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Virtual and Hybrid Events Are Here to Stay

Virtual and Hybrid Events Are Here to Stay
What does membership support require? It could mean hanging onto virtual and hybrid events.
By Megan Miller, CMP, VEMM, Director of Events, SBI Association Management

This blog post is posted with permission from SBI Association Management.

Think back to March 2020, when your board of directors had to cancel or postpone its annual conference. For association leaders, it was a frightening proposition. Annual conferences and other in-person events are crucial to the health and success of most associations—and not just for financial reasons. Events are touch points where associations become “real.” Fellow members become friends and trusted colleagues in the hallways of annual events. Board members and staff become accessible resources.

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Want to Make an Emotional Connection to Your Membership? Speak to Their Inner Superhero.

By Lindsay Jennings, Vice President of Business Development, SBI Association Management

Note: This post is re-published with permission from SBI Association Management 

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How to Effectively Communicate the Benefits of Your Association

How to Effectively Communicate the Benefits of Your Association
By Lisa Moore, Director of Membership, Raybourn Group International

Note: This post is re-published with permission from Raybourn Group International.

You may recall buying a new (or new-to-you) shiny car and having a crash course on using all the new bells and whistles at the dealership. Then you get home to fumble through how to use these bells and whistles and can’t remember how. Member benefits can be similar.

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Say 'Yes' to LMS! Ten ways LMS implementation benefits you!

This blog is reposted with permission from AMC Source. To see more articles like this, visit

There is no doubt that virtual learning is here to stay. And there is no better place for associations to feature, archive and assess association resources than in a learning management system (LMS). At AMC Source, we have spent years working with clients to ensure timely and robust programming. But how do we help with LMS implementation and programming efforts? Here are our top 10 ways we can help you create an informative and effective learning experience for your members using an LMS:

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Aren’t Toppings. They Are the Basic Ingredients to Your Association’s Success.

Note: This blog is reprinted from SBI Association Management

Before I purchased an association management company (AMC), I owned and ran a pizzeria. In that business, you have your basic ingredients: mozzarella cheese, the dough, the pizza sauce, maybe a little pepperoni. Of course, you offer a lot of extras: sausage, olives, even anchovies.

Some pizzerias often more exotic combinations that include pineapple.

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The Journey to the Governor’s Desk: Keys to Legislative Success

This guest blog entry was authored by Lori Conaway, CAE, Executive Director at Association Acumen

Earlier this spring, Act 23 was signed into law in the Wisconsin legislature. This was a momentous day for PAs in the state of Wisconsin. It was the culmination of years of work put in by countless leaders from the Wisconsin Academy of PAs (WAPA), along with a diverse and talented team of teams, who worked together over the years to bring the bill across the finish line.

Having joined the team in the role of Executive Director in late 2017, I have had the good fortune to be involved in the process of bringing this important update to become Wisconsin law. If you would like to read more about it, please visit the WAPA website I also have learned some valuable lessons about the legislative process. Here are a few tips and takeaways to keep in mind if your organization is embarking on a legislative endeavor in 2021:

Assemble your team and assign clear roles.
Assembling an effective team for legislative advocacy involves many parties, but in the Association Management Company (AMC) world, the primary groups typically consist of volunteer leaders, a lobbyist partner, and staff members. It is important that all parties are empowered to act within their respective capacities to ensure the most impactful presence on the legislative floor.

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Microaggressions-What They Are and How to Avoid Them

Microaggressions – What They Are and How To Avoid Them

Microaggressions are like planting, or watering, seeds of doubt – doubt in abilities, doubt in whether one belongs, doubt in worthiness, doubt in identity, and doubt in life decisions/paths.
 – Dr. Gretchen Neigh

Acknowledgements: This issue’s column was a collaborative piece with Dr. Gretchen Neigh, Dr. Debra Bangasser and Dr. April Thames. Thank you for contributing commonplace examples of microaggressions and raising awareness to empower scientific society memberships to work together to exclude them.

Over the last decade professional societies have made a concerted effort to improve diversity and create an environment of inclusion.  Since PMG began in 2008, progress has been made.  It has been exciting to see both men and women elevate others who were not like them and see positivity in disagreement on key issues. Throughout my time in association management, I have watched the many organizations grow and change, but yes, we still have a LOT more work to do to create a truly welcoming and inclusive environment. 

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The New Strategic Planning

The New Strategic Planning

Short-term planning replaces long-term vision for most associations

“If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

On January 1, 2020, many people were doing their yearly personal strategic planning (i.e., making New Year’s resolutions). Nearly everyone thought they knew where they were going in the coming year — until they didn’t. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit two months later, many people suddenly found themselves in an extraordinary “someplace else.” So did associations and non-profits.

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Strategies for Increasing Non-Dues Revenue

For many associations, the ability to face and overcome the many challenges brought on by the global pandemic centered on maintaining and building new revenue streams. Those most successful continued to prove their capacity to adapt and embrace novel and innovative approaches beyond the usual sources of income.

Association revenue has typically focused on membership dues and annual conference registration revenue, even in periods of stable economic growth. The lessons of the past year have taught us that these may not be enough to sustain the organization over the long-term.

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Establishing Board and Committee Synchronicity

Partnerships are built on trust. Trust comes from gaining synchronicity with your boards and committees. Here are some tips to solidify your relationships with key leaders:


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Creating Successful Business Connections Virtually – an IRL ‘how-to’

In today’s climate, business as usual and 2020 are terms that go together about as well as oil and water. The COVID-19 outbreak forced associations to assess the status quo of how to deliver value through events. The Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors, a.k.a. “The Southern,” was no exception. Last August, this 97-year-old organization maintained its annual meeting goal and created virtual connections. Here’s how.

As the trade association representing convenience wholesale distributors in the southeast United States, The Southern’s membership spans from Texas to Virginia. Member companies have an annual gross revenue of $50 billion and represent nearly 50 percent of all convenience stores in the United States. In other words, The Southern means business - its Annual Meeting is a place where business gets done.

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5 Virtual Ways to Celebrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

It’s easy enough to find ways to celebrate and learn together when you’re able to gather in person, but what happens when everyone is still working remotely? As many of us have discovered since the start of the pandemic, virtual events take a bit more creativity and planning for attendees to feel engaged and connected. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate DEI events virtually, give these 5 ideas a try.

1. Family & Cultural Recipe Swap
Food, especially cherished recipes, has a way of taking down walls and bringing people together. To kick off a DEI week, hold a virtual family and cultural recipe swap and share. Staff can share recipes, photos, and stories about the dishes that bring their families and friends together and the ones they make again and again to celebrate special occasions and holidays.

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A New Association Partner: Artificial Intelligence

By Rob CareySr. Content Producer, MeetingsNet
This article was first posted here

2020 was the “year of technology” in the meetings industry, given the near impossibility of hosting in-person events during the Covid-19 pandemic. But with association-event planners strongly focused on virtual-event platforms, there’s one tech element that hasn't gotten the attention it deserves: artificial intelligence.

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Don’t Burn the Furniture, Please

by Dave Bergeson, PhD, CAE, Vice President of Client Relations, Association Management Center

It would be cliché and perhaps too obvious to say that for nonprofits and associations, this year is unlike any other. And yet, here we are. Most of our in-person conferences have been canceled. Many, if not most, of us, are implementing virtual meetings and conferences. Our traditional forms of content delivery and revenue streams have been disrupted.

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Virtual Governance: Making the Move Swiftly, Nimbly, and Effectively

By Association Management Center 

For many associations, the chaos that COVID-19 brought meant rereading bylaws to obtain clarity around the authority to conduct business virtually, moving large governing body meetings to later in the year, or even amending governing documents to delegate authority back to the board.

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Drivers of Success in Times of Disruption Perspective from a European Association

For ESAE, Lucas Boudet, Director General of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), explains how associations, despite what many people may think, might be in the best place to embrace change and be future-ready.

It is commonplace in management textbooks to state that, in the age of disruption, businesses live and die by their ability to adapt. I would like to take a step back from theories of changes and take a stance in the context of European associations. Unlike companies, which can reinvent their business to safeguard their profit-making, associations cannot change their purpose at a flick of a switch. They are bound by their raisond’être; it is the cement, the affectio societatis, bonding all their members together. Any substantial change to it may jeopardise their sheer existence.

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Best Practices for Virtual Event Experience Design

Beth Surmont, CAE, CMP, Director of Experience Design, 360 Live Mediaa wholly-owned subsidiary of SmithBucklin

It is a stressful time to be working on events right now. We hope this article makes your life a little bit easier.

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COVID-19 – A Time for Refresher on Basic Board Member Duties

Bennett Napier, CAE, President/CEO, Partners in Association Management

2020 as we all know has been a “test” for not-for-profit organizations. The short and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on traditional revenue streams, membership needs, and program delivery have created some interesting dynamics relative to board staff/roles.

I have heard countless stories this year from peers that serve as CEO of a number of associations where volunteer board members, while well-intentioned, have placed themselves and potentially the organization in harm’s way, for example, having unauthorized ex parte communications directly with hotels related to contract negotiations on meeting cancellations or postponements.

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Financial Sustainability in Troubled Times

Kelly Meiners, Director of Accounting, Diversified Management Services

When thinking about financial sustainability, who would have ever envisioned the economic environment that we have endured in 2020? Who would have planned for a pandemic and the economic conditions associated with it? But it has happened, now what do we do?

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Can Working with an AMC help You Save Money?

There are three common ways that associations are managed.  Some are managed by volunteers.  This is most common in small, start-up associations and usually gives way to non-volunteer management as the association grows.  Many associations are managed by full-time staff employed directly by the association.  Perhaps the most common of all forms of management, there are thousands of associations employing their own staff.  The third method of management is for the association to contract with an association management company (an AMC).  I should mention that there are hybrid models that mix elements of these three, but these three approaches are the most common.

For an association to be managed and managed well by volunteers requires an unusual set of circumstances to come together.  First, the association has to be small enough that the required amount of work can be handled by volunteers.  Second, there has to be available a number of people who have an abiding commitment to the association and who have the talent necessary to do the work required.  Usually, there is one key person with a passion for the organization who drives the volunteer effort.  Since the financial considerations around management is the thrust of this article I will say right up front that as long as you can get volunteers to manage your association and as long as they do a good job, if you want the cheapest management alternative you can’t beat free!  However and as I alluded to earlier, volunteer management is usually not a permanent solution for a growing, successful association.

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