Association Membership Benchmarks

August 6, 2019

Association Membership Benchmarks

Reflecting from Manila, Octavio ‘Bobby’ Peralta, CEO & Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE), highlights the different models of memberships that can help associations grow.

I recently got a copy of the 2019 membership marketing benchmarking report published by Marketing General Inc., a Virginia, US-based marketing agency working exclusively with membership organizations. The MGI has been publishing this report annually since 2009 and associations find it most useful in recruitment, engagement, renewal and reinstatement of members.

Despite the rapid changes in technology, culture, and demographics, MGI’s data show that many associations have been able to sustain a level of membership growth and continue to serve their markets. A closer look at the trend data also reveals that the percentage of associations reporting membership growth over the last decade is on a gradual decline: from 52 percent in 2012 to 45 percent today. The remainder, in fact a majority of associations, is seeing either no growth or declines in membership.

Associations reporting important positive outcomes in membership also report higher innovation and level-of-value scores. In short, these more innovative and value-producing associations are successfully adapting to the challenges faced in today’s competitive marketplace. Eighty-one percent of associations reported membership growth in the past five years, and 82 percent have an increase in overall new members, indicating that their organization has a culture that supports innovation.

In terms of membership models, one that has seen remarkable growth is the move toward “combination membership” which offers members opportunity to join as either an individual (like a typical professional society) or as an organization (like a typical trade association or chamber). In 2011 only 13 percent of respondents identified their association as having a combination membership structure. This year 26 percent of respondents identified their association as a combination association.

Another developing innovation for associations is the use of paid digital media for marketing efforts. For membership recruitment, this channel has increased as a preferred channel from 12 percent to 15 percent over the past year. Of the 15 percent of associations that consider paid digital marketing tools as a highly effective method for recruiting new members, Facebook paid advertising remains the most effective digital marketing tool (68 percent).

The other technology-driven development that associations report this year is a significant decrease in data problems that have been reported in the past.  The top data complaint is lack of marketing results tracking and analysis, which dropped from 51 percent in 2018 to 39 percent in 2019. Similarly, the issue of inadequate membership dashboards and reporting tools went from 48 percent in 2018 to 35 percent in 2019.

Similar to 2018, the most effective offers for obtaining new members include conference/convention discounts (54 percent), a membership dues discount for the first year (52 percent), and additional months free, e.g., 15 months for the price of 12 (46 percent).

Almost identical to 2018, the top reasons executives believe members join is to network with others in the field (57 percent), learn best practices in their profession (26 percent) and access specialized and/or current information (25 percent).

Association executives reiterate the same top challenges as in 2018: difficulty in communicating value or benefits (38 percent, up from 35 percent), insufficient staff (35 percent; same as in 2018) and difficulty in proving ROI (25 percent, up from 22 percent).

Bobby Peralta is presently the Secretary General of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), the focal point of 106 development banks and other financial institutions engaged in sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. With over 25 years of experience as an association executive, Bobby Peralta is a long-standing member of and contributor to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the CEO & Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE).




August 5, 2019

Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia Introduces New Networking Platform

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has announced the launch of a new series of special interest forums that will provide greater opportunity for year round engagement for members to exchange valuable industry knowledge and address the key issues facing the industry.

EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio, said the forum series will deliver a new targeted communication platform for EEAA member categories to share industry knowledge across a range of issues of common professional interest. “The special interest forums will provide an opportunity for members of our community to drill down into the key issues and opportunities facing the industry. In addition to our major annual headline events, the forums will serve as an additional platform for greater year round engagement within the member community,” she commented.

August 2, 2019

First Indian Association Education Workshop in Hyderabad

Initiated by Dubai-based consultancy DTORR, this workshop, which will take place either on September 6 or September 7, 2019, is a first of its kind and designed for India-based associations. Themed “A Collaborative approach for a better tomorrow”, it aims to create and provide a common platform for associations to explore, innovate and share practices and knowledge. To do so, they will engage with a variety of key speakers in order to create positive economic impact in the region of Hyderabad and beyond.

More information available here.

August 1, 2019

Second Call for Proposals for EAS 2020

The next edition of the European Association Summit (EAS), launched by the Association Bureau in Brussles, will take place the week of 9-13 March 2020. For this new edition a new application form has been created dividing the Call into two stages. The first Call took place from May 20th to 20th June 2019, where 4 themes were proposed, focusing  on new strategies for associations, engaging youth in your field, women empowerment and new sustainable ways of doing business (in your field of expertise).

The second Call from July 22nd to 22nd September 2019, based on the proposals of the first one, happening now, targets the thematic and therefore the choices of candidates.

Association representatives are invited to submit case studies via the call for proposals. Use the opportunity to relate your experience on a range of issues relevant for associations. Share your experience in fields such as finance, events, advocacy, marketing, business models, governance or other relevant topic you wish to see featured. EAS aims to show the diversity of associations active at the international level.

The Call for Proposals is now open here.


July 31, 2019

Association Management Companies Get Immersed in Malaysia


The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) recently hosted five board members from AMC (Association Management Companies) Institute for an immersive educational visit. The programme was designed to provide an all-encompassing experience of the Centre, Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia’s attractive and affordable business events proposition and to provide a direct educational exchange that could benefit local association development.

Part of the programme included an Association Education & Knowledge Exchange session to help build the capacity and capability of local associations. Over 200 Malaysian stakeholders, including many local associations, attended the event where the five AMC Institute board members shared their invaluable knowledge and experience on six association-related topics. These included disruptions facing associations, engaging membership and volunteers to thrive and survive, and challenges facing associations in today’s environment, to name a few.

July 30, 2019

Knowledge Hubs Without Boundaries

New Zealand has become a synonym for authenticity. Authentic diverse environment, nurtured by the people’s sense of duty towards nature, alternates with unique ultramodern facilities powered by kiwi resourcefulness. This winning combination has brought the country an innovative edge across a number of key sectors, leaving associations no doubt as to why this is an ideal conference destination. The small nation promises and delivers big.

New Zealand offers event planners and international thought leaders the opportunity to tap into the creativity and knowledge the Māori culture has passed down through generations. The kiwi spirit of ingenuity is indisputably present in all the innovation the country lays out for the world. 3rd out of 139 nations for global creativity, 9th globally for Artificial Intelligence, 13th out of 136 nations for safety and security, 1st for the management of sustainable fisheries, the list goes on.

Market segments like Health Sciences, Agribusiness, Tourism, Advanced Manufacturing and Design, High Value Food and Wine, Information and Communications Technology and Earth Sciences are thriving. Collaboration between forward-thinking learning and research centres and a strong focus on education and progress on behalf of the government have led to breakthroughs in these sectors and have taken New Zealand centre stage globally.

A network of innovation

At the foundation of innovation lies New Zealand’s network of universities, research institutions, and Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE). In its biggest city, Auckland (pictured), research in various sectors makes headlines globally and innovative ideas reach the international market. The Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE), for starters, serves as a world-leading research platform in medical technologies.  The University of Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute is undertaking groundbreaking work in AI, as seen in the digital humans by spinoff Soul Machines.

In the field of manufacturing and design, harnessing the power of the waves abundant around the islands, the University’s Yacht Research Unit carries out more wind tunnel testing of yacht sails than any other laboratory in the world. Combined with innovative manufacturing and materials research and a leading marine industry, New Zealand has launched world-leading racing yacht and superyacht technology.

From the cloud to the ground, the Geothermal Institute at the University of Auckland offers leading geothermal expertise along with New Zealand’s lead knowledge hub in earth sciences, the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science (GNS Science).

Knowledge Spread Out

Taking a closer look outside Auckland, the wealth of knowledge in New Zealand expands all over the nation. The Dodds-Wall Centre in Dunedin, in the South Island, is at the forefront of photonic and quantum technologies, while the Xerra Earth Observation Institute, located in Alexandra, is increasing New Zealand’s work in satellite, earth observation and remote sensing technologies.

Found also in the South Island, Christchurch is home to New Zealand’s Natural Hazard Research Centre, at the University of Canterbury’s Department of Geological Sciences. The city has absorbed all kinds of knowledge the 2011 earthquake left in the area in fields like earthquake engineering, low damage construction, building technology, resilient infrastructure and sustainability.

In the North Island, the University of Waikato in Hamilton is home to the Cyber Researchers of Waikato (CROW), leading proponents in Cloud security research, and tools.

In a land of just 4.9 million people, nature and agriculture have the upper hand and research at Palmerston North’s Massey University in agritech innovation, farming systems and cutting-edge genetics has helped bring New Zealand to the top of dairy, meat and wool production worldwide.

From producing raw materials to producing high-value food and wine, New Zealand excels in food technology through courses offered in most of its universities and research by Crown Research Institutes. Prominent examples with Palmerston North operations include AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, and the Fonterra Research and Development Centre with expertise in dairy.

Trevor Simpson, Deputy Executive Director of the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, sums up New Zealand’s business events mentality: “In terms of Aotearoa, New Zealand, I think we clearly have a lot to offer the world in terms of the way we are as a people. So multidimensional and multicultural.  at the same time having this indigenous Maori aspect to it. New Zealand’s really keen to demonstrate our leadership in health promotion, we’re doing a few things that are really unique at the moment. And that uniqueness revolves around indigenous health promotion and elements of that we think would be of interest to the rest of the world. We think there’s some secrets in there that would be good if we could unlock them and share with the rest of the world in terms of how we could make the planet earth a better place.”

Contact This article was written by Boardroom editor Vicky KoffaThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

July 30, 2019

New Global Recognition Award Programme by BestCities

The BestCities Global Alliance launched the Global Recognition Award programme, rewarding associations who help deliver positive change and leave a lasting impact in their partner destinations with a $500 USD grant to donate a charity or initiative of their choice.

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) are the first recipients of the award. Each organisation has held numerous conferences in BestCities’ partner cities, with ISN holding their congress in five partner cities, and the YPO holding seven conferences in five BestCities destinations.

ISN used their Global Recognition Award grant to support their Continued Medical Education programme to cover travel costs for Professor Kriang Tungsanga, a nephrologist based in Thailand, to speak at the annual meeting of the Laos Society of Nephrology.

YPO donated their grant to Bridges for Music, an organisation who build creative schools. The money will go towards the purchase of music equipment for a music school being built in Langa near Cape Town. In addition, YPO are also donating furniture to the school.

July 29, 2019

New Indigenous Inspired Menu at Darwin Convention Centre

The Darwin Convention Centre launched a Seven Seasons menu, designed as a culinary journey inspired by the Gulumoerrgin (Larrakia) Seasons. The Larrakia people are the traditional owners of the region.  The menu provides guests the opportunity to experience the dramatic changes of the Gulumoerrgin seasons and the corresponding impact these changes have on the sights, sounds, landscape and natural habitat.

“When developing the menu, we didn’t just look at the ingredients. We looked at the history of the food, how it was gathered, how it was prepared and how it was cooked.” Toby Beaton, Executive Chef Darwin Convention Centre, said. “We have provided guests the opportunity to be part of a journey that has been evolving for over thousands of years. The menu is not only about the taste, smell and look of the food, it is about understanding the local land and how Aboriginal people have used the ingredients available to them.”

The Seven Seasons also includes a visual and sound experience, creating a full sensory culture immersion. Audio and visual packages accompany each course giving delegates a deeper experience and understanding of the Gulumoerrgin Seasons, the distinctive weather patterns, changes in plant and animal activity, each with their own special purpose.

July 26, 2019

Exposing Predatory Conferences

The rise of predatory conferences jeopardises the future of legitimate research events. But could conference IDs be the solution?

By now, predatory conferences should be on your radar. These “scholarly” events are organised on a strictly for-profit basis, pay lip service to peer review, and publish almost anything sent their way — for a fee, of course. (An associate professor submitted a nuclear physics paper written using iOS autocomplete to one such conference. It passed review with flying colours.)

For years, shady individuals have been exploiting early-career researchers’ eagerness to publish. But unless you were desperate  — or painfully naive — fake conferences were pretty easy to spot and avoid. Up till now.

Read the blogpost of Paul Killoran, who is extremely passionate about exposing predatory conferences. Paul is the founder of Ex Ordo, which specializes in conference software.


July 26, 2019

Introducing the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA)

The Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) has launched BCMA Influence to represent the influencer marketing industry, promoting the value of influencer marketing to brands, as it has been acknowledged that influencer marketing is currently one of the fastest growing advertising sectors, with the industry is expected to be worth up to $10bn globally by 2020.

The BCMA is also extending its highly valued accreditation scheme to validate and ensure Influencers have genuine followers. Its aim is to create a standard of best practice and represent the best in class.

The BCMA is an established global member association representing leading brands, agencies, platforms and production companies such as, Red Bull, Mediacom, Twitch, EndemolShine Group and has partnerships with many leading exhibitions, summits and conference organisers in the marketing industry.

Andrew Canter, Global CEO of the BCMA said: “It’s our goal to give our members a collective voice and promote the value of influencer marketing. Using our experience and knowledge in working with members we will give additional confidence to brands that are planning to engage with Influencers as part of their marketing strategy.”