We recently hosted an association executive roundtable to get a pulse on what is happening in the association world. We learned a great deal about how associations are pivoting, and even thriving, during the pandemic and how they foresee their operations continue to adjust moving forward.
An executive summary of the meeting can be found here.
Hello and welcome to JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. President of The Moery Company, JP’s mission is to arm today’s associations with insight and strategy to thrive and a progressively complex and competitive business landscape. 21st century associations must move forward with a little bit of hustle and revenue development at their core.
Hi, it’s JP Moery, welcome to the Association Hustle Podcast.
I want to dive right in by giving you some notes from a Zoom call that I hosted with our association CEO and COO clients. We talked about membership, events, virtual events, sponsorship, government relations. Let me tell you about some of the key findings.
Communications. Your industry is really hungry for information, the ability to communicate and connect with people right now is a key opportune time to develop relationships in your industry. Members and non-members really are welcoming compassionate messaging and great content. Your ability to show expertise and how to navigate the PPP program, emergency loans, access to capital, reopening issues, and other issues are being very well received in the marketplace. In effect, associations are working harder than ever before.
Membership Renewal. Most of the associations we were speaking with are launching their renewal program. They may be thinking about deferred payments, partial payments, lowering of dues for certain membership categories, temporary complimentary access for folks who have lost their jobs, and so on. Associations have also opened up information portals for non-members for now. Some non-members are actually ready to join as they see the information and the value that the association provides. We’re actually selling new memberships right now! Can you believe that? Make sure that, if you are offering complimentary information, to capture the names and the contact information of those people showing interest because someday, when business opens up and becomes more regular, they could be a very key prospective member.
Events. Everyone knows that associations are converting from face-to-face to virtual events right now, in terms of content delivery and marketing. We need to be mindful that not everyone’s going to sit through a four- to five-hour virtual meeting. They’re just not going to do that. Associations are thinking about the cadence of the delivery system. They’re also looking at segmenting groups into smaller, more focused, networking opportunities. Think of the early Zoom calls where you may have had 500 people on, now associations are starting to segment the meetings into smaller groups with shared common goals and to solve common problems. Partner and facilitate those discussions based on interest, problems to be solved, age group, and region of the country since different parts of your industry may be opening at different times. Something to think about.
Meeting Security. Associations and firms are forbidding the use of certain virtual meeting platforms because of security concerns. Whether it’s Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting; associations are really thinking about the security issues when it comes to protecting members in their associations.
Sponsorships. Sponsors perceived the value of virtual events to be lesser than face-to-face programs that they may have had with you. A $30,000 member that was exclusively hosting the welcome reception may not spend the same amount of money for exclusivity around a webinar series. Those things are a little bit in flux right now. Sponsors are not at the same commitment level that they were before. I would really encourage you to look at diversifying your sponsorship portfolios to include digital year-long opportunities. It’s a time to inventory all of the assets of the association to think about what the sponsorship program might look like in the foreseeable future.
Government relations and advocacy. Friends, this is an incredible opportunity to showcase the government relations expertise of your organizations. It’s unbelievable. There’s a heightened awareness of government relations value right now. Some associations are truly differentiating themselves from the organizations that are lightweight players. They’re helping people interpret rules. They’re helping them get access to capital. They’re providing webinars and information about how to navigate reopening on a local, state, and national levels. The organizations that have great government relations programs are able to showcase that expertise now in a very enhanced way. Make sure that you’re making that information available to even non-members for a temporary basis. We’re seeing people join associations right now because of what the government relations operation has been able to deliver on behalf of the industry.
Final Thoughts. More phone conversations are happening. People are seeking out human connections. Business conversations, in my sense, are now less about COVID-19 and the initial panic and now focus on, “We’re in it now, how do we move forward? How do we get back into business?” Because that’s what many of our association members want to do.
Friends, hope this is helpful to you. Let’s keep moving forward, baby. We’re going to do this. Thanks for listening. Talk soon. Bye bye.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. We’d love to connect with you. Check out our blog at moerycompany.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also connect with JP on LinkedIn and Twitter at @JPMoery, as well as The Moery’s Company’s Instagram and Facebook page. To purchase a copy of JP’s book, Association Hustle: Top Strategies for Association Growth, go to JPMoery.com.
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