The Foreign Service Journal - April 2014 - page 53

APRIL 2014
To better serve our members,
AFSA has replaced its out-
dated association manage-
team comprised of AFSA
professional staff met weekly
for several months last year
to weigh the pros and cons of
a number of systems.
Cooper Consulting, a firm
specializing in management
and systems implementa-
tions for nonprofit associa-
tions, also took part in these
discussions. Its support
included market research,
business process analysis,
contract negotiations and
systems implementation.
After a comprehensive
search, and with the AFSA
Governing Board’s approval,
Avectra was selected.
The NetForum Enterprise
software allows AFSA to
compile a complete snap-
shot of its members and
their engagement with the
association. It also furnishes
a platform for a smooth
online member experience
and interaction between
the association and other
members. The new soft-
ware allows AFSA to easily
track information across
all departments through a
centralized location—infor-
mation such as membership
and demographic data, AFSA
award recipients,
The Foreign
Service Journal
authors and
articles, scholarship recipi-
ents and support for a wide
variety of advocacy issues.
A straightforward user-
interface will guide members
through the join/renew appli-
cation process. Members will
be able to identify areas of
interest and expertise, upload
bios, update their addresses,
identify their skill codes,
donate to AFSA programs
and causes, view committee
participation or register for
an upcoming event.
The first time members
access the site, they will use
their last name and their
primary e-mail address
(work e-mail for active-duty
members; personal e-mail for
retired members). They will
then be prompted to change
their password on first entry.
Visitors to the site will
be able to register for AFSA
events and even offer a
review of an event they
attended in the past. Not only
will this provide added value
for members, it will assist
AFSA in determining future
presentations and programs.
Further enhancements
are already in the works. One
of the most exciting features
of the new system is a social
networking functionality,
which will create a space for
our members to interact,
chat, share ideas and create
shared-interest groups.
Director of New Media
Ásgeir Sigfússon, explains:
“We’ve heard from members
that this is something they
are interested in. When we
roll this out in a few months
we have high hopes that it
will become a great forum
for discussion on the Foreign
Service career, international
affairs and everyday issues of
diplomatic life.”
In addition, AFSA will be
developing an online memo-
rial tribute site to perma-
nently recognize and remem-
ber active-duty and retired
Foreign Service colleagues
who have passed away. The
searchable AFSA Memorial
Tribute page will present a
brief bio of the member’s
Foreign Service career. Cur-
rent members will be able to
share memories and stories
of their colleagues in the
guestbook section, contact
next of kin or make a dona-
tion in their friend’s name to
one of AFSA’s funds. We hope
this online memorial will
make it easier for colleagues,
friends and family to share
their remembrances.
In early March, several
staff members attended a
user’s group conference to
facilitate AFSA’s transition
to the new software, make
industry contacts, attend
technical training ses-
sions and learn more about
Avectra’s software solutions.
The conference offered more
than 50 training sessions,
from implementing best
practices to innovative ways
to use the baseline product.
“AFSA staff, with Director
of Member Services Janet
Hedrick as lead, has care-
fully managed this significant
transition to limit potential
problems and to develop the
product so that AFSA and our
members can take advantage
of its full functionality,” notes
AFSA Executive Director Ian
Houston. “We believe the
new software will deepen
our overall services to AFSA
New Association Management System for AFSA:
NetForum Enterprise
AFSA professional staff attend a technical training session on Avectra’s
NetForum Enterprise software, the association’s new management system.
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