ASAE: Large Associations Crave Large Meetings

As part of an exploration into how it can better serve large organizations, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) recently contacted 50 large associations — associations with more than 30 staff — and found that they want more programs for senior leaders, more opportunities to network with other large associations, and more learning tracks for large associations at bigger meetings that focus on topics like marketing and finance.

The findings were announced this weekend in advance of the official opening of the 2011 ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition in St. Louis, where the ASAE board approved a plan of work for FY2012 that addresses not only large staff organizations, but also innovation, international outreach, diversity and standards of conduct.

On the innovation front, ASAE is planning a number of initiatives designed to help associations innovate. For instance, it will host an "Innovation Exchange" at its Annual Meeting; pilot a "Collective Intelligence" session, also at its Annual Meeting, where the association community will collectively investigate an industry challenge; launch an "InnovationTalks Campaign" in September that will engage members in conversations about innovation; and pilot four "Innovation Grants" worth up to $10,000 each to support associations that explore innovations within their organizations.

"ASAE's innovation strategy will help the association community continue to succeed and inspire its members to engage, discuss and cultivate new ideas," said outgoing ASAE Chairman Karen L. Hackett, CEO of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "The new innovation initiatives this year will connect our members and lead them to implement new ideas and provide an opportunity to grow and succeed in the 21st century."

In the area of international outreach, ASAE recently conducted a market analysis and determined that it should focus on: identifying geographic areas and products and services that can assist global association executives, and providing the foundation to connect with potential international partners, especially in Asia-Pacific and Europe.

"Because we live in a global society, it's important that we engage the global community in dialogue and learn how association executives and employees develop and connect with their members," said incoming ASAE Chairman Peter J. O'Neil, executive director of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. "It's a great opportunity for international members to network and learn from each other and for our global and North American members to interact and discover the similarities and differences in the association community."

Finally, the ASAE board endorsed a new diversity and inclusion strategic plan for 2012 — focusing on the areas of business, integration, cultural competence and membership — and approved updates to the ASAE Standards of Conduct, which sets forth aspirational standards of behavior for ASAE members.

Currently underway, the 2011 ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition is taking place Aug. 6-9 in St. Louis. For more information, visit