We are running a comprehensive research project seeking to understand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on associations, how they have responded, and what the future will look like for associations post-COVID-19. A comprehensive report will be emailed directly to all participants. The turnaround on this survey will be quick to ensure insights are out...

This pandemic crisis will gravely impact the health and livelihoods of many. However, it also creates the need to build union capacities even more pressing. This paper, written by Belinda Moore and Chris Walton, explores the current landscape for unions in Australia and outlines innovative pathways forward for unions to more effectively empower Australian workers....

A new community for association professionals has launched at www.answers.net.au. With an interface similar to Facebook, this site is a collaborative effort by the association community to develop a piece of software that will enable associations to build better online member communities. By creating a site that meets the needs of association professionals, we are...

In this webinar Belinda will discuss how the gradual shift from traditional membership models (service provider models) to community membership models (including subscription models) has accelerated with the pandemic. This session will cover the major factors impacting change and how different are adapting their membership models to the new operating environment. Watch the video.

This is a recording of the 45 minute webinar run on Friday 3 April 2020. COVID-19 has decimated the traditional funding sources of many associations. With events and their associated sponsorship in disarray for the foreseeable future, associations are scrambling to deliver enhanced services to members remotely and remain financially sustainable. Sponsors are facing their...

This is a recording of the 45 minute webinar run on Friday 27 March. In the association sector, the wide-spread cancellation of events is having a major impact on the financial sustainability of many associations. We are already experiencing a massive flow across the economy as a myriad of jobs and other opportunities that associations...

Business as usual is not an option in 2020. Associations wanting to navigate through this crisis need a clear, simple, and focused strategy that delivers powerful value for members while also securing the sustainability of the association. To assist with this, we’ve developed a free Pandemic Strategy for Associations template for associations to use as...

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by everyone throughout our community. We are all dealing with challenges we could not have imagined just a month ago. The whole toilet paper shortage was funny at first. Then I ran out of paper. It got dramatically less funny with each additional store I visited. It became...

Australasia’s first comic strip for Association Executives is now a book! Join Association Annie as she traverses the highs and lows of leading an association. Share the wonders and frustrations of dealing with Boards, staff, members, volunteers, sponsors, and other stakeholders while trying desperately to turn a struggling association into something relevant and sustainable. Order your...

Associations are taking immense strides in the way they are approaching sponsorships and partnerships, often being more strategic, innovative and focused. But what happens when a prospective partner makes the first move? Read on to find some solutions to the hurdles that can arise as corporates approach associations…

The operating landscape of associations is undergoing a seismic shift. Associations need to act now to ensure they can navigate these shifts to emerge stronger and more relevant than ever before. In my new whitepaper, Association Apocalypse, you can read more about the: Six fundamental shifts occurring in the association operating landscape, Three key models associations...

There are a number of great resources for association professionals wanting to understand more about how to make their organisation more successful. We recently compiled a recommended reading list for association professionals for the Answers for Associations. We are keeping this list up to date so we recommend taking a look if you are wanting...

A Guide to Creating Your Own Half-A**ed, Completely Unsuccessful Partnership Program. 2018 was a very successful year for many associations building and running high value sponsorship programs. There were some awesome associations who managed to achieve some fantastic results. But … there were a few who struggled to get even the basics right. If you would...

A friend of mine recently joined a local history group. I was a bit surprised. Not about her volunteering – she’s a bit compulsive like that – but about the group. Finally, I had to ask, “Penny, I know that group. Their president has a vice-like grip on the association. She’s a control freak who...

There are many different groups of people who make up your current and prospective members – from those who have never heard of you through to your most passionate members … read more.

Interested to know your future for 2019? Concerned about unforeseen surprises that might jump out at you? Worry no more as our 2019 Horoscope for Association Executives will reveal your future … Aries (Mar 21 – Apr 19) Many years of database frustrations will be overcome when a Board member will recommend a friend who...

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has been a leading story in Australian news bulletins since December 2017. With story after story of conduct unbecoming the impact is weighing heavily on the financial sector and rippling through the community. Associations are not immune … read more.

When and how you run your renewal campaign can have a big impact on your member retention rate. Membership renewals are an essential component of any association’s strength. But in order for your renewal campaign to be a success, there are some important factors to consider … read more.

Are you ready to attract new partners in 2019? The time to start cultivating these new relationships is now. Sponsorship in its purest form is displaying your brand name loud and clear on, say a sports jersey or stadium arena. But in the not-for-profit sector, sponsorship is an entirely different ball game… read more.  

Associations and sponsorship go hand in hand. But developments in technology and changing brand requirements have seen these partnerships shift significantly in recent times. Julian Moore from Strategic Management Solutions (SMS) explains these factors … read more. 

Associations come in all shapes and sizes. A membership campaign that works for one will not necessarily be the right fit for another. When developing your association’s campaign, there are several factors that need to be considered. Belinda Moore of Strategic Membership Solutions (SMS) breaks membership campaigns down by type and approach … read more.  

A year ago, the Telecommunications User Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) was on the brink of bankruptcy. Now, they have refocused their operations and have a plan to return to health. TUANZ is a membership organisation that shares industry information and training. It also does a large amount of advocacy work on behalf of users...

Two years ago, the Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) had no high-value partnerships. Now it boasts more than $600,000 worth annually. This impressive turnaround is the result of the not-for- profit’s concerted effort to align with partners who share their vision and values. But CEO Tom Symondson admits that he wasn’t always convinced that corporate partnerships...

You can now download the Membership Managers’ Handbook free of charge. This comprehensive guide incorporates practical information, useful tools and innovative ideas for ensuring long term membership growth in your association.  This book is updated regularly so please subscribe to be kept up-to-date as revisions are released.

One of my first jobs with an association was back in 1994 where I organised a study tour into China for a group of members seeking to do business in the region. When I mentioned this to someone recently it gave me a bit of a shock when I realised that was 24 years ago!...

A number of powerful generational, cultural and economic forces are colliding to create a perfect storm that will make the next 5-20 years some of the toughest ever faced by associations. Associations who don’t adapt face a slow decline into obscurity as they are replaced by newer, more innovative, less bureaucratically challenged, less change resistant...

In April 2015 SMS completed a 30-month project to successfully turnaround the Australasian Society of Association Executives. Over that time, Belinda took the organisation from just over 100 members to 876 financial members and built a community of over 10,000 subscribers. When Belinda started at AuSAE their turnover was just over $40,000 per annum, and...

Potential sponsors don’t sit at their desks all day waiting for your proposal to arrive on their desk. For many, sponsorship is one part of a larger role which keeps them very busy. This means your proposal isn’t just competing with other sponsorship proposals (of which there will be many) but also with many other...

When I started at AMAQ in 2013 our new members were being sourced through events and various non-member campaigns.  It is quite difficult to answer specifically where they were coming from as no detailed records tracking new member sources were kept at the time. I had used the Member get Member concept in my previous...

The most successful membership organisations are those who clearly demonstrate their passion for their cause, industry, profession, and/or trade in both word and action. They are committed to their purpose and work hard to provide tangible benefits and positive outcomes to the members they serve. One of those organisations is the Electrical Trades Union Victoria’s...

In a world where disruption is creating havoc at every turn, wouldn’t it be great to have some quick and easy ways to raise revenue for your association? Sure, it would! So, here’s a few ideas (and we have a lot!) to get you started … read the full article.

Remember the film ‘Field of Dreams’ with Kevin Costner?  I saw it 27 years ago, but the film’s key message continues to resonate: ‘If you build it, they will come’. The same idea relates to securing corporate partnerships. The number one reason why most associations fail to secure high-value partnerships is because they haven’t created...

P&Cs face demise as structures alienate younger members. P&Cs need to adapt to the changing nature of membership associations. Those that do will emerge stronger and more powerful than every before. It’s time to focus on developing a powerful sense of purpose and developing ad hoc volunteering opportunities that cater to all parents (even those...

With digital disruption on our doorstep, every business is under threat, but when budgets tighten the first expense to go is often an association membership. So how does an association stay relevant and become a ‘must have’ not a ‘might have’ if times get tight. The best way to stay relevant s to get really...

Sitting in a class room surrounded by other parents I was appalled by the list of chores we were being given. As a full-time working mum of four children, my free time is already limited to how long I can stay locked in the toilet before my 3-year-old grabs his chair and tries to break...

Many of my clients tell me they’re worried about the future of their association.  They’re worried about declining membership rates; lack of engagement; the increase in competitors (Google we’re looking at you!) and more. If you’re worried about the future of your association, and don’t know what move to make next, you need to know...

In this paper you will read about a broad range of income generation ideas designed to inspire and motivate you to dramatically increase revenue into your association. Not all ideas will be appropriate for everyone and it is up to you to choose those that are most relevant for your organisation. Financial sustainability can only...

It is impossible to make informed decisions regarding your membership strategy without knowing your membership statistics. At the most basic level you should know your Retention Rate, Growth Rate, Loss Rate and Average Tenure – by each membership segment. If you don’t know how to work out these statistics, please download The Membership Managers’ Handbook to get...

I have worked with a number of associations recently who have wonderfully high retention rates but very low growth rates. After investigating further, it became apparent that all these associations have a wonderful range of services, many very happy members, and absolutely no sales function whatsoever. To fix this situation, and to effectively recruit new...

I was sitting in an association board meeting recently and a discussion on the topic of “how much should we be charging sponsors” was underway. The discussion became quite robust and when I heard one person argue that they shouldn’t raise the sponsors fee because “we don’t have thousands of members” I had to step...

When selling membership, the fee you charge is not the most important factor. Instead it is the value the membership fee represents and how effectively that value is communicated. Many associations struggle to articulate the true value of membership because it is generally intangible and therefore somewhat challenging to explain. So people default to speaking...

ecuring new, high-value partnerships is NOT about selling your organisation.  When you send your proposal, the purpose of your proposal is not to tell the potential sponsor everything about your organisation. The proposal is a teaser whose role is to excite the reader into wanting to learn more.   When you follow up your proposal on the phone,...

There is a distinct difference in the “tone” of communications between associations who are successfully engaging their members and those who are performing poorly. Those doing poorly have a very transactional communications style. It is geared only to convey information in a bland and unengaging manner.  For example: Welcome to the association. Your membership number is...

How does the prospect of a significant economic downturn affect the day to day operations of your association? Business Models – During a downturn your organisation becomes particularly vulnerable to losses and can easily miss opportunities for gains due to tight financial and staff resources. If you’ve got an ancient business model that is barely surviving...

With the right approach, great things can be achieved by associations working with few staff and limited financial resources. Following are tips for those wanting to achieve a significant turnaround in their organisational performance. Prioritise – and stick to it! – You don’t have the resources to be all things to all people. If you try...

Potential sponsors don’t sit at their desks all day waiting for your proposal to arrive. For many, sponsorship is one part of a larger role which keeps them very busy. This means your proposal isn’t just competing with other sponsorship proposals (of which there will be many) but also with many other distractions for a...

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