associations talking about ai in order to listen to their members

The Secret to Member Engagement: Part III

Want to know the secret to member engagement?

The key to member engagement is listening to your members. On the importance of listening, author Doug Larson once said: "Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk."

In the first part of our series, we explored the importance of listening to your members in order to leverage their feedback for maximum engagement. In the second part of our series, we explored 7 applicable tactics for listening. In this third and final part of our series, we will explore how you can listen to members at scale and automatically implement their feedback in real time.

Listening to members at scale with AI-powered software

You know the old saying: actions speak louder than words. Here’s an example of that in real life. A year ago, a member checked off four different interests on a form you sent out. However, for the last several months, unbeknownst to you, they’ve been primarily reading articles about a completely different topic.

Here’s another one: Your team made an assumption based on survey data and board discussions that older members are concerned only with management issues. However, in reality, many of them are focused on “upskilling.” They need to learn about a certain new technology so they can remain relevant and employed. Again, you had no idea.

You would know about their interests if you could observe what they’re doing—if you could “listen” to their behavior. Well, now you can.

Automated, AI-powered newsletter technology

New tools make this type of listening easier. Software powered by AI, like, observes and tracks online behavior. It “listens” and learns about a member’s interests by tracking the links they click, and refines what it sends in future emails based on what it learns.

Personalized listening and communication is the purpose of and the reason why our organization exists. But unlike the other listening methods described above, is practically hands-off. Each daily newsbrief email is tailored for the individual subscriber according to their interests and done 100% automatically by the AI.’s AI “brain” personalizes content for each daily newsbrief from a list of news sources, plus you can add your own content too. Because members soon realize the relevancy of their daily newsbrief, they’re more likely to open those emails and, therefore, see your content too.

If your organization isn’t able to produce enough content on your own, providing a curated selection of content based on a member’s interest is undoubtedly one of the most valuable membership benefits you can provide.

What you can learn from listening to members

Listening to members—by using one of the seven methods described above or by using AI-powered software—provides valuable information. But with, this data is provided in real-time. You can spot emerging interests and issues immediately instead of hearing about them eight months later on a survey.

You can also gain insight by tracking topic trends overall or by membership segment. You can put this new information to work when making decisions about:

  •       Online or in-person educational programs
  •       Content strategy for digital or print
  •       Board and committee meeting agendas

In many associations, the membership value curve is skewed. Only a minority of members can afford to go to events or spend time volunteering. They’re the ones who have traditionally experienced the most membership value. But many members don’t have the budget or time to get that same value. With a personalized daily newsbrief, everyone has a fair shot at experiencing the value of membership—and your association continually learns how to provide even more value to them.

Listening to members with

By now we have outlined the importance of listening to members, but we all know that we share one, limiting constraint: time. AI-powered tools allow you to automatically adapt the content in your newsletters to individual member preferences, without having to lift a finger. Contact today to learn how you can listen to your members in real time in order to meet their ever-evolving needs.

associations using artificial intelligence to listen to their members in real time

The Secret to Member Engagement: Part II - 7 Ways to Effectively Listen

The secret to member engagement is listening to your members

In the first part of this blog series, we explored how vital it is to listen to your members in order to keep them engaged. Listening allows you to adapt in order to meet the needs of your members and customers. In this second part of the series, we are going to explore tactics you can implement in order to actively listen to your community.

7 tactics for listening to members

When you’re in a long-term relationship, you spend time every day with that person. Opportunities to listen occur frequently. But what if you’re in a relationship with thousands of members whom you rarely or never see? It’s more challenging but not impossible to listen to a representative sample of them.

Whichever method you choose, don’t keep what you learn to yourself. Come up with a monthly or quarterly routine for sharing insight and trends with your colleagues.

#1: Random phone calls

I’ve met a few association professionals who make a random call every week to a member. Random is key so you don’t call the usual suspects. However, you must make an effort to call a diverse range of members over time.

It usually takes a few attempts to get someone on the phone so you’ll end up leaving lots of voicemails. But even if you never reach someone, they know you’re taking the time to check in with them.

Random calls end up becoming an enjoyable habit. It’s only a small sample but the calls will be illuminating. You’ll learn more about your members’ professional lives and make new acquaintances. Plus, members will feel appreciated and important.

#2: Question of the month

Every month, come up with a question to ask members at the end of a call or email. Ideally, you’ll convince your colleagues to help out. Ask members, “Before we hang up, can I ask you a question that’s been on our minds here?”

Develop questions that elicit more than a yes/no response:

  •       If XYZ regulation passes, how will that affect your business?
  •       How are you dealing with issue XYZ in your office?
  •       What’s your biggest frustration at work right now?
  •       What skill do you need to learn to get promoted?

You’ll learn about issues that can guide decisions about advocacy, education, and content.

#3: Focus groups

Focus groups are ideal for a more in-depth discussion. The only hitch: they usually take place where members are already gathered, like conferences. You could end up talking only to active members, not less active members.

#4: Advisory groups

Advisory groups are a good way to gather and include the perspectives of member segments who aren’t usually sitting at the leadership table, for example, chapter leaders, young professionals, and other special interest groups. Don’t convene an advisory group unless you have a way to put their issues and interests in front of your association’s leaders.

#5: Listening tours

ASAE’s Associations Now has highlighted several examples of listening tours:

  •       The CEO of the National Confectioners Association conducted a listening tour to hear members’ concerns about a new strategic initiative and to share data that helped win them over to the idea.
  •       The NAACP national leadership met with local members, community leaders, activists, and partners in seven cities to discuss issues, challenges, and future plans for the national organization.
  •       A team from the American Dental Association visited dentist offices to listen to members’ unmet needs.

The only downside to a listening tour is the expense and time away from the office, but the long-term benefits outweigh the costs.

The five methods we’ve discussed so far collect data only from a limited group of members. They’re time-consuming, but according to those who make the time, they’re well worth the effort. In a recent ASAE Collaborate discussion about new member onboarding calls—another good reason to talk with members—someone said, “I also make these phone calls…and it's my favorite part of the job.”

#6: Surveys and polls

Since time is a limited resource, how can you get as much information as possible from members? How can you listen at scale?

The traditional listening methods, surveys and polls, cast a wide net, but only a small percentage of members generally respond. A one-question poll on your newsletter or website home page can quickly reveal information about your members and audience.

Surveys must be expertly designed to collect useful data. Unfortunately, they’re usually not done frequently enough. It can only take a year (or less) for a member’s professional life to change and for new interests and challenges to emerge.

#7: Video conferencing

Invite members to an online town hall conducted via video conference. Ask them to send in questions and comments ahead of time. Put the most requested ones on the agenda for a live Q&A session.

Surveys, polls, and town halls aren’t perfect solutions because you’re dealing with a self-selected group of members. Are they representative of your entire membership?

Take the art of listening to the next level

This blog is part of a 3-blog series where we explore The Secret to Member Engagement. In the third part of our series, we will explore how you can listen to members on an individual level, and at scale, using artificial intelligence.

If you are ready to begin amplifying engagement by way of listening carefully to your members and tuning your messaging in order to meet their needs, then request a quote to begin learning how can help you today.

associations using artificial intelligence to listen to their members and increase engagement

The Secret to Member Engagement: Part I

The secret to member engagement

“The art of listening is the greatest communication tool of all time,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp. “If you learn to listen, the world will reveal itself to you.”

Donald’s first act as CEO was to go on a listening tour. He listened to Carnival guests, people who said they’d never go on a cruise, industry analysts, journalists who had written negative stories about the cruise industry, and a wide range of employees including janitors, administrative assistants, and cabin stewards.

He listened and learned how to exceed the expectations of Carnival’s guests. As a result, during his tenure as CEO, Carnival’s profits skyrocketed and its stock price doubled. Imagine what your association could learn and achieve if you started listening to members in a brand new way.

The importance of listening to members

The secret? Listening.

If you want your association to become indispensable to members, you need to understand what’s going on in their world.

  •       What do members need to know?
  •       What do they need to learn?
  •       What problems do they need to solve?
  •       What are they interested in?
  •       What worries them?
  •       What do they hope to achieve?

Assumptions based on conventional wisdom no longer work. In a time of rapid change like we’re experiencing today, conventional wisdom is dated information. Your members (and prospects) have moved on. They have new skills to learn, new threats to their businesses, and new career paths to pursue. You’ve got to find a way to keep up.

You also can’t make assumptions based only on the perspectives of your board and committee members, or your staff. Your volunteer leaders can only speak authentically for people like themselves, but not everyone else in your membership and audience—unless you’ve intentionally recruited a diverse selection of volunteer leaders. If you’re not listening to a wide range of perspectives, then you may not be staying in tune with the existing and emerging needs and interests of your members and prospects.

When an intentional effort to listen to members becomes part of your association’s culture and practices, members take note. They know you’re in tune and see that you’re focused on them.

People in relationships listen to each other. Demonstrate your commitment to your relationship with members by adopting one or more of these listening methods.

7 tactics for listening to members

This blog is part of a 3-blog series where we explore The Secret to Member Engagement and the importance of carefully listening to members so that you can act on their preferences, wants and needs, in real time. Tune in next week when we explore 7 effective tactics for listening to members.

Start listening to your members right now

If you are ready to begin amplifying engagement by listening carefully to your members and tuning your messaging in order to meet their needs, then request a quote to learn how can help you today.

associations can personalize their member communications using artificial intelligence

9 Ideas for Making it Member Personal: Dale Carnegie’s Advice for Associations Part II

In the first part of our series, we examined four ways in which the wisdom of Dale Carnegie is applicable today. The second part of our series continues to explore how Carnegie’s insights are applicable to personalizing the modern member experience.

5 - "Success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint."

To capture attention and loyalty, you must understand the different segments of your audience. Don’t assume you or your committee chair knows what you need to know. A chair who’s been in business for decades won’t have the same perspective as a new young member in their first management role.

You can grasp a membership segment’s viewpoint by understanding issues they worry about, situations that stress them out, and expenses they weren’t expecting. Learn about their aspirations and goals. Once you get a better sense of their professional lives, you can determine how your association can really help them. Let them know you understand the problems they face and tell them what steps you’re taking to help them.

6 - “The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important… always make the other person feel important.”

Give people the opportunity to have a voice, comment, or make a suggestion. When they give feedback, let them know how it made a difference—what you did as a result or how it influenced the association’s thinking or action.

Show appreciation to all volunteers, not just board and committee members but any member who gives their time in an ad hoc or episodic way. Members notice when their volunteering goes unnoticed. Thank members who make a call on your behalf, review a session proposal, help at an event, or give time in any way.

7 - “You must develop a deep, driving desire to learn, a vigorous determination to increase your ability to deal with people.”

Never stop learning about your members because their needs and interests constantly change. Pay attention to what they do, not just what they say. Tools like can help you learn what members are really interested in and will track how those interests change over time.

Keep up on what’s going on in the industry or profession by reading trade media and talking with members. Improve “your ability to deal with people” by strengthening your communication and marketing skills, and, of course, your association management skills too. Read, attend virtual and in-person educational events, and cultivate a network of association peers. Professional development will transform your life and make a positive impact on your members.

8 - “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Personalizing content with someone’s name isn’t the only way to capture a person’s attention. Personalize membership by sharing content that resonates with members.

People expect personalized content, according to a Reuters Plus report:

  •       77 percent of consumers expect to see more personalized content in the future.
  •       63 percent say personally relevant content improves how they feel about the brand associated with it.
  •       58 percent of consumers see brands in a more positive light if they provide them with content that matches their interests.

Readers—members and everyone else—put a high value on any service that delivers a selection of personally relevant content they can’t easily find anywhere else in one place. Use a service like and you become an indispensable part of your reader’s life.

9 - “Pay less attention to what [people] say. Just watch what they do.”

What people click is more telling than what they say in a survey. Online behavior reveals a person’s real interests and needs: web pages and blog posts they read, web and email links they click, and content they download. When delivers an email newsbrief to a member, the member’s clicks drive the AI which determines the content mix in future newsbriefs. If the member’s interests (and clicks) change, the content changes along with them.

What Dale Carnegie had to say is relevant today

Much of what Dale Carnegie taught his students and readers applies to association management in the 21st century. Make a concerted effort to listen to members, observe their behavior, respond with relevant products and services, and personalize membership.

At, we are here to help you individualize the content you send to members and gain valuable insights from what they are interested in reading about. Learn more about how we can begin to personalize your relationships with your members today.

personalizing member communications for your members using artificial intelligence

9 Ideas for Making it Member Personal: Dale Carnegie’s Advice for Associations Part I

What can Dale Carnegie teach us about member personalization?

In 1936, Dale Carnegie published one of the best-selling books of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People. More than 30 million copies have sold and more than 8 million people have graduated from Dale Carnegie training, including Warren Buffet who said:

“In my office, you will not see the degree I have from the University of Nebraska, or the master’s degree I have from Columbia University, but you’ll see the certificate I got from the Dale Carnegie course.”

Everyone wants to win friends and influence people, including associations. You want to capture the attention, interest, and loyalty of volunteers, members, customers, prospects, journalists, policy-makers, and maybe even consumers.

Carnegie gave advice for face-to-face communication, but his principles still apply to email and other digital channels. His insight into human nature remains relevant today. He taught the value of listening, observing behavior, and appealing to individual needs and desires. If he were on the association speaking circuit, Carnegie would tell you to personalize membership. Let’s take a look at some of his other advice from How to Win Friends & Influence People.

1 - “Of course you are interested in what you want… But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.”

Associations want to be member-centric, but their perspective is often inside-out rather than outside-in. The membership value proposition is usually based on what the association says is valuable, not what members believe is valuable. Adopt an outside-in approach and find out what members really value.

Be a partner in their success. Involve members (and even non-members) in the early discussions about new products and services. Don’t assume you know what they need, instead be guided by their conversations and, most importantly, by their behavior. Behavioral data, like email clicks, teach you more about a member’s interests than an annual survey.

2 - “Talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”

Associations have a lot to say about events, education, and products. The default is to publish more promotional messages than informational ones, but it should be the opposite—that’s what members want.

Review your communication with people at the start of their membership journey. When you market membership to prospects, are you selling or educating? Build a closer relationship with prospects by teaching them what they need to know. Then, show them how your association can help them get what they want.

Connect whatever you’re promoting to a member goal. How will this event impact their career? Whom will they meet? What will they learn? Why is that important?

3 - “You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”

Associations want to get members engaged on the association’s terms. They encourage members to join a committee, participate in this, or do that. Remember, it’s not about what you want, it’s about what the member wants. Engagement has to be on their terms.

A member’s idea of engagement may not look like traditional engagement. They may not be interested in committee service or three-day events. They may prefer a more passive mode of engagement. They may want a selection of curated, personalized content delivered to their inbox, instead of spending time searching the web to find it themselves.

4 - “To be interesting, be interested.”

Demonstrate your interest in members by listening to them regularly. Give them a chance to talk about themselves. During most membership orientations, the presentation is all about the association. Flip it by asking questions instead.

Ask members about their challenges and aspirations. What do they need or want to learn? What sort of people do they want to meet? What problems do they need to solve? What goals do they have for the next few years? Ask these questions every year because people, jobs, and careers change.

What are my next steps toward member personalization?

Show your community that you are ready to personalize the member experience. You can use to send personalized news to your members, infused with your own blogs, news, and educational content. Then you can learn from member click and interaction data to inform your own content and educational event plans. Schedule a newsbrief demo today or register for our upcoming product demo webinar.

Tune in next week for the second set of recommendations from Dale Carnegie on how your association can make it personal.

experimenting with a trial program at your association using ai automated newsbriefs

How to Experiment with New Ideas Using a Trial Program, Part III

In the first part of this series, we explored the benefits of using experimentation to solve old problems. In the second part of our series we explored some best practices around rolling out a trial program and soliciting feedback. In this third and final part of our series, we’ll talk about taking action and turning your trial into a full-out launch.

Making a case for a full-out launch

If your trial isn’t successful, you can still gain value from the experience: you can walk away with useful lessons about member behavior, and you have worked on promoting problem-solving in a way alternative to the status quo.

Alternatively, if your experiment was successful, now it’s time to report your success and get approval for roll-out to the entire membership. When preparing your case, include:

  • Goals (metrics) met.
  • Milestones reached.
  • Participant feedback and testimonials received.
  • Comparisons to the norms; for example, typical newsletter open rate vs. trial open rate.
  • Predictions; for example, we tell our clients they can expect to see a continued increase in open and click rates as more behavioral data is collected.

The success of your trial program will be even more impressive when it’s tied to organizational goals, opportunities, and revenue. For example, provides opportunities to generate revenue from advertising and sponsored content.

Tweaking the program

During a trial, you discover new things about user behavior. Most importantly, you find out whether your program provides enough value for members to continue using it.

You also learn how to improve the program. For example, in the case of trials, we might decide to tweak any number of things based on user behavior:

  •            Newsbrief content sources
  •            Terms to include (or not) in the AI’s searches for content
  •            Featured content from the association
  •            Time spent
  •            Template style
  •            Subject lines
  •            Footer information

Address any issues and make final changes before launching the program. If you’re working with a partner, make sure you know who’s responsible for what. In the case of, we do the heavy-lifting so implementation takes hardly any time for the association. And, if the trial went as well as expected, all we have to do is add new names to the distribution list.

Preparing for launch

Trial or pilot participants are your program champions and your co-champions when it comes to evolving your experiment into a reality. Keep them informed and engaged so they can help you get members excited about this new benefit. They might even put in a word with decision-makers if you’re having trouble getting approval for the program.

Be sure to thank participants publicly for their time and insight. Refer to them as advisors (or a similar title) in program marketing materials.

When rolling out the program to membership, follow the same on-boarding practices you used for the trial group. Bolster your communication with testimonials from trial participants. Be sure to tell your story of how you wanted to solve old problems with innovative solutions. Your members will appreciate the value that the new insights, practices, or technology will add to their membership.

A retrospective on the process

Before you move on to the next project on your list, take time to do a project retrospective. Document how you went through the process and note areas of success and areas that need improvement. You can use this experience as a template for future pilots and projects as well as a case for continuing to promote innovation in your association.

Trial or pilot programs let you experiment on a small scale with solutions for big problems. One of the biggest problems shared by all associations is finding a way to bridge the member engagement gap—the span of time between a member’s infrequent interactions with your association. Our association partners are using on both a trial and permanent basis to help them deliver regular value to members and to ultimately solve the engagement gap challenge.

Experimentation with bridges the engagement gap by harnessing Artificial Intelligence to find and deliver personalized content to every single member in a daily or weekly newsbrief. Members eagerly anticipate these emails because they’re crafted just for them. Over time, as a member interacts with the newsbrief,’s AI engine learns more about their interests, behaviors, and personalities, and their content continues to intelligently evolve.

If your association has an “unsolvable” big problem, consider running a trial program to experiment with a new solution: a new technology, process, or program. Taking a small calculated risk, like a trial program, will help your association build a culture of experimentation while revealing new ways for your members to build an association habit. Are you interested in experimenting with new ways to engage your members? Learn about how can help.

This blog is the final in a 3-part series on experimentation. Read the first part of our series on the benefits of experimentation and the second part of our series about rolling out a trial program.

association experimentation with an artificial intelligence email newsbrief

How to Experiment with New Ideas Using a Trial Program, Part II

When it comes to professional development and networking, your members have lots of options. But, they’ll stick with you at renewal time, and engage with you more the rest of the year, if they experience the value of membership more frequently than the occasional event or publication. You can keep members coming back to your association if you find ways to help them build an association habit: the opportunity to regularly experience and reap value from their membership. The challenge is finding new ways to deliver a better value than the competition for their attention and time. You can experiment with both brilliant and unconventional solutions for your most stubborn engagement problems with a trial or pilot program.

In Part 1 of this series, we explained why you’d want to foster a culture of experimentation by trying new ideas using a pilot or trial program, how to select participants, and how to market the trial to participants. Now it’s time to roll out your trial program.

Rolling out your trial program

Before you start the trial, define how you will measure the program’s effectiveness — both the metrics and the tools you will use to do that, like a survey. These metrics should show how well (or not) the trial program serves your target audience. For example, the typical email open rate for our AI newsbrief trial is 30%, so we aim for that benchmark.

First, put together an onboarding plan for participants. Map out your communication with them and be sure to emphasize the greater purpose of revitalizing problem-solving through implementing new and different ideas.

Go over the details of the program: what can community members expect from you and what can you expect from them? For example, before trials, participants are sometimes asked to help pick relevant news sources that can potentially be included in their email newsbriefs. Reemphasize how valuable your members’ participation and feedback are for shaping the program for the entire membership.

Set a start and end date for the trial. Participants are more attentive if they know their cooperation is needed for a limited time only. Document what worked well and what could be improved during onboarding so you can make necessary changes before rolling out the program to a larger group.

Getting feedback from trial participants

Give participants the opportunity to share feedback throughout the trial. If necessary, tweak the program as you go, and let participants know how you’ve applied what you’ve learned from them. When people see you take action based on their feedback, they’re more likely to offer it. What’s more, is that an effective feedback cycle promotes an atmosphere of trust, which is an important component of a progressive and experimental culture.

At the end of the trial, survey your participants. If your group is small enough, host a conference call or web meeting to discuss their experience. Ask them what they liked and disliked, what’s missing, what’s not necessary, and what would make it better. These group sessions also give members a chance to connect with, and share in something special and innovative, with their peers.

Follow up individually with participants to get testimonials about the program’s impact. Ask them to use specific examples in their testimonials to make them more relatable and compelling. Use these testimonials to sell the program to stakeholders and decision-makers, and to introduce and market the program to the rest of the membership. You can also use testimonials in membership marketing materials and in correspondence to inactive members about benefits they’re not leveraging.

Beyond the trial: next steps and the upcoming, final part of our experimentation series

This blog is the second of a 3-blog series on the importance of experimentation through trial programs in order to solve engagement problems that plague associations. In the next and final part of our experimentation blog series, we will explore the critical steps involved in turning your trial into a full-out implementation: making your case to key stakeholders for the launch of the program and adjusting your project in order to make it applicable for your entire association.

Learn about how can work with your association to engage members on a daily basis by sending an email they will actually open and look forward to. Schedule a meeting today.

association experiment with trial program using artificial intelligence email newsbriefs

How to Experiment with New Ideas Using a Trial Program, Part I

Every year, when an association member (or their employer) looks at your renewal invoice, the question crossing their mind is: “What have you done for me lately?”

Value is top of mind for members and employers. They expect to see a regular return on their dues investment. How do you continually demonstrate the membership value that invoice represents?

You can’t rely on the episodic patterns of engagement provided by conferences and seminars. Only a percentage of your members participate in those events. Besides, even those attendees want to experience the value of membership far more frequently than that. If you can find a way for members to regularly experience and reap value from their membership, they won’t think twice about paying that invoice. Even more importantly, they’ll stay engaged so you’ll have more opportunities to serve them with other products and services.

How do you find new ways to deliver a better value to your members? You can tackle and solve even the most stubborn engagement problems with experimentation through testing out solutions with a trial or pilot program. Based on our work with association clients, we’ve rounded up several of our best practices for successful trials and ideas around the benefits of solving old problems with innovative and experimental ideas.

Benefits of using a trial or pilot program to experiment with new ideas

A trial or pilot program is the best way to experiment with a possible solution to a perennial problem. With a trial program, you practice rolling out a new product or service, evaluate how it was received, and validate its benefits (for both you and your audience) before investing additional time and money. What’s more, is that test programs like these foster a culture of experimentation throughout your community.

When you offer a trial program to a group of participants, you can watch how they use the program and learn what they really value—instead of making assumptions about their needs and preferences. You can identify any hitches and refine the program before committing to a full-scale launch. Along the way, the conversations you have with participants lead to closer and more trusting relationships, and your members grow to appreciate the fact that you are cultivating a culture that explores new ways of tackling old problems.

And it’s easier to make a business case for a pilot or trial program. Decision makers aren’t scared off by the words “pilot” or “trial.” Trials are seen as less risky since, by definition, they’re just an experiment.

Selecting trial participants

Depending on the nature of your program, you may want to limit trial participation or open it up to as many people as possible. For example, when we roll out a trial of with an association, we encourage member participation so our Artificial Intelligence has as much data as possible to do its work. A large group also provides a healthy sample for post-trial feedback.

Your trial program might benefit more from a limited number of participants if you need to consult individually with each one of them about their experience. If that’s the case, ensure the participants will be able to provide extensive feedback at the conclusion of the program.

You can either select specific participants for your trial or invite any member to participate. If you decide to select participants, pick those who are representative of your overall target audience. For example, if your audience is made up of companies of different sizes and verticals, or individuals of different ages and specialties, the trial participants should represent that diversity.

If your association has chapters, you could select a few of them for the trial. Once again, choose chapters that reflect the entire chapter network. Pick “influencer” chapters—the ones other chapters look to as models for success. After the trial, they can help you sell the idea to other chapters.

You could also use the trial as an olive branch. Offer participation to a chapter with whom you’ve had a less than ideal relationship. They’ll become stronger partners if they see membership retention improve as a result.

Marketing your trial program

Whether you select or invite participants, tell them the story behind the experiment and why the nature of new experiments to solve old problems is vital to maintaining a thriving association. Communicate:

  • Where the idea came from—bonus points if it came from a member;
  • Why you’re trying it out, i.e., what problems you hope to solve; and
  • What value it will provide to participants.

If you’re concerned about getting enough participants, make a more persuasive case by appealing to members’ social identity. Remind them of the identity they aspire to: “people like us do stuff like this.” For example, talk about “this exclusive opportunity to shape a new member service.”

When inviting people to sign up for the trial, use language to convey exclusivity as well as urgency. If you’re limiting the number of participants, let them know. Set a deadline to apply or sign up—a sense of urgency prompts people to take action.

If you’re working with an outside partner, ask them for marketing assistance. When our association partners are introducing to trial participants, we provide marketing copy and support so they have minimal work to do on their end.

This blog is part of a 3-part series on the value of experimentation in associations and how to execute a successful trial program. In the upcoming posts, we will continue to build on the importance of experimentation within your organization and the next steps of your test trial: rolling out the program; soliciting feedback; making a case for the program to other key stakeholders; and preparing for the launch of the wider implementation. In the meantime, let us know if you would like to understand how could work for your community.

GDPR and the upcoming webinar

GDPR: Is Your Organization Ready?

At, our Core Purpose is To Better Inform the World. We are committed to this purpose and everything we do is built around it. Better information for every citizen of Planet Earth requires us to gain insight into preferences, tastes, interests, and relationships.

GDPR and

To best inform the world, we use those insights to accurately tailor content streams to each individual, taking into account context and timing. Our Artificial Intelligence platform is designed to help each user cut through the noise and get the best content for them. But, to make this truly the “best information” for each person, we need to make data security and privacy as much of a priority as the power of our algorithms.

GDPR and The European Union

We applaud the EU for taking a leadership position with data privacy with their modern and comprehensive approach now established with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  While this regulation may at first glance appear to be EU specific, it has a global impact. Any database, located anywhere in the world, that contains data on even a single EU citizen in it must comply.

Beyond the broad reach of this regulation, the more important part is that it is forcing all businesses to take a hard look at their data architecture, security, and privacy approach and ensure they are acting in a responsible way. In the European Union and beyond, the vast majority of organizations we work with are taking this time to re-evaluate their data practices.

GDPR and Compliance

In some ways, GDPR is similar to other privacy regulations and laws that have been enacted over the years. Compliance at this point is open to some degree of interpretation in each organization’s approach and implementation. In addition, there is no third party audit standard in place yet that can be used to objectively establish that a company or not-for-profit has indeed complied. We expect that to change in the coming years.

GDPR and Our Upcoming Webinar

For, the idea of privacy and data security are deeply embedded into our organization’s core ideology, as we believe that without proper security and privacy in place, we can’t achieve our Core Purpose. For this reason, we are excited to embrace GDPR and share what we’ve learned with the rest of the community.

On Wednesday, April 25th at 1PM CST / 2PM EST, we will be giving an overview of GDPR, what we’ve learned, and how it will apply to associations. We want to share best practices and ideas we’ve come up with in order to help our customers become GDPR compliant, beyond where is involved in their organizations.

While some may view this new regulation as burdensome, we feel like it is an opportunity for organizations to think critically about their customers’ data and privacy needs and lead the way at an important time. We are committed to GDPR compliance, and we are excited to work through this new privacy landscape.

To sign up for the free webinar, please visit this sign up page.

Association staff member reading AI report

6 Artificial Intelligence Tools That Will Do The Work For You

Artificial intelligence is here to help. Far from being an abstract, futuristic, and intimidating concept, Artificial Intelligence tools exist to make your professional life easier in tangible ways, most often by saving you time on manual work. Below, we’ve curated a roundup of tools at your disposal to make life better for the entire ecosystem of your association.

Twyla AI

What is it?

A customer support chatbot. Using ‘Hybrid Brain’ and ‘Customer Intelligence’ technologies, Twyla provides the correct information in the correct tone, fast. The chatbot is trained to work with third-party data, widening its problem-solving potential.

How can it help you?

Busy people hate to hang around on hold with a call center. Twyla covers your organization’s back by providing snappy answers to the most common and easily-solved problems of members. The time your staff spends responding to queries reduces drastically, leaving them to work on the bigger picture. Find out more on the Twyla website.

Grip Event Networking App

What is it?

Like an online dating platform, but for professional matchmaking. For anyone unfamiliar with the format of contemporary online dating apps, the Grip version goes like this: you create an anonymous profile listing your interests, swipe through other profiles of those in proximity to you, and only if you ‘match’ do you get the opportunity to message each other and form a connection. No rejection, just mutual interest.

How can it help you?

Grip is designed for building community at events. It allows you to scope out who’s around you so that you can meet up in person at the event after interacting via the app. The user experience is quick and easy: event attendees can login via their existing social media profiles. This is the perfect way for your members to maximize their networking efficiency and opportunities for in-person meetings. Find out more.

What is it?

Content curation designed specifically for an association’s needs. We bring your association’s emails to the next level by using Artificial Intelligence technology that learns about individual members and customizes their content experience. Each newsbrief created is individualized with relevant industry news based on what is most interesting to that specific person.

How can it help you?

Our technology can help you personalize emails to members so they only receive content geared toward them. Members will thank you for subtly pointing them in the direction of information they need, without even knowing AI is involved in saving them the time and stress of filtering through today’s endless stream of content. No more “Mark as Spam” for your weekly newsletter! Request a demo.


What is it?

The cheapest personal assistant you’ll ever hire. Virtual assistant Clara can’t pick up your dry cleaning, but she can schedule appointments for you. By CC-ing the PA into your email arrangements, she picks up the information she needs and interacts with external parties personably and helpfully, until you’ve scheduled a meeting time and place that suits everyone.

How can it help you?

Clara can save you the pain of slow email exchanges to schedule a twenty minute call, only to have someone cancel or reschedule at the last minute. You can use the time you save to fit in more preparation and even more meetings! Find out more.

Concierge Eventbot

What is it?

A messaging service tailored for your event. Concierge is not an app - it can be used through SMS or Facebook and other existing messaging services to share information throughout an event. Your organization can personalize the bot with your own name and design. Attendees can also request real-time human assistance through the bot, so event staff can solve problems as they come up.

How can it help you?

Concierge gets information to your conference attendees fast. Need to welcome new members as they arrive? Make an announcement about a rescheduled panel? Notify volunteers about the location of a post-conference party? Concierge sends out messages to everyone who is signed up, you can tailor who receives what based on the participant, and attendees can opt in and out of notifications by setting their own preferences. Conferences are stressful enough as it is. Learn more.

Watson Natural Language Understanding

What is it?

Natural Language Understanding (NLU) uses machine reading comprehension to analyze text. Input an article, a transcription, or a series of social media posts into the tool, and it will identify keywords, emotions, overall sentiment, and categories.

How can it help you?

Think of it as market research. Are people talking about your association on social media? Do you need to gain insights from responses to a mass member survey? Or gauge public opinion on an area of advocacy work? Instead of having someone read through everything, NLU provides instant analysis. If you have enough data to create a clear picture, this can save time on performing traditional, manual market research work like cold-calling members. Find out more.

Of course, these are just a few of the Artificial Intelligence tools that are out there. Did we miss any? Is there something else that you are using currently and can’t live without? Let us know below; we’re always looking for new tools!