What's With the Virtual Assistant Hype?


January 12, 2023

We’ve seen the term virtual assistants aka VAs floating around the association industry, so we did some research. Are they worth it? Can they really help associations? Turns out, it might be the cost-efficient solution that associations are looking for to help with the excess workloads. 

Let’s break this down.

First, this is nothing new. Virtual assistants have existed for a while, but the trend has increased in recent years. In fact, Business Wire estimated that VAs market size will reach $25.6 billion by 2025.

Considered a remote employee (or independent contractor) who offers administrative support for you and your association – typically on a part-time basis – VAs can do tasks that an executive assistant would handle like scheduling appointments, making phone calls, travel arrangements, or organizing emails. They can do a wide range of tasks including document production, expense management, data entry, email management, and more. The goal of hiring a VA would be to create a healthier, more flexible work environment, greater work efficiency, reduction of operating costs, and more, while allowing you and your team to focus on the higher ticket items for running your organization.

So, could VAs help associations? The evidence is still waiting to be presented, but let’s think about this from a membership perspective.

The Marketing General 2022 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report shows that though 38% of associations reported an increase in membership; however, membership growth continues to be a challenge. While this may be a result of associations not providing enough value to members, it's more likely a lack of innovation in engaging with them. This is where a VA could step in.

A VA could help improve productivity and save time by taking over excess work that distracts from core business activities. Some organizations may find that using one will allow them to dedicate more time towards improving member engagement through thoughtful interactions rather than day-to-day tasks such as answering emails or making phone calls (although these might still be needed).

There’s no denying it — time is the most important resource when running any organization, and sometimes those mundane, everyday tasks can become an obstacle to focusing on new opportunities and areas for growth. Having a VA to handle the excess work will ease your load significantly, providing more time for you and your team to focus on those higher-ticket items.


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