Sector and AuSAE News

  • 11 Feb 2022 3:53 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    As many associations are looking to shore up nondues revenue, a new survey reveals sponsors want to be back at in-person meetings. Experts say mixing in-person events with year-round content options will lead to more productive relationships between sponsors and associations.

    Prior to the pandemic, association events—and the sponsors they brought—were a mainstay of nondues revenue. While sponsors gave virtual a try, many had lackluster results—making them wary of such offerings.

    And now “State of Sponsorship Engagement [PDF],” a new survey by the Partnership Professionals Network and Dynamic Benchmarking, reveals just how eager sponsors are to return to live events: 81 percent of respondents want to sponsor in-person meetings.

    Part of the appetite for face-to-face meetings is related to nostalgic memories of past conferences, along with the realities of what virtual conferences were like, said Dan Kowitz, CEO of JSB Partnership Consultants and co-convener of PPN.

    “What companies will say is, ‘If we were live, and I had a product theater, people would stand around and talk, and you might get some leads and conversation right afterward,’” Kowitz said. “People aren’t hanging around virtually to do that.”

    While sponsors want in-person meetings, the reality is that they are coming back slowly, with attendance often lower than pre-pandemic levels. “If they used to sponsor a meeting at $50,000, and they decide to test the waters and come back at $50,000,” said Kowitz. “And if you have half the attendance [as pre-pandemic], I guarantee you they’re not going to be happy and asking for money back.”

    Use a Year-Round Strategy

    Kowitz said the best strategy is giving sponsors a good return on investment. Only 21 percent of sponsors surveyed said they are achieving their objective most of the time. That means associations need to do a better job understanding what sponsors want to achieve and tailoring packages to those needs. Offer more than conference sponsorship, even if that seems to be high on the sponsor’s wish list.

    “When you start your conversation, say, ‘Look, we market 365 days a year in our association to our members,’” Kowitz said. “’You market 365 days a year. If we can have a conversation around your goals and objectives, I think there are many points in the year where we can make your relationship to and with the members come to life.’”

    That way, if event numbers don’t reach pre-pandemic levels, sponsors aren’t left feeling dissatisfied. “If you package other ways to reach members during the course of the year for your top spenders, that’s where they’re not going to be quite as concerned if the meeting is down,” Kowitz said.

    Though, he added that giving sponsors some of what they want will be helpful. “Since companies are itching to get back to in person, the more that we can have in person this year, the more we’ll see spends come back and go up in those areas.”

    Mix in Content Targeted Marketing

    One area where sponsors are clamoring for more is content. Seventy percent want to be considered thought leaders and educate members. “Sponsors want to be in the conversation, not sponsor the conversation,” Kowitz said.

    However, associations should have standards for content to assure it is valuable to members, not a sales pitch. Many sponsors have been creating content themselves and are looking outside of associations to share it, said Bruce Rosenthal, principal of Bruce Rosenthal Associates, LLC, and co-convener of the PPN. He noted, they might not come back to associations if they find other avenues to share content.

    “It is a competitive environment,” he said. “Companies have choices, and as part of that, companies are looking for value.”

    When offering value, Rosenthal suggested targeted marketing. He gave the example of a webinar an association hosts that 300 people attend. Rather than marketing to all 300 people, find out which attendees sponsors are most interested in—such as a specific title who live in a certain region of the country—and send only to those people.

    “The association can say, ‘There are 25 attendees that meet that profile,’” Rosenthal said. “Then the company can say, ‘Can we send those 25 a white paper on this topic?’ Those 25 people could be more valuable than the 300 people in an in-person session.”

    Rosenthal noted that organizations who have policies not to give out registrant info could send emails on behalf of the sponsor. Targeting also makes it more likely that the information is valuable to the recipients.

    “This avoids the problem many associations have of people complaining to the CEO, ‘Why am I getting all these emails? I don’t have anything to do with this product,’” Rosenthal said. “By doing that targeting, it’s much more member beneficial.”

    What are your sponsors telling you they want more of in 2022? Share in the comments.

    By Rasheeda Childress Feb 09, 2022

    Orginally posted here 

  • 09 Feb 2022 5:37 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Niche Conferences: Is it the future of assocation conferences

    We’ve noticed a topic cropping up in event planner communities: a growing interest in smaller, niche conferences. Is the lack of enthusiasm for mass gatherings a result of pandemic anxiety? Or are planners realising that many people in their virtual audience aren’t all that thrilled with large one-size-fits-all conferences and are seeking different options?

    At large conferences, many attendees felt lost amidst the crowd. They found it difficult to connect with people on more than a superficial level. Having attended a virtual conference, they discovered how much easier it is to watch presentations online from the comforts of home than take the time to travel and watch them in person.

    However, another issue is now getting lots of attention: digital exhaustion. People are becoming more selective about which virtual events they attend. The shine has gone off large virtual conferences that merely offer a webinar-like educational experience with no opportunities for breakout rooms and small group discussions—the chat box is no substitute for meaningful conversations.

    The appeal of virtual niche conferences

    Many people rather gather with a smaller group of attendees who belong to the same niche. They prefer to be in a crowd of hundreds, not thousands, or dozens, not hundreds. In a smaller crowd, they feel a sense of community as they encounter the same names and faces throughout the experience.

    You can still have your big in-person event—it serves a valuable purpose for many attendees, sponsors and exhibitors. But consider offering smaller, specialized virtual events for niche groups—attendees who have a similar job or specialty, or who are interested in the same topic. People are more likely to make the effort to attend a virtual conference when every session is geared to their specific interests, and every attendee does the same type of work or deals with the same issues.

    Because they don’t require additional time off and a travel budget, virtual niche conferences also attract people, including recent graduates, who want to explore a new specialty or position. They’re a more affordable option for employers. Employees who don’t have a large professional development budget are more likely to attend a virtual conference targeted to their position or specialty. They get a better bang for their buck when every session is relevant.

    Which niches hold potential?

    You may already know which niches have promise, but if you don’t, your ability to find out depends on the type of the data you capture in your AMS/CRM, LMS, event platform, email platform, and/or website analytics. If you have data related to a person’s job, specialty, and interests, you can segment your database to see which groups are large enough to merit a niche conference.

    Then you need to find out if there is an interest for a niche conference with any of these groups. You also have to assess whether you have the resources to plan and host a niche conference.

    •    For which niches can you offer strong, deep content?
    •    For which niches can you find content support from sponsors?
    •    Which niches would attract enough exhibitors?

    What can you do differently with a virtual niche conference?

    Because of their size, you have more flexibility when planning a niche conference.

    Rethink the schedule

    What kind of conference experience does the niche prefer? Don’t assume, ask them. We’ve seen a trend away from all-day virtual conferences. Instead, many associations schedule sessions on a series of afternoons, which is better for west coast attendees.

    Try a mix of session lengths—express, regular, and deep-dive. We’ve seen niche conferences that only offer one track of sessions for everyone, and some that schedule an occasional slot for a few concurrent mini sessions.

    You could spread out the afternoons over a few weeks, and host discussion groups and social meetups in between. If the conference is a success, consider starting a series of niche “summits” with time in between to promote related online educational programs.

    Build engagement into session content

    Because of their size, large conferences are generally passive experiences with the session chat box serving as the only source of “engagement.” I think you’ll agree, that’s hardly engagement. With a smaller audience, you can take advantage of breakout rooms and other tools to offer the interactive exercises and discussions that lead to effective learning.

    You can aim the conference at a specific level of career experience. With hyper-relevant content, a more advanced niche can go deeper into the nitty-gritty. Virtual allows you to bring in higher caliber speakers at a lower cost. For an early-career niche, you might provide introductory content, personal growth sessions, and coaching and mentoring services.

    Keep it interesting by playing around with session formats:

    •    Solution rooms
    •    Thought leader Q&As
    •    Research briefings
    •    Roundtable discussions
    •    Product case studies
    •    Ask the expert sessions
    •    Brainstorming or ideation sessions

    Focus on facilitating connections

    This is where niche events excel—conversations. At large virtual conferences, names scroll by quickly in the chat. Only the truly proficient networkers leave a large virtual conference with a handful of new connections. Most people close their laptop and rub the exhaustion out of their eyes.

    At a smaller niche conference, attendees keep bumping into the same people in chat boxes and breakout rooms. By the time the conference is over, they have truly connected with people and their faces, not just seen their names.

    You can facilitate these relationships by hosting a pre-event meetup. Share the attendee list before and after the conference. Open virtual lounges for coffee chats, lunch breaks and end-of-day meetups. Offer matchmaking services, both one-to-one and group. Schedule topical discussion groups for eight people max in each.

    You could also host a backchannel between sessions, either on Slack or your event app, in your online community, or wherever they already hang out. If non-member attendees can’t access your community, you won’t want to do it there.  

    Invite the most appropriate sponsors and exhibitors

    Find sponsors and exhibitors who will receive value from associating with the niche’s market segment. Some niches will be an easier sell than others, so price accordingly. Collaborate with sponsors on ideas for sharing their expertise with attendees, perhaps in sessions and discussion groups, or just sharing their budget via conference scholarships.

    If attendees aren’t purchasing decision-makers, it will be a tough sell for exhibitors. Participation will be about brand awareness and relationship-building for the future. Think beyond virtual booths to case studies, demos, and other ways to share expertise.

    Plan post-event activities

    What other programs and events would interest this niche audience? Provide a promo code for relevant courses or certificate programs. Schedule exclusive “alumni” webinars and social meetups. See if there’s an interest in learning cohorts or communities so they can continue growing together. Ask some of them to participate in an advisory group that helps you plan future conferences and programs for that niche. If you continue to host programs that keep attendees connected with the people they met at your niche conference, you will keep them coming back to your website and education catalog.

    With artificial intelligence driving so much of what we see on the web, the world around us is becoming more personalized. With niche conferences, your association can deliver a more relevant and personalized education and relationship-building experience to your attendees—a place where they can share and celebrate their collective intelligence

    Originally posted here

  • 21 Jan 2022 8:36 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Congratulations to the eighteen (18) AuSAE members who recently earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential and joined our growing cohort of CAEs in Australia and New Zealand.

    The Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is the marker of a committed association professional who has demonstrated the wide range of knowledge essential to manage an association in today’s challenging environment. There are more than 4,700 CAE’s worldwide. There are currently 27 CAE's in the AuSAE membership.

    The CAE Program serves to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and designate those who have acquired and have demonstrated knowledge essential to the practice of association management.

    The CAE is the highest professional credential in the association industry.

    Among those who earned the CAE credential are several of our colleagues who have achieved this distinguished global credential. Please join AuSAE in congratulating:

    • Alana Nixon, CAE
      Business Manager, New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors
    • Andrew Hiebl, CAE
      Chief Executive Officer, Association of Australian Convention Bureaux Inc
    • Andrew McCallum, CAE
      Member & Community Engagement Manager, .auDA
    • Craig Young, CAE
      Chief Executive Officer, TUANZ
    • Donna Vincent, CAE
      Secretariat, New Zealand Paint Manufacturers Association Inc
    • Gillian Morgan, CAE
      Director, Morgo Online
    • Jeremy Irvine, CAE 
      Executive Director, Victorian TAFE Association
    • Leigh Catley, CAE 
      General Manager Communications, Federated Farmers NZ
    • Lyn McMorran CAE
      Executive Director, Financial Services Federation
    • Lynda Booth, CAE
      Director, Total Management Solutions Ltd
    • Melissa Ekberg, CAE
      Associate Director Industry & Government Relations, Civil Contractors Federation – SA
    • Michelle Weston, CAE
      Chief Executive Officer, Caravan Parks Association of Queensland
    • Paul Cargill, CAE
      Manager Fellowship Services, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
    • Peter Saffin, CAE
      Chief Executive Officer, The Mathematical Association of Victoria
    • Rebecca Mather, CAE
      Engagement Manager - Technical Groups, Engineering New Zealand
    • Robin Shepherd, CAE
      Head of Operations & Member Services, The Recruitment, Consulting & Staffing Association
    • Sally Bunce, CAE
      Director of Events, Infrastructure Sustainability Council 
    • Tania Cotter, CAE
      Chief Executive Officer, Physical Education New Zealand

    AuSAE, in partnership with ASAE, launched the first localised version of the CAE credential in New Zealand and Australia in February 2021 and are committed to championing this important credential for the sector and furthering the association management profession.

    AuSAE offers a study course twice a year to help professionals prepare for the exam. For more information about the credential or to register for the February 2022 study group, visit the AuSAE website

  • 19 Jan 2022 1:50 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    For the 14th consecutive year, Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) is conducting its in-depth research to benchmark the practices used by associations in recruiting, engaging, and renewing members. 

    This year’s survey will explore the impact on membership as associations continue to emerge from the pandemic. This year, we have incorporated more questions on dues policies and practices to answer many of the questions we receive from clients and survey participants. 

    The more data MGI can collect for this study, the richer the results for all associations. We ask you to please take some time now to complete this questionnaire. 

    Take the Survey

    To thank you for participating, MGI will provide you with a copy of our final printed report, and an opportunity to win one of 20 $50 Amazon Gift Cards. The 2022 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report will provide valuable findings based on results from this year’s research. 

    To begin this survey, please click on the “Take the Survey” button below.

    Take the Survey

  • 17 Jan 2022 4:37 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner, Advanced Solutions International (ASI), the provider of iMIS — the world’s #1 SaaS solution for associations and non-profits — announced today that it has acquired Arlington, VA-based OpenWater.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed; there will be no change in OpenWater’s management, staffing, or day-to-day operations. 

    OpenWater’s platform is used by more than 500 associations to manage awards programs, fellowships, scholarships, and grants as well as accreditations, abstracts (call for papers), and hybrid/virtual events.

    OpenWater has been an Authorised iMIS Product Partner for several years and integrates with all versions of iMIS. Data collected through OpenWater is available in iMIS, saving clients time, boosting productivity, and providing a single, comprehensive view of member activity. 

    “OpenWater has been a long-term partner with ASI and together we’ve provided innovative solutions for the association and non-profit communities,” said Kunal Johar, Co-Founder of OpenWater.  “We’re looking forward to joining the ASI family to explore ways we can provide even greater value to our clients in the future.”

    “I’ve always wanted to find the perfect home for OpenWater and I’m excited to have found that with ASI.  I first met Bob Alves during 2019 and I’ve come to be impressed with how ASI has kept their foot on the accelerator after all these years.  They continue to invest in their products and make sure their customers have top-level experiences.  The culture fit between the two companies is obvious and I’m excited for what the future holds,” said Timothy Spell, CEO of OpenWater.

    “Over the years, we’ve been impressed with OpenWater’s platforms, management team, corporate values, and commitment to client satisfaction,” said Bob Alves, Chairman and CEO of Advanced Solutions International.  “In partnership with them, we’ve been able to offer our clients best-of-breed application and review solutions and we can’t wait to work even closer with them to find new ways to expand and enhance our offerings to clients.”

    Learn more at

    About OpenWater

    OpenWater is a software company based in Arlington, VA (Greater Washington, DC area) in the United States providing an application and review software that streamlines and simplifies award management.  It also offers a virtual event platform to manage online, in-person, and hybrid conferences. Visit for more information.

    About ASI

    ASI is a leading global provider of cloud software and services for associations and non-profits. We help clients digitally transform, streamline operations, and grow revenue through industry expertise, best-practice advice, and high-quality SaaS solutions. Our portfolio of solutions includes iMIS — the only engagement management system (EMS) purpose-built for associations and non-profits — and TopClass LMS by WBT Systems — the #1 association and continuing education learning management system.

     ASI is proud to be an AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner.  Learn more at

  • 13 Jan 2022 12:01 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Professional education is changing.  With advances in technology, the delivery of online training has really come into its own. Once the poor cousin of face-to-face workshops, online delivery is now offering a much better experience with immersive learning environments and the ability to progressively assess understanding of key outcomes.   

    Professionals also increasingly expect to be learning via the internet. They expect on demand access to information including learning, to be able to take part in professional development wherever and whenever they need to learn - and on any device they choose, from traditional computers through to tablets and smart phones.  

    Research conducted by Professional Associations Research Network (PARN) of 1299 professionals about online learning found that the reason for choosing e-learning was clearly led by convenience. 

    Reason for Choosing E-learning  

    • I can do it at a time to suit me 76%  
    • It is cost effective 59%  
    • I don’t have to travel 57%   
    • The learning I wanted was only available via e-learning 28%  
    • I prefer this mode of learning 17%  
    • It is fun 10%  
    • I don’t have to talk to other people 6%  
    • Other 11%  
    • No reply 1%  

    Base 1299  

    The march of technology in elearning 

    The advances in online learning design tools as well as a raft of new technologies including Alexa, Amazon Comprehend, Google Natural Language, Augmented and Virtual Reality are driving a revolutionary change to the landscape of learning. And it is happening faster than we ever expected.   

    What were once abstract and futuristic ideas about education are delivering unexpected opportunities, with current and emerging technologies able to deliver deep, immersive learning experiences unlike anything that have come before.  In the near future, it will be commonplace to use a learning system that picks up that you have not understood a concept prior to moving onto the next idea. Instead of leaving you behind, the system may add in a series of questions to ascertain how much or little you have understood, and then design an individual pathway to the learning outcome that suits you.  It may even use that understanding to tailor the delivery method of the rest of the course to your personal cognitive proficiency. 

    Finding the capacity to harness elearning opportunities has never been more important. As larger global players, unconstrained by a borderless digital world, move into local markets, Australian professional bodies are challenged to assert their own ability to deliver professional training.  

    AuSAE has partnered with Pointsbuild, an Australian owned e-learning company to design, build and deliver the new Learning Hub and new staff induction course, ‘Association Essentials’ and have more courses in development. 

    Pointsbuild works with associations to develop to transform learning content into engaging online learning experiences, delivered on a robust, online platform that puts learning at the forefront of thinking.  To find out more about Pointsbuild, visit  

  • 10 Jan 2022 10:03 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner, Advanced Solutions International (ASI), a leading global provider of software and services for associations and non-profits, has released a new whitepaper “3 Critical Steps to Digitally Transform Your Association”.

    If you have been thinking about creating a Digital Transformation Strategy but aren’t sure how to get started, download this complimentary new whitepaper from ASI at:

    The whitepaper provides best-practice advice from association clients that have successfully transformed their organisations and will show you how a well-executed plan will impact every aspect of your organisation — streamlining how you operate and how you deliver value to your members.  

    • How to structure an effective strategy
    • Where to focus your initial efforts 
    • What you need to build an innovation group that will challenge the status quo
    • Which technology can best support your objectives  

    Download a complimentary copy

    About ASI
    ASI is a leading global provider of cloud software and services for associations and non-profits. We help clients digitally transform, streamline operations, and grow revenue through industry expertise, best-practice advice, and high-quality SaaS solutions. Our portfolio of solutions includes iMIS — the only engagement management system (EMS) purpose-built for associations and non-profits — and TopClass LMS by WBT Systems, the #1 association and continuing education learning management system. 

     ASI is proud to be an AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner.  Learn more at

  • 10 Dec 2021 8:59 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Understanding the importance of continuing professional development, or CPD, and its role in furthering the progress of individuals, professions and professional associations encompasses a range of factors.  

    Among them are regulatory shifts, consumer/client expectations and wider changes to the techniques and practices of professions. However, there is also the drive to improve competencies, enhance competitiveness through the use of new technologies and grow an association’s reach and revenue base. 

    One of the key steps in developing an effective CPD program is gaining a clear picture of how it can benefit members and practitioners, and how these benefits will be tracked and measured over time.  

    There are two main pressures driving CPD: 

    1. Your members’ clients, employers and general public – who need to trust your members are up to date and competent in their professional skills and judgement.  
    2. Governing bodies – who will impose regulation if they feel a profession is not meeting required professional obligations and standards.  

    When thinking through your professional development and compliance programs, the outside view of your profession is an important starting point. There are also commercial pressures on your organisation, with a growing number of local and increasingly international companies eyeing off the CPD market with profits in mind. It is no longer safe to believe being the natural repository of standards and knowledge gives you an additional advantage in the new environment.  

    Your members will also create pressure to drive the development of your CPD Programs. They will rightfully look to your organisation as a leader in their field and want to see a clear pathway of learning which will help them develop their knowledge and skill base, so they can be at the cutting edge of their profession. They are also looking to support their own internalised ethic of professional integrity and reputation. 

    AUSAE has partnered with Pointsbuild, a leading online CPD provider, to help members to understand the opportunities that continuing professional development can benefit both your organisation and your members. Pointsbuild will work through the elements of and process for developing a CPD program for your organisation. 

    A great place to start is with AUSAE’s new an online learning platform and CPD course, “Association Essentials”, which was developed with Pointsbuild. This course provides associations with an effective new staff induction tool, providing staff with key 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. 

    Pointsbuild empowers professional organisations to deliver flexible, tailored and engaging educational experiences to members, helping them advance careers, enhance credentials and meet their regulatory requirements all the while helping lead conversations that advance the wider industry as a whole. To find out more about Pointsbuild, visit 

  • 03 Dec 2021 4:20 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Think back to the last time you joined a new group, professional or otherwise — it was probably a little intimidating. Everyone seemingly already knows one another and what to expect, and the unknown can be a bit scary. It feels a little bit like showing up to a party where you don’t know anyone else there. 

    Your association’s new member welcome and onboarding process sets a valuable first impression for your recently joined members. A strong start gives you an advantage in facilitating long-term happiness and success as part of your community. 

    Here are some tips on how to welcome new members to your association or membership-based organization. 

    Start with a helpful welcome letter to new members

    Have you ever been thrilled to become a member of a group, only to feel ghosted and lost after signing up? This doesn’t exactly create the best first impression. One major mistake that associations make is neglecting a comprehensive onboarding process for members. 

    The new member welcome letter may be the first piece of direct communication your members have with your association and is critical for increasing the odds of retaining them in the long run.

    9 Things to include in a new member welcome letter

    1. A personalized greeting

    Always be sure to include a personalized greeting in your welcome letter, as opposed to a generic one like “Valued Member.” Using a first name in your greeting fosters a friendly and caring atmosphere for the new member to feel comfortable getting to know you more. Being called a “valued member” will make them feel significantly less valued!

    2. Gratitude for joining

    Let your new member know how much you appreciate them joining your organization — after all, members keep you running! The earlier you can thank a member, the better they will feel. This is a positive step in building a long-term relationship. 

    3. A recap of the benefits they receive for being a member

    In the same vein as providing access to a member portal early, you want to make sure to highlight any benefits your new members may want to use immediately. This is also a great way to remind them why they decided to sign up.

    4. Instructions on how to log into their account and access the member portal

    Show your members how to get engaged right from the start! Include brief, easy-to-understand instructions on how to access their member portal inside the welcome letter. The earlier this is done, the more likely your new member will dive into all of the resources you have available. 

    5. An overview of next steps or upcoming events

    Remind members that there’s more to their membership! Let them know what to expect next from you, whether that is a new member packet in the mail or a full onboarding series of content. Let them know of any upcoming events that they may want to attend. 

    Pro tip: if you know their specific interests, tailor this list to events that you think would be of particular interest to them. You may also want to tell them about special committees or councils they might be interested in joining.

    6. Links to important resources and/or training guides

    Give your new members a roadmap to becoming informed, established members. However, be sure to keep this list of resources short to avoid overwhelming them. 

    7. Information on where to go to for help

    In case your new members hit any snags while looking through the resources you provided above, provide an easy, straightforward process for where to go for help to avoid any early frustrations with members. You want your members to feel like your association is easily accessible and always there for them.

    8. A request to whitelist your domain so they don’t miss your communications

    Now that you’ve provided value to your new members early, take this opportunity to remind them to whitelist your domain so they won’t miss any future emails! Many associations’ emails get blocked by email firewalls, so requesting they save your email address as a contact can help improve email deliverability.

    9. An invitation to ask questions or share why they joined

    Just in case there is any pertinent information that your email didn’t cover, invite members to ask you questions directly. This is also a good opportunity to ask them to share why they joined your association! 

    New member welcome letter template

    Need some more help getting started? Here is a template for a new member welcome letter you can tailor for your own association or membership-based organization:

    Dear [new member first name],

    Thank you so much for joining [your association’s name]! We’re so excited to have you on board and can’t wait to get to know and serve you.

    We invite you to log in at [website URL] to complete your membership profile with the following information:

    Email: [email]

    Password: [password]

    Once you log in, you’ll be able to access these exclusive, members-only resources!

    [list top resources available in member portal]

    To help you get involved, here are a few upcoming events we think you’ll enjoy. Attending our events is a great way to learn, meet other members, and have fun!

    [list upcoming events here]

    In addition, we want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the membership benefits now available to you! Here are a few other things you can get started with right away:

    [List primary membership benefits]

    We’ll be following up next week with our full membership welcome package, so keep an eye out for that! Be sure to add this email address to your contact list to avoid missing out on any important messages and exclusive content!

    Should you need any assistance or have questions about your membership at any time, please feel free to contact us at [phone number] or email us at [email address]. 

    Got everything you need? We still welcome you to reach out and let us know your thoughts on your experience so far!

    Best of luck to you, and thank you for being a part of the [association name] community.

    [Your name]

    [Your title]

    Follow up with personalized information

    If a new member indicated they are interested in a particular member benefit, be sure to follow up and direct them to those specific resources and how to access them. Be sure to do this in the earliest stages of their membership so they can find exactly what they’re looking for, right from the start. 

    Hold quarterly new member social gatherings

    New member socials are a great way to facilitate networking and foster a sense of community among those who recently joined your organization. New members can ask questions and meet each other in a non-intimidating environment. The frequency of these new member socials will depend on your individual association — if you have a lot of new members each month, monthly events might be a better fit.  

    Check in with your new members

    Checking in on new members a few months into their membership not only provides your association team with insights on your member onboarding process, but also helps you build meaningful relationships with members that will keep them a part of your organization for the long haul. 

    Provide an online forum where members can welcome and interact with one another

    Your association should have some sort of digital forum where members can connect with one another. This is a great place to introduce new members with a short bio and open the doors for existing members to welcome them into the fold. Another nice touch would be to add a new member’s welcome section to your email newsletter. 

    Create a buddy system

    A great way to make new members feel comfortable and connected is by creating a buddy system that connects new members with veteran members. This will automatically make them feel like they’re not alone and they have an experienced person to whom they can direct their questions. It’s always less intimidating to attend an event when you know someone who will be there!

    Keep the communication going 

    It is easy to let communication with new members fall by the wayside once they have completed initial onboarding. However, in order to keep them engaged and happy in the long-term, be sure to continuously make members feel valued and appreciated!

    How you welcome new members to your association sets the tone for their overall membership experience, so don’t neglect this important part of the process.

    Posted Here 

  • 03 Dec 2021 4:17 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    The pandemic’s impact has been inconsistent—affecting people in vastly different ways. One association came up with a plan to keep dues revenue steady, while also giving its members a part to play in building—and sustaining—the community in crisis.

    By Lisa Boylan Nov 30, 2021

    Making the decision to raise dues is an ongoing dilemma, exacerbated by financial uncertainty—and at times inequity. The American Sociological Association found a way to help its members—and give them a chance to help one another—with an inspiring initiative that ended up increasing membership.

    With the pandemic raging by mid-2020, it was clear to Margaret Vitullo, Ph.D., CAE, ASA’s deputy director, that the group could not proceed with a business-as-usual approach to membership dues because its members were not impacted equally by the crisis.

    Some members were facing extreme financial straits, including those at smaller institutions that were cutting staff, while others were able to continue their practices in home offices. Not only were those latter members able to maintain their salaries, they also lowered their expenses because they were not commuting or incurring any other in-office-related expenses. “It’s a very complicated situation,” Vitullo said.

    In discussing what to do with her team, three things became clear.

    • ASA had no way of knowing who needed financial help and who might be able to help others.
    • The community of sociologists needed each other more than ever.
    • ASA’s mission—to support sociologists in their work, advance the discipline of sociology as a science and profession, and promote the contributions and use of sociology to society—was paramount.

    Pay-What-You-Want Pricing

    So, ASA developed the Pick Your Own Sponsorship program to respond to a complex reality. Under PYOS, ASA was able to keep membership dues steady. The group gave members the opportunity to either take a sponsorship—reducing their dues by 10, 20, or 30 percent, or give a sponsorship and add a donation of 10, 20, or 30 percent on top of their regular dues payment.

    ASA refined the idea for the program by studying business management literature on pay-what-you-want pricing and then built risk-ratio modeling for what might happen if they did implement the program. Research into pay-what-you-want pricing revealed a need for a suggested price point. ASA used its 2020 dues rate and then gave members a range they could choose from—but limited that range.

    The support of ASA’s elected leadership was a critical element in making the program a reality. “PYOS could not have happened without their vision and willingness to take risks at a time when courage was needed,” Vitullo said. The board’s willingness to go out on a limb was rewarded: More than a quarter of members participated in the program, and ASA’s membership grew by 14 percent in 2021.

    An Intangible Member Benefit

    ASA developed a three-question pulse survey and 70 percent of members who took a sponsorship said they likely would not have joined without the sponsorship options. “They said the sponsorship option made them feel seen, valued, and that they weren’t alone,” Vitullo said. Sponsorship donors also praised the program: “They commented on how happy they were to help their colleagues, build community, and contribute to keeping the association strong.”

    The importance of community, especially in times like this, cannot be overstated. “When you start to focus on concrete membership benefits, you can lose sight of the intangible benefits of membership like community,” Vitullo said. The PYOS program reinforces that sense of community.

    “In the midst of a pandemic, that’s one of the things we all need,” she said. “We all need community to make our way through this.”

    Posted Here 

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

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