Trends to Accelerate Association Impact

Posted By: Donna Oser, CAE Blog,

Legacy models of business operations for associations and member engagement have been permanently disrupted. According to the latest edition of Association Viewpoint, a research report published by McKinley Advisors, the acceleration of associations lies in our ability to leverage opportunities within several areas:  

Workforce - The current talent shortage presents associations with an opportunity to attract new entrants to the labor pool by making their industries (and the jobs within them) more attractive to future talent. Associations can influence how their industries approach organizational culture, corporate social responsibility, industry norms, working conditions, compensation, and benefits. 

Digital Transformation - COVID pushed associations into adopting new technologies, and that journey must continue. CEOs globally rated digital and technological capabilities as their number one priority for 2022 - even higher than human capital. This is because internal-facing technologies improve efficiency and provide better business intelligence, and external-facing technologies transform the member experience and remove barriers to meaningful engagement. Now is the time to adopt internal- and external-facing technologies for efficiency and impact.

Agility - With complex governance structures and (often) long-serving staff teams, associations have historically been slow to change. According to McKinley's research, associations looking to accelerate are reevaluating legacy structures, policies, and norms that inhibit their ability to adapt in anticipation of and response to changes in their operating environment. Rapid decision-making and implementation are key to future success. 

Impact investing - Association reserves can be used for more than rainy days! Associations should consider how strategic investments in promising new ideas incubating outside of their associations but within the industries they serve could move their mission(s) and industries forward.  

The full report is available at McKinley publishes the report each year in an effort to help the association sector understand and anticipate market trends and leverage data to better position associations for success.