A Request-for-Applications was issued early in 2013 to fund a two-year qualitative interdisciplinary research initiative that will identify association membership models. This research stems from awareness that associations face an ever-evolving landscape where individuals and companies may affiliate in increasingly diverse ways; these trends challenge the sustainability of conventional association membership models.
The primary objectives are to 1) describe current and emerging trends of effective membership/business models, and 2) define the economic, environmental, and social factors that drive/inform establishing and sustaining of member relationships.
Key to this research initiative is the interdisciplinary approach (including, but not limited to, anthropology, behavioral economics, sociology, psychology, business management, information technology, organizational dynamics, and political science) that will be used to identify and apply relevant behavioral theories in examining the extent to which these theories might inform the business of membership.
Outcomes of the research will enable associations to generate membership models that are mutually beneficial and financially sustainable.
A multi-year research project on trends and predictors of successful tradeshows has been launched with the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at Cornell University (the ASAE Foundation is a CHR Senior Partner). The purpose of the project is to assess the impact of various trends affecting association-based tradeshows — such as social media and mobile technology, sustainability and corporate-social responsibility, budgetary constraints, and emerging buyer-supplier engagement models such as hosted-buyers "” from the perspective of multiple stakeholders (e.g. meeting planners, attendees, exhibitors, buyers & sellers, and destination executives).
We are currently operating in Phase III of a multi-year research initiative. Phase I included an extensive literature review and qualitative interviews with different stakeholder groups, and Phase II included the gathering of pilot data. Phase II was critical in informing enhancements to the methodology and survey design. Phase III included the deployment of a comprehensive survey to over 30 co-sponsors in late February.
The results of the study will allow association executives to draw inferences about the impact of these trends as predictors of future success measures; and identify best practices, tradeoffs and constraints, and relative preferences of each group of stakeholders. The study will also aid association executives in understanding their tradeshow options at both macro level (e.g. selection of geographical location, venue, and timing of the tradeshow) and micro level (e.g. design of convention facility, booth), all of which have varying degrees of potential influence on the future design, structure, and positioning of tradeshows.
A Request-for-Applications was issued in the early spring of 2013 to fund a two-year qualitative research initiative. The purpose of this research is to identify trends and predictors of processes for knowledge management and delivery within the association community. At the conclusion of this qualitative research project, association executives will have strategies available to 1) analyze the changes ahead, and their implications for current programs and products; and 2) navigate the transition into a new era for learning and knowledge.
ASAE Foundation will lead a multi-year research initiative to examine strategies associations employ to develop and sustain global growth outside their US market. This project will rely on qualitative and quantitative research designs to 1) describe association globalization best practices, and current and evolving patterns that define an association's global agenda and measures of success across multiple international regions; and 2) identify effective strategies for advancing and compelling growth in global markets.
The Foundation will work collaboratively with MCI to identify the core research questions, establish the research design, collect and analyze the research data, and communicate the research findings and conclusions. The Foundation will also ensure that rigor and scientific integrity are maintained throughout the research process.
This program currently provides four awards (up to $10,000 each) to support innovation exploration and development; it is one of a number of initiatives designed to raise awareness and engagement in innovation efforts for the association community. Now in its second year, the recipients of the 2014 IGP award are as follows:
Illinois Homecare & Hospice Council, Proposal Title: A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to Enhance Member Engagement and Credibility on a Topic of National Concern
Marble Institute of America, Proposal Title: Innovation through Industry Collaboration for Statistics & Benchmarking
Soroptimist International of the Americas, Proposal Title: LiveYourDream.org — Expanding our brand to meet activists online!
Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, Proposal Title: Better In/Better Out
ASAE is entering the fourth year of a five-year collaboration with the North Carolina State University's Institute for Nonprofits (http://nonprofit.chass.ncsu.edu/asae/) for a project designed to encourage and facilitate scholars' publishing research in association management using ASAE's industry, market, and benchmarking research and apply academic research to member-serving organizations. Access to ASAE datasets (such as data collected in Decision to... studies, Policies and Procedures, Compensation and Benefits, and other member benchmarking) has been granted to over more than 145 scholars to further their research in the area of association management. The project is managed at NC State through their Institute for Nonprofits.
A two-year study examining the benefits of credentialing (certification and accreditation) programs to associations recently ended. The results of this preliminary study underscore the need for further exploration of the association industry's relationship to various aspects of credentialing. Continued exploration in this area is planned, with a proposed general population survey on the value of credentialing to individuals and hiring organizations, as well as a longitudinal study to measure the differences in career experiences between credentialed and non-credentialed individuals.
The Research Report and Executive Summary, The Benefits of Credentialing Programs to Membership Associations, is currently available.