Insights

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  • 13 Nov 2018 5:58 PM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    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 can actually solve the problem. Just kidding. Your database issues will continue to frustrate you. You will make an executive decision to throw all your computers out the window and revert to managing your membership by card file. Member retention and engagement increases.

    Taurus (April 20-May 20)

    After experiencing problems retaining members you will undertake a member survey. Overwhelmingly, the members will express disappointment with the fact you do not offer a specific service. You have been offering that service for the past 20 years. You will undertake a major promotion utilising all media channels and a signification portion of your budget to let your members know the desired service exists. Two members will take up the offer.  

    Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

    You will experience a golden moment in time where all your Board members read their board papers and also attend the meeting where a critical issue is being discussed. Unfortunately, due to injuries sustained after being bitten by a rabid Life Member, you will be absent from the Board meeting for the first time ever. The issue will be held over till the next Board meeting. None of your Board will be available to attend.

    Cancer (June 21-July 22)

    Your Board will run a fantastic strategic planning day and develop a fabulous vision for the future of the association. Unfortunately, as you and your team will not be involved, this will be completely unrealistic and not remotely possible given the financial and staff resourcing of your association. To implement this strategy, you will move into your office to save the time commuting between your bed and work each day. Sales of whiskey and the profitability of UBER Eats in your area will spike. The strategy will not be as lucky.

    Leo (July 23-August 22)

    The President of your association will make several announcements that will garner significant levels of front-page media coverage around the country. This would have been great news if these announcements had been pre-agreed and conformed to the documented association position on the matter. Over the course of the year you will undertake copious amounts of PR and media skills training. You will have ample opportunity to apply these skills liberally.

    Virgo (August 23-September 22)

    Your board decides to run your annual conference at an offshore destination. One of your particularly vocal Board members has always wanted to travel to Nigeria. After a robust exchange of views, including your comprehensive assessment of broad range of potential risks, the Board votes. They unanimously decide they would also like a holiday in Nigeria courtesy of your annual conference. The timing is perfect as you will receive an email from a long-lost uncle in Nigeria who has left you nineteen million dollars.

    Libra (September 23 – October 22)

    You will successfully cultivate a relationship with the Australian Prime Minister and gain commitment for funding to cover all your major programs. This funding will ensure your association will successfully move forward into the future. On the day your funding is due to be approved, the Prime Minister will be deposed by a faction led by a talking donkey. The Australian public will overwhelmingly approve of the new addition to parliament with the consensus being “at least our Prime Minister isn’t as much of an ass as other world leaders”. The donkey eats your application for funding.

    Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

    The giant white elephant that has been sitting in the middle of your Board table will go berserk. The loss of your favourite mug in the ensuring chaos will be offset by the joy of seeing your most frustrating Board member being chased permanently off into the distance by the elephant. The giant white elephant will return and resume its place in the middle of the table. Everybody will pretend it didn’t happen and it isn’t sitting there. You aren’t at the fun end.

    Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

    You will painstakingly prepare a budget for the new financial year. It will be a stunning piece of work with forecasts carefully created using insights from data that has been thoroughly checked and double checked. Conservatively, you estimate a small surplus for the year. The Board are not happy. They want the budget to show a larger surplus, so they unilaterally quadruple your sponsorship income targets. They will then decline the budget for a sponsorship sales person. Your bonus for the year will be based on achieving the new sponsorship targets.

    Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

    You will be offered the opportunity to attend the premier international conference for your industry as a guest of the organisers. It will be an opportunity to connect with senior leaders from similar associations to exchange ideas and best practice. You will have the opportunity to present about a project you have personally developed and managed with great success and it will also be a welcome opportunity to take your first holiday in several years. Your President hears about the trip and decides to take your place. She cancels at the last minute and no one from your organisation attends.

    Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

    You start a new job at an association. Your new assistant decides she doesn’t like you. When you ask her to schedule a meeting in your calendar she says it’s not in her job description. When you point out that it is in the job description (and that diary management is at the very top of the list) she accuses you of bullying and takes stress leave. She was the only other staff member. She hadn’t told you any of the passwords yet. Her father is the president of the association.

    Pisces (February 19 - March 20)

    You will find yourself in the unusual position of having a fantastic Board, motivated staff, engaged and growing membership base, and growing reserves. It will seem so easy that you will start wondering if you are dreaming. You will pinch yourself and wake up to find a Board member going through your inbox. She’s opened the care package from your mother and has sucked all the chocolate off your choc peanuts. She sees you are awake and offers you a shiny choc-free peanut.


    Think this won’t happen to you? Every one of these things (or something very similar) has happened to an association professional during 2018. Every. Single. One.  If you want to guarantee a successful 2019? Take the time to network with other association professionals so, when things go a bit crazy, you’ve got a solid group of people who can help.

    All the best for a successful 2019! 

    THIS ARTICLE WAS PRINTED IN THE ASSOCIATION REPORT MAGAZINE. VISIT WWW.ANSWERS.NET.AU TO SUBSCRIBE.

  • 1 Nov 2018 6:45 PM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    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.

  • 1 Nov 2018 6:39 PM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    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.  

  • 8 Jun 2018 10:06 PM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    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. 

  • 8 Jun 2018 9:56 PM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    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.  

  • 20 Apr 2018 10:09 AM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    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 of information and communication technology services, which includes a range of member businesses … read more


  • 31 Mar 2018 9:42 PM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    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 were appropriate for VHA … read more

  • 8 Feb 2018 10:24 AM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    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! Particularly as I still feel 21 on the inside! Things have changed so much (not just in the association sector) since then.

    Below are 4 that immediately spring to mind. Can you think of any? Feel free to add your own via my LinkedIn post.

    1. Faxes aren't cool anymore. In fact, a lot of organisations don't even have a fax number now. I used to love to hear the ring and then garbled beeps as a fax came in. Would it be a membership application? ... an event registration?... nope ... a random advertisement. And don't get me started on how quickly that thermal fax paper faded! RIP faxes. You were awesome while you lasted.

    2. Websites are expected, not special. I remember pitching the idea of a website at an association I worked in and getting a series of responses that included "It's a short term fad", "it's a waste of money as members will never use it", and "if everyone else jumped off a cliff would you?" (no, but if everyone else jumped into a giant pile of money I would). Today, people expect that any company has a website.

    3. Being "kept up-to-date" really means it. In the first association I worked in, we proudly told our members that we kept them up-to-date. What that meant was a magazine every quarter, a wages update letter once a year, and the odd bulk fax to members when there was something really juicy afoot. Today, if the news happened yesterday no one wants to know. The pressure is on to ensure members get the right information in a timely manner ... and in a way that they actually read the info (rather than get it, not read it, and complain that no one told them about it).

    4. Smelling the photocopies. When we used to remove a copy from the ditto copier with its bluish purple print you could smell the aroma of the freshly printed page (an aroma enjoyed by generations of school students and later found to be toxic). I can still remember it clearly. No double sided printing in those day. Today's photocopiers just make life way too easy.

  • 7 Feb 2018 10:50 AM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    SMS is proud to announce it is a founding partner of Answers for Associations. Answers is network of specialist suppliers to associations dedicated to facilitating the sharing of innovative ideas and practices amongst the Australia and New Zealand association community. Answers has a free hard copy newsletter available to associate executives interested in hearing case studies from local associations about the innovations that have made their associations more successful. If you would like your copy, please click here to subscribe on the Answers website. The first edition of The Association Report is due out in early March.  While you’re on the site, check out their calendar of events and make a note of the ones you'd like to attend.  The first one is the Great Association Meetings & Events Symposium (GAMES) which will provide attendees with practical ideas that will make your events massively more successful. 

  • 7 Feb 2018 10:49 AM | Belinda Moore (Administrator)

    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 there was no staff support. When Belinda left the association in April 2015, it was on track for a turnover of around 1 million dollars and had 6 full time staff working in the organisation. In the following article Belinda Moore, Director of SMS, shares the step by step process they apply when undertaking an emergency turnaround ... read the whitepaper.

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