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1998 the year in review.

Nineteen ninety-eight was a momentous year for ASAE - highlighted by advances in public policy and technology. Culminating the year was a historic staff leadership transition.

"In this milestone year, ASAE saw considerable progress, innovation, and achievement," recalls 1997-1998 ASAE Chairman David N. Parker, CAE, president and chief executive officer, American Gas Association, Arlington, Virginia. "ASAE and its members emerged as stronger advocates on behalf of the profession. We focused our energy to advance associations worldwide toward a brighter and more secure future."

Read on for more ASAE accomplishments.


Advancing the Profession

Associations must get the word out that we are the bridge between the business sector and the government sector, declared 1997-1998 ASAE Chairman David N. Parker, CAE, in his inaugural address. "We are a collection of special interests who operate in the public interest."

His message-spreading solution: leadership summits highlighting the value of associations and how they can further their potential.

* The Summit on Association Leadership in Information Technology assembled leaders of key associations in the information technology industry to discuss emerging technology, issues and appropriate public policy questions.

* The Summit on Associations and Public Policy explored the critical niche associations fill in the public policy arena, including the role associations play in the governmental process.

* The Summit on Associations and the Media provided a forum for the candid discussion of how associations and the media can work better together to mutually accomplish respective communication goals.

ASAE enhanced its grass-roots legislative program with the launch of its online Advocacy Center. Located at, the Web site involves the association community in the political process. Association executives can use the site to send elected officials tailored e-mails on issues important to the association community. The Advocacy Center was established for ASAE's State Action Legislative Team, a network of association advocates that, among other things, communicates regularly with legislators.

New research found that America's trade, professional, and philanthropic associations are allocating $1 of every $4 they spend to member education, training, and public information activities. The study, commissioned by the ASAE Foundation and conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Research, Inc., also discovered that the associations surveyed expect to spend more than $21 billion each year and devote more than 173 million volunteer hours each year to charitable and community service projects. Armed with this new research, ASAE created a tool kit for association communicators offering practical ideas for gaining the attention of policymakers and increasing member involvement in ASAE's advocacy efforts.


Full Future Ahead

ASAE is determined that the association community won't be left in a dark age during the technology revolution. To that end, during the past year ASAE has allied with Microsoft Corporation, held technologically focused meetings, and enhanced its Web site.

ASAE-Microsoft Technology Alliance. This year marked the beginning of a new strategic alliance between ASAE and Microsoft Corporation. Designed to build technological knowledge and leadership within the association community, the venture brought ASAE members to the forefront in technology trends, education, and products aimed at helping executives make better decisions and better serve members. The continuing alliance seeks to improve access to basic resources that can help associations anti their members to better understand and use technology and to facilitate the building of electronic communities between associations and their members.

Associations search engine. The Gateway to Associations, ASAE's online, searchable database of association Web sites, received a new look and some enhancements as part of the ASAE-Microsoft Technology Alliance. Visitors to the site can now search the database of more than 5,000 associations worldwide by keyword or location.

Online career advancement. ASAE Career Headquarters ( debuted, providing information on careers in association management. The service offers career resources, free job listings, job search and interviewing tips, and a career library.

Instant learning. In its first year, DesktopASAE offered 14 professional development courses, thereby providing worldwide access to college-level courses in association management.

High-tech meetings. During ASAE Nashville 1998, attendees took advantage of several advances in technology, including an ASAE-Microsoft Technology Resource Center and videoconferencing capabilities.


Connecting Members

E-mail lists grew in popularity among ASAE's 13 professional-interest sections, linking members electronically worldwide for topical dialogues and idea exchanges. Here are more section highlights from the year.

* The Association Management Company Section and the International Association of Association Management Companies, Chicago, jointly issued Best Professional Practices for Association Management Companies.

* The Chapter Relations Section conducted two member surveys. One survey focused on ethical concerns and the other examined generational management issues. The findings of both surveys were presented in sessions at ASAE's major meetings.

* The Communication Section held a comprehensive, two-day Communication Technology Symposium, which drew rave reviews and more than 200 participants to Washington, D.C.

* The Education Section began conducting a comprehensive membership survey to determine the professional needs of today's association educators.

* The Executive Management Section experienced a 14 percent membership growth and revamped its Web page to include more resources for members.

* The Finance and Administration Section developed a white paper called Association Financial Management 2000, which outlines the critical knowledge and core competencies needed by association financial leaders.

* The Government Relations Section published the 186-page primer, Creating and Managing an Association Government Relations Program.

* The International Section began development of ASAE Global Opportunities, a soon-to-be-launched Web page of interactive tools designed to help associations assess and realize their potential for expanding internationally.

* For the first time, the Legal Section worked with the New York Society of Association Executives to offer a full-day educational program, "A Toolbox of Legal Aids for Association Executives," in New York City.

* The Marketing Section expanded its bimonthly newsletter to a quarterly publication that explores single topics in-depth. Segmentation and pricing strategies were among the topics.

* The Meetings and Expositions Section hosted a series of roundtables focusing on cutting-edge industry issues, such as negotiating in today's technological environment and improving professional indispensability.

* With more than 450 participants on its active e-mail list, the Membership Section began featuring excerpts from selected e-mail discussions in its newsletter.

* The Technology Section debuted a new strategic plan to guide the development of its programs and services.


Must Reads

The following books made ASAE's 1998 fiscal year best-seller list.

1. Adult Learning in Associations: Models for Good Practice, by Clifford Baden

2. Association Law Handbook, Third Edition, by Jerald A. Jacobs

3. The Association Executive Compensation and Benefits Study, 10th Edition

4. Building a Knowledge-Based Culture: Using Twenty-First Century Work and Decision-Making Systems in Associations, by Glenn H. Tecker, Kermit M. Eide, and Jean S. Frankel


ASAE'S Leadership Change

On August 18, after 17 years at the helm of ASAE, R. William Taylor, CAE, retired. Under Taylor's leadership, ASAE's membership nearly tripled to 24,000, and ASAE's budget did triple to $20 million. ASAE also expanded its scope of activities.

Preceding Taylor's formal retirement, ASAE embarked on a search for a new leader. A search committee, made up of seven executives representing various constituencies of the association community appointed by 1997-1998 ASAE Chairman David N. Parker, CAE, poured over resumes and conducted interviews until they found a suitable candidate.

With the recommendation of the search committee and the approval of the ASAE Board of Directors, Michael S. Olson, CAE, formerly president and chief executive officer of Olson Management Group, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina, was named ASAE's new president and CEO. A career professional in association management, Olson formally joined ASAE staff during ASAE Nashville 1998.

This year's annual meeting also marked the installation of Robert J. Dolibois, CAE, as ASAE's 1998-1999 chairman. Under the leadership of Olson and Dolibois, ASAE has begun the first steps of developing a new strategic plan. The process will involve research analysis, input from ASAE members, and continued bridge-building with allied societies of association executives.


A New, Broader Focus

ASAE scored many key public policy points this year, demonstrating that it remains a viable force in representing associations to the government and the nation. In light of these accomplishments, perhaps it's no surprise that Mike Olson renamed ASAE's Government Affairs Division the Public Policy Division and charged it to broaden its focus to include more public policy issues. One such policy issue is year 2000 compliance. Determined to raise awareness of Y2K issues among association executives, ASAE, the Council for Excellence in Government, the Intergovernmental Enterprise Panel, and Public Technology, Inc., co-sponsored the Y2K Community Collaboration Summit September 9. John A. Koskinen, assistant to the president and chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, addressed a capacity crowd urging participants to take an active role in addressing the "critical issue" of the millennium bug.



What's Hot Among Callers

Not surprisingly, given today's labor market, human resources dominated as the most frequently requested subject area among callers to ASAE's Research and Information Central, followed by topics relating to organizational structures. The number of inquiries received increased by 8 percent to 18,502 in fiscal year 1998. Almost 7.5 percent of inquiries were sent via e-mail, usually through the department's Web-based mailbox.

Among this year's inquiries:

* What types of employee compensation and benefits packages should the association offer?

* How are associations using technology, especially the Internet, to get closer to their members and to generate new revenue streams?

* How does the association get its board to "govern more and manage less" in today's environment?

"Associations are questioning the way the organization has always done things and searching for more effective ways to provide services desired by members," explains Eve Shepard, ASAE's research and information central director.


Associations' Resource on the Future

Fourteen interrelated trends are likely to affect the way associations conduct business. This highlight was revealed in a report outlining the results of the ASAE Foundation's environmental scan. According to the scan summary, the areas of image building, return on investment, responsiveness, and technology will be trendsetters, among others.

Along with its report based on its ongoing scanning activities, the foundation debuted a new interactive Web site, reinforcing its role as an indispensable resource on the future. Among the site's innovations was The Cyber Auction @ E-Bid Cafe, a virtual silent action. For the first time, ASAE members participated in the annual fund-raising event by registering their bids for auction items via online submission forms.


ASAE members did an increased amount of business and information gathering via ASAE's Web site ( this year. The site received more than 12 million hits.

* The most frequently visited pages were the

1. ASAE home page; 2. Gateway to Associations page; 3. Career Headquarters page; 4. Research and Information Central page; and 5. Education page.

* Online registration for ASAE meetings was made easier, eliminating time and paperwork. Ten percent of the people who attended ASAE Nashville 1998 registered online.

* ASAE membership grew thanks partly to the Web. More than 700 new ASAE members joined through the online membership application.


Here's a gander at ASAE's 1998 public policy accomplishments.

* Provided comments to the Internal Revenue Service on its proposed Form 990 disclosure regulations.

* Testified before the Federal Election Commission on the definition of member for political action committee solicitation and partisan political communication purposes.

* Defeated a legislative proposal that would have limited associations' right to petition the government and created a paperwork nightmare for the association community.

* Won a procedural victory in Vermont state court in the Vermont Society of Association Executives' challenge of that state's tax on lobbyists. ASAE is a financial backer of that lawsuit.

* Argued ASAE's position that the federal lobby tax is unconstitutional before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
COPYRIGHT 1998 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:American Society of Association Executives
Publication:Association Management
Date:Dec 1, 1998
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