Strategic Moves for Long-Term Viability – Association Field Report (December 17, 2021)



Observations from the Field: Organizations are looking at their long-term viability and what strategic moves they need to make.

Here are three key areas to look at during this journey.

1.What is your value proposition and what do your members say about it?
Sometimes the value prop is skimmed over, but when we do organizational reviews, we often get tangible answers from interviews and surveys regarding what members think about your value proposition. If members report that your workforce development programs are ineffective or do not make a significant difference for them, and they also report that one of the most significant business challenges is workforce development, you have a problem.  You have to make sure that you’re keenly aware of what members value the most, and where you might have gaps or challenges in your value proposition?

2.Review your membership and your dues model.
Is it out of wack based on what they find valuable? Do the organizations that pay the dues for your organization find that it’s worth the return on investment for them? Can it sustain the organization?
In some cases, I see dues levels that are so low it’s not worth recruiting people.  It can’t keep the business going long term, and then you run into financial problems unless you’ve got a non-dues effort, like an annual meeting that could prop up a languishing dues model.

3.You have to look at governance structure too. 
People that understand the value of your organization and pay, they’re going to want a voice.  Do you have accessibility for companies to become active in your organization? Eventually they’re going to seek that.  They want to learn from others, but they also want to be involved in the direction of the industry.
If you’re still running an old boys club, then you’re going to run into problems at the front end of people not seeing its value or willing to pay. These three areas are all connected.


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