ASAE Research Foundation identifies critical trends and evidence-based effective practices in association leadership and management by funding and conducting research that no one organization can undertake on its own.


Furthering Association Social Impact

Explores how associations play a unique role in meeting the needs of their members and driving social impact initiatives that make the world stronger, safer, and better.

DEI Organizational Self-Assessment Tool

Considers the development of a new DEI organization self-assessment tool, which includes a comprehensive study for the development and validation of this tool.

ASAE ForesightWorks

A deliberate, evidence-based research initiative to help association professionals in environmental scanning and planning for change. By August 2022, the initiative will update 10 existing drivers of change, integrate others into existing work, retire some drivers, and release five new drivers, including:

  • Changing Information Channels: New technologies and new generational attitudes about who and what is a trusted gatekeeper are giving rise to new channels of information dissemination among younger people.
  • Digitizing Money: The idea of money is evolving past the idea of fiat currency—money issued and backed by governments—driven by technological and social trends
  • Generations and Wealth: Wealth varies greatly across current American generations, driving different generational experiences with money.
  • Shrinking Youth Populations: Birthrates around the world have been falling for decades, with births in a growing list of countries—including now the United States—under the population replacement rate.
  • Towards Mental Wellness: Views of mental health care are changing, and there is growing attention to the importance and ubiquity of mental health issues.

Active Research

Associations as Innovation Catalysts

Examines proven strategies and practices to support successful industry-specific innovation and offers recommendations to overcome any challenges in doing so.

Status: Anticipated Release Spring 2022

DEI in Association Governance

Examines board composition, performance, and effectiveness; the current state of board DEI practices; the ways in which DEI strategies are established and measured; and the perceived benefits, drawbacks, and obstacles.

Status: Anticipated Release Spring 2022

Effective Holistic Volunteer Management Models Research

Aims to develop a deeper understanding of holistic models for strategically designing, implementing, and operating effective volunteer management practices in trade and professional associations.

Status: Data Collection Underway

The Role of the Interim CEO

Seeks to identify the effective practices of interim CEOs, the processes or conditions that help them succeed, and the approaches to working with board, staff, and other stakeholders that enables them to guide an association forward through change.

Status: Anticipated Release Spring 2022


Reports, Tools, and Resources

free-to-members = Free Resource for ASAE Members

Advancing Business-Venture Innovation

A Readiness Tool for Health Associations that identifies eight key factors critical for business-venture success

Impact Every Day – The Vital Role of Associations Compendium2020

These efforts are made possible by ASAE Research Foundation's donor and volunteer community

Use this compendium of case studies for models for association impact.

Pathways to CEO Success


Access several benchmarking reports for strategic and tactical decision making.

Self-Assessments on AssociaMetrics

ASAE's online interactive platform for organizational readiness self-assessment tools.

Association Inclusion Index 2017

  • This self-assessment tool is no longer available. ASAE Research Foundation is currently developing a new comprehensive tool to assess diversity, equity, and inclusion in associations. For more information about this tool or other DEI resources, please contact

Association Global Maturity Assessment 2017

Technology Readiness Assessment2017

ASAE Research Foundation Books

Professional Practices in Association Management: The Essential Resource for Effective Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations, 4th edition (2021)


Contact Us

ASAE Research Foundation
1575 I St. NW
Washington, DC 20005