Navigating the AI Landscape: Insights from ASAE’s 2024 Virtual AI Summit

By Najla Brown • February 14, 2024

My experience at ASAE’s 2024 virtual AI Summit was two jam-packed days of unique educational content crafted specifically for association professionals. Throughout the event, we explored the current state of AI within associations, gaining valuable insights to assess the next steps for our respective organizations. I noticed leaders across various sectors acknowledge the transformative potential of AI for their organizations and industries. Technology is the driving force in our rapidly evolving world, and our world is changing quicker than ever before.  

A highlight of the summit was the session titled: State of AI in Associations — Findings from the Association Insights Center, led by Patrick Glaser, MA, MPA Chief Practice Officer at McKinley Advisors. This session provided valuable insights gleaned from a new survey conducted by ASAE’s Association Insights Center (AIC). The data shed light on how association executives approach AI within their organizations and offered guidance on navigating this rapidly evolving landscape. 

Why Association Leaders Care About AI 

The adoption of AI is growing rapidly. Association leaders are starting to utilize AI for several reasons. AI has the potential to transform internal operations within associations, streamlining processes, improving efficiency and reducing costs. AI has the potential to elevate the automation of repetitive tasks and data analytics to unprecedented heights, revolutionizing how associations operate. By harnessing AI-driven algorithms and machine learning capabilities, associations can take automation and data analysis to the next level, unlocking new opportunities for efficiency and insight. 

AI can help associations stay ahead of emerging trends and innovations, enabling them to anticipate and capitalize on new opportunities. Whether leveraging AI for trend analysis, market research, or even innovation forecasting, associations can position themselves as leaders in their respective industries and drive positive change. 

State of AI in Associations Today 

How are associations utilizing AI today? According to the AIC survey, associations generally use AI for drafting and ideation at a basic level. The survey also mentioned that only 12 percent of associations engage with AI today. However, associations believe that AI will significantly impact an association’s programs, activities, and operations five years from now.  

The impact of AI varies from department to department. The AIC survey asked respondents which departments they believe AI will most likely impact their association positively or negatively. The marketing department had the highest positive impact, and the publications department had the highest negative impact. Perceived opportunities in the marketing department are personalized messaging, targeting, generating effective content, clear and consistent messaging, outlines, drafting and brainstorming. The perceived threats are staff reduction, department reshaping, impersonal content and deep fakes.  

Perceived opportunities in the publications department are better articles, automation, productivity, content repurposing, drafting, creativity and customized engagement. However, the perceived threats are integrity, validation, plagiarism, copywriting, misinformation, and quality control. The state of AI in various departments can promise opportunities and challenges. Acknowledging and addressing the potential harmful impact associated with AI adoption is still essential.  

Navigating the Future 

The AIC Survey listed a sample step-by-step guide for beginners to prioritize security and responsible AI.  

  1. Form a task force to assess how AI is being used today and explore AI needs.  
  2. Develop guidelines and best practices for using AI.  
  3. Consider possible applications and different use cases.  
  4. Experiment with AI tools and functionality.  

The future of AI in associations holds immense promise for driving innovation and enhancing member experiences. If your association embraces AI technologies strategically, you can position yourselves for success in the digital age.  

About The Author

Najla Brown is a senior corporate marketing specialist at Naylor Association Solutions. Reach her at [email protected].