Monday, July 6, 2015

Associations Are More Powerful Than You Think!

There are many in the world of associations who are preaching
against the world of associations. They are claiming that associations don't work, they are out of touch, people don't want to pay dues and the membership model doesn't work.

They couldn't be farther from the truth.  The association model is the STRONGEST model for assimilating people for a cause.  Period.  There is no strong model.

I like to compare the traditional association model to that of the traditional car model.  Cars of today have the same four components they did in the 1960's, with an engine, body, frame, and four wheels.  The car has always been the best and most efficient mode of transportation for the average person.  Yet the cars of today outperform cars of the 1960's, because of technology advancements and re-engineering.

Associations are exactly the same.  The traditional model of today encompasses the same core elements as the 1960's, in that associations provide groups of people with a common passion, a purpose, and a chance to:
  1. Organize themselves
  2. Coordinate their efforts
  3. Leverage the costs over many people
  4. Do things as a group, they could not do individually, effectively
  5. Build trust to take advantage of business opportunities
There is no other business model that allows a group of people with common passion and purpose, to pull off such great accomplishments as the association model does and "sustain itself."  For all of you who believe the internet and social media can assimilate people with a common purpose, you're fooling yourself, because someone has got to execute and do the work.  Social media allows people to talk, write, and shout out a lot, but at some point, someone has to leave their computer and do the work.  This is where the associations rules the day.

With technology advancements in social media and other online platforms the association model has been made stronger and more powerful because:
  1. We have now given the smallest member in the most remote location an opportunity to be involved in the conversation.
  2. We have empowered our members to connect 24/7.
  3. We have engaged our members to have a louder voice because the voice has expanded.
  4. We have become more important as a trusted filter to the incredible amount of wrong information on the internet.
The reason people view the association model as dead, is because many CEO's and execs have viewed technology advancements as a threat to their control and association model, instead of the path to re-engineering that which can propel their association to expand their reach to rule their universe.

Creating a powerful machine called "Your Association" comes from understanding the three types of members all associations have and the three levels of engagement that all operate in. Once you understand these dynamics in measurable results, you can then build a plan to reach each segment of your membership to strengthen their engagement with the association.

Remember, the #1 reason members site for leaving is "lack of engagement."  Yet associations continue to have issue driven strategies and no plan to meet their members where they are.  Poor choice in my book in today's world of associations.

I know this, because our organization still runs a traditional model.  However, since 2006, our association has aggressively made technology advancements and re-engineered our habits, and the member satisfaction, member loyalty, engagement of the younger generation, and financial strength of our organization has never been higher.  Check out these performance measures:
  • Retention rate is 96% year end and year out
  • 80% of members are engaged in at least one program
  • Our young executive series management training program sells out every year
  • Dues income is up 39% from where it was 10 years ago
  • Our non-dues revenue is up over 400% what it was 10 years ago 
  • Net reserves have increased over 1,000 in last 10 years
All of this with one of the largest economic downturns and slowest recoveries in American history.

Here's the deal and what I have figured out:
  • People WANT to accomplish something bigger than themselves with groups common to them.
  • People WANT to be a part of something exciting.
  • People WANT to believe in an organization who can empower them to make it happen.
If any association implements technology advancements, and the right re-engineering around the five core association elements mentioned above and 10 key elements I teach in my session How to Get Members to Scream Your Name and Beg For More, I believe your association can rule your universe and engage the loyalty of your members.

If you would like to see the deliverables I've been providing associations over the last three years in working with their leadership, CLICK HERE.

Associations don't need radical change.  They need a systematic shift in small steps to rebuild their value proposition and confidence from their members.  If your association needs to find hope in themselves and strength for the future, I can help them find it.

Good luck in your journey to engage, excite and inspire your members to build a group a members who aren't just strong, but YOUR ASSOCIATION STRONG.

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