The President of AuSAE Simon Pryor and I were supported by ASI Solutions, ASAE and the Australian Medical Association Tasmania to attend the ASAE’s annual meeting.
The key messages to come from the conference were vital for membership recruitment and advocacy, and it is clear that information technology is the way forward.
1. Online communities and social media
Most associations in the United States (US) are investigating online community programmes for their members, operating that function in a similar manner to a closed-circuit Facebook, and are geared towards professional discussions, blogs and networking.
For example, a company called Higher Logic can provide groups, profiles and discussion centres based on these groups and items for discussion.
2. Power of the Web
Associations are being taken online. Websites have gone way past ‘credibility-based business cards’, and are now communication devices with many levels of interaction available.
Purposes for website include corporate branding, message selling and e-commerce such as the transaction of members’ payments. The website is also increasingly becoming the repository for information such as minutes, agendas and financial reporting etc., behind secure pages.
Almost all newsletters are complemented by e-newsletters, and many associations have stopped printing altogether.
Many associations and exhibitors at the conference were utilising applications (apps) written specifically for iPhones or Blackberrys for membership communications, reminders and even advocacy.
Notices and reminders
Through the use of apps on mobile phones it is even easier for members to receive notices and reminders via e-mail, and many associations are now interlinking with members apps and calendars automatically, by way of e-mailed messages that embed themselves in e-calendars like Outlook.
3. YouTube – Associations’ TV Channel
The uptake of video media on the net is also exploding – many sessions at the conference were dedicated to the writing, production and the delivery of YouTube-type messages on their websites.
Messages of all types are available and accessible on websites, twitter and Facebook, and therefore can be viewed on iPhone and Blackberry-type mobile phones.
These messages include advocacy to members of Parliament, plus emailing to the media and members, and membership recruitment including testimonials.
I also saw examples of sponsorship recruitment, social media on Facebook and Twitter, and embedded videos in e-magazines and weekly briefings
It was invaluable to meet with other association executives from all types of associations. The opportunity to discuss common issues was a learning experience. I recommend the experience to all Association Managers as it will bring you into the 21st century.
Third Sector acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.