work Tax Credit from 1 July 2020


    These four changes are not proposed to be timebound, would start from the 2020/21 tax year, and apply to all businesses - not just those affected by COVID-19. You can find out more about them at

    In terms of support , if you would like us to support you and your members through webinars , conference calls, produce content for newsletters etc please do not hesitate to contact me. Once legislation is passed we will be in a better position to provide guidance and certainty regarding the business continuity package although , as highlighted above, there is support available now and we do encourage impacted businesses to take advantage of them.

    Anyway, thought I would reach out and let you know we are available to assist if you would like.


    Rata Kamau

    Business Transformation Account Manager – Small & Medium Enterprises

  • 23 Mar 2020 2:13 PM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Associations and Unions all have members, and staff, who are now on the front line dealing with the significant changes in our working and personal lives that we all face because of the coronavirus outbreak.

    These changes make it particularly important that Association CEOs provide leadership with a laser-like focus on the needs of both the members and their teams.  The question of how they do that is challenging for many organisations as they adjust to how it affects their personal and work lives, they contemplate staff working remotely (many for the first time) and members becoming more and more difficult to reach (and perhaps service) as they address this outbreak. Here are a number of things to consider:

    ·       Website: Your web site is one of the first places your members will go to. Make accessing this information as clear and easy as possible and most importantly ensure it is mobile friendly. Member services teams and their call centres are experiencing massive demand so look at how your web site can best support your members just as your valued staff do.

    ·       System in the Cloud: As staff begin to work remotely, ask are your systems available for your staff to access in the cloud? For organisations that have yet to fully embrace the Cloud, it’s not too late. Anywhere, anytime, on any device, has never been more important.

    ·       One system makes this less complicated: How many different systems are you using to manage member data? Compile a list and do an audit – you might be surprised. Consolidating to a single, enterprise, cloud member platform will allow you to be more nimble in this current environment.

    ·       Managing data security: How do you now manage data security with your staff working remotely? Additionally so if you have numerous systems.

    ·       Become an expert in conducting remote meetings: With face to face events cancelled, what other ways are you engaging with your members? There are many powerful online tools available to enable dynamic delivery of content and engagement. Whether they be educational now being delivered via an Learning Management Systems (LMS), or meetings and events going virtual, consider how you can incorporate these tools into your member engagement plans.

    ·       Become a community: Consider online communities and online special interest groups to drive connection between your members and your organisation. Your members are going to feel isolated so look at how can you easily connect and bring them together. You’ll be surprised how grateful they will be and what that means to them, and your organisation.

    ·       Agility to adjust membership types: And with changes to demands and expectations, not just on events, but also your membership you may need to look at amending membership from a typical yearly cycle to 15 months with an extra 3 months free as an example. An important questions is whether you have the billing agility to easily amend all of your pricing of membership, events, and services across all your offerings.

    For many of you the future is now and you may not have the luxury of easing into these changes, but it is critical that you look at how you manage your systems and all of your data. Not just from a data security perspective, but also from a member engagement perspective. What members do, and how they access resources, you will soon want, and need, to track all of this as measuring member engagement will be critical to adapting current offerings and creating new services to your members, not to mention aiding member retention in the months and years ahead.

    I hope that this blog has been useful in helping you consider quickly adapt. Please know that we are available to help facilitate these kinds of conversations inside your organisation. As an organisation with a mission to ensure that NFPs achieve success, we are now going to offering aree Success Assessment Workshops where we can help your team explore what is best to service your members and enable your team to be their most productive during these trying times. Please contact us if you are keen to find out more

    Mark Glynn, Performance Improvement Leader, Advanced Solutions International,

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