Before 2019, could you name a virtual meeting platform? There are no points for Zoom. My guess is that not many readers could do this. Don’t you wish that you’d been ahead of that curve?

It’s tough keeping up with technology. But understanding the products and services that make our lives as association leaders easier is an important part of professional literacy. You can’t envision the possibilities unless you are aware of the options. The digital marketplace makes selecting the right tools more important than ever. We created the .orgCommunity Solutions Center with that goal in mind.

Whether you’re searching for an abstract management system or a platform for webinars, you’ll find a curated resource of industry providers on the site. Our partners share their videos, whitepapers, and a variety of other information to help you discover their business passion.

We believe getting to know the people behind the products is as important as understanding their brands. We organized the Solutions in Action webinar series to give you a chance to meet them. The programs feature our corporate colleagues telling their stories in a fast-paced, educational format.

Our company is steeped in technology, so I have a good handle on the latest and greatest in our space. But I was blown away by today’s Solutions in Action event. I wanted to share as much as I could of this learning opportunity with you. Following are snapshots of the presentations we enjoyed.

Workerbee.TV, Your Quick Guide to a Purposeful, Predictable, and Profitable Video Strategy, Doug Coombs, Director, Client Solutions

Doug Coombs always has something new to tell us. Today I discovered that he is a member of the American Homebrewers Association! If he knows as much about making beer as he does about producing video, we’ll be scheduling happy hour at his house.

Association.TV by Workerbee.TV is a video production company. Their multimedia platform makes it easy for members to engage and act. The company’s Virtual Videographer technology and service puts high-quality production and output within reach of even small associations.  

Doug’s presentations are a lesson in the value of recycling. He advises that one piece of content can have many lives. A 45-minute presentation can be repurposed as a video-on-demand, a podcast, a three-minute microlearning session, or a 30-second social media promotion. When each interaction drives traffic to your website, you build a hub of member engagement

Adage and Umbraco, The Open Source, .NET Content Management System, Jake Toohey, Senior Digital Consultant, Adage and Jake Compton, Partner Sales Manager, Umbraco, Hjalte Daniel Hansen, Umbraco, Cloud Counselor

Open source software is code designed to be publicly asscessible.

Adage is tag-teaming with Umbraco to bring outstanding web services to their association clients. Adage provides design and development, and  Umbraco delivers an open-source user-friendly content management system. This collaboration helps professionals forget about the software and focus on what they do best.

The Umbraco platform is used by more than 1 million companies across the globe, from small businesses to complex multi-lingual corporations. Open source software, or code that is designed to be publicly accessible, makes for easy customization and integration with a variety of tech stacks.

Jake Compton and Hjalte Hansen explained Umbraco’s flexible features and demonstrated how easy the software is to operate. Best of all you can use the open source version of Umbraco for free when you install, set up, and host it yourself. Or if the DIY approach isn’t for you, let Umbraco upload your content to their cloud-based platform.   

Jake explained how Adage helps associations enhance their digital presence by providing members with a better online experience and delivering value. Their team of digital strategists, designers, developers, and analysts draw from deep expertise to design and build website, ecommerce, or portal projects.

Velir, How to Turn Your Website into a Pillar of Membership Value, Garrett Grant, VP, Client Services, Association Practice Lead 

Velir builds and supports engaging websites for clients ranging from the world’s largest nonprofits to Fortune 50 brands. Garrett Grant advised that the association business model is evolving. Members expect customized, on-demand services and seamless interaction. He outlined five strategies to deliver greater value in competitive markets.

Deliver value with these strategies.

1. Use data. If you don’t already have tools, creating a dashboard with Google Analytics is easy. You can have it up and running in a day and immediately begin getting information updates in real-time.

2. Design for your members’ needs and use terms they understand. Association sites tend to mirror the organization’s structure. A better strategy is to consider what your members need to do and make it easy for them. Your data can give you answers to these questions. Be sure to refer to content using language members are accustomed to.

3. Focus on findability. When you understand the terminology and search patterns members like best, then you can restructure navigation and streamline key activities.

4. Don’t hide your most popular content. Consider making a few choice pieces of content publicly available. You don’t want to give away the farm, but the goal is to entice new engagement.

5. Cross-promote. Raise awareness of your high-quality information. Open members’ eyes to the value your association provides.

WBT Systems, Successful Learning Programs for All Types of Learners, with TopClass LMS, Michelle Brien, VP, Marketing and Product Strategy

I love hearing success stories, especially when they feature unique organizations using technology creatively. Michelle Brien told us how three of her clients are driving growth and engagement with WBT System’s powerful education platform, TopClass LMS. WBT Systems, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland has been in business 27 years and boasts over 5 million users in 23 countries.

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials studied what they could do to relieve their members’ pain points—in a very literal sense. Being a plumber is physically demanding. By middle age, most have severe back and knee problems. The organization created training programs to help members transition into less physically taxing jobs as managers and inspectors. Because their group wasn’t accustomed to online learning, the association also created a step-by-step how-to video. The initiative attracted a global audience, and traffic for the courses quadrupled.

When the National Alliance for Insurance and Education Research discovered that most learners were being reimbursed by their employers for training, they saw an opportunity to launch a subscription-based program. Now, for one fee, an individual or a company can have unlimited access to courses as well as membership in the organization. The group also developed learning pathways to help different job roles easily get the goals and certifications they need. In 2020, NAIER experienced 101 percent revenue growth.

Getting restaurant workers back on the job was going to be challenging.

Getting restaurant workers certified and back on the job after the pandemic was going to be challenging for the Texas Restaurant Association. The organization was thrilled to receive a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission for a new LMS. The only hitch was a four-week implementation timeline. Using TopClass, they met the goal, and due to clever marketing, also realized a 465 percent increase in revenue compared to the same period in the previous year.

Web Courseworks, 5 Ways CourseStage LMS Can Boost Non-Dues Revenue for Your Association, Nate Scherer, Account Executive 

Nate Scherer described how CourseStage can be leveraged by organizations of all sizes to build a learning business and track education outcomes. Web Courseworks is an online learning technology company located in Madison, Wisconsin. The company’s clients are medical, trade, and professional associations.

CourseStage is an evolving learning management system that offers: 

  • A scalable platform 
  • Expertise with Associations and Nonprofits 
  • Integrations with common association management systems (AMS) 
  • Quality education outcomes reporting 

Nate described how the company’s public-facing catalogs and webinar features can be used to educate nonmembers about learning opportunities and entice them to join the organization.

Impelsys, Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Amplify Your Education Program, Diane Perrino, Senior Director, Association Solutions and Jagadish C. Umesh, AVP, Sales, Americas

If you thought AI was too technical for your group, think again. Diane Perrino and Jagadish Umesh explained some off-the-shelf functions that associations can use immediately to enhance their learning management systems.

When you can clearly identify challenges, it’s likely that AI can help you find solutions. Diane and Jagadish discussed how the Impelsys Innovation Center provides unique AI/ML solutions including question generation, personalized learning, and more!

We discovered how AI improves the search function using meta-data tagging, makes content more intelligent, and increases retention by providing better outcomes and a more robust user experience.

Impelsys is a global market leader in delivering impactful, engaging, revenue-generating online learning solutions for associations, publishers, and education providers. The flagship LMS and publishing platform, iPC Scholar, is an integrated learning and content management solution.

360Factor LLC / Oasis-LMS, Additional Revenue for Your Educational Content Through Instructional Sales, Thomas Wong, Director of Business Development

Consider business-to-business sales.

Associations don’t typically consider business-to-business sales. But Thomas Wong advises that if you’re selling education and courses to individual members, you may also be able to leverage those relationships and sell to institutions.

Thomas explained that there are some differences in approach that you’ll need to be aware of. Institutions are looking for curated content that is specifically tailored to their needs. Some also require flexible purchasing options such as prepayment or bulk purchasing. And institutional clients also want the ability to identify what users are accessing and to compare learners against peer institutions. Managing seats or vouchers is another important feature.

The Oasis-LMS can handle both B2B and B2C on the same platform. The software has a modular design that is simple yet feature robust. Clients can select from hundreds of available modules. The end result is an efficient LMS with all the features you want, and nothing that you won’t use.

Association Analytics, Unleashing Insights with Data Analytics, Greg Pollack, VP of Sales

Greg Pollack and his company love helping associations leverage data in the decision-making process. The right data can answer important membership, meetings, and financial questions. One of the challenges is that data keeps getting more complex and sometimes the information you need is housed in multiple systems. Association Analytics helps their clients solve these problems. They can shine a light on your messy data closet and get everything hanging neatly in place.

Association Analytics is the leading provider of business intelligence and data analytics. The company’s software, Acumen, helps you to see around corners to achieve ultimate insight. You can pull data from across your organization into a single data lake and use the information to populate dashboards, build visualizations, and assess member engagement. The company also advises clients on data strategy and governance procedures.

IntelliData, LLC, How to Tell the Story Written in Your Data, Denny Lengkong, President, and Melissa Miller, Principal Consultant 

Find the story in your data.

The IntelliData team are experts at fixing the AMS challenges that make analytics difficult. Their systems and technical professionals understand all the issues users face. Collectively, they have been tweaking, nudging, and pushing databases to produce the analytics their owners need, for more than 80 years. They assist with the full analytics lifecycle, which begins with strategic decisions about what type of data to collect, and evolves through cycles of sanitization, optimization, augmentation, and analysis.

Melissa Miller told us another great success story. One of her clients was struggling with inconsistent budgeting and revenue projections. When they purchased Intellidata software, they wanted to better understand their past and discover new insights. They also were looking to easily share financial data with volunteers.

The software revealed a consistent pattern of revenue losses in March, a month when many members were busy with tax-related issues. To address this challenge the organization planned February activities to help prepare members for their busy season and deferred social events until the end of April. They also considered diversifying membership to avoid losses in March. A single insight brought multiple improvements in organizational strategy.

Wicket: The World’s First Member Data Platform, Jeff Horne, CEO and Co-Founder

Silos are the enemy of problem-solving. Wicket is a silo buster that is reinventing how associations manage and connect membership data. Jeff Horne explained that Wickett is not an AMS or CRM. It is the first member data platform. It integrates with best-in-class software so associations can use the tools and technology they love instead of feeling boxed in with modular packages. Wicket gives you the freedom to use your favorite accounting or fundraising solutions while safely housing all your member data in one place.

Wicket is a hub and a connector that serves as the membership database. It is where information gets updated, and the complete customer journey is recorded. Best of all, single sign-on provides a great user experience.

Impexium: Smarter, Simpler Membership Management. (Are You Ready to Make the Hard Things Easier?) Patrick Dorsey, SVP Marketing, Jason Vance, Director of Solutions Engineering

We all love making hard things easy. Patrick Dorsey and Jason Vance described how Impexium can simplify your work. Impexium is part of the Billhighway family and leverages Billhighway’s strength in financial and chapter management. Customers have access to an entire suite of applications within the AMS as well as to the Microsoft ecosystem. Impexium strives to democratize your data and give everyone in the organization the information they need to drive successful outcomes.

Impexium’s cloud-based membership management platform supports the full range of association business and administrative activities. By combining enterprise-level functionality with the benefits of a software-as-a-service model, Impexium helps associations of all sizes transform their business by:

  • Serving members more intelligently and profitably
  • Strengthening alignment between strategies and operations
  • Reducing costs through increased flexibility and gaining ROI faster
  • Creating value for key relationships — members, customers, partners, prospects, and staff

Nimble AMS: The Most Trusted AMS on Salesforce, Collier Faubion, Senior Sales Engineer and Rob Banwar, Association Advocate

Nimble AMS is part of Community Brands. The company has created a universe of industry-leading cloud-based solutions for associations with products in event technology, learning management and careers that complement each other. Collier Faubion and Rob Banwar noted that customers have access to the entire suite of Community Brands and build upon it with Sales Force ecosystem. Nimble AMS gives you the world’s number one AMS built on a CRM platform. You can even shop the Sales Force app store and choose from over 5,000 products that are ready to integrate.

Nimble AMS provides a great user experience and gives you the predictive analytics to let you own your future. Rob also pointed out that with Nimble AMS there are zero upgrade issues because you are always working on the most current version of the product.

Join Us Next Time

I hope this summary gave you a taste of what’s available to position you for success in the digital marketplace. We regularly add new partners to our roster. Products and services are also constantly being updated. To discover all the possibilities, join us at the Next Solutions in Action, and learn your options!