Addressing Unconscious Social Bias within the Association Community: A Unique Livestream Event

Addressing Unconscious Social Bias within the Association Community: A Unique Livestream Event

When organizations consider holding a livestream program from a place based conference or a completely virtual event, a common question asked is, what content will be compelling enough to get people to pay attention?





Click to view the livestream.

Several weeks ago CommPartners was asked to livestream a session for the Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) in cooperation with the American Society of Association Executives titled: Unconscious Bias: An Association’s Role in Social Issues. The program originated from CMA’s Winter Leadership Conference that took place at the Four Seasons in Baltimore, MD, on Friday January 11, 2019. The archive of that event can be accessed here.

Of all the possible topics to livestream, CMA chose this subject because they knew, organizations are wrestling with their role in today’s political and social discourse. It’s a topic that transcends professional development training and presents an opportunity for community conversation and engagement. CommPartners’ role was to bring this session to the remote audience and to make them feel as if they were onsite and provide opportunities to share thoughts and ideas.

Taking risks and considering alternative formats for livestream programs can position your organization to extend your reach and impact. It can place you at the center of important conversations we are all having.

As a result of using the livestream format for a more personal and compelling topic, CMA was able to realize five key benefits:

  1. They greatly increased their profile to individuals and groups who otherwise would not be aware or involved with the CMA.
  2. Attending an onsite conference is expensive. By offering a session like this one, they were more inclusive and recognized the importance of reaching out to those who could not afford to attend or didn’t have the ability to travel or leave their homes or offices.
  3. CMA, along with ASAE took the lead in forging the conversation around hidden social bias. They showed who they are and what they are about by addressing the topic in public way. This showed is pays to be bold.
  4. This was a session from the heart. Online attendees were touched by the format and conversation.
  5. The session used a dramatic delivery that worked well to engage those in the room as well as those online. You had to walk away with a wow feeling as you watched the event. It’s the type of session that creates interest and a positive feeling about the host organization. If you are a member, it solidified your feelings about your investment. If you aren’t a member and this was your first experience, you had to walk away impressed.

This program was a collaboration between CommPartners, Council of Manufacturing Associations and the American Society of Association Executives. It was an important topic that has relevance to the greater association community.  As the production company, we were proud to help extend the reach of this session to online viewers around the country.

For additional information about CommPartners Elevate platform integrated with Higher Logic Communities, contact Meghan Gowen at

CommPartners Year in Review

CommPartners Year in Review

As 2018 winds down, all of us at CommPartners want to express our gratitude to our clients, partners and extended community for your collaboration and friendship over the past year.  This was our 25th year in business.   Where has the time gone?  It’s been fun to look back and see how technology and online learning has changed and how our company and all of us individually have evolved.  We’re proud of our history and our evolution as an organization. We feel fortunate to work with so many wonderful clients over many years. These relationships make our jobs so enjoyable and rewarding. We are extremely blessed!

Recently Barbara Bouton, Vice President, Professional Development from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association provided us the following quote:

I truly think CommPartners is the best company I’ve had the privilege to work with in my career. I value each of you and am proud of the work we’ve accomplished together – especially the innovations!

What Barbara said reinforced our sense that what’s most important is the relationship between our team and our client’s staff and the commitment to stick together to seize opportunities and meet whatever challenges arise.

So as we celebrate 2018, we take pride in our clients’ success and all you have accomplished through your education initiatives.

The Year’s Highlights

  •  We celebrated five years since Elevate LMS was developed. It takes this period of time for a SaaS solution to fulfill the promise you envision when it’s first created.  This year we experienced over 100% growth in new client placements.  We are thrilled to welcome so many new organizations into the CP Family.
  • We had our first user conference in 2018 that occurred in the spring in Washington DC. The conference included keynote and breakout sessions, trainings, one on one consultation and exhibits. Thank you to our presenters, partners and attendees for making this event a success.
  • We established our Advisory Board to receive feedback on new ideas and development and provide clients an active voice as we move forward.
  • We created a new administrative portal in Elevate that makes creating, managing and tracking education programs simple, fast and convenient. Our team was determined to support our clients with the most intuitive and user friendly admin available.
  • EventCenter our proprietary webcast software was redeveloped with a new design, attendance checks, interactive features, high quality VOIP and enhanced multimedia.
  • Our Higher Logic Partnership continued to evolve allowing our mutual clients to bring together community and learning in a unified presence. We are now building the next generation of our integration to support further engagement and bring together content from thought leaders and peer sharing of ideas.
  • We established a partnership with BadgeCert to seamlessly provide and assign digital badges from learning activities in Elevate. We feel this will be an important to benefit to our clients as they incorporate digital credentials into their education offerings.
  • The National Credentialing Institute was unveiled by our friends at Limitless Association Resources. CommPartners will be hosting this new site which is created to provide associations with assessment-based, professional development based on industry best practice for current and emerging industry professionals.
  • We created our own community called CommPartners Connect. It supports the opportunity to collaborate around important topics in online learning and events.
  • We welcomed five new staff members to the CP Team.

CommPartners’ first client 25 years was the National Association of Home Builders. This year NAHB selected CommPartners and our Elevate platform for their LMS.   We’re grateful to reestablish our partnership with NAHB and all of our clients who continued to depend on us to support their online learning and events.

May each of you be blessed with good health and happiness in the New Year.



Online Communities and Online Events: The Perfect Match

Online Communities and Online Events: The Perfect Match

Online communities have become a valuable component of an organization’s engagement strategy.  According to the advisory firm IDC, the online community market will reach $1.2 billion dollars by 2019. A University of Michigan study found that customers / members spent 19 per cent more after joining a company’s online community.

Paralleling the growth of online communities is the expansion of the virtual event market. Virtual events include virtual conferences, virtual trade fairs, livestream programs, webcasts and live courses. Market Research Media states, this market will grow from $14 billion annually in 2018 to $18 Billion annually in 2023.

Online communities and virtual events bring people together to exchange ideas, network and learn. Since they basically do similar things, there are advantages to connect these two offerings to provide greater participation and engagement. The premise is based on the knowledge that participants are already psychologically committed to their community. They established their picture and profile, have made connections and are accessing resources. In integrating and offering virtual events, participants can continue to use current features. Support for registration and access will be in place.

Integration of community and virtual events is now possible through Higher Logic’s integration with a virtual conference site through CommPartners’ Elevate Platform.

Here are five reasons to consider folding in your virtual events through your community:

  1. Positioning virtual events as an added resource to current engagement vs a separate offering will increase the likelihood someone will register. A trust has been established and participants have already bought in to the value they are receiving.
  2. Attendees can use their picture and profile that’s already established in the community for each event. 
  3. Adding virtual events will nurture greater commitment and participation in the community.
  4. Attendee participation in virtual events will be counted in the community’s reporting of individual and overall engagement including the rewarding of ribbons and badges.
  5. Conversations that begin in an event can seamlessly evolve once the event is over.

There is a belief that sharing of knowledge that occurs through a community, an LMS or virtual events should not be segmented and separate. If we can have these resource integrated and seamless, both the learner and organization will benefit.

For additional information about CommPartners Elevate platform integrated with Higher Logic Communities, contact Meghan Gowen at

Membership Management Software and eLearning | 5 Tips

Membership Management Software and eLearning | 5 Tips

Guest blog by Jake Fabbri, Senior Vice President, Marketing – Fonteva, Inc.

Whether it’s online courses, learning sessions, discussion forums, streaming seminars, or live webinars — when it comes to eLearning and the value it can bring to your organization, the possibilities are endless!

You might already understand the value of eLearning from a marketing or sales perspective, but it can also be a great tool for online users. Offering useful information and training can go a long way to familiarize online users with your space, while also creating a great impression for continued engagement.

If your membership management solution supports eLearning and event planning, both online and in-person, are you making the most of it?

eLearning is a major engagement opportunity for organizations ready to make the most of their tools in smarter ways. We’ve highlighted a few of the most important benefits that effective membership management software can have for your eLearning efforts. Your software should accomplish the following:

  1. Foster community
  2. Give members the flexibility they need
  3. Offer integrated eLearning opportunities
  4. Encourage networking and extended engagement
  5. Collect and analyze rich eLearning data

Your eLearning program shouldn’t have to be cobbled together! Any effective software solution should give you the tools you need to plan, organize, and manage your courses and sessions more effectively than ever. Ready to learn how? Let’s dive in.

1. Foster Community

Making the most of your eLearning capabilities starts with building a sense of community. By this we mean a feeling of mutual understanding and belonging, of being drawn together in support of a larger goal.

We also mean literally grouping your members together into online communities!

Of course, the benefits of encouraging the more abstract meaning of community are obvious. Validating your members’ feelings of inclusion and usefulness are essential. The benefits of digitally managing communities for your members can be just as significant. They include:

  • Encouraging interaction and engagement, with you and with each other
  • Creating custom permissions based on membership levels and communities
  • Allowing members to create and manage their own subgroups and committees
  • Extending discussions and collaboration between members
  • Creating a stronger culture of peer support and interaction
  • Boosting interest in your in-person events and sessions

Making it easier to engage with your work is the first step (and often the most effective way) to boost engagement all around. Your management software should actively help you build a more distinct sense of community and shared purpose in your program!

Doing so will lay a strong foundation for the new eLearning programs you develop. Simply providing the tools to strengthen community ties between members can provide a serious boost in interest for your upcoming programming.

2. Give Members the Flexibility They Need

Your membership management software must offer features that are flexible and truly useful. They should definitely be geared to you as an administrator, manager, or executive, but they must also apply to your members!

Member-facing flexibility is crucial for actually engaging users with eLearning programs. Otherwise, they might feel underappreciated, or as if they’re simply being treated as customers rather than full members. Prioritizing UX is certainly a good place to start.

More generally, you should use membership management software that’s already built on a flexible platform like Salesforce, or one that integrates seamlessly with the management tools you already use. Membership tools that work with your underlying management system should include integrated reporting, member profiles, and automation features.

Your members need effective, flexible tools, too! Make sure your management software gives your members the freedom to really have a say in how they engage with your programming. They might want to:

  • Create and manage their own subgroups within communities
  • Form committees to formally conduct program business
  • Allow chapters to fully plan their own online and in-person events
  • Foster small- and large-scale collaboration between communities
  • Create smarter reports and draw from program data to make decisions

Imagine hosting a major convention for all your chapters. Now imagine if each chapter, committee, group, or community were able to plan their own learning sessions and seminars. They could easily share their updates and insights with the rest of your members, generating big-picture thinking and a stronger sense of community.

Now imagine taking that capability online! Offering that same level of freedom and variety with your eLearning programming leads to richer relationships with (and within) your organization.

Not all membership management software can offer this level of flexibility, though. Be sure to conduct an exhaustive membership software comparison before making any changes.

3. Offer Integrated eLearning Opportunities

Working to integrate your online eLearning experiences with your live programming is a best practice that many associations and organizations overlook. This is often because their management doesn’t offer intuitive planning tools, or it’s because they get trapped in a certain way of thinking. Don’t think of your programming events as separate, disjointed units!

All of your educational programming should work together to enrich your members’ experience and invest in their development. This includes your live, in-person programming like keynote addresses and panels and your live, online events, like live-streamed seminars, lectures, or presentations.

For instance, offering live seminars, live-streamed online versions, and recorded webinar versions for later use is an excellent way to make sure everyone who wants to engage with your eLearning content can.

This connects back to the flexibility we discussed in the previous section. Simply put, integrating your educational programming across outlets and events offers your users more opportunities to get involved. The result is increased engagement all around.

There are a few reasons why this comprehensive planning  – connecting your digital, live, and in-person programming – is a best practice. It has major benefits, including:

  • Increased opportunities for new or inactive members. Offer more ways to get involved, then connect all of them for maximum effect. Inactive members might just need a new way to engage with your programming.
  • Strengthened connections within your network. Integrated community features of your software help everyone get to know each other before the event, then it gives them an easy way to stay in touch afterwards.
  • Boosted engagement with gamification and badging features. Tie digital rewards to in-person attendance and vice-versa using your management platform.

For the best results, use a membership management platform that’s built on a larger, comprehensive system. For instance, integrated Salesforce event management features can totally support your eLearning efforts and take them to the next level.

4. Encourage Networking and Extended Engagement

The right membership management software can facilitate interactions between your members like never before. After all, the point of your program or association is to bring like-minded individuals together around a shared interest, cause, or profession.

Your eLearning programming should facilitate increased activity at every level. Members should be able to interact naturally in a variety of ways:

  • Engaging directly with your program via online eLearning content
  • Attending in-person gatherings and sessions
  • Interacting with each other in membership communities
  • Collaborating on community, group, or committee projects
  • Engaging with each other in learning and discussion sessions
  • Networking both online and in-person

Effective membership management tools can offer member-facing networking features that provide a serious boost to your rates of engagement with eLearning programming. For instance, member self service tools, engagement scoring, and chapter or committee microsites make it easier for your members to identify one another and make connections.

Combined with an integrated approach to programming (above in Section 3), these features can contribute to a robust culture of interaction in your community.

Let’s say all your users can freely engage with one another on your eLearning presentation software, posting discussion comments and seeing each other’s interactions during webinars. Extremely productive collaborative relationships emerge when those discussions spill over from the webinar to a newly-formed committee in your management platform!

Start with this rundown of some top membership management tools from Double the Donation to study up on ways to boost engagement and unite all your programming efforts.

5. Collect and Analyze Rich eLearning Data

One last essential benefit that your membership management software should provide in relationship to your eLearning program involves data. Of course, data collection is one of the major benefits of any integrated management or planning system, but this is particularly true of any program that regularly engages its members with online-only content.

There are a few ways that your membership platform can benefit your eLearning programming through smarter data collection and analytics tools, including:

  • Self-service data collection. Giving your members the ability to freely update their own information results in more data overall. Engaged and excited members will happily provide you with their professional histories, interests, or additional contact info.
  • Awards, credits, and badges. As we’ve touched on in other sections, try offering special achievements then tying them to particular levels of engagement with your eLearning program. This provides an easy way to track and measure those activities.
  • Program analytics. A comprehensive but flexible membership management system will offer analytics tools to generate smarter reports on any aspect of your program. These insights will help you track engagement, sign-up, and session attendance metrics.

Access to richer, more comprehensive sources of data like this will directly contribute to your organization’s or association’s ability to make more precise budgets. Plus, adapting to your members’ preferences and interests in real time creates more engaged communities in the long run!

Make sure any membership or eLearning software you use includes intuitive analytics tools and  seamless reporting to your CRM or other underlying platform.

Offering your members and the wider community eLearning programming is an excellent way to keep your base of support engaged with your work. More importantly, it represents the value that you place on your members, investing in their professional and personal development.

If your membership software isn’t actively contributing to your eLearning planning, strategy, and management, you’re missing out. Get all your tools in sync for the best results! If you’re looking for new or updated management tools, be sure to review some of the most essential features to look for with Fonteva’s comprehensive membership software guide.

The TV Show Cheers and Your LMS

The TV Show Cheers and Your LMS

It’s hard to believe that the TV show, Cheers, had its last year on air in 1993, which is actually the year CommPartners was founded. People remember that Cheers, the name of the bar in the show, was a welcoming place because everyone knew your name when you walked in. People felt they belonged. They were recognized and appreciated.

So what does Cheers have to do with an LMS? It’s rather simple. When we invest our time and energy when accessing an organization’s LMS, we want to be recognized and provided relevant opportunities to our interests and education needs. Associations, as well as other types of organizations, know quite a bit about their learners. Just like people that walk into their friendly neighborhood tavern, it’s important to offer a welcoming environment that becomes the go-to place for our stakeholder’s online education needs.

So how can you create your LMS be to be the Cheers of online learning? With Elevate LMS, we strive to enable our clients to be their communities’ favorite learning destination. Here are five ways that we support the Cheers approach:

Elevate Relevancy Engine: When learners first log into Elevate, they are able to select their interests and “likes.” On future visits, Elevate recognizes the learner and presents programs of interest to them.

AMS / Community Integrations: We think of integrations as functional processes to connect two or more platforms. With Elevate, integrations provide additional value. It allows organizations to decide which content should be seen by which stakeholder. If it’s not relevant, why show it and clutter the experience? Pricing by learner type can also be automatically established.

Roles: In addition to member type, Elevate can further delineate who a learner is based on their role within the organization or other designations, such as a practice group. Roles also determine pricing and access.

Private Branding: Private branding can be unique for groups of learners from organizations. Seeing the unique design reinforces the relationship between you and your client.

Automatic Triggers: Like frequent flyer miles, automatic triggers assign credits based on rules that are established, such as a member renewing their membership.

All of these benefits provide a way of saying – I know who you are and based on your role or interests, we are providing you learning engagement opportunities that are just for you. In other words, this a place where you feel welcomed and have a relevant, individualized experience.

It’s the place where we know your name.

If you would like more information Elevate LMS, give us a call at (800) 274-9390 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with someone.

We’ll see you in Chicago for ASAE Annual!

We’ll see you in Chicago for ASAE Annual!

CommPartners is excited to once again be exhibiting at the 2018 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition from August 18-21, 2017 in Chicago, IL.

This event is the highlight of our year as we are able to connect with thousands of associations, clients, and friends.  CommPartners will be showcasing all of the new features of Elevate LMS, as well as our services related to Webinars & Webcasts, Livestream Events, Virtual Conferences, and Content Recordings.

We hope you are able to connect with us…here are a few options:


Visit Our Booth #234

Learn more about CommPartners and our offerings from our onsite staff, Aubrey Mellos, Meghan Gowen, and Sam Hirsch. We have launched some pretty amazing learning sites over the past year and will be spotlighting our latest initiative with Tracy King of InspirEd and Aaron Wolowiec of Event Garde, Engaging Learners, on Sunday August 19th, 12:15 – 1:15pm live from our booth. They will even be sharing a few tips and best practices for training your speakers and engaging your event attendees. If that wasn’t enticing enough, we will also have games, prizes, and chocolate so be sure to visit us at Booth #234!


Schedule an Appointment or Demo

We will be on-site for one-on-one meetings to further explore our services, simply catch-up, or to view a demo. You can arrange a meeting by visiting the Attendee Service Center or contact us directly at



Celebrate With Us at Adler Planetarium
Sunday, August 19th 7-10pm


Are you ready for a night with the stars? We are co-hosting an exclusive party with Higher Logic and other leading industry partners on Sunday, August 19th, from 7-10pm at Adler Planetarium. This event also features drinks, light hors-d’oeuvres, and access to two exhibits, Mission Moon and Our Solar System.

Learn about America’s first steps into space, the women behind Hidden Figures, and the planets, moons, and asteroids that orbit the sun. Your colleagues are welcome, so bring them with you!



We look forward to connecting with you in Chicago!