Three mega trends are impacting nonprofit organizations and associations today. Association leadership that recognize these trends are are quick to adapt will succeed in the 21st Century networked nonprofit.
Membership retention and recruitment has become increasingly difficult during the extended recession. Whether dues are paid personally or by the company, a much higher degree of frugality is the new norm. Value is questioned more than price. Associations are evaluating their models and considering ala carte or customized membership alternatives (not all members value the same things). They’re also looking for ways to improve and communicate their value proposition and place more effort on proactive retention efforts. Some associations are considering an organization based membership model to encourage more participation from each company. More information is being given away for free to build loyalty. Not a private club.
Mostly leveraging disruptive technology instead of affinity programs. Business model innovations especially around content creation and delivery. Blending of programs and services.
The traditional association organizational structure looks a lot like a triangle with the leadership at the top and the customers at the bottom. In the not-for-profit sector, this triangle should be turned on its head because the members are the de-facto owners of the association (associations can’t exist without their members). Need to be fast and more take more risks.
baby boomer generation is retiring and this will continue to have a significant impact on associations. All of the stakeholder groups will start looking a lot younger - from association staff, board members to volunteers and donors. Helping members to attract ‘young blood’ to their industries, adjusting to the new leadership styles of a younger generation, and finding ways to transfer tacit knowledge between seasoned executives and young leaders are just some of the challenges associations will face. If you don’t get GenY onboard soon, you future is at risk.On-boarding strategy, critical when in member acquisition mode.
Volunteerism has been on the decline for awhile now. The reality is that people are busier than ever before and have more things competing for their time. Those that choose to become members will be looking for ways they can contribute to the organization and the mission. Due to the demands on their time and money, they’ll look for short-bursts of volunteer opportunities–micro-volunteering if you will. They’ll take a half day off work to assist with stuffing envelopes or building a house—but they want those opportunities to feel like unique experiences–not grunt work the staff refuses to do. And, they don’t want to commit to a full year’s of meetings or long-term projects.
Some associations have viewed their state and chapters as competition. More and more they’re realizing that they’re on the same team with the same mission and cooperation and collaboration go further.International and domestic partnerships are on the up.Before going down the M&A marriage road, associations will start dating, and maybe even get engaged, with other associations and/or for profit publication/shows.Society of Mining Engineers?
Consultative selling vs. ala carte. Help them achieve overall marketing objectives through a variety of deliverables.
Associations realize that one of their greatest assets is content and information. Until now, many have not been capitalizing on content from their live events. Many are leveraging this asset to improve their value proposition and make it accessible to more members when and where they want to consume it. Live streaming, mobile access, affordable or sponsored webinars and improved rich libraries are several examples of extending the reach of their assets. More associations are making their content available to non-members as a lure into their community. The new paradigm is that by serving the industry first, we serve our members best. Associations are developing new methods, partnerships and distribution channels to curate, co-create and distribute relevant content with a segmentation strategy.Differentiating between information (commodity and readily available)and education. Information is generally free or included, education comes with a price tag and has a higher value. More content that’s not hidden behind the membership wall.Associations will have to begin to provide exceptional, unique, provocative content for its members. Not something members have to pay extra dollars to consume but something that is exclusive to membership only. Members already pay a membership fee and they want tangible returns from it. (Not just discounts to meetings, events, webinars or a free magazine!) That content must be beyond the typical 101 and 201 levels of instruction. The free content distributed to all can be at the 101 or 201 levels but in order to keep members and show value, the association will have to provide deep, high-quality content. And they’ll have to provide many opportunities for members to engage in analysis, debate, and co-creation of knowledge with that content
From members, non-members and general public
Curate and distribute content from more sources. Marketing instead of promotion. Customer Relationship Management.
Anyone Can Create Their Own Tribe Everything social – improved intimacy with growth measured by active participationTwo – way communication – lots of micro contributors.Capitalizing on word of mouth. Can’t say “buy my stuff” on social media without earning a relationship first.Mobile Access – Use of smart-phones and mobile devices is growing fast. More members will access content and do business with organizations that embrace this change. Associations are revamping their products and assets to be more accessible for the member on the go.
More communication, more personal.Increased privacy concerns. If they trust that you are there to help them vs. sell them something, they’ll allow more access.
As social media moves more into the foreground, non-transparency just won’t be an option anymore. When associations mess up, they will have to face the music.
More organizational openness and accessibility. Two way conversations.
2010 Association Trends:<br />SustainabilityRelevanceCredibility<br />