Sector and AuSAE News

  • 16 Dec 2020 4:32 PM | Deleted user

    If your career hasn’t progressed as you’d hoped in 2020, focus on turning the page in the year ahead. Here’s some advice from a career counselor with an association insider’s point of view.

    Between event cancellations, declining membership, and job losses, there has been no shortage of setbacks for association professionals in 2020. Combine that with specific professional challenges everyone encounters from time to time, such as failing a certification exam or missing out on a promotion, and a lot of people are facing career obstacles at the moment.

    Sharon Givens, president-elect of the National Career Development Association and a licensed professional counselor and career coach, says a career setback can feel much like losing a loved one. And plenty of people are grieving right now.

    “During the pandemic, a recurring theme is that people are dealing with loss—loss of job, loss of daily activity, loss of time with family members,” says Givens, who is also CEO of the career consulting firm Training Visions.

    Although it’s common to struggle with negative feelings when your career takes a hit, you can find your way back to a success story. Givens has a few tips for starting fresh in the new year:

    If you feel comfortable sharing publicly, do so. Social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter are full of honest sharing about career struggles. Some users who have lost their jobs have modified their profiles to show that they’re available for work. That kind of candor can reflect well on you. “You’re showing a level of vulnerability and just really being transparent—‘I’m available, I’m willing’—and it could show some employers that you’re somewhat of a risk taker,” Givens says.

    Don’t be afraid to find another direction. With a job loss in particular, some may feel the desire to switch gears. Givens says the pandemic could be a good time for a career pivot if you have another area of interest. She advises clients that “we’re all going to be forced to change. So, let’s see what you have now that you can contribute. What else would you need to make yourself more viable? Then, let’s move in that direction.” She says a job loss can be an opportunity to refresh your skill set by pursuing additional education or certification. “For example, if you’re lacking in maybe technical skill, then you might need to look at how you go back and enhance those technical skills,” she says.

    Find motivation in the things that went right. After losing a promotion or failing a certification exam, many people focus on the failure rather than the successes along the way. “When we experience a loss, we forget everything else that has gone well,” Givens says. “So how do you reach back and look at all the things that you’ve accomplished?” She points to the work of the late organizational consultant William Bridges, who focused on transition management and emphasized the importance of looking for new opportunities. People who suffer a setback often “don’t have the motivation because they’re focusing solely on ‘I’ve lost, I’ve lost, I’ve lost,’” she says. “But anytime you have a loss, there’s an opportunity for gain, which is what most people don’t focus on.”

    Don’t take the setback too personally. Ultimately, a lot of the setbacks of the past year aren’t really anyone’s fault—and that’s important to remember. “I ask my clients: How personal are you going to take this loss? Do you think this loss is specifically about you? Or is it more about what’s happening in this current time?” she says. “I think that gives people a different perspective.”

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

  • 16 Dec 2020 4:29 PM | Deleted user

    As a tumultuous year comes to a close, reckoning with burnout is understandable. A productivity expert offers some guidance on ways to put a few things in order and make more time for yourself.

    That persistent feeling of burnout? It’s real and has been exacerbated by the pandemic more than at any time in the past several years. A study by FlexJobs and Mental Health America found that 75 percent of workers have experienced burnout recently, and 40 percent of those polled said it was a direct result of the pandemic.

    Carson Tate, CEO of Working Simply, had her own personal bout with burnout a couple of years ago and understands its impact, especially on women. “Even though it’s 2020, women bear a disproportionate load of household and child responsibilities,” Tate said.

    The pandemic has added to that burden. Women are “overstretched and overwhelmed,” she said, and many are leaving their careers. With the loss of support structures like schools and day care, “it’s almost impossible to do it all without cracking,” she said.

    More than one in four women are contemplating downsizing their careers or leaving the workplace entirely, according to a 2020 Women in Workplace study by McKinsey and LeanIn.

    Tate recommends four key strategies for overcoming end-of-year burnout after a year that has stretched almost everyone’s patience, mental capacity, and focus:

    Conduct a meeting audit. Go through your calendar and if a meeting doesn’t have an agenda, ask yourself: Why am I attending this meeting? Respond to the meeting organizer and ask: What is the meeting objective, and how can I support you in achieving it? This message puts them on notice that if there isn’t a good reason for you to be there, you don’t need to be there.

    Do you play a role in the meeting? If there is an agenda for the meeting, but you’re not on it to make a specific decision or as an influencer or a subject matter expert, and you won’t be responsible for any execution of goals, that’s a great opportunity to just say no. Time is a commodity, and making sure you are really thoughtful about investing your time is essential.

    Take intentional breaks. Put a five-minute break—with a reminder—on your calendar to reduce your cognitive load. Walk up and down a flight of stairs, flip through a favorite magazine, listen to a song. Disengage, disconnect, and let your brain rest.

    Winterize your task list. What tasks should stop? Ask: Does this task generate revenue? Is it aligned to a strategic goal or priority? Is it a core requirement of my job? If it’s not, stop doing it. Now assess what you need to start. Is there a new project or initiative that you haven’t broken out into action items? Capture the action items and put them in a task management tool. What tasks need to be continued? If it aligns with revenue generation, a strategic goal, or is a core responsibility of your job, keep doing it.

    Research has shown that working longer hours does not equate to increased productivity. A Stanford University study found that productivity declines sharply when a person works more than 50 hours per week. And those who work up to 70 hours a week are only getting the same amount of work done as those who put in 55 hours.

    As 2020 comes to a close, it’s time to make time a priority and arrange tasks so they are manageable, achievable, and necessary to enter the new year refreshed and ready to engage.

    “You’re a human being,” Tate said, “not a human doing.”

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

  • 16 Dec 2020 4:27 PM | Deleted user

    Want to know why members left? Ask them. Effective exit surveys can give you insight into what your association can do to better retain current and future members. Here are a few best practices.

    What’s worse than a member leaving your association? Not knowing why. With an exit survey, organizations can turn their lapsed members into valuable sources of information on what they can do better.

    But not all organizations take advantage of this opportunity. Jayne Tegge, member engagement manager for the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), says she has received only one exit survey from companies she has worked for. “And I’ve worked at a lot of places,” Tegge says.

    For smaller organizations with limited staff, it’s probably just not a priority, she says. But if you make it one, you can gain insights on the state of your organization. Use these tips to build an exit survey that will tell you what you need to know.


    Members who are on their way out probably won’t want to sit through a hundred questions. Promote participation by asking about a dozen questions that cover the basics. Questions should include:

    • Why are you discontinuing your membership?
    • What did you like best about your member experience? What did you like least?
    • How can our organization improve the membership experience?
    • What could we have done to keep you as a member?
    • Do you plan to rejoin in the future?

    The key is to understand exactly why they’re leaving and what they think you can do better.


    You won’t have a clear road map for improvement without truthful responses. Make sure that questions are worded simply and without bias and that they don’t suggest an answer. For example, don’t ask, “Do you think our low-cost membership dues are fair?” Instead ask, “What do you think about our membership dues?”

    If you create multiple-choice questions, make sure the list of answers covers the entire spectrum of possible reactions, from very positive to very negative, instead of putting a positive spin on each potential response. Make sure to add an “other” option as well to offer more flexibility.


    Another way to ensure honest responses is to keep participants anonymous; SIOP follows this strategy, Tegge says. Don’t ask for any identifying information, and make sure you’re not requesting details that are too specific, such as the exact date the respondent joined.

    On the technical side, services such as SurveyMonkey let you decide whether to track and store identifiable respondent information.


    Use some open-ended questions—including a final question such as “Is there anything more you would like to add?”—to allow respondents to expand on their thoughts.

    “That’s why we have open-ended questions, so they can tell us exactly what they want to tell us,” Tegge says. “That is where the content we want is located, because that is an individual’s personal experience.”


    Wait a few months after members lapse to send your survey so they have a chance to spend time away from your organization and reflect on their experiences. Plus, you don’t want to contact lapsed members too frequently, or they might tune you out.

    At SIOP, members receive an exit survey 12 months after their membership ends. Three weeks after that, the organization sends a reminder to complete it, and lapsed SIOP members have a month to submit their answers. This generous window of time increases the number of responses—and the more you get, the more data you have to work with.

    “Some think, ‘I’m going to do that, but I don’t have time today.’ So they might do it in five days. Then we have all the stragglers who totally forget about the survey,” Tegge says. “So when we send the reminder at the three-week mark, we get a whole other blast of people.”

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Michael Hickey.

  • 16 Dec 2020 4:23 PM | Deleted user

    The upside of the shift to virtual platforms in the past several months is that members are interacting more with associations digitally. This is providing a quick roadmap of member preferences. Speakers at the ASAE Technology Exploration Conference explained why that’s key.

    Members are engaging now more than ever through online channels like virtual eventsonline community discussions, social media posts, surveys, and online education platforms—which is creating an abundance of data to mine to improve the member experience.

    session on maximizing fast data at the ASAE TEC Virtual conference last week covered the benefits of collecting fast data and how to implement it to help with member recruitment, retention, and renewal.

    “Now more than ever there is an uptick in people using data. We’re in a new, changing environment, and we can’t rely on history because the landscape has changed,” said Julie Sciullo, CEO of Association Analytics. “Fast data is real-time data that allows data to stream together to make rapid business decisions.”

    Association-specific information from Acumen shows that since March of this year, there has been a 42 percent increase in overall use of data and a 70 percent increase in executive usage. The rapid shift to an all-virtual environment has amped up the use of data, which is providing an opportunity to engage with members more effectively than ever before.

    In other words, the data tells the story.


    Associations have long relied on traditional ways of determining member engagement by longevity, volunteering, meeting attendance, and publishing articles, said session co-presenter Tom Lyons, director of IT at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). The increased use of data in recent months has allowed associations to “look outside the sandbox at the next wave of data.”

    Social media streams are incredibly fast. “We get a snapshot of people engaging with us in the moment,” Lyons said. But it’s essential to use that data and not just have it, he advised. And applications are maturing to include more data insights, which makes reporting more accessible to all staff members, not just IT professionals.


    The ASM team challenged themselves to serve members better by looking at behavioral and demographic data that members share as they interact with the organization through online communities, social media, virtual meetings, and more. This lets ASM staff observe what members are engaging with and what they are specifically interested in, providing better, more relevant information for making business decisions, Lyons said. For example, a member profile is only as up to date as when it was filled out. Priorities and interests change, which is why the behavioral interaction becomes even more important.

    Sciullo recommends online communities as a great starting point to gather fast data. “It’s certainly one of the most dynamic and forward-thinking” ways to find out what members are thinking, she said. The chat function in virtual meetings is another way to collect data on what is important to members, as well as voice calls and messages. All that data can be used to drive value back to members, Sciullo said.

    Members are providing a customized data trail of what their preferences are through their digital interactions with associations. This is giving associations the chance to respond better—and faster—to their needs.

    “We really want to deliver what our members want, when they want it, and on the channels they want it,” Sciullo said. “Now is a better time than ever to move forward in this capacity.”

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

  • 10 Dec 2020 10:44 AM | Deleted user

    The popularity of podcasting means you might have to double down on the strategy when bringing your message to the world on the way to making an impact. Read on for some podcasting tips.

    Podcasting is on the rise in a big way, which is a double-edged sword, if you think about it.

    It’s growing really fast among both creators and listeners, which means that not only is the audience getting bigger, but also the competition. So, if you’re getting your start in the field now, you might find it a little tough to get going.

    However, you can still succeed. Check out these four tips to see how you can make podcasting work for your association:

    Consider the strategy. Simply recording a bunch of audio and hoping for the best is not an effective strategy. Much like the stories you might produce as a part of your content strategy, podcast content needs to be well-considered and properly thought through. National Public Radio, which produces a whole lot of popular podcasts, has a well-organized guide, targeted at students, that helps discuss basic ideas for strategizing, brainstorming, and structuring a podcast. Even if you aren’t a student, you might find the guide handy.

    Don’t lead with your brand. Ultimately, people are listening to a good podcast for the same reason they read a good article. They want to be informed. While there may be a lot of reasons you want to put your brand out front, the brand should ultimately come second to creating a piece of content that people want to keep turning back to. “As you develop your series, consider topics you and your audience can be passionate about, even if it’s only tangentially associated with the brand,” Masthead Media cofounder Amanda Pressner Kreuser wrote in a blog post for Inc. “Think about it: Would you want to use your precious commute time listening to one, long-form brand promotion; or would you rather hear compelling, engaging content?”

    The vocals really matter. Really. Misstatements or poor phrasings that might be OK in normal speech can drive podcast listeners crazy—and might scare them off from future episodes. So what’s a budding podcaster to do? Per Podcasting Hacks, you might just want to take things slow and embrace a degree of silence. “For me, and some of you out there, speaking quickly is a defense mechanism because we’re afraid of losing someone’s attention,” podcaster Salvador Briggman wrote in his post. “You shouldn’t be spewing out words, like you’re a fervent talk show host. You should be speaking TO the listeners, like they are your friend. That’s how you’ll engage them.” If you’re not a podcast voice, don’t be afraid to use a hired gun, either. In her Inc. piece, Pressner Kreuser notes that hosts with strong followings often have the ability to sell a message.

    Promotion matters, too. Technology firm Cision, best known for running PR Newswire, says that simply putting a podcast online isn’t enough to ensure that it will succeed. “As a content producer you have no one to blame [but] yourself if no one consumes your content,” the company’s Oscar Duran explains. “This goes into the planning and research. You could have the best hour of content ever produced, but if you’re not pushing it out across the social platforms where your target audience spends their time, then it doesn’t matter how good it is.” He adds that a poorly produced podcast can even succeed with the right level of promotion.

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

  • 10 Dec 2020 10:39 AM | Deleted user

    The pandemic has created challenges for professionals who wish to maintain their association certifications. What members need will vary across professions, but these five tips can help you assess how to help them.

    Of the many things shaken up by the pandemic this year, a specific pain point is emerging for association members: professional credentials.

    With in-person meetings on hold and job situations altered, certification renewal is more difficult now. But for associations that want to help members maintain their certifications, “there’s really not going to be one kind of blanket solution,” says consultant Mickie Rops, CAE.

    She points out two examples: healthcare employees, who currently have jobs but little time because of the extra work they’re doing to fight this disease, and those who have lost their jobs and have the time to work on certifications but may not be able to financially invest in continuing education.

    “I think that the biggest thing would be to find out what the members’ struggles are,” Rops says. “They may be obvious, but for some, I don’t know if they’re obvious.”

    She offers a few considerations for associations as they move into 2021:

    Explore whether you can change the rules for renewal. Right now, circumstances may cause members to miss renewal deadlines that they otherwise would have hit—particularly if their pandemic workload is unusually heavy, as in the medical and education fields. In such cases, it may be worth considering whether to extend renewal timelines. But Rops urges caution: “If you’re accredited and you have established policies and you’re held to those, you’ve got to be more careful about just changing things,” she says.

    Offer a hiatus or grants to those with financial hardships. Rops suggests offering out-of-work members an inactive status for their certifications; once they return to work, they can become active again. Another option is to start a grant program to help cover member expenses. “I do have some clients that are seeking grants and being pretty successful in it,” she says.

    Add flexible elements. Certain renewal requirements, such as attendance at in-person meetings, don’t make sense at the moment. Additionally, Rops notes that many people working remotely for the first time may find it difficult to focus, so virtual events may not be the answer for everyone. “Attention span right now is at an all-time low because of all the distractions and all the people that have both two adults in the house, working at home, and then the kids” that may need help with schooling, she says. While virtual learning events might make sense for some learners, others may do better with looser formats that allow them to learn at their own pace.

    Look into microcredentialing. One way to reach members who may not have the time to invest in a full certification is microcredentialing. (One example is the National Education Association, which is highlighting microcertifications relevant to the current moment—on technology integration, cultivating socially just environments, and cultural competency.) Rops, a strong advocate for microcredentialing, says that this approach may be particularly effective in this environment. “Right now especially, you can’t be expecting someone to put 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 years into something,” she says. “Break it down, so they can start getting some immediate learning and/or credentialing.”

    Consider building or refreshing a program now. Rops says that despite the disruption that many organizations are facing, associations have an opportunity to make lasting changes to an existing credentialing program—or to start a new one. “In a time of recession and things like that, that’s when people need education and credentialing,” she says. “So if associations can afford it, now’s the time, because it really is when your members need to reskill and upskill the most.”

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

  • 10 Dec 2020 10:35 AM | Deleted user

    Many associations are concerned that they can’t provide a pre-COVID-19 experience for the foreseeable future. One association’s recommendation: Get over it.

    Joy Davis, CAE, had had it.

    This has been a rough year for associations, of course, and a lot of the emotional toll has crept into their marketing. Davis, managing director of member products at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), saw the worst of it in meetings communications. We’re sorry we can’t see you in person. This won’t be our preferred member experience, but…

    “All through the year, I saw really terrible messaging coming out of associations,” she says. “I’m like, why are you saying that to your members?”

    Davis funneled her exasperation into an essay, “Normal Is Over(rated)—For Now,” published last month at the Velvet Chainsaw blog. The heart of her argument is that COVID-19 has prompted too many associations to engage in wishful thinking about what’ll happen without a pandemic, instead of accepting the situation as it is. That’s led to what she calls the “apology meeting.”

    “We are telling our people that no matter what they do, it will never be as good as what we did before, and we cannot wait to get back to doing things that way, without even trying what we could be doing now,” Davis says.

    In other words, associations have found another way back into that mindset we all thought we’d banned: But we’ve always done it that way. “It was not just the communication, it was this failure to imagine something different,” says AAPS Executive Director Tina Morris.

    AAPS’s most aggressive act of resistance on this front involved its annual meeting. Like just about every association meeting in 2020, it moved its annual conference, PharmSci 360, online. But unlike a lot of associations, it held the line on registration fees. Instead of marketing around interactions that couldn’t happen anyway, it highlighted the amount of content it had to offer and widened the time frame within which attendees could experience it.

    “If you were to go back and look at all of our marketing messaging, in every single email there is a sentence that says ‘PharmSci 360 on your schedule,’” says Davis.

    This isn’t just a matter of marketing differently, Morris says. An “apology” mindset has a way of creeping into how associations think about their future plans and whether their decisions reflect the current reality or a wished-for one. At AAPS, that’s required some conversations with volunteer leaders about shifting their mindsets.

    “Reinforcement was very important because we had different leaders who at different times during the year had challenges,” Morris says. “We were trying to be very deliberate as a leadership team about how we communicated the degree of change that was happening. We do realize that different people have different comfort levels.”

    In her article, Davis explains some of the upsides of getting out of the apology mindset: opportunities to better understand a changing market, the new kinds of data that you’re gathering in a virtual environment, and the new ways of communicating that members are discovering and using. “Get a little excited about what you can do right now,” she writes. “Start every conversation from a place that encourages creativity and problem-solving. Ask your members to renew because you’re doing stuff that helps them where they are today.”

    Davis recalls that one of the mantras at a previous association where she worked was “don’t get into a conversation about pricing—talk about quality.” That mindset kept AAPS from holding an apology meeting in 2020, but it’s also provided a north star for getting through the pandemic—it trusts that the value of what the association provides is more meaningful than the delivery method. And it trusts that members will pay what those products and services are worth in a challenging economic time.

    “Treat your members like you want to have a relationship after this crisis is over—or any crisis,” she says. “If you really think you’re a content organization, you should be willing to say, ‘We’re a content organization and that’s the value here. You should be able to stand up for that.”

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

  • 10 Dec 2020 9:10 AM | Deleted user

    Melbourne Showgrounds, operated by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, is Melbourne's largest and most versatile venue, offering unique and flexible indoor and outdoor spaces designed to host a variety of events and activities including trade shows, exhibitions, expos, festivals and much, much more. The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, a not-for-profit, member-based organisation, has for over 170 years promoted excellence in Victorian agriculture, showcased food and beverage produce and producers, created vibrant event spaces and presented premier events.

    The Melbourne Showgrounds is uniquely placed given the huge outdoor areas and multiple large venue spaces (varying from 1,500 sqm to 10,000 sqm). This means that virtually any event that is approved to proceed from a COVID Safe perspective would be possible at the Melbourne Showgrounds, especially the fantastic conference and dining space we were exhibiting at AuSAE LIVE – The Victoria Pavilion.

    In addition, recent AV upgrades by Encore Event Technologies in the venue spaces & the appointment of a new catering partner make Melbourne Showgrounds the perfect location for your 2021 events.

    The City of Melbourne recognises the events industry contributes strongly to their bold, innovative and sustainable city. They also recognise the events industry is facing unprecedented challenges during COVID-19. 

    As part of their reactivation initiatives, and in partnership with the Victorian Government, they are now providing grants up to $100,000 to help deliver COVID-safe events in 2021. Melbourne Showgrounds have been encompassed in the area covered for event grants.

    Apply now for grants:

    • up to $25,000 for small events, exhibitions and activations
    • up to $100,000 for medium to large events – this requires evidence of funding from other sources.

    Special consideration may be given to proposals seeking funding above $100,000.

    To apply for the City of Melbourne Reactivation Event Grants to support you host your event, please click here.

    Contact: James Gilham | 0403 657 624 |

  • 10 Dec 2020 8:33 AM | Deleted user

    Australia’s premier convention, exhibition and entertainment venue supports major easing of restrictions for corporate and live entertainment events

    International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) welcomes the overnight update from the NSW Government to ease COVID-19 restrictions from 7 December for corporate and live entertainment events with maximum capacity limits determined by the new one person per two square metres rule.
    Australia’s premier convention, exhibition and entertainment venue is promptly reviewing the implications of the proposed public health order changes to its operational capacity and upcoming events schedule, including the number of attendees permitted in its Convention Centre, Exhibition Centre and Aware Super Theatre.
    ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy said ICC Sydney supports the state-wide easing of COVID-19 restrictions which is a welcomed confidence boost for the business events industry.
    “The changes will move us much closer to freeing up the national market and bolster our ability to promote Sydney as a safe business events destination with confidence. We are awaiting the finer details of the public health order and will be documenting it with our clients to support their event execution.”

    Donaghy continued, “We still have some way to go with the resurrection of international business which is vital to our full recovery. We remain focused on continuing to work with industry representative bodies to progress a long term recovery strategy for business events to ensure this remains on the agenda with decisions makers.”
    ICC Sydney is currently open and running a range of in-person and hybrid events in line with the venue’s EventSafe Operating Guide which integrates parent group ASM Global’s rigorous Venue Shield program, while meeting NSW Government regulations. 

  • 03 Dec 2020 4:26 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Knowing how to communicate with members—and when—consumes many hours of discussion even in good times. Add multiple crises in a single year, and things really get complex. A communications expert offers some tips for engaging members in uneasy times.

    Finally, Zoom fatigue explained! It’s caused by “lizard brain,” according Sheri Singer, president of Singer Communications. Lizard brain is one operating in survival mode, relying on fight or flight instincts. Understandable. We are experiencing several crises at once—a global pandemic, an unstable economy, racial injustice, political realignment, and more.

    Compounding that, many people are sleeping less, working longer, eating and drinking more, and exercising less, all of which contributes to an inability to focus (including on all those Zoom meetings) and other issues. Our brains are not working like they usually do.

    So how to better engage members when it’s difficult to make connections with such compromised brains? Singer recommends communicating in a way that doesn’t require as much energy for members to process. For example, research shows shorter emails have a 50 percent higher response rate.

    “You can’t continue to communicate with members the ways you have in the past,” she said. Here are some additional insights.


    Now is a great time to look at your messaging. Singer cited a recent study from KetchumBrand Reckoning 2020: How Crisis Culture Is Redefining Consumer Behavior, Loyalty, and Values, which shows a marked change in Americans’ openness to reengaging with the outside world. The research identifies four crisis-culture personas:

    • Retro re-engagers want to return to the world as it was before.
    • Open-minded explorers have new priorities and are ready to embrace new things.
    • Worried withholders are not easily influenced and want to stay in their comfort zones.
    • Cautious questioners want to keep their distance until they know more.

    The largest group of responders (33 percent) are retro re-engagers. Because it’s unlikely that the world will go back to the way it was, Singer said, it’s important to keep those personas in mind as you craft messages. She recommends using words like contributeconnectnavigatecope, and respond instead of capitalizeofferadvantagegain, and profit.


    “We’ve moved to a different playbook being driven by people under 40” who expect marketing and communications to be largely driven by experience, Singer said. That means it’s time to be more empathetic, sympathetic, and compassionate.

    For example, it’s not enough to simply ask, “How are you?” Instead, ask, “How are you doing?” or “How are you handling COVID-19?” Eliciting a deeper response shows you care and gives your members—including your volunteer leaders—a safe space where they can expand on what is happening to them right now, she said.


    Singer recommends revisiting old-fashioned ways to connect, such as by phone or with handwritten notes, which will provide a welcome break from video calls. Or help members communicate directly with one another by setting up a phone tree and have one member, with a script, call five other members and discuss the value-added aspects of the organization. Then ask questions like: What is giving you value right now? How can the association provide that virtually? How can the organization be an innovator in the industry? And more.

    Nothing feels normal right now, and our brains, in their lizard form, are not processing information like they usually do. To stay connected with your members, it’s time to reassess messaging, revisit more personalized—and old-fashioned—ways of communicating, and express compassion.

    Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

Australian Office:
Address: Unit 6, 26 Navigator Place, Hendra QLD 4011 Australia
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Phone: +61 7 3268 7955

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