A huge number of my keynote presentations are for professional, industry, trade or other associations. All of them are faced with some serious challenges — a decline in membership, an inability to maintain their relevance, or a lack of capability to innovate in terms of program delivery.
The article takes a look at the obvious trends which are to impact associations in the years to come. I don’t hold back any punches, opening with these words:
We know we live in a world in which new trends change everything we know at a furious pace. Rapid change envelopes us, consumes us, and pounds us with its reminders of its urgency every single day. There are many obvious trends that impact us; we often refuse or are incapable of assessing their impact.
And so the future marches on, and many associations remain stuck in a rut of complacency. They deliver the same old program. They focus on the same old issues, generate the same old knowledge, plan the same old conference, and have their agenda managed by the same old membership has-beens.
Meanwhile, they bemoan the fact that membership is declining; that the Millenials seem to have little time or inclination to join them; and that the world is just becoming, well, too complex to deal with.
So they form a committee, hire a consultant, study the issue, and lull themselves into a false sense of future-security.
By doing so, they are almost guaranteeing themselves a march into oblivion.
This article is a must read for any association executive today. Quite often, the trends that will impact us are right in front of us. This article puts those trends into perspective. In doing so, it provides a good framework as to how to start some innovative thinking in order to deal with those trends.
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