5 Tips to Keep Your Association Ahead of the Curve in 2017

While change is the biggest certainty in life, it doesn’t make it any easier. Add on newly elected leaders, economic worries, mobile devices constantly buzzing in our pockets and shortened news cycles can really stoke people’s fears and hopes about the future. Luckily, associations, trade societies, and charitable foundations have been advocating for their members and creating community for some time. Their focus on the greater good is an excellent opportunity to start your 2017. Here are 5 tips to position your association for success now and for years to come.

Spread Positivity and Hope

No matter what industry you represent, sharing optimism and hope regularly will take you far. Whether you’re communicating to your membership via email, video, or giving an address at your group’ annual convention, temper reality with optimism. By showing your organization’s passion for helping your members in good and challenging times, you also show that you have each member’s success at heart.

Focus on Your Value

Associations came into being because people found it beneficial to band together for a common goal. Make sure your value proposition is crystal clear. Provide benefits and services that address your member’s biggest challenges, fears, and anxieties. Find out what your members can’t easily do themselves, such as salary surveys, benchmarking, training, research, and advocacy, and fill that gap.

Is your association a knowledge leader by setting best practices and offering certifications to identify proficiency and skills? Perhaps you fill education gaps by having multiple ways for your members to advance their career, volunteer, and connect with mentors. Training can be delivered in so many ways, including in-person at conferences and events, on-the-go with podcasts, live or on-demand webinars and video streaming to name a few. Think about what would help your membership be more successful as industries, technology and economic conditions change. If you help them weather the changes, they’ll reward you with their loyalty.

Embrace Technology

Technology can help you automate processes, like membership renewals and welcome messages to new members, finances, reporting, and other operational tasks. It can also help you engage with members across wide geographic distances using social media, webinars, podcasts, online forums, video, live streaming and more. Don’t presume that your members can’t learn “new” tricks or get used to new processes. You might be surprised that they can with the right mix of help and communication.

Communicate with Purpose

Shore up and streamline your communications strategy across your organization. If your organization conducts an annual member survey, it’s the perfect time to assess all of your communication channels including social media. Keep in mind that members, who read emails, may miss your post on Facebook, so it pays to repeat messages in different formats. Can your e-newsletter be shortened and does it look good on a mobile device? Small tweaks can reap big rewards. Don’t forget your paper strategy. Despite what one might hear, there is still room for direct mail in certain circumstances. Consider how valuable a handwritten thank you note for volunteering on a committee might mean to that new member who is just getting started.

Diversify Your Membership

Depending on your membership mix, consider how you may diversity and include members of different ages. What newer graduates are interested in will undoubtedly differ from the leadership challenge that a more experienced professional may be looking for.  Think about how a mentorship programs, volunteer opportunities, and networking events can help professionals get to know one another.

Steady progress and a commitment to your members’ success will take you a long way. Don’t get caught up in the chaos of the day-to-day, get to work delivering what your members most need day after day and the storm will pass. They always do.

We’re Committed to Your Success

Need a strategic, experienced partner on your side to help manage your Association? Look to the experts at Ascent Management, an association management company that provides full-service and outsourced solutions for associations of many sizes. Contact us to learn more how we can help you automate operations and select strategies that will keep you organization thriving.