Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Is The Power ON In Your Association?

Today, more than ever, it is critical that your association put 100% of your focus on "doing things for your members that they can't do themselves."  If you scan the market economy at every level, in every industry, market disruption is coming at a record pace.  It used to take companies decades to penetrate an industry to become a player.  With evolving technology, companies can now own an industry in just a few years.  UBER is a perfect example of how a company can come out of no where, and in a few short years create total havoc in an industry.

If you think your industry is exempt from such disruption....you are fooling yourself.  I want to encourage you to rise above that type of thinking.  Understand that your association is the most powerful FORCE for making change in your industry, and to help your members seize the moment in this time of rapid change.  Our association figured this out in 2006.  We decided to not listen to those who were saying, "associations are not relevant", "membership is dead", "young people aren't joiners" and "social media was going to kill our meetings".

We understood a key component to thriving in a fast-paced business climate:  Individually people are strong, but together as an association, people are POWERFUL.  We seized that knowledge in our association and our performance took off over the last 10 years:
  • Membership is up 17%
  • Dues income is up 32%
  • Non-dues revenue is up 415%
  • Overall revenue is up 49%
  • Net reserves have soared to over 1,000% growth
  • Member retention is at a strong 96% annually
This growth has provided our board with incredible resources to be flexible, creative, and to take risks that members cannot invest in or take themselves.

Now for you who think we had some magical environment during that last 10 years, that has afforded all of this growth, and that our association isn't like yours...you're wrong.  Our association has had many of the same challenges as many associations have:  Old thinking, economic fallout of 2009, convincing young people that we offer relevance and value to them, and the threat of social media. 

However, what separated us from many other associations is that we CHOSE to not forget who we are, why we were created, and we didn't listen to those who claimed that associations have no relevance.

We chose to believe, with passion, that members want to be engaged.  They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  They wanted to share.  They want to meet with others like themselves and connect at deeper levels.  They want to be successful.

Your association is your member's path to that high level success.  Your association is the key to their success, because no other business model allows members to do the following 5 key elements together:
  • Organize themselves
  • Coordinate their efforts
  • Spread the cost over many
  • Build a network of trusting partnerships
  • Do things for themselves effectively they can't do individually
To succeed in today's crazy, fast-paced climate, it is critical that your association has a rolling 24- month business plan.  This plan sets the stage for how you will drive programs that will engage your members, tackle the issues that threaten their business, and networks them together to create trusted partnerships and business opportunities.

Disruptions like UBER, iTunes, and Amazon are just the beginning.  Developing technologies like the self-driven car, additive manufacturing, 3D printing, and a sharing/rental economy are going to transform how your members compete and view your association.  The question is....will you be ready?   Will your members be ready?  Do you have a process to define your industry disruption? Do you have a next generation task force helping to drive programs of the future?  Does your board have a culture of change and innovation?

If you want to get a good start in energizing your leadership and your members, consider having me do my two sessions at your next leadership conference or annual meeting on:

- How to Get Members to Scream Your Name & Beg For More
- What's Your UBER...Getting Ready For the Future That is HERE NOW

Building a strong association that has a growing membership, strength in revenues, and focused mission isn't by chance....it's by building a plan and a culture that energizes your leadership's innovation, member passion, and volunteer excitement.

Let me help you make 2016 count for your association members.  It will be the best investment you make in 2016.  If you are interested in having me speak at your next meeting, contact me at 904-334-9408, tom@tommorrison.biz or CLICK HERE to complete a speaking RFP.


1 comment:

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