Associations have been pushed to do new things, such implementing and rolling out new events and programs, to survive and thrive in this new era. 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’ll to need to be 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 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 government relations team with your membership team to make sure you’re articulating the impact and the value of what you’re doing with 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 continue telecommuting, 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’ll have to do that virtually. Which is why expectations need to be crystal clear for your employees. That’s a tremendous leadership opportunity and opportunity for growth.
What new skills are you working on to thrive in this new era for associations?
When I talk to associations about having us sell their memberships, sponsorships, ads, or exhibits, it is almost always met with some form of...