benel Solutions developed the Association Evolve (#AssocEvolve) educational series to give back to the association community. The goal of the series is to create a pitch-free environment for association professionals to question, open up, and share information that is beneficial to the community.

Currently, each session fulfills the professional development requirements to earn or maintain credit toward the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential. Geared specifically toward association staff professionals, each session covers a specific topic relevant to the association community presented by an experienced industry partner.

The second session, titled “The Changing Face of Volunteerism” took place on May 4, 2017. Heather McNair, Vice President of Engagement Strategy at Higher Logic, took a closer look at member relationships with their associations, including member engagement and what they get out of being a member. She explained that providing volunteer opportunities is one of the best ways to encourage involvement, but traditional volunteer commitments are dated and can make it more difficult to engage members; the formal process of selecting volunteers, long time-commitments, and massive responsibility all deter members who would otherwise take on more active roles.

Heather delved into the trend of micro-volunteerism and suggested association staff consider implementing an updated engagement strategy. Micro-volunteerism consists of much shorter, easy-to-complete tasks that encourages disengaged members to participate. After members volunteer, it becomes much easier to move them up the “engagement curve” and involve them in future endeavors. Not only does the organization benefit through lowering administration efforts – member retention rates increase and individual members report higher satisfaction.

The one-hour educational sessions typically begin at noon and last about an hour. Attendance is worth one CAE credit and lunch is provided. The courses are free to attend for association staff and are located at the benel Solutions office space in Tyson’s Corner.

The next session is in the works, so make sure to look out for the official invite or check for the next update.