Four Association Organizations Merge into Two in a Landmark Decision


Washington, DC – July 1 – Following yesterday’s member vote of approval, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the ASAE Foundation, the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives (GWSAE) and the GWSAE Foundation  have merged into two independent organizations: ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership (CAL).

The boards of the four organizations agreed to the merger last January. Since then, a series of Town Hall meetings were held to help shape the structure and programs of the merged organizations. On July 1, nearly 80% of 733 GWSAE voting members approved the merger. GWSAE has about 1,500 voting members. (Go to www.tradeshow “The Vault” for the history of the steps leading to today’s news).

ASAE President & CEO, John Graham, CAE, says the merger “is a bold initiative that unites the organizations with a common vision and advances the association profession.” Susan Sarfati, CAE, adds that the merger “a landmark decision” and “a great day for association leadership.” Sarfati, who was formerly President of GWSAE, has become President & CEO of The Center for Association Leadership.


How It Will Work

ASAE was the least affected organization. Graham says that the ASAE Foundation, which handles educational programs, merged into CAL. GWSAE dissolved, with its assets going into CAL. ASAE will remain the membership organization, continuing with its advocacy work, political action groups and member services. CAL will be the research and educational branch. Together, the groups will serve 295,000 association professionals and business partners nationwide, and 75,000 in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

The merger proposal was originally developed by a Joint Organization Leadership Team with the intent of providing a model of organizational excellence in the association community, as well as eliminating duplicate dues payments to two membership organizations. ASAE has existed for 90 years, and GWSAE for about 76 years. Graham says this consolidation eliminates the separate dues structure for those in the Washington area. “Having two association in the same marketplace competing for the same membership didn’t make a lot of sense,” Graham adds.

The two remaining entities will focus on providing member access to a larger scope of programs and benefits, new ways to translate research into practical applications and eliminate redundancies in programming and product offerings.

Contact John Graham, CAE, President & CEO, American Society of Association Executives, at (202) 626-2741; or Susan Sarfati, CAE, President & CEO, The Center for Association Leadership, at (202) 326-9526;