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 stronger 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 and purpose a chance to:
Coordinate their efforts
Leverage the costs over many people
Do things as a group, they could not do individually effectively
Build trust to take advantage of business opportunities
When passion and purpose connect with one another, it creates the "CAUSE" you stand for in your association. It's this CAUSE that drives everyone to join your association.
There is no other business model that allows a group of people with common passion, purpose and cause 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.
Three elements are dramatically causing change in every industry:
- Consumer buying habits
- Technology advances
- Demographic shifts
With technology advancements in social media, the association model has been made stronger and more powerful because:
We have now given the smallest member in the most remote location an opportunity to be involved in the conversation and engage in change.
We have empowered our members to connect 24/7 in real-time.
We have engaged our members to have a louder voice because the voice has expanded.
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 putting focus in some key
areas I have in my Association Strong Visual at the right:
Being Member Focused in Everything
Maximizing the Association Value
Focus on Member Engagement
Deliver With Wow Factor
Do things for your members they can't do for themselves effectively
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 driven by change, awareness and innovation. Since 2006, our association has aggressively made technology advancements and re-engineered our habits, and 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.
The question is... "Are you leading them to the path that empowers them in these desires?"
If any association puts focus on my Association Strong visual, implements the right technology advancements, re-engineers 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.
Associations don't need radical change. They need a systematic shift in small steps to rebuild their value proposition and confidence from their members.
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.