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Association discusses new ways to engage membership

ASAE Engages Its Members with Social Technology

ASAE uses community to give members a voice and a platform with powerful social networking, discussion, and information-sharing tools.

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) was ready to take member engagement to the next level. As its member base grew, the association needed to adjust member communications to match. So it gave members a voice and a platform with powerful social networking, discussion, and information-sharing tools.

The Challenge: Increase engagement by upgrading online collaboration tools

ASAE members have historically been active on a network of listserv email discussion groups. As the association grew and evolved, so did the communication needs of its members, volunteers and sections councils. Members needed the option to privately interact with peers—and everyone needed a more organized, streamlined way to discover, share and connect.

The Solution: ASAE Collaborate—powered by Higher Logic

ASAE sought a flexible, customizable online social networking suite with a rich selection of features for its members. The association turned to Higher Logic’s online community platform, an industry leader in cloud-based networking, collaboration and mobile membership tools for associations and nonprofits.

After numerous internal efforts to create a private space for members, ASAE used Higher Logic to integrate directly with its association management software—and give members the networking tools they needed.

“Collaborate is helping us create a more diverse, inclusive and vibrant group of leaders focused on the work we do on behalf of the association management profession.”

Wanda Little-Coffey Senior Director, Volunteer Relations ASAE

The transition from listservs to the Collaborate system was smoother than ASAE staff anticipated:

  • The association sent several communications to members alerting them of the upcoming transition
  • Benefits and expectations of the new platform were fully established, and members were educated on how the change would affect them
  • A volunteer group of members was selected for “Beta Site Feedback,” allowing ASAE to collect suggestions and feedback before a full launch
  • A “war room” was created in ASAE’s offices the week of the launch to allow for quick response to problems—staff was pleased when it went completely unused

The Benefits: Enhanced engagement from the entire ASAE community

Members are accessing ASAE Collaborate to:

  • Expand their professional networks through dialogue and idea exchange
  • Share experiences and best practices with peers
  •  View volunteer opportunities then use workspace inside of Collaborate to accomplish duties

“The best thing we’ve done in the last 15 years is launch Collaborate.”

Reggie Henry, CAE Chief Information Officer ASAE

Bringing association executives together

ASAE Collaborate has quickly become entrenched as a professional social network where members can solve problems, get answers to questions, connect with peers and accomplish volunteer tasks. Significantly more accessible than ASAE’s old listservs, Collaborate has opened a world of discussion and networking to members who previously were largely unable or unwilling to participate. ASAE members have found that Collaborate features conversations and interactions that are deeper and more robust.

If an ASAE member is actively involved in Collaborate, then he/she is 23% more likely to recommend ASAE to a colleague.

(Source: ASAE Member Satisfaction Survey)

Building on past successes

Collaborate has been an undisputed success for ASAE. Since launching, Collaborate has continued improving with new benefits and features:

  • Streamlined taxonomy: ASAE members enjoy orbital content taxonomy, allowing them to interact with automatically curated, tagged content across various platforms
  • Strengthened engagement: The number of messages posted to discussion groups increased in activity by 30 percent over the previous listservs
  • Volunteer Town Square: ASAE manages volunteer leaders, committees, councils and ad hoc projects through this portal, where members can find new volunteer opportunities, browse volunteer categories and commitments, and set up project alerts

Upgrading and scaling the systems you have available for your members can really make a difference on engagement – which makes a difference on retention.

About ASAE: The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) gives association executives the tools to enhance the community and the power to transform society for the better. The association consists of more than 42,000 individual members, who manage trade associations, professional societies and volunteer organizations nationally and internationally. ASAE’s 140+ staff members plan, execute and support the association’s programs, products and services.

Caitlin Struhs

Caitlin is an Account Manager at Pulp + Wire. She builds, manages, and leads marketing and communications teams across B2B and B2C markets.