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Thumbnail for 5 Steps to Help Ensure Your Members Renew Their Membership

Wednesday March 13, 2019

Are you about to send out your membership renewals? If you are, then be prepared for your association to come under scrutiny from your members. Regardless of how much growth you may have experienced in the past year, members who are undecided as to whether to renew their membership will critically assess whether your association is doing a good job. If your association has not been delivering on the services promised, or your board of directors or staff have not engaged ...
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Thumbnail for What Does ‘Good Governance’ Look Like For Associations?

Tuesday February 26, 2019

In my many years of experience reporting to, providing advice to, and being a member of, not-for-profit Boards, one of the most common issues I’ve experienced is a lack of understanding when it comes to governance.   There is a perception that governance encompasses only the legal obligations of a Board, Committee, or Council. However, whether it is an association, a not-for-profit, or a commercial business, governance should encompass everything that a Board, Committee, or Council requires to deliver sound, informed ...
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Thumbnail for How Members Use Our Benchmarking Tool: Victorian Music Teachers' Association

Monday February 25, 2019

We recently spoke with Genevieve Newton (Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Music Teachers’ Association) about her experience with the AES Best Practice Association and Not for Profit Benchmarking Self-Assessment. In her role as Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Music Teachers’ Association (VMTA), Genevieve first used the AES benchmarking tool a few years ago. According to Genevieve, “I used the tool independently of our Board and found it very helpful. The self-assessment revealed that we fell somewhat short of meeting best practice. ...
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Thumbnail for Why There is No Reason for an Association to Have a Financial Crisis

Monday February 11, 2019

It saddens me to hear of any association experiencing financial crisis. Unfortunately though, financial crisis occurs all too often in the not-for-profit sector—associations are often forced to lay off staff, restructure or move into smaller, cheaper office space. Within an association, these types of changes have serious consequences. For example, research tells us that very few associations develop proper procedure manuals. So, when staff are retrenched, they take with them all the operational knowledge of the organisation, as well as the ...
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Thumbnail for Great Ideas to Grow Your Membership in 2019

Tuesday January 29, 2019

At one of our recent AES member meetings, the issue of membership—particularly member retention and growth—was discussed. Most associations realised their membership was either failing to grow or, even worse, declining. As such, there needs to be a simultaneous focus on both member retention and member growth, which can often be difficult with limited resources. So, we thought it was time to really delve into this area, to share some of the do and don’ts of growing association membership that we’ve ...
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Friday November 09, 2018

Has Your Association Lost Its Focus? Is It Time to Revisit Your Strategic Plan? Associations can be very dynamic organisations. They can bring together like minded members to share information, ideas, and best practice processes within their industry or area of interest. Modern society has prospers as result of this type of collaboration; it has instigated breakthroughs in science, changed societies values, and influenced government policies. An effective member association can serve the community in any number of ways. So then, what do ...
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Thumbnail for How Association Awards Can Help with Membership Engagement and Growth

Wednesday August 01, 2018

Recognising the achievements of members at high profile awards events or ceremonies is a huge part of the culture of many Australian not-for-profits, particularly associations.     Award ceremonies give associations the opportunity to recognise and promote their members, employees and volunteers through the allocation of awards for various services, deeds or contributions. A properly managed award process can be a very valuable asset for an association as it enhances the members’ sense of belonging and helps promote an association’s brand.   Awards often ...
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Thumbnail for Successful Association Leadership: The First 100 Days in Your New Role

Wednesday July 25, 2018

Have you recently been appointed to a leadership role within a not-for-profit association? Congratulations!    Managing an association can be a highly rewarding and exciting experience. There are some fantastic opportunities within not-for-profit associations for leaders who can steer their organisation in the right direction, helping their organisation achieve its goals and objectives. As with any leadership role, managing a not-for-profit association can have its ups and downs. There are often several challenges that association leaders need to be aware of, and address, if ...
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Thumbnail for Does Your Association Need to Pay Tax?

Wednesday July 04, 2018

  In Australia, an exemption from income tax is available for qualifying not-for-profit organisations, including associations formed for certain purposes. If an organisation is exempt from income tax, it does not have to lodge income tax returns or pay income tax. Where a full exemption is not available, special rules may apply to determine a not-for-profit’s taxable income and rates of tax. This exemption does not extend to other potential tax obligations such as GST, PAYG withholding and Fringe Benefits Tax; each of which must be considered ...
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Thumbnail for What You Need to Know About ASIC and ARBNs

Thursday June 21, 2018

Operating Outside Your State of Incorporation?  Headed by Nick Koerbin, the AES team spent an exciting couple of days at the Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) conference in Adelaide at the end of May. We’d like to thank all those who visited our exhibition booth. Whilst at the AuSAE conference, we received some interesting questions related to the governance and risk management of associations. As such, we thought we ask our legal advisor John Crosby to answer some of the main ...
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Thumbnail for How to Overcome the Challenges Facing Association Presidents

Thursday June 21, 2018

Leading and managing associations can be very complex, particularly for association Presidents. There are various stakeholders to manage (usually with competing interests) and legal requirements to abide by, the not-for-profit sector presents unique challenges of its own, and you must ensure that you’re delivering value to your members. In today’s article, we take a look at some of the most common challenges faced by association Presidents, along with some ideas on how to overcome these challenges.   Legal Considerations    According to AES Consultant John ...
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Thumbnail for How to Deliver Excellent Services to Your Members

Thursday June 21, 2018

Every member-based organisation needs the resources, procedures and processes to support effective decision-making and provide outcomes that deliver excellent services to members. Without this focus, your organisation's service delivery will fall short, and you'll likely waste both resources and time. As an association or not for profit leader it is critical to understand the complexities of running an organisation. Even the simple goals, like increasing membership numbers, can be complicated. You need to have streamlined systems in place to reduce complexity ...
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Thumbnail for Association Conferences and the Local Organising Committee

Thursday June 21, 2018

Australia’s association conference industry is worth billions of dollars, with many conferences attracting both interstate and international attendees. According to Andrew Hiebl (CEO, Association of Australian Convention Bureaux), the importance of business events, including association conferences, to the Australian economy has received significant recognition in the Federal Government’s tourism policy. “The Honourable Steven Ciobo MP (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) recently announced Tourism Australia’s Business Events Bid Fund Program, which will see an investment of $12 million across the next three ...
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Wednesday May 16, 2018

Members join your organisation and pay their membership fees to attain the tangible and intangible benefits that you purport to offer. Member retention and growth is tied to how well your organisation performs at actually delivering on these benefits. If you fail to meet expectations, you will lose members. Matching performance with promise isn't just the key to success for member-based organisations; it is the key to success in any field. If McDonald's fails to hold up their promise for cost-effective ...
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Wednesday May 16, 2018

All of your processes and procedures for delivering services should be part of a more comprehensive quality management system. This system should cover all aspects of your organisation, and you need to create evaluative techniques to ensure this system can keep up with the changes your organisation will inevitably go through. AES advisor, Maria Eliadis is an expert at creating quality management systems and ensuring evaluative techniques are in place to keep the system relevant. "A quality management system aims to ensure ...
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Wednesday May 16, 2018

You need ‘data’ to make decisions, and the decisions you make are only as good as the ‘data’ you have at our disposal. You need to understand the types of data so that you can select the best for your needs. For member organisations there are three critical types and sources of data: Data which is undeniable facts - like the amount of money in your bank accounts, the number of members and their demographics. There is also data that is opinion based ...
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Friday April 27, 2018

According to Nick Koerbin, Executive Director of AES, "The number of associations that rely on their staff or volunteers to deliver their products and services to members without referring to documented systems is staggering. The risk to the association is enormous if there is a reliance on staff who merely 'have it in their head' as to what needs to be done." "When we are managing an association, our first task is to identify which processes are documented related to the ...
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Wednesday April 11, 2018

Koerbin has laid out some easy ways for your member-based organisation to improve the quality and consistency of your service delivery: Create step-by-step documents outlining the essential processes for delivering member benefits and services. Use visual flow charts to create easy reference points, and eliminate any complexity. Ensure every process has an owner, which is the member of staff responsible for ensuring the process is followed. When it comes to member services, this will most likely be the person in charge of membership ...
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Thumbnail for The Real Truth about Strategic Planning

Monday April 13, 2015

In the 2014 AES Association Best Practice Survey, we asked over 300 association leaders in Australia about the effectiveness of their strategic plan. The survey demonstrated that 74% of association leaders who had a strategic plan did not use, or refer to, this strategic plan in their decision making and review meetings. My experience as a CEO (or senior executive) managing a not for profit organisation has taught me the importance of an effective strategic plan, not only as ...
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