The American Counseling Association’s recent student membership recruitment program has been chosen for a 2014 Gold Circle Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).

ACA’s student membership recruitment program brought in 14,340 new student members to ACA in 2013, a 15 percent increase over 2012.

ACA’s overall membership has been on the rise for several years, reaching more than 55,000 members earlier in 2014. ACA averages a month-over-month membership increase of 5 percent.

Gold-Circle_branding“Our emphasis is on delivering the best possible member experience, so when someone renews or joins, that is our thanks,” says ACA CEO Richard Yep. “However, when the association industry, composed of thousands of other organizations, honors us as they have with the Gold Circle Award, that is like icing on the cake and a tribute to our hardworking and creative staff here at ACA.”

Washington, D.C.-based ASAE is the leading organization representing the association management profession; the Gold Circle Awards are voted on by ACA’s peers in the nonprofit and association industry.

A total of 14 Gold Circle Awards were given to recognize outstanding marketing, membership, communications or other programs. This year’s ASAE Gold Circle winners were chosen from more than 195 entries, the most submissions in the awards program’s history.

ACA’s student membership recruitment program is multifaceted, from enhanced offerings on the ACA website to a direct-mail campaign that reaches more than 3,000 college professors at the start of the fall and spring semesters.

The direct mail campaign includes classroom posters, marketing materials and brochures the professor can distribute to counseling students.

ACA recently redesigned the student section of the organization’s website, improved the search engine and created a video of current student member testimonials about ACA.

ACA also negotiated to be able to offer free professional liability insurance for master’s-level student members – a key piece of the program’s success.

Denise Brown, ACA’s senior director of membership relations, will represent ACA at an awards ceremony at the ASAE conference in Washington on June 17.

At the ceremony, one of the 14 Gold Circle Award winners will be selected for an award for overall excellence.

“This year we had great examples of marketing, membership, communication and component relations programs, and it was a hard decision for the judges to select who should receive a Gold Circle Award,” says Mike Boa, director of communications and marketing at the Casualty Actuarial Society and chairman of the Gold Circle Awards Committee. “During the (June 17) conference, we will not only recognize the winners, but select winners will present their programs during a session to share their best practices, so attendees can learn new strategies to take back to their own organizations.”

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 21,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 10,000 organizations.

The Gold Circle Awards are open to all 501(c) nonprofit organizations.




For more on ACA’s student membership program, see


For details on the award, see




Bethany Bray is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at


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