Survey: 9 of 10 Association Professionals Say They Aren’t Using Artificial Intelligence

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Is your association using artificial intelligence?

By Evan Hendershot – Digital Marketing Specialist   

“Are you using artificial intelligence at your association?” 

If you are not sure, don’t feel alone. Thanks to many successful AI integration projects from association technology vendors over the years, it’s quite possible that your organization is using artificial intelligence without even knowing. 

In a recent webinar hosted by Protech, we were joined by a panel of association tech experts from CommPartnersHigher Logic and OpenWater in which we answered that very question. Interestingly, 92 percent of respondents answered, “No,” but our panel explained how easy it is to add AI to your member engagement toolbox.  

What is Artificial Intelligence? 

Before we dive into the context in which AI can be applied in the association space, here’s a quick definition of the buzzworthy phrase to jog your memory: 

“[A]rtificial intelligence is defined as: the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally required human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” – Information Age. 

For associations and nonprofits, the value will focus most on decision-making. 

How Associations Can Use Artificial Intelligence 

Your association could be using artificial intelligence in a lot of unexpected ways. That’s because, according to Higher Logic Chief Community Officer Heather McNair in our webinar, association technology vendors are already working behind the scenes to build AI into your software. 

What does that mean for your association? It means that you no longer must actively seek AI tools to elevate your decision-making. Instead, your tech partners are proactively building AI into your tools and providing you with the benefits without all the hard work on your end. 

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is one example of an organization leaning into the AI trend. During the webinar, Protech Marketing Director Liz Palm shared an example of a collaboration between ASAE and, in which the pair came together to use AI to power ASAE’s Associations Now Daily News email newsletter for more than 50,000 people. 

“So [AI is] really helping to make those personalized experiences for members,” Liz said. 

AI: More Than Just a Trend 

For anyone who thinks artificial intelligence is simply a trend that will pass – or, more likely, a trend you believe might not impact your association in the near future – 72 percent of business executives believes AI will provide an advantage in the coming years, according to PwC. 

If you’re still skeptical, OpenWater CTO Kunal Johar compared AI to another trend that took over the association tech world: big data. Much like “big data” turned into business intelligence software and intuitive data visualizations, AI could have a similar trajectory.  And not just for marketing automation purposes.   

“In terms of your organization’s strategy, just realize if you have the tools at an affordable cost, and if you could think about how email targeting drives better business behavior, there’s probably a lot of other systems you’re looking at investing in or big changes you’re looking at making,” Kunal said during the webinar. 

So, it turns out, AI is more than likely in your tech toolbox already, whether you know it or not.  

If you want to hear more from this conversation between Protech and our partners, download our free webinar, “Technology Trends for 2020: Lessons Learned at ASAE TEC.