July 23, 2020

Association Executives from over 70 Associations attend Presidential Forum Virtual Symposium Day 2 to discuss Member Engagement & Acquisition as well as Non Dues Revenue Strategies.

On June 30, 2020, over 70 Association Executives convened for Day 2 of the Association Executive Virtual roundtable Symposium.  Session #1 and #2 were held previously in the month.  Session #3 was about how the various associations in attendance are using data and technology to drive member engagement and acquisition.   The peer-to-peer discussion was co-moderated by Reggie Henry, CTO, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and Villy Savino, VP Technology Transformation at CoreNET Global.   Session #4  was about Non-Dues Revenue. What has your Association Done [orTried to Do] to Create an Alternative Revenue Stream.  This peer-to-peer discussion was moderated by Prabhash Shrestha, PMP, CAE; Group EVP and Chief Digital Strategy Officer, Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA)

For Session #3, in summary some of the biggest takeaways were as follows:

  • Reggie Henry kicked off the conversation by doing a Zoom Poll of the audience which revealed:  most associations in attendance viewed their adoption of technology for member engagement as 2-4 on a scale of 5.  The second questions asked about the use of AI (artificial intelligence) in which a vast majority of associations said they were not using any AI driven algorithms in their software technology.   The final question related to the impact of covid-19 on engagement where the audience was evenly split into three categories whereby covid-19 was either making member engagement easier, more difficult, or no-change.
  • Sense of belonging and hyper-personalization were key attributes of how to elevate member engagement and acquisition.
  • Associations are seeing the use of unstructured data as being increasingly important to drive decisions.
  • Regarding unstructured data one association shared that they did polling of early career professionals (millennials) during their conference.  This led to findings that many were PhD candidates so needed access to research and technical material, and many were also looking for career advancement or to find a new job.  This information led the association to design a career center based on these needs.  It also helped inform them of the value of the technical and research materials of their association.
  • Associations talked about how they measure and drive engagement.  Some key elements of engagement included educational course attendance, volunteerism, voting, committee membership, participation in any aspect of the association.
  • One association mentioned using netForum’s A-score system as a metric for member engagement.  They look at 10 different criteria for the member engagement score.  The limitation is that it is only based on member data in netForum, but phase 2 is to incorporate data from their LMS and their community collaboration platform.
  • Another association shared their loyalty model.
  • Putting more attention to newcomers and getting people more involved with committees.
  • Engagement is about what the member thinks about the value of their membership.  One association asks members “what are the top 5 things you are trying to get done” and see how the Association can help.
  • A couple of associations mentioned Prop-Fuel as a member engagement software in use.
  • Issue for small associations is the lack of resources available. How to incorporate new innovations with limited resources.
  • 1st three years is the critical phase for determining if a member will stay long-term or not.
  • One association mentioned their focus on getting back to basics – helping members with networking and connections, quality education.

For Session #3 our sponsor was Rasa.io  Ron Berns shared Rasa’s eNewsletter product used widely by associations which utilizes AI (artificial intelligence) to tailor each eNewsletter’s content to the interest of each reader based on what he/she had clicked on previously from a content-perspective. Ron showed how this is valuable for member engagement/personalization as well as a tool for acquisition (measuring what content your audience is interested and how it might shift over time depending upon current affairs).  Ease of implementation is also an important feature of Rasa. For more information see www.rasa.io.  Contact Ron Berns, Senior Sales Executive, ron.berns@rasa.io,  Phone (301) 706-6060

For Session #4, in summary some of the biggest takeaways were as follows:

  • To start the dialogue, Prabhash Shrestha provided the audience an extensive catalog of various non dues revenue that associations are currently engaged in:  digital ads, sponsored social posts, micorsites, mobile apps, affiliate marketing partnership programs, association directories, content (subscription, syndication, pay per access, publishing, data reporting), API technology solutions, market intelligence, industry statistics, journals & publications, co-created online events, magazine and eBooks, online learning, credentialing , job board, support services (e.g., call center, education provider, technology support, etc.), admin services to chapters & affiliates.
  • one association talked about a business innovation and readiness model that they are developing for use by their members.
  • Another association developed an accelerator/incubator program to fund early stage companies that are targeting to serve the members of the association.  Those early stage companies that are successful will become affiliate partners of the association and the association will be able to garner future ongoing royalty income.
  • Digitalized publication for members and non members
  • Working on a data exchange platform
  • Extensive Webinar series and focused on becoming more of a learning organization
  • Expanded offering for member professional development.
  • One association created a new product development process to define how new ideas will be hatched and brought to market as products.
  • Connecting members, sponsors and exhibitors as a fee for service.
  • Industry partnerships.

For Session #4 the sponsor and subject-matter expert was Celerity. Albert Thibault, Director of Business Development, shared an overview of how Celerity helps Associations build out their digital presence to enhance revenue generating opportunities. Examples he shared included Somos and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) where Celerity was able to provide the digital platform for successfully launching new revenue streams. More info: www.celerity.com  Albert Thibault can be reached at AThibault@celerity.com phone (202) 907-5597.