April 2, 2015
For the first time ASAE – the Center for Association Leadership – held its Great Ideas Asia Pacific Conference in Hong Kong. The event was targeted at association executives in the Asia-Pacific region to gain valuable information to manage their organization better, share ideas with colleagues and elevate the role of their association. As this year’s chair of ASAE’s International Section Council I had the privilege of not only participating at the inaugural Conference, but also chairing one of the panel discussions.
Titled “Global Perspectives,” my session looked at trends, current practices and challenges faced by associations in the U.S., Europe and China. Joining the panel was Susan Neely, President & CEO American Beverage Association and Chair of ASAE’s board, Alessandro Cortese, CEO the Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology and President of European Society of Association Executives (ESAE) and Steven Basart, Manager, Kellen China.
As my colleague, Steven Basart, and I have recently published posts on association trends in China and Europe, I wanted to use this opportunity to share the US trends identified by Susan Neely at the event:
- In the U.S. there are currently 1.6 million tax exempt organizations, which have $140 billion in direct economic impact and $306 billion in assets.
- Rapid changes in technology, which are resulting in an increasing demand of members and external stakeholders for fast and customized content. An increase in the use of social media channels is changing the approval process for associations dramatically.
- Economic pressures are requiring new means of engaging with members. They are also impacting volunteerism, on which many associations and professional societies rely heavily.
- Changing demographics lead not only to culturally diverse populations, but also multiple generations working together.
- The role of Public Affairs has changed for associations due to the growing influence of groups outside of traditional government. Programs now require multi-prong communications strategies, with association leaders increasingly becoming the public face of their industry.
It was an excellent experience to be part of the inaugural Great Ideas Asia Pacific Conference, which gathered 175 participants from 16 different countries. The two-day program allowed multiple opportunities to share ideas with colleagues from different regions and countries. It was very inspiring experience and I highly recommend the event to anyone with interests in the region.