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Sector and AuSAE News

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  • 02 Jul 2020 12:39 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Volunteering is the act of providing services for the greater good without expectation or receipt of compensation. While the definition of volunteering hasn’t changed much over the years, the methods through which volunteers donate their time must evolve, especially during COVID-19. Volunteering is the single best way keep members engaged. But how to we foster a sense of community when our members are physically and socially distanced? As remote work continues to be prevalent for much of the working population, how can our associations make virtual volunteering as ubiquitous as remote work? Here are three key ways your association can create opportunities for virtual volunteers to make a real world impact.

    Provide ‘Micro’ Opportunities to Serve

    Microvolunteering, also known as ad hoc volunteering or episodic volunteering allows potential volunteers to devote time and provide services in shorter, more convenient timeframes. As any association professional who has worked with volunteers can attest, the greatest obstacle securing committed volunteers is a lack of discretionary time. Microvolunteering solves for this barrier by creating smaller, more palatable opportunities that have plenty of inherent flexibility.

    When building microvolunteering offerings, think about simple, one-time tasks that can serve as an introduction to your organization. For example, my the alumni association of my former university offers individually-based microvolunteering opportunities, including the quick task of writing congratulatory letters to newly admitted students in my hometown. While I would love to one day volunteer with my regional alumni chapter, the letter writing opportunity allows me to get started right away on a simple act of kindness that builds affinity between me, prospective students, and the alumni association.

    Create an Online Ambassador Program

    Every member of your organization is a marketer, regardless of his or her job title. From Amazon reviews to Twitter posts, to how you show up in your latest Zoom meeting, each of us is communicating and making statements every second of the day. People are 90% more likely to trust and purchase from a brand recommended by a friend, colleague, or peer. Whether we like it or not, our members are signaling the value of our organizations. That’s why it’s critical that we create opportunities for our members to serve as brand ambassadors of our organization, and the programs, products, and services we offer.

    At a previous association, I partnered with a member of the Board of Directors to create an online ambassador program. The purpose of the program was to help build our leadership pipeline and increase awareness of the organization through peer to peer communication. Ambassadors were provided with monthly lists of new members in their local geographies along with an email template that could be customized for one-to-one outreach. They were also encouraged to engage with and share social media posts and share their own volunteer journeys with new and prospective members.

    Solicit Member Expertise

    From member value surveys, to association management software, to regular check-ins with your committees and task forces, there is no reason that associations can’t get to know their members. Organizations that truly understand the benefits of volunteering know there’s no substitute for personal outreach and connection. From highly engaged volunteers to first-time members, ask questions about what excites your members, why they connect to the mission of the organization, and what their career goals are. Find ways to connect these individuals with projects or people that align with their skills and goals.

    Skilled-based volunteering involves taking a skill used every day in a job and applying it towards volunteer efforts. According to the Taproot Foundation, 68% of nonprofit professionals do not have the resources needed to successfully complete their work. Your existing network of members and volunteers likely possess many of those skills, but it’s up to your organization to identify them through personalized outreach and utilize them by aligning abilities with opportunities. Examples of skill-based volunteer opportunities include copywriting, web design, online fundraising, and virtual mentoring.

    While physical volunteers will once again be in demand in a post-pandemic world, the value of virtual volunteering as a benefit to both associations and the members we serve should not be overlooked. In times of difficulty and uncertainty, the value of volunteering to our associations, industries, economies, and personal sense of meaning is priceless.

    This article is written by Amy Thomasson 

  • 02 Jul 2020 11:41 AM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Welcome to our new member chat series - half an hour of power. This week we are delighted to have sat down with AuSAE member, Fiona Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals Australia (SOCAP Australia). In a short 30 minute interview we discussed four key questions with Fiona to reflect on the last four months and look forward to the future post this crisis.

    What do the next 6 months look like for your association and your members

    Everyone is waiting for the September/October deadline with government support and funding ceasing, to understand what the real impact of this crisis has had on the economy. This deadline will have an effect on our members and their customers, and the support they will need to provide their customers during this time. It is a really interesting time for our association as the next 6 months will provide the building blocks to set us up and the way we respond and move forward over the next 18-24 months. We have already shifted the way we deliver member value and the way in which we operate, but I think this will only continue and change even further. This crisis has uncovered the need for associations to adapt, shift and change their business models, income streams and delivery of member value. We are still in the cycle of change.

    Areas of concern

    A concern for me is around the ongoing capacity for our association to deliver this new model of member engagement and value. I think as we move through this situation we need to continue to be ready and move quickly whilst providing the support for our teams to deliver their goals for members. An ongoing juggling act for any Association CEO. I think something that has been and will continue to be difficult is the unknown – as a CEO you focus on the strategic planning and outlook of the organisation and this has been a hard ask for CEO’s as the landscape changes daily and we are still unsure of what the end will look like.

    Areas of opportunity

    In some ways this situation has provided us with the time and space to really look at our overall goals and what we need to do to deliver for members now. We all had a plan coming into 2020 and those plans vanished quickly, and now we have been given the time to re-evaluate and reimagine what service delivery and desired outcomes look like. I am enjoying this process, and the ability for our team to reshape the delivery of programs and ensure the alignment with our true mission as an organisation. In chaos you can certainly find clarity.

    Celebrated moments in the last four months

    The brilliance of our team to adapt so quickly in such an unknown environment is fantastic to see. They have shifted to working from home, delivering services and not missing a beat for our members and at the same time increasing the output and delivery for members. I am thankful to the team for their agility and support over this time. The engagement with our members has never been stronger, I know that the team and I are nourished by the conversations we are able to have with members every day. 

  • 02 Jul 2020 11:36 AM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    As associations quickly transition their conferences online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that they also recognize some of the benefits that come with making the pivot to virtual.

    As many associations work fast to pivot their in-person conferences to virtual ones, staff involved in getting it done may feel stressed and concerned about executing it well. For example, how do they get presenters to be engaging on video? How do they create opportunities for virtual attendees to network and collaborate? How do they get sponsor and exhibitors on board?

    While those are all important questions to address, it is also important that associations realize the benefits that could come with offering virtual conferences. Here are five of them:

    It may appeal to a broader audience. A virtual conference doesn’t require attendees to travel, which means they don’t have to pay for a flight or a hotel room or spend time away from their families. Because of the lower price point and ability to join from anywhere, you may be able to entice people who have never attended in person to join your virtual event. For example, your international attendance could go up, or more parents with young children may register.

    Repurposed content could be a new revenue stream. Virtual conference platforms allow content to be easily recorded, which means it can be repurposed at a later date. While attendees could be given access to the archive as part of their registration fee, consider repackaging it and selling it to those who missed the virtual event. This could help your association create a new revenue stream.

    It could offer new opportunities for interaction. A lot of people attend events for the networking opportunities and hallway conversations that take place. While those may be difficult to replicate in a virtual environment, consider other ways you can help participants interact—perhaps in ways that would not typically be available at a face-to-face event. For example, you might give attendees access to a live chat with a keynoter or small breakout-room Q&As with your board chair or CEO.

    The platform will gather lots of data. Data collection is typically much easier when you host a virtual conference. Virtual platforms let you know exactly who your audience is and what they do. You can gather demographic data, attendance numbers, number of views, types of engagement, and more to get an idea who is tuning in, to what, and for how long. You an also track this type of data for your exhibitors to see how people are spending their time in the virtual tradeshow environment.

    The virtual conference could serve as a testing ground. While virtual and hybrid meetings have been increasing in popularity over the past few years, COVID-19 left many associations that perhaps weren’t full sold on them with no choice but to actually host them. While it may have happened faster than you wanted, and you may feel like you didn’t have enough time to create the perfect event, celebrate it as a milestone and consider it an opportunity to test new things. Watch how your attendees, sponsors, and speakers interact with the virtual tools, and ask them what they enjoyed and didn’t like about the experience. Their answers can inform other virtual products, programs, or services your association creates in the future.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here and is written by Samantha Whitehorne. 

  • 02 Jul 2020 11:30 AM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    COVID-19 has pressed associations to build boards with people who are flexible and eager to lead, and who bring new perspectives to the table. Diversity initiatives offer a path to get there.

    Among the many things that COVID-19 has revealed about associations is the need to rethink what they need in their boards. Of course, associations often struggle to build and support effective boards outside of crisis mode, but now matters are more urgent.

    One example of that need for change comes from a survey published earlier this month by the National Association of Corporate Directors. The survey shows that, at least for the short term, the pandemic has pushed aside familiar matters like onboarding and succession planning as top concerns. Rather, the directors surveyed say that their top governance challenges involve “shaping a realistic post-crisis strategy,” “ensuring the ongoing health and safety of employees,” and “getting up to speed on all the emerging risk dimensions of the crisis.” Board leaders are confident in their organizations—92 percent are sure their firms will survive the crisis. But thanks to the coronavirus, the tools they’ll need may change.

    Those challenges are likely not that much different in associations and the larger nonprofit industry. But will associations have the people they need for the task? That remains a struggle. According to BDO’s annual Nonprofit Standards benchmarking survey, more than half of the organizations reporting (54 percent) say that attracting quality leadership will be a challenge in 2020.

    So new skills are necessary, but the old problem of bringing in engaged leaders hasn’t gone away. What to do?

    Neither report addresses it, but part of the solution may come by solving another problem that associations have often been loath to tackle: board diversity. Race to Lead Revisited [PDF], a new report from the Building Movement Project, an organization that promotes social change in nonprofitdom, notes that many of the challenges regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion at nonprofits remain persistent, both on staff and on boards. And in some cases, the problem is worse: According to the report, “people of color were substantially more likely to state that race is a barrier to their advancement, while white respondents were more likely to agree that their race provides a career advantage. People of all races were more likely to agree with statements describing obstacles people of color face in obtaining leadership positions.”

    That’s all the more frustrating because the report demonstrates not just that there is a leadership pipeline of people who are prepared to bring new ideas into organizations, but that those organizations might perform better if they were brought in. According to the report, “Both people of colour and white respondents report a far better experience in POC-led groups,” and a lack of engagement with people of colour has an impact on workers’ tenure and satisfaction. Those working for organizations that are predominantly white-led are less likely to say they’ll be happy working there three years from now, or that they feel they have a voice in the organization, or that they’re given equitable opportunities for advancement and promotion.

    And efforts to close the gap are perceived differently by different groups: While more than half of white respondents (54 percent) say their organizations are developing recruitment strategies to increase diversity, only 40 percent of people of color say that’s the case. Too often, DEI is relegated to a training session that many see as “a means to check DEI efforts off an organizational to-do list,” according to the report.

    A more robust approach, the authors say, “requires setting and meeting targets for bringing on candidates, instituting effective onboarding and support for new staff and board members, and being willing to shift power—that is, to listen to the observations and recommendations of staff and board members of color, and to change the organization’s policies and practices accordingly.”

    That kind of power shift, in itself, will not solve the problems associations are facing today. What it can do is demonstrate a real commitment to new ideas and processes that are essential to leading through the current crises—and what comes after.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Mark Athitakis. 

  • 02 Jul 2020 11:25 AM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    While concerns of stress and anxiety remain for many young adults, the latest edition of ‌The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey finds that many are looking at the current cultural moment as an opportunity to reach for something higher.

    With layoffs, mass protests, and an uncertain future facing their generation, young people may have it tough right now, but they can see the flip side of the current crises.

    That’s a key finding from the 2020 edition of The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, which also brings Gen Z into the mix. The annual report—made up of two separate surveys, one done last fall and a COVID-19-focused “pulse” update done this spring—highlighted continuing (if declining) stress and anxiety about the world at large, but an overarching sense of resilience.

    “Last year’s Millennial Survey exposed a good deal of uneasiness and pessimism; perhaps surprisingly, the pandemic doesn’t appear to have exacerbated those feelings,” the report states [PDF]. “In 11 of the 13 pulse countries, respondents actually expressed lower levels of stress than they’d reported in the primary survey five months earlier. Overall results also showed greater optimism about the environment, a strong commitment to financial responsibility and saving, and favorable views of the responses to the pandemic by government, business and their own employers.”

    That resilience has definitely shown itself with the pandemic—which has apparently led around three quarters of millennials (76 percent) and Gen Z (74 percent) to become more sympathetic to the world around them. Similar totals said that it led them to take positive action in their lives and a more active role in their local communities.

    As far as work goes, the report finds a growing appreciation of remote work among both millennials and Gen Z workers, with more than 60 percent saying they’d like the option to continue working remotely more frequently, citing benefits for stress relief and work-life balance.

    And many younger workers are less likely to leave their current roles than they might have been in the past, even if they remain critical of corporate environments in general. In the post-COVID pulse survey, 41 percent of millennials and 43 percent of Gen Zers said they felt business was a force for good, a decline of roughly 10 percent for each from the primary survey from last fall.

    In a news release, Deloitte Global Chief People and Purpose Officer Michele Parmelee noted that the study underlines the need for organizations to highlight the positive impact of their work to younger staff members.

    “Job loyalty rises as businesses address employee needs, from diversity and inclusion to sustainability to reskilling,” Parmelee said. “For businesses, the message is clear—young people believe in companies with a purpose-driven strategy. These are the companies that will lead in the post-pandemic future.”

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Ernie Smith. 

  • 02 Jul 2020 11:20 AM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    The storm of COVID-19 is not over—far from it—but now is a good time to see what associations have achieved in demonstrating relevant value for members as the crisis continues. Here are a few success stories.

    A recent ASAE webinar, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Membership: A CEO Dialogue,” featured three association leaders sharing their successes in engaging, retaining, and recruiting new members amid an unprecedented crisis. Their experiences provide takeaways for all associations to use as they continue to chart a course, often without a map, for the months ahead. Spoiler alert: Taking risks is key.


    When COVID-19 led to office closures, the Greater Washington Society of CPAs was in a good position to transition to remote work. They had begun the shift in August 2019, gave up their long-term lease, and their seamless switch to remote work allowed them to jump on member issues quickly.

    They were already about 75 percent ready to launch a new online member community. Because they knew members needed to connect quickly as the pandemic spread, they accelerated the last phase of the project and launched it ahead of schedule in March.

    “Taking that risk and jumping into something wouldn’t have been our preferred way of launching it, but I think taking that risk was very important for us,” said GWSCPA Executive Director Kari Bedell.


    Like many others in the travel industry, American Bus Association members took an enormous hit because of COVID-19. ABA immediately shifted to communications focused almost entirely on COVID-19. They also took a strong personal approach and reached out to each of their more than 3,000 members. Making personal connections was important, said Lia Zegeye, ABA’s senior director, because it acknowledged the pain and the struggles each member was facing.

    The direct communications also gave ABA a better understanding of what members actually needed during the crisis. “This is a time for associations to lead,” Zegeye said.


    It’s not a surprise that the American Nurses Association experienced a dramatic surge in new memberships because of COVID-19. ANA’s membership grew 12 percent in April and May, and over 23,000 new members have joined.

    Carol Cohen, CAE, ANA’s director of membership development, said nurses had an acute need for information and support because of the pandemic.

    “We have managed to meet those needs in a meaningful way,” Cohen said, “and that has generated this unprecedented engagement.”

    ANA developed an on-demand COVID-19 webinar series free to all nurses—not just members. They repurposed existing webinars to deliver targeted content and then quickly developed new ones to address COVID-19. ANA garnered 130,000 registrants—cumulatively—for the series. A targeted membership email to those registrants, likely more receptive to a membership ask, led to approximately 2,600 new members.

    “The key is the speed with which we were able to pivot to change topics and deliver relevant and timely content when the demand was at its peak,” Cohen said, acknowledging that the current demand will not last forever.


    ABA and ANA have both extended their grace period for membership renewals and have each had success with a monthly dues payment structure. ANA’s Cohen said new members, who skew younger, are opting for monthly payments and like it better because it mimics other subscription models in their lives.

    There is a risk to all of these steps, she said: “We’re usually more careful but made all kinds of changes without testing them. We felt we had no choice given the circumstances.”

    Thriving associations will be the ones who tap into what’s happened and go forward with the lessons they have learned in a crisis instead of waiting to go back to things the way they were before, Zegeye said. “The way we do business has changed forever.”

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Lisa Boylan. 

  • 02 Jul 2020 10:43 AM | Toni Brearley (Administrator)

    Call for Nominations to the AuSAE Board of Directors

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) is calling for nominations from members interested in serving as a Director of the Board. 

    There are currently four (4) positions available for appointment via general election. Members are invited to express their interest in appointment to fill these vacancies for a two-year term commencing in July 2020.

    The culture of AuSAE requires a working board, with a current focus on supporting organisational growth.  Directors should expect to contribute at least 4 hours a month in their role, in addition to attending 4 teleconferences (1.5 hrs) and 2 face to face meetings per year. 

    Directors may also be asked to attend and host AuSAE events, and events hosted by our valued alliance partners.

    Skills and attributes
    AuSAE directors play an active and visible leadership role in the association sector. All potential directors should be able to demonstrate leadership, integrity, interpersonal and communication skills, a passion for Associations, business acumen, and an understanding of corporate governance.

    The board of AuSAE value and seek diversity as defined by gender, ethnicity, age, role and level of experience and encourage applications from all eligible members.

    The current board encourage AuSAE members in early stages of their leadership journey, and /or managers in specialist areas to consider nomination.

    The current board has also identified that their skills and capabilities would be enhanced and complemented by directors who can offer expertise in the following areas:

    • Contemporary Marketing Experience: Knowledge and experience in the implementation of contemporary marketing techniques through digital platforms as it pertains to associations and membership engagement.
    • Revenue Generation: Knowledge and experience in the area of non-traditional revenue generation and business models.
    • Commercial experience:  Recent commercial experience outside of the association sector

    Election and appointment process

    Appointment to the board will be determined by election from the membership.  Please note that the nominee must be a current financial member, in an eligible category of the association on application.

    To express an interest for the Board position you will need to provide: 

    • a completed nomination form, which includes a declaration of eligibility
    • a completed candidate statement addressing key questions for circulation to all members.
    • A current headshot

    All nominations must be received by 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on Friday 3 July 2020.

    Please click through for a copy of the AuSAE Constitution and By-Laws.


    Lyn McMorran

    Australasian Society of Association Executives

  • 29 Jun 2020 2:13 PM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    Now more than ever, it’s important to strengthen connection, confidence and collaboration to enable us to perform well, both individually and professionally.

    These recent times have affected each one of us differently. Uncertain times can be unsettling. Most of us will have spent some time worrying about our job, reflecting on our career and perhaps even contemplating the future path.

    To further support the Association community during this period, and beyond, Beaumont People have expanded their Career Coaching and Transition Team to include an Associations & Memberships Specialist Career Coach.

    Beaumont People is proud to introduce Louise Roper, who can provide professional advice and guidance to navigate through these changing times with practical tools and techniques. This will enable you to carve out a clear pathway for yourself, your business or your team. Louise will be familiar to many of you who have attended ACE or a Sydney networking lunch in the past or more recently, seen her smiling face on the Friday Virtual Coffee Chats. Louise is inquisitive and genuinely interested in people and business, ensuring a proactive approach in helping identify strengths and finding suitable roles.

    If you have found yourself looking for a new role or even considering a change, the Career Coaching and Transition Team can help with everything from LinkedIn profiling, bio and resume writing to interviews, networking and polishing your pitch. If you are not at that stage yet or don’t know where to start, they also offer career assessment and strategy sessions, job search, selection and career coaching. Beaumont People also provide other complimentary resources and webinars that may help your job search.

    It may even be the transition back to the office after the time away that needs additional support. Beaumont People recommend taking the time to ask your team members their preferences for returning to the office and planning the reunion. It is also a perfect time to review your people strategy.

    Beaumont People are pleased to extend to the AuSAE community complimentary access to our many tools & resources Webinars, articles, downloadables and podcasts which include The Leadership Series for Individuals and teams.

    Contact Beaumont People for more information on services by emailing or or calling 02 9279 2777.

  • 25 Jun 2020 12:14 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Yesterday we held our last webinar event in the Strengthening Associations Series, “Reflections and the Future of Associations”. For this special panel event we were joined by Damian Mitsch, Federal CEO, Australian Dental Association, Wes Lambert, CEO, Restaurant & Catering Industry Association Australia and Amelia Hodge, CEO, Australian Property Institute. I was able to join the panel in Sydney to facilitate this conversation and deep dive discussion into the road to recovery for our associations.

    I would like to take this opportunity while my thoughts are fresh to share my key take aways from yesterday’s discussion. I think what inspired me most was that even though each of these associations have been impacted by the virus quite significantly the leaders were very optimistic about their teams, boards, member value and the future of associations as we move into the next stage. We were lucky enough to have such a breadth of representation and knowledge on this panel and the varying impacts and responses on each sector. We are still yet to see the full impact of this crisis on the economy and I know we have a hard road ahead as we move towards the end of the year but I do hope the panel discussion yesterday provided you with the insights and tools to keep moving forward.

    What lessons, operational changes and team practices will we continue to keep after COVID-19:

    • This crisis has highlighted the ability for associations to be agile, innovative and quick in decision making and execution. We have been forced to make decisions quicker than we are used to and our teams and boards have stepped up during this time to enable us to respond to our members and their needs.
    • As restrictions came in we saw the cancellation of major events and associations’ ability to deliver training, education and networking for members. This has given us the ability and time to take a closer look and assess our member offering, what haven’t we been doing over this period and have we survived without it, did it add value and did the value outweigh the cost of delivery. Now is not the time to be saying ‘when can we go back to the old way and how we used to do it’.
    • Continue the collaboration, it’s more important than ever to be collaborating with other associations, and leaders as we move into the next stage.
    • Workplace flexibility is here to stay. Now we have proven that we can all work productively and successfully from home, we need to keep this option available for our employees.
    • Let’s not take our foot off the pedal just yet. We keep hearing this but associations have never been more important than they are now. This period of time has highlighted to members, non-members, and the broader community the pivotal role that associations play to advocate and be the single source of truth for entire professions. We should use this time and harness this attention to continue to provide meaningful solutions to member problems.

    A big thank you to our panel speakers yesterday, and all of our speakers who joined us online every week for the last three months. We are pleased that we could bring members and our community thought leaders and experts in the sector to help us navigate this new world. And finally a huge thank you to all of you for participating and joining us for each webinar – we have had an overwhelming response to this series and we look forward to continuing to bring you the information and knowledge you need as association leaders.

    Warm regards


    Toni Brearley
    Chief Executive Officer
    Australasian Society of Association Executives

  • 24 Jun 2020 2:12 PM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    Learn how to Shift Your Association’s Culture to Digital in the Coronavirus Era

    In the midst of the global pandemic, nearly every organisation is trying to find the best ways to transform to a digital culture as quickly as possible while still protecting and improving the member experience.

    AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner, Advanced Solutions International (ASI) is pleased to share with AuSAE subscribers this insightful whitepaper ‘Your Association’s Digital & Member Experience Guide’ written by ASI partner, Causeis.

    ASI is sharing this important whitepaper with permission so you can benefit from the helpful 10-point plan author Michelle Lelempsis, Director of Causeis, has developed. The report will show you how to:

    • Manage data and security
    • Measure digital engagement
    • Increase your financial control
    • Track multi-channel communications, and more

    Get your complimentary copy at

    About ASI

    Advanced Solutions International (ASI) is a leading global provider of cloud-based software to associations and non-profits. We're the company behind iMIS Cloud, the Engagement  Management System (EMS)™ that empowers you to engage your members anytime, anywhere, from any device. Since 1991 we've helped thousands of clients grow revenue, reduce expenses, and improve performance by providing best practices, pragmatic client advice, and proven solutions.  ASI is proud to be an AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner.  Learn more at 

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