Will associations be relevant in the future? Can associations keep up with the financially loaded for-profits that are nipping away at our revenues and members’ attention with their user conferences, webinars, articles, and even research? Sure! Many associations will find ways to advance their professions, industries, and missions by fostering conversation, community, learning, and action.
Will my association be relevant in the future? Will my association survive the environmental forces that threaten it? There’s industry consolidation while at the same time, niche associations are sprouting up. Members’ employers are less likely to pay membership and even more unlikely to allow members to volunteer. Our members’ attention is shrinking, and their wallets are too. Will we survive? Probably, if the association learns how to innovate and change. When the association becomes the place where members become strategists, change management experts, and problem-solvers, the organization has a better chance of success.
Will I be relevant in the future? This is the scariest question in the list, isn’t it? Do I have it in me? Who am I to do this job? Can I figure this out? A career in association executiveing is the ultimate adventure because the map of 10 years ago does not work today. It is hard to say what skills and behaviors are going to work best in the future, but, I think there is a mindset that will be successful. That mindset is a member’s first mindset. Those of us who remain curious, always seeking out interaction with members, open to feedback, trying to understand the forces in our member’s environment and their worries, this is the mindset that will help each of us to remain relevant in the future.