Top Trends from the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting

The Protech team at the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting.

By: The Protech Team    

The ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo is the pinnacle of association events. The 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting was no different, with approximately 5,500 people heading to Columbus, Ohio, a city which served as an amazing host to another incredible ASAE event. 

ASAE Annual is also a hotbed of innovative ideas. Many of the greatest minds in the association world — in terms of both association executives and vendors — rarely share the same space, at least at this capacity. Knowing this, we asked our partners at ClickDimensionsResults Direct and WBT Systems to keep their eyes and ears open for some interesting trends, which we later discussed in a webinar (which is available on-demand). 

You’ll definitely want to check out the webinar for a full recap, but here are three of the top trends gleaned from this year’s meeting.  

3 Trends from the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting 

1 – Associations Can’t Get Enough Data 

Associations haven’t slowed their quest toward integrating all of their systems, striving to get their hands on the most accurate information possible.  

While data accuracy and integrations remain essential, discussions this year shifted toward data analysis. Rather than using the basic, but informative, dashboards and reports that are available out-of-the-box in most systems, associations are looking toward business intelligence and interactive data visualizations to monitor association trends and share information with their boards of directors in ways that have never been available before. 

There were a handful of vendors at this year’s meeting showing off those business intelligence capabilities, including Protech, but we expect the focus on data analysis to be even more prevalent at the ASAE Technology Conference in December. 

2 – The Days of Top-down Decision-making are Over 

It wasn’t long ago when an executive director, CEO or board of directors was expected to impose change on employees. They were expected to have full control over many major decisions, and employees were limited in their ability to contribute to the organization. 

Things have changed, at least according to the opening keynote speakers at the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting. Many business leaders across the globe are transitioning to a distributed decision-making model, allowing change to happen organically on the associate level rather than leaving all of the power in the hands of executives. 

The same idea can be applied at your association. Let’s use content as an example. Are you creating journal articles, webinars or annual meeting sessions based on a pre-determined set of assumptions, or are you engaging with members to find out what they’re interested in? 

This sort of association-wide collaboration — from executive director all the way down to new members — is what members crave. Members want to be involved, so give them the chance. 

3 – AI is Finally Taking Off for Association 

Artificial intelligence has been a buzzworthy phrase for years now, but AI as many of us envision it is only getting started. While the technology is still nowhere near the level depicted in science fiction (think HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey), AI was still mentioned plenty of times in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. 

One interesting use of AI in the association space is ASAE’s use of, which ASAE Chief Information and Engagement Office Reggie Henry called, “The first killer app in AI for associations.” The application is used to create smart newsletters and to tailor content toward individual ASAE readers. 

One can’t help but wonder if artificial intelligence for association is still more hype than reality. On the other hand, discussions at the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting made it seem as though association executives believe the technology is catching up to the hype. 

Final Thoughts 

There’s no better place than the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo to catch up on the latest trends in the association space. There is, however, one place that’s a close second: the ASAE Technology Conference. 

We recommend you get to one of these two ASAE events per year if possible. If you can’t, Protech’s 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting and 2018 ASAE Technology Conference recaps are both available on-demand. 

Will you be at the ASAE Technology Conference? Come find the Protech team at booth #201.