The staff at the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington were looking for a new way to communicate with their members and listen to their needs. They needed a two-way communication channel to better serve and advocate for their members, who are owners or managers of commercial and multi-family residential properties, as well as companies that provide products and services to the real estate industry.

AOBA did not have a private online community and relied on sending emails and a bimonthly newsletter. Even using social media to offer updates didn’t bring much engagement. AOBA knew that unlike social media, an Online Community offers privacy. Many professional or trade organizations have sensitive questions or intellectual property and members’ personal information that they must protect.

Brandy Peak, Director of Education and Events; and her team looked at other Online Community options and decided to reach out to their AMS (Association Management System) provider, NoviAMS, and asked for Online Community solutions.

The NoviAMS team was initially working with another Online Community provider but ran into issues with integration and a lack of focus on customer service. Pete Zimek, Founder and CEO of NoviAMS was referred to Sengii by Ron Skinner from NAAHQ.

Nicholas Bott, Founder and CEO of Sengii, met with Pete and discussed integration options and timeline. Quickly the Sengii team put together a comprehensive integration with NoviAMS using the existing API and suggesting some new features based on other integrations to make things even better between the AMS and the Online Community.

Brandy and her team decided to go with Sengii because it had all the premium features they needed at a lower price tag. They especially liked the direct email reply feature, a customer favorite, where members can simply engage with the Community from their email without having to login.

In less than 2 months, AOBA Connect has had over 30,000 logged email views. Above 90 percent of members have engaged with the new Online Community offering. Over 200 new discussions have been posted with an average reply rate of 72%.

AOBA Connect launched during the pandemic, so members were grateful to have the Online Community as a way to support each other and keep up with daily updates.

Brandy Peak
Director of Education and Events

“The main reason we chose Sengii was because of the integration with NoviAMS and because of the email functionality. It is mainly a way for people to stay connected while social distancing. It is still staff driven. It provides an opportunity for us to get answers more quickly than if we were to send out an email.”

Launching during the pandemic has given AOBA Connect a chance to maintain relationships with members, answer questions, and provide updates related to Covid-19. Brandy thinks “most organizations should have something like this. It just depends on the membership to see the use.” AOBA members continue engaging, even more, every day.

“Thank you, for doing this – what a great idea. Staying connected with the people in our industry is more important now than ever. Knowing that we are here for one another is helpful and having a place to find advice or strategies from our peers on how to handle our new world is most needed. Thank you, AOBA!!!”

Elizabeth Kirk
Marketing Director at TRC Engineering

About AOBA-Metro

The Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA) is the leading membership organization representing commercial office building and multi-family residential real estate in the DC area. Learn more at