New Skills for a New Era – Association Field Report (June 19, 2020)



Many of you are doing new things, implementing and rolling out new events and programs. One of the things I noticed as I’ve been observing the association space evolve are all of the new skill sets that we’re going to need as we move forward. Here are some examples.
We’re entering a time where association members are going to have smaller budgets and they’re going to be making choices on which association memberships they’re going to keep. We’re going to need to be much more proactive with our renewal plan rather than having a billing cycle that starts at the ninth month of membership. This could mean more direct calls about programs, building awareness, and providing members opportunities to engage with you. These are things that you may have relied on doing via email in the past. A much more intentional retention program, now until next year is imperative.
I’ve seen unprecedented value – and bottom-line impact – of the government relations plans that associations are offering right now, as well as the issues that associations are working on solving. You’re going to need to connect your lobbyists and your government relations team with your membership team to make sure you’re articulating the impact and the value of what you’re doing and government relations.
If it is not painfully obvious for you, from now until the foreseeable future, hybrid and virtual events will be the norm. The meeting and event teams will have to become experts and specialists in that area. Your sponsorship sales team will have to become specialists at virtual sponsorships, too.
Leadership at the CEO level will continue to evolve. Your teams are going to be telecommuting more, you’re going to be on more Zoom calls, and you’re going to have less face-to-face interaction. That means expectations and how you measure performance will have to be articulated clearly. You’re not seeing your team or walking around the office every day. You’re going to continue doing that virtually. Which is why expectations need to be crystal clear for your employees. That’s a tremendous leadership opportunity.
Wish you well, new skills for a new era. Here they come.
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