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Lately, we’ve discussed ways to integrate AI into your association, but it may still feel daunting to implement. The most difficult part of making any change is taking the first step and, in this article, we’ll discuss an association doing just that. Before we dive in, think about what might be stopping you from taking that first step. Is it the fear that the process might take too long? The idea that it’s an undertaking you don’t have the bandwidth for right now? Whatever it is, just know implementing AI truly is one of those things that you try and wish you started earlier. If the reasons in your head are holding you back, we challenge you to take that first step and reevaluate how daunting AI feels after dipping your toes in. Let’s get into one example of an association that will make you want to make the leap.  

Have you heard of Custom GPTs? If you haven’t and are interested in learning more, this podcast episode covers the gist of it. Basically, Custom GPTs are a version of Chat GPT that you can prompt to respond in a certain way or react based on previously fed knowledge. Simply put, you’re customizing your very own version of Chat GPT to better serve your audience or staff. Let’s dive into this custom solution a bit more and see how one association is taking advantage of it. 

The Rising Need for Customized Solutions in Associations 

Associations are not eligible for “one size fits all solutions.” Think about it – every association is unique with a different audience, mission, and staff abiding by its own set of rules, member expectations, and ever-shifting industry landscapes. Generic AI tools are helpful, but with these specialized needs, custom AI can be significantly more effective. This is especially true when it comes to managing intricate, sector-specific information that can change at the drop of a hat. Think about keeping up with the latest regulations, member inquiries, or industry trends. It's a daunting task, right? That's where Custom GPTs shine. By being programmable to understand and respond to the specific needs of an association, these AI assistants can transform from a generalist to a specialist, just like that! So, as we sift through constant updates and member queries, custom GPTs have the power to guide associations to quicker, more impactful solutions. 

Case Study: South Carolina Association of CPAs 

Let's zoom in on the SC Association of CPAs, a great example of innovation in the association world. Their story isn't just about adapting to change; it's about embracing it head-on with the power of custom technology. Faced with an avalanche of legislative updates, this forward-thinking group realized that standard AI tools were like using a map from the last decade to navigate today's roads. They responded by creating a Custom GPT, fine-tuned to their specific needs. Instead of replacing human expertise, they enhanced it, ensuring that every piece of advice and every compliance guideline matched the latest legislative changes. The association didn't stop there. They pushed the envelope further by tasking their AI assistant with a critical mission: to analyze potential conflicts between proposed changes and existing laws. The results? The custom GPT didn't just identify discrepancies; it offered insights that might have taken weeks to uncover. This journey of the SC Association of CPAs is a testament to the power of artificial intelligence – turning a challenge into an opportunity for growth and proactive change

Benefits and Outcomes 

The integration of Custom GPTs into the workflows of associations like the SC Association of CPAs has yielded impressive results, which can be a source of inspiration for other associations. Let’s talk about some of the tangible benefits that these AI tools bring to the table: 

  • Increased Efficiency: Custom GPTs streamline processes, from data analysis to member communication, significantly reducing the time and effort required for routine tasks. 
  • Enhanced Accuracy: By staying updated with the latest information and trends, these AI assistants ensure that the guidance and information provided are precise and reliable. 
  • Improved Decision-Making: With the ability to quickly analyze vast amounts of data and identify key insights, Custom GPTs support more informed and strategic decision-making. 
  • Personalized Member Experience: Associations can offer more personalized responses and services to their members, improving engagement and satisfaction. 
  • Proactive Problem-Solving: Custom GPTs can anticipate potential issues and offer solutions, helping associations stay ahead of challenges. 
  • Cost-Effectiveness: By automating various functions, these tools can help reduce operational costs and optimize resource allocation. 

The SC Association of CPAs’ experience exemplifies how embracing Custom GPTs leads not only to adapting to change but also to thriving in it. For associations looking to maintain relevance and deliver exceptional value to their members, Custom GPTs are a promising addition. 

Steps to Implementing Custom GPTs 

For associations inspired by the success of the SC Association of CPAs and looking to implement Custom GPTs, the journey begins with understanding and planning. Here are some key steps to consider: 

  1. Identify Specific Needs: Determine the unique challenges and requirements of your association where a Custom GPT could be beneficial. 
  1. Gather Data: Compile relevant data, including industry-specific information, member interactions, and existing knowledge bases, that the GPT will need to learn from. 
  1. Customize and Train: Converse with your GPT to customize and train it on your specific data and requirements, ensuring it aligns with your association's goals and values. 
  1. Educate Your Team: Train your staff on how to interact with and get the most out of the Custom GPT. 
  1. Monitor and Iterate: Continuously monitor the GPT's performance and gather feedback, making adjustments as needed to ensure it remains effective and relevant. 
  1. Prioritize Privacy and Security: Ensure that data handling and interactions with the GPT adhere to privacy and security regulations. 

By following these steps, associations can embark on a path towards harnessing the power of Custom GPTs, transforming their operations and enhancing their value proposition to members. 


As we wrap up our exploration into the world of Custom GPTs, one thing is clear: AI tools like this are solutions for today's challenges in association management. The case of the South Carolina Association of CPAs is a vivid illustration of how embracing this technology can lead to remarkable improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and member engagement. It underscores a broader truth applicable to all associations: in an ever-changing landscape, adaptability and innovation are key to staying relevant and effective. 

Looking to learn more about the AI tools that can set you apart? Check out Sidecar’s AI Learning Hub for Associations.  

Sofi Giglio
Post by Sofi Giglio
November 29, 2023
Sofi Giglio works for Blue Cypress as a Senior Marketing Associate with extensive experience in brand strategy and marketing. Passionate about developing business strategies and creating strategic initiatives, Sofi excels in solving complex business problems within the marketing realm. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to innovation, Sofi aims to drive success through impactful marketing solutions and strategic planning.