Here are 6 association developments happening right now.
1: It’s time to begin the process of output-based evaluation of our teams.
Office flexibility and time flexibility are certainly happening in terms of us having less control over when people work with us. We’ve got to really be focused on outcomes at the risk of being uncomfortable with our staffs. We still need to be very much in tune to output based measurement because we’re not going to be watching how they work on a daily basis.
2: The need for participation focus from our organizations.
We need to be looking at how we pull people toward us. Engagement is often a buzzword that we’re seeing in the association space. Now that we are continuing, multi-channel engagement, virtual, hybrid, in person, lots of different ways that we’re communicating, some of our members may have lost their bearings on how they can get value from us. So, I would schedule some regular onboarding programs or discussions or webinars about how you can be involved in the association because we can’t assume that they know anymore, because so much has changed.
3: How to break down the walls between members and our staff.
I’m amazed at how we have these firewalls between our industry and the association specialists that are meant to serve it. I see a lack of accessibility; not being able to see the staff and what they specialize in is a real mistake. One of the most valuable things I see that association’s send out is a listing of the staff and their areas of specialty or the issues that they cover. The association team is an extension of the company staff. Let’s make them accessible.
4: Reemergence of strategic planning
During the pandemic, there was so much going on we didn’t have much opportunity to look ahead because we were focused on so many urgent things. Association staffs and members are clearer than ever before about what is valuable and what is expected in the future. It’s time to start developing those strategic plans.
5: The most intensive budget cycle in years is upon us.
We’ve seen some examples of non-dues revenue being uncertain, we’re not clear on how the meeting and event business model is going to move forward and how much we can rely on that. The thing that I’ve been noticing is how associations are really getting serious about their budget planning.
6: It’s a great time to start listening to members and staff.
They could bring you challenges, problems, opportunities to collaborate, but we really have to listen. We are upon the great resignation era. Let’s not make that a thing that’s happening in our association teams and in our association membership. One of the best ways to avoid the resignation era is to listen and to be closer to our staff members and our teams. If we do that we’re going to be a destination for people that want to work with us or want to be a member of our institution. We’re about to see great separation from associations that are fantastic, and those that are kind of on inertia. The next 12 to 15 months are going to be absolutely critical in all these areas.