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AfSAE First Education Conference
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AfSAE First Education Conference

The African Society of Association Executives held its first Education Conference on February 22, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa in conjunction with Meetings Africa. 

A core concept that drove discussion during the session was from an ASAE Association's Now post "The Board's Duty of Foresight" by Jeff De Cagna.  

Additional resources are below, including speaker profiles:





7 Measures of Success PowerPoint Slides





Where Did our Members go? Membership and finance challenges in association management in Nigeria

Chido Nwakanma

International Association of Business Communicators, Nigeria Chapter




Key Messages on Membership Recruitment and Retention 

By Martin Sirk

Make your dues collection process as efficient as possible – every minute spent chasing up membership fees is a minute lost delivering value; good systems and planned processes reduce this time. Small percentage increases can make big bottom-line improvements (ICCA collects between 96,5 and 98.0% of fees every year, consistently, but we used to only collect 93% or less before we set up our current processes – the difference is massive). If your finances are badly organised, you’ll end up in a downward spiral, where the association won’t be able to innovate or even deliver basic services to members.

Don’t just think ROI, think emotional engagement! This is the glue that gives associations advantages over companies. You can manage and increase the naturally-occurring emotional attachment through lots of no-cost and low-cost methods. Some association leaders think they’re running a business, but really they’re creating a community!

Remember that the member-to-member relationship is at least as important as the member-to-association relationship. You can nurture these “circles of trust”, and that will create peer pressure for members to behave in responsible ways (eg paying their fees on time!).

Think personalisation! No member wants to be one of a crowd being offered a generic product or service. The more you can personalise, the happier they will be. Spend time with key members really understanding their issues, working environment, and passions.

Use storytelling as much as possible – find members who love your organisation and get them to communicate why this is so. Prospective members will find this much more authentic than any slick marketing material that you come up with. Other less active members will become inspired to get more involved.

Your events are critical opportunities for both recruitment and retention, since they are the time when your association takes on “concrete form”, as opposed to being an abstract concept. Make sure that your events reflect your culture and help support your mission, that your staff and volunteer leaders actively engage with newcomers to bring them into the inside of the community.

Increase value every year without fail. If possible, be in a position to promote at least one significant improvement to member value – could be a new product or service, an improvement to an existing service, a new event, or just a new research project.

Remember, associations are no longer monopoly providers of their specialist information. Today in the times of the Information Revolution, competition is everywhere. For associations to be successful long-term, you need to become expert curators of any knowledge (from any source) to do with your area of specialisation. This requires a change of mentality, to be open to sharing, rather than trying to keep information private.

Remember also, the biggest source of great information is your own members. The more you can persuade them to share their knowledge, the more powerful your association will become, and the more unlikely it will be that members want to leave.





Marketing is Different in the not for profit world. Do you know why? 

By Juan Jose Garica & Clare Fincham