Sector and AuSAE News

  • 16 Sep 2021 3:25 PM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Let's imagine it is December 31, 2029. What did your association do throughout the rest of this decade to shape a different and better future for stakeholders and successors?

    Last month, I posted the backcasting prompt pictured above to LinkedIn following my late June session at the Virginia Society of Association Executives Annual Conference in Virginia Beach. My sincere thanks to everyone who liked the original post. What I noticed, however, is that no one accepted my invitation to offer a response to the prompt.

    To assist association boards and staff with sparking new conversations through this thought experiment, I have created four example responses to this prompt based on the four major forces of turbulence I see shaping this decade. After the four responses, I share some questions you can use to frame a conversation inside your association.

    Four example prompt responses to spark new thinking

    Addressing AI/automation

    "In the early years of the 2020s, our association's concerns about the detrimental impact of AI and automation technologies on our profession led us to refocus our education. Instead of concentrating entirely on developing our learners' technical skills, i.e., what they need to know to work in our field, we created new professional credentials that helped build their digital and human skills as well. By the end of the decade, research showed that our credential holders were in demand, especially among employers who initially implemented AI and automation technologies to handle routine tasks and activities. Those companies now needed human workers who could effectively collaborate with machine intelligence and other human workers to facilitate the work of innovation."

    Addressing the climate crisis

    "To be completely honest, we struggled with shifting our association's thinking and action toward the future. Our board initially resisted even having the conversation, but once they did, it didn't take long for them to see the COVID-19 pandemic as a fast-moving version of the global climate crisis. Working with that shared understanding, our board refocused its stewardship on a foundational question: how can the association work to reduce our field's carbon impact by 50% or more within ten years? We reached out to other organizations in our space, and everyone agreed to put everything on the table. The group identified specific outcomes we would strive to achieve together, and while we are not yet where we want to be, but we are making consistent positive progress."

    Addressing human inequality

    "The COVID-19 pandemic revealed (and exacerbated) a depth of human inequality in the United States that was intolerable to our association, our people, and our industry. We knew we couldn't simply 'return to normal' because what we thought of as normal was grounded in the discrimination, exclusion, and exploitation of millions of people over decades and centuries. Our board took a strong stance by committing the association to a newly-created ethical purpose of prioritizing the wellbeing of people over profits. As a result, the association shifted its advocacy work away from protecting the industry's traditional interests and toward creating a more equitable economy and inclusive society for all Americans. It was a huge and difficult shift, and it was the right thing to do."

    Addressing ideological extremism

    "The Capitol insurrection on 1/6/21 was horrifying, but it wasn't until we heard the same voices of ideological extremism during a board meeting the following week that we understood the threat was inside our association. It was a painful realization, and yet one we could not ignore. Ideological extremism was an existential threat to our association's commitments to expertise, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and attracting young people to work in our field. It was clear that simply "agreeing to disagree" and being civil would not be enough. We implemented an entirely new process for identifying, recruiting, and seating board members, developed a fact-based, data-infused, and learning-oriented approach to board decision-making, and said goodbye to those who would not adapt."

    Having a conversation on these prompt responses

    To be clear, I do not offer these responses because they are the only ideas worth pursuing or because they are somehow "correct." Their sole purpose is to challenge association orthodoxies and convey a sense of both possibility and urgency for new thinking and action.

    With that intention in mind, here are some questions you can use with your association's board to frame a conversation around the backcasting prompt and the example responses I have provided:

    1. What is your reaction to the prompt and the four responses? Which response most challenges you? Which response most inspires you? What questions does each response raise for you?
    2. What is the highest ambition we can pursue as an association before the end of this decade? How do the example responses challenge us to be bolder in our thinking?
    3. If the stakeholders and successors who will be most affected by our decisions were listening to our conversation, how well would it honor their highest expectations of us? What sacrifices are we prepared to make to meet their expectations and fulfill our responsibility to them?

    MY CHALLENGE TO YOU: We need to accelerate our decision-making, so I challenge you to complete your association's thought experiment process around the backcasting prompt, i.e., from first conversation to crafting your response, in 60 days or less.

    Jeff De Cagna

    Executive Advisor, Foresight First LLC

    Looking back from the last day of the decade: a thought experiment for association decision-makers - Jeff De Cagna (

  • 16 Sep 2021 3:18 PM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Tactics for wooing sponsors for virtual and hybrid events can be very different than the techniques used for in-person meetings. Here are six steps to take to better explain the benefits of virtual and hybrid to potential sponsors.

    Creating an exhibitor and sponsorship prospectus for your virtual or hybrid meeting doesn’t have to be complicated. As a seasoned professional, you possess the tools necessary to produce a prospectus that allows your association to achieve its goals while delivering ROI to exhibitors and sponsors.

    Over the past 16 months, my staff successfully sold and managed exhibits and sponsorships for 20 virtual association expos. Each began with a thoughtfully crafted prospectus that precisely highlighted the benefits of participation to exhibitors and sponsors while reflecting the association’s culture and mission.

    As our industry transitions back to in-person meetings, including virtual elements in your prospectus will widen the size and scope of revenue opportunities. While creating the prospectus may seem daunting, this six-step plan will guide you through the process.

    Step 1: Create a New Financial Model

    Traditionally, a significant amount of the revenue from in-person events results from the sale of exhibits, with a minority from the sale of sponsorships. These budgetary assumptions are entirely different for virtual events, where sponsorships produce the majority of the revenue. You must change accordingly and plan for many more sponsorship opportunities.

    Be realistic about the exposure and revenue virtual exhibits generate. Promote the virtual booth as an online resource center rather than a significant lead-generation opportunity.

    As the industry turns to a hybrid format, you have the opportunity to use virtual opportunities to your advantage, supplementing your in-person offerings. If your exhibitors have a strong in-person presence, you might be inclined to offer them complimentary virtual booths. Conversely, if sponsored content holds the most attraction for participating companies, make it available virtually to increase their ROI.

    Step 2: Compile Marketing Language for ROI

    Clearly communicate the components of the virtual/hybrid opportunities in your prospectus. In addition, spell out any benefits of the format. These could include:

    • Increased attendance, especially international attendees
    • Useful analytics from detailed session and booth tracking
    • Ability to engage potential customers during COVID restrictions
    • Enduring exposure by making the virtual platform available for months, not days

    Be specific in explaining what your virtual or hybrid meeting looks like. Explain the schedule: live versus recorded content, engagement opportunities, and how long content will be available post-event.

    Step 3: Match Virtual Sponsorships with Typical In-Person Sponsorships

    Sponsoring companies return year after year because they value the opportunity to communicate with your attendees. However, remember that sponsors aren’t technical experts. Make them comfortable by identifying virtual sponsorships that are similar to those available at your in-person event. Make a list of each in-person sponsorship at your past events and write a closely matching virtual sponsorship next to each item. To complete this step, you must thoroughly understand your virtual platform’s capabilities and know how to use its features to your advantage.

    Step 4: Classify and Match Sponsorship Categories

    Companies recognize event ROI in four main categories of sponsorships: brand awareness, product or service promotion, access, and thought leadership.

    Categorize each in-person sponsorship into one of these categories and offer similar virtual sponsorships for each category. For instance, program guide advertisements at your in-person event belong in the product or service promotion category. The corresponding virtual sponsorship might be for advertisements on your virtual platform. Sponsorship of an invitation-only president’s reception may be a combination of brand awareness and access at your in-person meeting. Perhaps create a virtual reception the night before your event and invite your board of directors, CEO, and valued members, as well as the sponsor. The sponsor stills get exclusive access to this selective group. Also consider adding their logo to the invitation and virtual platform.

    Step 5: Create Unique Options in All Categories

    Brainstorm new ideas to fill gaps you see in each category. Rely on your association’s familiarity with attendees and participating companies to create unique sponsorships that companies will be excited to purchase, and attendees will appreciate. Examples include:

    • Brand awareness. General session speaker introductions, poster gallery, or sponsored ribbons.
    • Thought leadership. Sponsored content in different timeslots during your event, such as symposia, theatre, lightning rounds, and so forth.
    • Access. First-time virtual attendee orientation or collaborative rooms.
    • Product or service promotion. Commercials, virtual platform ads, or a “Know Before You Go” email banner.

    Step 6: Create the Structure of the Virtual Exhibit Booths

    Be realistic about the exposure and revenue virtual exhibits generate. Promote the virtual booth as an online resource center rather than a significant lead-generation opportunity. Exhibitors will appreciate the chance to share their promotional materials with attendees. Consider these tips:

    • Offer two price points—standard and premium—to allow companies who are hesitant to pay for virtual exhibit space a chance to say yes.
    • Connect the virtual booths with any sponsored educational session descriptions. Attendees can easily click from the session to the virtual booth for additional information.
    • Don’t offer additional graphics or content at a la carte prices. While tempting, this becomes unnecessarily complicated. Keep it simple, and your staff and exhibitors will thank you.\
    • Schedule time for visiting booths. Allow 30 minutes each day for exhibit hall hours. Offer incentives such as gamification to entice attendees to visit virtual booths.

    In a hybrid model, virtual booths become an online buyer’s guide. Exhibitors can have information posted online in addition to their in-person booth for maximum exposure to attendees.

    Originally posted here

  • 16 Sep 2021 3:09 PM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Some people have been eagerly anticipating the return to the office. Except the office doesn't feel the same as it did before.

    Like most people, Scottie Lantgen thought he’d be away from the office for just a couple of weeks when the pandemic began in early 2020.

    A year on, the 36-year-old, a senior copywriter at an advertising agency in Kansas City, Missouri, US, was finding home working tough. “Every day was the same,” he says. “I’d wake up, work five feet from where I slept, and work out at home. I just wouldn’t leave my house. It was so draining, and the ability to have a difference between a work life and a home life was something I desperately wanted again.”

    So, in June, when his firm announced fully vaccinated employees could return to the office, Lantgen “jumped on it”. But after the initial excitement, he says, being back became underwhelming. “There were a lot of people who were really excited to come in, everyone was hugging and talking. But things petered off pretty quickly. Within two to three weeks we definitely learned who actually wanted to be in the office – and a lot of people really didn’t.”

    Of course, going back to the office has its perks. Chief among them is the ability to interact, in person, with colleagues and managers whom we haven’t seen face-to-face for more than a year and a half. Being back in a physical work environment could make some people more productive, and allow for creative conversations and more efficient communication. For these reasons, among others, plenty of workers are actually excited to go back.

    Yet, like it or not, the office won’t feel quite the same as when we left it. The ongoing pandemic means many workers may be uncomfortable being physically close to others, or even reluctant to return. The water-cooler conversations we’ve been missing still aren’t happening, because there are fewer people in the office, and because a shared water cooler suddenly seems unsanitary. Meetings may feel forced or uncomfortable, colleagues may avoid communal spaces and activities, and even beloved lunch spots may not have survived the pandemic.

    In short, it’s possible the office you’re returning to isn’t the place you remember. And for those who have been waiting eagerly to go back – and experience the elements that made work more enjoyable for them – adjusting to this ‘new’ office could be a stressful process.

    Once-familiar environments feel foreign

    After so long away, the office is now an unfamiliar environment. First, says Juliet Hassard, an associate professor of occupational health psychology at the UK’s University of Nottingham, there are likely to be far fewer people there, as plenty may not be ready to come back. 

    “A lot of them want to encourage people to come back, but people are going to have very varied feelings and experiences about that, ranging from ‘Oh, I’m so desperate to get back and see people and go for coffee’, to the other end where you have people who are actually really scared about it,” she says. “Workers will fall on a spectrum from ‘can’t wait’ to deeply anxious.”

    That means that those who are eager to return are likely to find themselves disappointed when the things they miss most – quick chats with colleagues, big brainstorming sessions, team solidarity and socialising – are still not happening. 

    This has been Langten’s experience; key elements of the workplace experience that he enjoyed have disappeared. “The client meetings in the office, the leftover BBQ – the beautiful thing about working at an ad agency is there’s beer fridges and stuff. On Friday afternoons it’d always be, ‘let’s have a few beers, maybe go out’. Now there’s only a handful of people there, and it’s just not the same.”

    On Friday afternoons it’d always be, ‘let’s have a few beers, maybe go out’. Now there’s only a handful of people there, and it’s just not the same – Scottie Langten

    That change may be more difficult for certain personality types – the same people, namely extroverts, who draw their energy from the buzz of being around other people. Research shows extroverts are less affected by dopamine, so they need more stimulation to feel 'on' or be productive. The major benefits those people, like Lantgen, get from being in the office are a big part of what’s driving them back, even if there’s not as much stimulation as there once was. 

    Social connections – and the boost some workers derive from them – are not the only reasons people might be anticipating returning to the office, however. Some people may be looking forward to the comparative quiet of their desk; parents seeking a kind of peace they haven’t been able to get at home, for example. Young workers, meanwhile, may be missing valuable learning time with mentors and older colleagues.

    Unfortunately, some of these people won’t find what they’re looking for either. It could be hard for young workers to access those learning experiences if more senior workers chose to work from home. And people who are in the office to work quietly could find that peaceful spots are few and far between, if companies decide to pivot their space to include different meeting spaces more suited to facilitating social interactions in the hybrid era.

    Anne-Laure Fayarda professor of Innovation, Design and Organizational Studies at New York University, returned to her office and classroom on the NYU campus in September 2020, because she wanted to be there. But she admits that it feels different now. “It’s the same old office, but it’s not the same at all, and it’s hard for people to imagine,” she says.

    Managing expectations and waiting to adapt 

    It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit unmoored if you’re returning to an office that feels like it’s changed for the worse. “For most people, the constant uncertainty and adaptation [of the pandemic] has been exhausting, and we’re not out of that yet,” says Hassard. 

    Fayard says the biggest thing workers can do is temper their expectations. Even if it’s physically the same place, almost every office has undergone a major shift. Expecting it to be exactly the same as it was pre-pandemic, she says, is a recipe for disappointment.

    “It’s more stressful if you’re always comparing and spending time trying to replicate, instead of thinking, ‘OK, it’s going to be something different’,” she says. I think that will help people with managing stress and expectations. It’s really a deeper thing about embracing ambiguity, and I think that’s what’s hardest for everyone.”

    Being able to talk about what’s changed and how workers feel about those changes is important, she adds, and bosses should be facilitating those conversations with their employees. “I think we start talking,” she says, “because that’s a big piece of people being able to maybe become more comfortable. That conversation might be more open, or it might be more anonymous, depending on the culture of the organisation, but I think it cannot be ignored.”

    It’s the same old office, but it’s not the same at all, and it’s hard for people to imagine – Anne-Laure Fayard

    Lantgen says he began to feel less disappointed once he reflected a little on the new reality.   

    “There are these expectations you build up for yourself like, ‘It’s going to be everything I want it to be, everything I missed and it’s going to make everything better’,” he says. “But we’re all coming out of a collective trauma and maybe going back to an office won’t change that. You’re just not going to have the same experience in the office you did in 2019. You just realise, OK, of course it’ll be different. And you just get used to it.” 

    Lantgen says it’s also helpful to remind himself that all the things he’s still missing won’t necessarily be gone forever. “It’s a bummer, but it will all happen again eventually. I’m keeping that hope up. I try to remain optimistic.” And for him, ultimately, even a changed office is better than none at all. “It makes me feel better,” he says, “knowing that I can get up and have a place to go, as opposed to working at my kitchen table.”

    Originally posted by the BBC

  • 16 Sep 2021 9:37 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE), the peak professional body for individuals working in associations, is excited to announce the launch of the AuSAE Learning Hub and new course, “Association Essentials". The Learning Hub ensures association professionals can access continuing education opportunities for career advancement and manage the ability to learn without boundaries.

    Together with our partners, Pointsbuild, the AuSAE Learning platform has been designed to deliver diverse learning opportunities and innovative formats responsive to member needs and industry trends. The AuSAE Learning Hub provides an easy-to-use online learning platform that is an interactive learning experience and enables self-paced learning from anywhere, at any time.

    Toni Brearley, AuSAE CEO, says, “We’ve always given our community ways to learn and grow – both personally and professionally through our webinars, events, research and guidelines. It’s great to introduce our Learning Hub and new course so that we can create engaging learning experiences and professional opportunities for our members and community,” adds Brearley.

    AuSAE have developed the new course, “Association Essentials”, to provide association executives with some background and foundational knowledge as they start their journey in association management. The course provides practical examples of the support and activities associations provide to their members and their collective contribution to society.

    Michael Tomlinson, Pointsbuild CEO, says, “We’re delighted to be working with AuSAE to deliver a unique learning environment for association professionals. The online CPD course “Association Essentials” delivers a mixture of text, video, audio with knowledge checks throughout. The dynamic format ensures that the content suits the learning styles for a wide range of learners.”

    AuSAE will expand the development of a range of new courses through 2022. Attendees will earn Certified Professional Development (CPD) points and a certificate.

    At the heart of the AuSAE mission, the Learning Hub supports and empowers association professionals to strive for excellence and leadership. “I know the professional development of staff is important to association executives in the AuSAE community. Through improving the quality of association management practice and online learning, we can make an impact,” concludes Brearley.

    Learn more about AuSAE on our website, register for our new course “Association Essentials”, and sign up for the AuSAE’s newsletter to stay up to date with AuSAE activities and events. To find out more about Pointsbuild’s online learning platform for Associations, send an enquiry here
  • 14 Sep 2021 1:44 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has unveiled a three-year roadmap for the country’s business events sector with a strong focus on supporting international associations.

    The roadmap includes greater lead generation and industry consultation, new development programs for local business event practitioners and stronger promotion of Thailand on the international stage.

    To achieve this TCEB has devised three key strategies: “upgrading” Thailand’s conventions ecosystem through active lead generation and industry consultation; “upskilling” the industry with targeted development programs; and “upstaging” Thailand on the world stage through international partnerships and hosting key meetings of global significance.

    TCEB Senior Vice President, Nichapa Yoswee, said the 2021-23 pathway reflects the shift in TCEB’s role from one of industry support to that of driving growth, and has the full support of the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA).

    It is promising news for the local and international association sector with greater support and encouragement to host conventions in Thailand.

    The roadmap also sees creation of a conventions task force to explore innovative ways to reengineer Thailand’s conventions industry. The task force, structured as a think tank that meets quarterly, comprises representatives from academia as well as TICA’s convention experts including venue operators, destination management companies, and professional congress organisers.

    To complement the conceptual work undertaken by the task force, TCEB and TICA have also established teams of “Convention Connecters” to respond to market trends with greater agility.

    Each team is made up of two people whose expertise in lead generation, bidding, and convention management will help associations build a strong case for organising a convention. The most immediate targets for these “Convention Connecters” are associations related to the so-called “Thailand 4.0” industries – the ones that will power Thailand’s economic transformation such as robotics, medical, agriculture and biotech, food and legal and professional services.

    Internationally, TCEB is looking at enhancing relationships with industry associations through a series of partnership programs, and is working towards hosting meetings of international significance such as the Annual Meeting of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, hosted in Thailand in 1991.

    “With upgrading, upskilling and upstaging at the core of its three-year roadmap for conventions, TCEB is confident that Thailand will soon reap the benefits of a new pool of highly skilled conventions professionals and a highly connected ecosystem of associations and suppliers,” Mrs Nichapa said.

    For further information about hosting meetings in Thailand contact TCEB Australia representative, Nicole Tingey on

  • 09 Sep 2021 6:18 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Many business and association leaders get into trouble in media interviews because they assume they are like any other conversation. Often these people are great communicators and competent speakers, but they are unaware that media interviews require an entirely new set of skills.

    How many times have you heard someone complain of being quoted out of context? Most of the time, this happens because they don’t understand the important distinction between media interviews and other conversations.

    Apart from live television and radio, every time you speak to a journalist, you will be quoted out of context. This is just the nature of journalism. It’s because journalists will only use snippets of the interview in their subsequent stories. They don’t have the space for more. You may speak for 30 minutes and only 10 seconds of your conversation may be used.

    This is totally different to giving a speech. There you can build one idea on another, referencing something you said earlier to highlight a point. People in the audience get to hear the whole speech, so you can do this.

     You don’t have that luxury when you are talking to the media. You never know what parts of your interview will be used. That means everything you say must make sense on its own and not be reliant on things you say before or after each point you make.

    For example, in a real life conversation, if someone said to me, “How does it feel to teach people how to lie to the media,” it would be fine for me to say, “I don’t teach people how to lie to. I train them to communicate the great things they are doing through the media.”

    The problem with this response in a media context is that the journalist may take the first part of that answer alone, so the story could focus entirely on, “Media trainer denies teaching people how to lie,” and not use the rest of my answer. This makes for a negative denial story and implies some shadiness on my part.

    Not every journalist will do this, but some will and it’s best not to give them the chance.

    Without the control of context, it would be better to answer with a positive statement like, “I’m proud that I train people to communicate the great things they are doing through the media.”

    You can see how I answered the question, but gave it a positive twist so it could not be taken out of context.

    The most famous example of this was Richard Nixon when giving his speech during Watergate. He explained how he had never profited from the Presidency and he had earned every cent.  This was followed by the words, “I’m not a crook.” I don’t need to tell you which part of that speech was used by the media.

    In a nutshell, if you don’t want it used, not say it in any context.

    By Pete Burdon

    Pete Burdon is Managing Director of Media Training NZ, a company specialising in training leaders how to communicate with the media. Check out his free online masterclass, “Mastering Media Interviews in any Situation” at this link.

  • 09 Sep 2021 6:17 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    In 2020, when COVID-19 created barriers to meeting in person, we knew how our clients did business would have to change.

    With over 40 years of experience operating virtually, I wasn’t overly concerned about the communication between the TI consultants. But I did wonder about how we could continue to deliver high-quality, meaningful experiences for our strategic planning clients.

    How could a virtual solution, using something like Zoom, possibly work as well as sitting in a room together to talk about the tough stuff?

    But after accruing many real-life case studies with testimonials to back it up, we’ve tested and improved upon our methods. We can tell you what works (and what doesn’t) for operating virtually. Our clients report high levels of satisfaction with board, committee meetings, and assembly experience from both virtual and on-site attendees.

    This was no small feat, though anyone can do it. But you have to get your strategy right.

    Structure, Process, and Culture

    Our client groups use their synchronous time together efficiently.

    We make sure Board meetings focus on strategic issues and decision-making.

    The committee and workgroup meetings are for developing and examining ideas and then assessing consensus and/or consent.

    We learned early on that some of the different tech tools available to us were too complicated or cumbersome for all of our clients. While many tools offer visually elegant bells and whistles when under the control of an experienced, tech-savvy user, we needed smart tools that any person could begin using without training or demos.

    That’s why we use an AI-supported online platform specifically designed for group work and decision-making to provide a similar experience for all participants regardless of their location or experience.

    Engagement of groups from 5 to 100 involves robust conversation, shared background information, moderation of the dialogue, and documentation of thinking and determinations. We include that in how we build out our online workspaces for both asynchronous and synchronous group work.

    How do we determine which parts of the engagement are in-person, synchronous virtual, or asynchronous virtual? By the number of virtual participants.

    Continuous Improvement

    In lean startup methodology, you look to improve through an iterative process. Our team continues to learn and share with each other new discoveries for how to improve on these meetings. For example, just today, several consultants discussed over email how nonverbal cues to speak could be handled better, building in a more efficient and less awkward way for participants to engage at key points in virtual meetings. With an eye toward empathy, psychology, and adult learning behavior; we are actively working on ways to help teams function better together. This is exciting work!

    The unexpected rewards of learning how to augment this collaborative decision-making process with technology and asynchronous communication opportunities include things like:

    • Better support for DEI commitments
    • Active engagement in interactive work in both small and large groups
    • Diminishing “Zoom fatigue” and an overall feeling of mission ennui

    Technology makes new methods and tools for productive and enjoyable collaboration possible. If we can get out of our own way of only thinking about the traditional methods for helping people solve problems together and start looking at ways to use the COVID-19 challenges as a way to innovate for even better methods, we’ll all be happier for it.

    Through our consultancy’s experience, we see a way to support our work in structure, process, and culture in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive hybrid environment.

    At Tecker International, we always share our knowledge. You can also learn more about the platform we work with and lessons we’ve learned in “Adventures in Leadership, Learning – There has gotta be a better way”. I am happy to share additional details about our methods for successful hybrid meetings and answer any other questions. Please reach out via

    Originally posted here

  • 09 Sep 2021 6:13 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    There are many reasons that communities that were once vibrant and full of activity end up fizzling out. Community programs that change leadership, that fail to replace a community manager, or that set a community on autopilot hoping that community members self-manage are all factors that play into why communities go dark. And sometimes, despite your best efforts, the light just dims with no obvious explanation. The larger problem to solve is how to restore vibrancy to these communities once they’ve gone dormant. Or do you?

    But before we get to solutions, we must lead with a question: what happened? Did any of the scenarios presented above influence the community’s current state, or was it something else? Here are some tips that will help you understand why the community went silent and how to breathe new life into them.

    Dig for data

    If you’re in a situation where your community mysteriously turned into a ghost town and you can’t understand why, look to your community data. If you’re tracking the right metrics that make sense for your community, you should see this coming long before it becomes an issue. However, if you miss it (especially if you host a large community) you’ll want to lean on historical data to help you figure out what happened. Was there feedback that was given multiple times that was never acted on? Were questions in the forums going unanswered? Did you fail to meet the needs of your community members somewhere along the line? Go back and look at your historical data and compare it, not just month over month, but year over year to see if there is a larger indicator of an issue that you could have missed without realizing it. Then, be intentional about admitting fault and correcting the problem to restore trust with your community members.

    Talk to the community

    In many cases your community members have insight that you may not be seeing. Some of that insight may revolve around intrinsic motivations for participating in the community. They may have also found spaces that cater to their needs in a way that the community that you host doesn’t. In the case where a community manager wasn’t initially hired to host the community, it could be that key activities and programming (like onboarding) was ignored so community members didn’t know what to do once they landed in the community. No matter the case, talking to your community members can often unearth issues that require attention. Gather that insight and feedback and figure out how your community strategy can help resolve some of those outlying problems to help get your community back on track.

    Talk to your leadership

    When associations think about deprioritizing work, they often start with what’s not generating direct revenue and/or providing an immediate return on investment in the way of NPS, customer loyalty, or other metrics affecting the success of the association. In many cases, community usually falls into that deprioritization bucket. This means loss of resources, sometimes budget, often support. This leaves community programs with the bare minimum when it comes to keeping communities afloat and, when resources are allocated to other work, it can be difficult to rally others internally to help keep things moving forward. Talking with your leadership to understand where community stands from a larger strategic standpoint will be key to figuring out next steps for the community. I would also recommend being incredibly transparent about the consequences of deprioritizing community, especially if/when your organization is publicly saying it’s important. This isn’t just about content or platforms. Your community helps build trust and relationships with members. Without the resources and power behind community programs, you’re not able to build upon that trust and members see that as you not caring about their needs. Those relationships then begin to break down and they go elsewhere. It takes more than member benefits and products to keep members engaged. Putting community building on the backburner will not help.

    Figure out next steps

    After you have gathered information, it’s then time to decide what to do from here. You may have a clear path. You may have to do a little more digging to understand what happened, but the data you collect through the research you’ve done will give you a solid foundation for a way forward. Revitalizing a dormant community is like starting from scratch. Be intentional about the way forward by creating a solid community strategy that incorporates all that you’ve learned to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Involve the community in building their community back up and closely monitor participation along the way. Additionally, set the expectation with your leadership that, as with a new community, bringing an existing one back to life will still take time. Just because it already exists doesn’t mean it will automatically be vibrant again at the flip of a switch.

    Remember that business value helps support your programs, but it’s the people that are a part of your community that you cannot neglect. Relationships and trust are just as important to delivering value as connecting to org goals. Don’t sacrifice one for the other when bringing your community back.

    by Marjorie Anderson | Sep 5, 2021 

    Originally posted here

  • 09 Sep 2021 6:06 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    In traditional professional associations, rules, protocols, and procedures are determined by a central governing body: the board. But what if associations no longer relied on a central board to run their organizations, and instead, their members made the decisions? With an anticipated rise of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) coming, this could be a potential reality. As such, it’s important for association leaders to pay attention to this type of organization and the implications it may carry for their own. 

    What are DAOs?

    DAOs are fully automated systems whose code allows members of organizations to make decisions for their organization. Central governments and managers are not needed in these organizations as all rules are embedded into code. A DAO’s code is called its smart contract, which houses all rules of the organization and holds the group’s funds. Changes to the rules can only be made if voted on by members. When a rule is passed, the code is updated automatically to reflect the changes. Bitcoin is an example of a DAO. 

    Ethereum describes DAOs as “an internet-native business that’s collectively owned and managed by its members.” 

    Funding for DAOs is also autonomous, as it is based on crowdfunding and tokens for membership. As with other rules within the organization, all funding decisions are made by vote of its members. This eliminates the need to trust a central governing body or individual within the group to make decisions regarding its funds. Additionally, all decisions are recorded and encoded on a blockchain, creating visibility and transparency into all transactions and changes. 

    How might DAOs affect traditional associations?

    In traditional associations, membership policies and opportunities are typically set by the board, who holds the majority of power to make decisions for the group. But with any organization run by humans, there is room for error and disagreement within the group when decisions are made from the top down. 

    Enter DAOs. 

    Because DAOs rely on collective group governance instead of a traditional hierarchical structure, their members have more decision-making power, which could be preferable for many people. 

    Instead of joining a traditional association of like-minded industry colleagues, potential members could elect to organize their own, global interest-based DAO. Because they can regularly establish their own rules, members would have a more vested interest in the DAO and its operations. Members wouldn’t even need to know each other or create a centralized governing body. Further, all aspects of the new association would be fully transparent, including voting processes and funding decisions, so members may feel more secure in investing their time and funds into the organization.

    Aside from voting power, members may feel more in control of their membership in these DAO associations as their fee for entry not only grants them access to a group of like-minded individuals, but also partial ownership of the group. As DAOs are digitally run, membership fees and donations can be collected from anywhere in the world, and members would decide how to spend donations.

    Limitations and disadvantages of DAOs

    As with any new technology, DAOs face a number of limitations that will need to be resolved before widespread use is feasible. These include organizational, legal, and security issues. 

    Organizational issues

    Since DAOs rely on member voting for decisions, operations are slower because decisions take longer to make.

    Additionally, the token-based structure could also become problematic. It is possible for some members to invest more in the DAO and own the majority of tokens, giving them the majority of decision-making power within the organization. In these situations, DAOs would end up running similarly to traditional organizations with centralized governments. 

    Legal issues

    Though DAOs currently exist, they are not recognized legally by any government yet. This creates uncertainty as to how they would be treated by courts if they were to be sued by members or outside individuals. 

    Security issues

    If there are security holes in the initial coding of a DAO’s smart contract, they cannot be corrected until the majority of members vote on it, which could take a significant amount of time. The time it takes to recognize and patch a security gap could provide hackers with ample time to infiltrate the entire group. 

    While DAOs are still in the early stages of large-scale development, the many benefits of DAO membership could drastically impact how consumers and members interact with organizations in the future. It’s not time to completely restructure the traditional association model yet, but it’s important for association leaders to stay on top of trends like DAOs to understand the changing landscape of organizations.

    Emily Herrington

    Emily Herrington is a New Orleans-based digital marketer specializing in SEO, content, and pay-per-click advertising. She can usually be found at her desk obsessing over data and rankings, or in the kitchen covered in flour.

    Why associations should pay attention to DAOs – Sidecar ( posted here

  • 08 Sep 2021 4:32 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    From negotiating contracts with suppliers, to buying the best insurance, and simply understanding terms such as force majeure, there is a lot to wrap your head around when planning events in the post-COVID era. The good news is, you don't have to figure it out on your own! In August 2021 MCI Australia and Melbourne Convention Bureau brought together an expert panel to delve into all of these topics, and help you understand not only the conversations you should be having, but also the questions you should be asking to prepare yourself and your organisation for your next business event.

    Key learnings from this webinar include:

    • What to look out for in contracts
    • An overview of what force majeure is, and what it means for you
    • What conversations to have with your venue to ensure you’re hiring the right amount of space whilst considering COVID-safety requirements
    • How event insurance is changing, and what is available in the post-COVID world 

    To watch the recording, head to

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

New Zealand Office:
Address: 159 Otonga Rd, Rotorua 3015 New Zealand
Phone: +64 27 249 8677

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software