This is my take; it seems many associations want to be all things to all people. I get the drive for inclusiveness but on the business-side I wonder if some this is purely the drive for growth?
Is there some association dogma surrounding success? Is a successful association one with a large membership? Is a measure of success a large budget size?
In the for-profit world businesses tend to do better when they have a defined niche focus. Especially the ones with limited advertising budgets. They are able to innovate and solve their community’s problems. They can more easily speak and listen to one community vs. the masses. They can focus their resources in a way that meets the needs of their community and doesn’t overextend their capabilities. Can’t this be the case for associations too?
Imagine fully serving a smaller but extremely engaged member group. The association continues to stay relevant into the future because resources are focused on the needs of this member group. Staff is able to engage in two-way dialogue. Members have ample opportunity to discuss goals and needs. Association staff has opportunities to solve member’s problems. On the business-side members purchase additional products and services more frequently and at a higher price.
How would it feel if your association was smaller but mightier?
Image credit Sandra Boynton, Yay, You!: Moving Out, Moving Up, Moving On