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ABDO named finalists for Best Digital Transformation award

The UK Association Awards have announced IE Digital’s work for the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) as a finalist for Best Digital Transformation. 


Laptop screen showing the ABDO member portal, with personalised member dashboard

The new membership portal for ABDO – designed and developed by IE Digital – has been named in the Best Digital Transformation category, alongside a strong field of five fellow nominees. The accolade comes from the judges of the UK Association Awards, now in its 18th year and run by the Association of Association Executives (AAE). 

The category perfectly sums up the complex nature of the work involved in creating ABDO’s new membership portal. The project was truly transformational for ABDO and its members. It has removed many barriers to engagement and created a richer, more seamless user experience across all aspects of membership. 

It’s also made a massive difference to ABDO, reducing administration time for new members by 87%, and other efficiency improvements.  

ABDO’s digital transformation 

IE Digital closely integrated ABDO’s new website with its charity management system and database. This has given ABDO’s members more visibility and control over their membership and data. Each member can now log in to see their personalised dashboard with details of their membership status, the ability to update their information and communications preferences, and much more. 

Overall member engagement has increased and the new site received lots of positive feedback. ABDO has seen higher uptake of member benefits such as Professional Indemnity Insurance and a 4-fold increase in members renewing early. 

The digital transformation has achieved key enhancements including: 

  • Online applications and renewals
  • Onboarding email automation
  • Self-service examination and CET management
  • Online payment processing and paperless direct debits
  • Magazine with paid advertising and exclusive member content
  • Online shop


Automating for efficiency 

IE Digital has dramatically increased the level of automation for numerous core processes and interactions between ABDO and its members. This has revolutionised several complex, manual processes for the ABDO team. The system’s built-in logic and automation has replaced constant manual intervention, meaning much less data entry, envelope stuffing, cheques, printing and postage costs.

Processing time for new members has reduced by 87%. From around 15 minutes per applicant (spread over a week or more) down to less than 2 minutes per applicant. 

ABDO is now coping with peak demand at membership renewal time with half of the previous resource. 

And not only did we closely integrate the website, charity management system, and database, we also reduced ABDO’s reliance on support from the software provider. 

Read our full Digital Transformation case study.


Three mobile phones side by side, showing the ABDO membership application process

Antonia Chitty, Head of Communications & IT at ABDO told us, “Going paper-free for our membership applications and renewals processes has been a major turnaround. Not only are we much more efficient, it has removed a lot of the barriers to engagement for our members. It’s made their experience much more seamless and we’ve had lots of positive feedback as a result. 

“The team at IE Digital has worked hard to take on board our requirements and come up with creative and innovative ways to deliver a great website for our members. We are delighted with the attractive and functional website, and the member portal has been genuinely transformational for ABDO and its members.”

About the Association Awards UK 

This is the 18th UK Association Awards, which are held by the AAE to recognise excellence in the sector. The awards are supported by the most distinguished associations and societies, and have an excellent reputation for fairness and good practice. 

Full list of finalists on the AAE website

AAE supports association executives to increase the value and effectiveness of membership, events, products and services and the strength and influence of their organisation, as well as their personal and professional skills and competencies.


The winning Digital Transformation will be announced at an online awards ceremony later this month. 

…the member portal has been genuinely transformational for ABDO and its members

Antonia Chitty
Head of Communications and IT at ABDO