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3-Piece Nuggets

2018 ASAE Annual Meeting Takeaways

AMR employees meet a therapy dog at the 2018 ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo trade show. 
Left to right: Whitney Wilgus, Rhonda Clark, Lauren Santangelo

Three AMR employees recently attended the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting & Expo August 18-21, 2018 in Chicago.  These lucky ladies joined thousands of association professionals and industry partners to exchange resources, strategies, and solutions to bring back home to their respective clients and co-workers.  Given the chance to share one impactful nugget from the conference, here is what each of the AMR attendees had to say:

Diversity and Inclusion |  Whitney Wilgus, Executive Director

With diversity and inclusion (D&I) being a focus area for many associations, I attended a session on fostering D&I in daily practice.  While diversity can quantitatively be measured, inclusion is much more qualitative – it’s about how people feel – so how do you know your efforts on this important work is making an impact?  A few ways suggested to measure inclusion efforts are through surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews where you ask about individual experiences, rewarded behaviors, and practices and procedures within your staff and governance structure.  SurveyMonkey also recently launched an inclusion survey template, so that’s one resource that’s ready to use without having to reinvent the wheel!

Data for Strategic Engagement  |  Rhonda Clark, Association Manager

Collecting, managing and using data in an actionable way is key for any association to ensure focus, retention and growth. This is what drew me to attend the session Strategic Engagement: Move to Collaboration and Design Thinking. This session explored using data as a roadmap to create a dynamic strategic engagement program with the goal to increase membership, sales and participation. The session featured a 10-step program that was conducted in three phases, including research and analysis, planning and implementation. The entirety of the program lasted approximately nine months and was a major commitment for staff, the board and volunteers. However, the results were almost immediate with the increase in member retention, new membership, sales and participation occurring within the first quarter following implementation.

Non-dues Revenue  |  Lauren Santangelo, Executive Director

There were so many exciting sessions and topics to choose from so I went in with a focus on membership. A session on the last day of ASAE by Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, called “Are you leaving money on the table?” left me thinking about non-dues revenue in new ways. Organizations are looking beyond traditional sources such as conferences, job boards and mailing lists to monetizing their data in the form of market intelligence, benchmarking data, custom research, as well as mobile app advertising, sponsored podcasts and social media advertising. A benchmarking study by Avenue M reports that only 24% of members join to support an organization’s mission, the rest need to see the return on investment. To create a value proposition for a particular product you are considering launching (i.e. a white paper) you should think about three things: ease of use, access, and frequency. One trend lately is around access over ownership. The bike share and ride sharing models represent this perfectly. Why own a car when I can just pay a small fee to only drive one when I need it? Think about how you can expand access to things for your association. You may have the best content but if the next best thing out there is more accessible or free, then your best content doesn’t matter.


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