What Are Other Associations Doing?


Our partners at Association Laboratory (AL) just released the latest installment of their Looking Forward® Solutions research. AL's ongoing work in this area aims to help association leaders understand the changing association strategy environment. The results of this latest round of research - conducted in March of 2022 - provide concrete data in response to the age-old question, 'What are other associations doing?" Today's blog explores some of the study's highlights, but I encourage leaders to head over to Association Laboratory, Inc. to access the full report and check out the smart dashboard. (Data-minded association leaders are also encouraged to help us with our current research project by sharing the status of your association's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiatives - completing the study allows you complimentary access to the report as well as customizable tools.)

Free Webinar Opportunity - CAE Credit Available

I had the pleasure of unpacking the research findings with Artesha Moore, FASAE, CAE, President & CEO of Association Forum, and Dean A West, FASAE, President, Association Laboratory in a webinar last week. You can catch that conversation and hear Dean's take on what associations are doing in AL's live webinar being held on June 15. Registration is free; details are available here

Top 3 Concerns

The top two concerns cited by association leaders remained consistent when compared to responses from December of 2021. Member retention, acquisition, or engagement (92%) maintains its position as the highest concern. Face-to-face meetings, conventions, or tradeshow was the second-highest once again, with 79% of respondents reporting some level of concern in this area. Finally, Sponsorship (79%) replaced Government advocacy (56%) as the third concern most often cited for 2022. 

Most Common Strategies for Membership

Looking Forward® Solutions identified two strategies as go-to's for associations in 2022. Identifying emerging needs (63%) was the top-cited strategy related to the Membership Model. And 62% of respondents indicated that Customizing messaging for different audience segments was a strategy they'd be using related to their General Membership efforts. While this data is consistent with association approaches reported using in 2021, it's noteworthy that there was a 7% jump in associations Using social media or SEO promotion (48%). 

Most Common Strategies for Meetings

The study addresses virtual, hybrid, and face-to-face meetings separately. Identifying or producing more relevant meeting content (75%) is still the most prevalent strategy for Face to Face Meetings. However, there's a noticeable uptick (6%) in associations focusing on Expanding on-site attendee networking or social activities (59%). The study reveals a shift in the top strategy for Hybrid Meetings from Investing in technology infrastructure supporting hybrid meetings (33%), which was the top strategy in December of 2021, to Integrating content with in-person events (42%) in March of 2022. Lastly, for Virtual Meetings, the most prevalent strategy is Creating engaging virtual content (60%) again for 2022. 

Top Strategies in Other Core Areas

Looking Forward® Solutions also identifies top strategies utilized by associations in 2022 for other domains, including Exhibitors, Sponsorship, Publications or Digital/Online Content, Education, Accreditation or Certification, Government Advocacy, Component Relationship, Global and Governance, and Leadership. Details are available at https://www.associationlaboratory.com/.

Are your strategies for 2022 similar to those reported by other associations? I'd love to hear your take! 

Wondering What Other Associations are Really Doing about DEI? 

Association executives and director-level staff are invited to participate in the association sector's assessment on the status of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Complete this comprehensive study and receive complimentary access to a customizable dashboard giving you a look at how associations are addressing these critical issues.