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Intro to AI Webinar

Think back to the days before Siri – the idea of a bot that could answer questions, set alarms, send texts, build lists, and more seemed unimaginable. Fast forward to today and we all have a personal assistant in our pockets!  

For many of us, Siri is our first up-close experience with an AI agent.  

Now, think bigger—imagine a hyper-efficient Siri tailored for associations, assisting members around the clock, streamlining operations, and enhancing engagement. As AI agents evolve, they’re set to revolutionize the way associations operate. Association leaders, it's time to buckle up, embrace, and navigate this digital transformation head-on. 

What Exactly are AI Agents Capable Of?  

Beyond merely suggesting solutions or predicting text, AI agents can take direct actions. For example, an AI agent does not simply suggest copy for your membership renewal email, it is able to process the renewals or initiate transactions autonomously based on pre-defined criteria. 

At their core, AI agents operate based on intricate algorithms, machine learning, and vast data sets. They continuously learn from interactions and data inputs, refining their responses and actions over time. It's like having a digital apprentice that learns at lightning speed!  

For associations, the capabilities of AI agents will be transformative. With the ability to analyze data and recognize patterns, AI agents automate workflows. They are adept at harmonizing multi-step processes efficiently, making them an essential tool for administrative tasks. For instance, they could manage the scheduling and reminders for upcoming committee meetings or events, ensuring that members are notified and have all necessary materials. 

AI agents are also able to process and understand human language, enabling them to engage in natural conversations. This ensures members always have a responsive entity to turn to for queries or recommendations. 

5 Use Cases for AI Agents Within Your Association 

The integration of AI agents in association operations is evolving to a point where they can now take on direct action and execute entire processes. These developments promise to revolutionize the way associations function by offering unprecedented efficiency and automation of many key processes. 

Some use-cases that highlight how associations can harness the power of AI agents through process delegation include: 

  1. Membership Onboarding and Renewal: From drafting and sending welcome emails and providing information packages to processing payments and sending renewal reminders, AI can handle the complete membership lifecycle, saving associations valuable time and resources. 
  1. Event Planning and Execution: AI agents are becoming increasingly capable of managing events from start to finish. They can create event websites, handle registrations, process payments, send confirmations, and even coordinate on-site logistics, such as badge printing and attendee check-ins, all with minimal human intervention. 
  1. Content Generation and Distribution: AI-powered content generation tools can craft articles, reports, and social media posts on behalf of associations. AI agents can also schedule, publish, and distribute this content across various platforms, ensuring a consistent and engaging online presence. 
  1. Financial Transactions and Record Keeping: AI agents can manage financial operations by initiating transactions, tracking expenses, and reconciling budgets. They can also maintain accurate financial records, ensuring compliance and transparency. 
  1. Member Support and Query Resolution: Advanced chatbots and virtual assistants are capable of addressing a wide range of member queries and issues. They can provide information, troubleshoot problems, and even perform basic account-related actions, such as updating contact details or processing membership upgrades. 

As you can see from the list above, AI agents can assist every department within the organization, offering unprecedented efficiency, cost savings, and the ability to focus on higher-value tasks. As AI technology continues to advance, associations can entrust more responsibilities to AI agents, making their daily operations more streamlined and effective. 

The AI Ripple Effect on Association Members 

But all of this is not just for the association staffers! AI agents will have a massive impact on your member experience as well.  

  • Elevated Member Experience and Engagement: With AI agents available round-the-clock, associations can provide immediate, personalized responses, thereby enhancing member services and deepening their engagement. 
  • Shifting Staff Dynamics and Learning Curve: As AI agents begin to handle certain administrative tasks, the nature of some roles might evolve. While this opens avenues for staff to focus on high-value interactions, it also introduces a need for training and adaptation to the new technology-driven environment. 
  • Unlocking New Revenue Avenues: AI agents can identify and recommend customized offerings or services to members, presenting potential new revenue streams. 

Despite the benefits, transitioning to a more AI-driven model does come with its set of challenges. For one, the initial stages of AI implementation might not be perfect, with potential misunderstandings or misinterpretations leading to errors or member dissatisfaction. Additionally, handling vast amounts of data means associations must be extra vigilant about data privacy, ensuring that member information is safeguarded, and all AI interactions remain compliant with privacy regulations. Lastly, the financial implications of adopting AI agents, from technology investments to training, require careful budgeting and planning. 

Charting the Path for AI Integration and Exploration 

For associations eyeing the potential of AI agents, a structured approach is key. From understanding the initial use cases to getting your feet wet with pilot projects, here's a roadmap to guide your journey: 

  • Know What Problem You’re Solving: Begin by cataloging member support scenarios, workflows, and transactions that AI agents could potentially enhance or automate. This will help target the most impactful areas. 
  • Assessing Technical Repercussions: Evaluate how AI agents would dovetail with your existing systems, like your association management system or website. Determine if upgrades are required to foster seamless automation. 
  • Staff Alignment and Training: With the introduction of AI agents, it's crucial to understand and communicate how roles might evolve. Developing change management initiatives and offering training sessions can mitigate concerns and ensure a smooth transition. 
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Get your staff on board early. Involve them in evaluating the AI use cases and understanding the implications. Their feedback can be invaluable. 
  • Starting Small and Learning: Dive into the AI waters with a basic pilot, perhaps automating a single workflow or addressing a specific member support scenario. Use the insights gained from this experience to refine and expand your AI strategy. 
  • Staying Informed: The world of AI is ever-evolving. Keep abreast of the latest developments, attend vendor demonstrations, and observe the experiences of early adopters. 
  • Future-focused Mindset: While the changes AI brings might be daunting, it's crucial to focus on the long-term benefits. Concentrate on how AI can bolster member value in the years to come. 


Exploring the realm of AI agents is both exciting and challenging. AI agents represent an important emerging technology for associations to monitor closely. Their rise presents opportunities to enhance services and engagement, as well as necessitating organizational changes. Take time now to chart a strategic course. With the right preparation, your association can harness AI agents to better achieve its mission when the technology matures. What’s the first task you would pass off to an AI agent? Let us know here in the Sidecar community! We’d love to help!  

Johanna Gundlach
Post by Johanna Gundlach
November 13, 2023
Johanna Gundlach is Senior Advisor to the Sidecar team and the first employee of Blue Cypress. She is passionate about helping grow leaders in the association and not-for-profit space. Outside of her work with Sidecar, Johanna loves exploring the mountains with her dog Laci.