Turning Challenges into Opportunities

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Redstone had the pleasure of attending the Canadian Society for Association Executives (CSAE) Trillium Chapter’s PDX Event on Big Association Trends – From Identification to Innovation at the stunning BMO Institute for Learning. This interactive session was hosted by The Portage Group’s Jack Shand and Geoffrey Thacker. They led an exclusive, high-level overview of their 2017 Canadian Association Trends Report – a list of 10 current trends and challenges in the association sector, developed from a survey of 290 Association Executives from across Canada. Attendees were tasked with looking within their organizations and reflecting on their experiences to identify solutions to challenging trends in a group discussion format (a great way to break the ice at the table!).

Without revealing all top ten trends (you’ll have to read the Trends Report!), here are three major topics covered:

Trend: Ability of organizations to adapt and be nimble in a rapidly changing environment

What can your organization do to be quick on its feet and react swiftly to change? An important place to start is listening to the voices of your members. Members’ interests, needs and expectations of your association will change over time and you may discover ways to serve them better.

Embrace technology. This is more important than ever before. Boards should incorporate technology into their strategic planning and consider using technology to facilitate virtual board meetings. Some examples of how technology can enhance the member experience include a mobile friendly website, online spaces for members to connect and online educational resources like webinars.

Trend: Revenue diversification (non-dues revenue)

Associations can find revenue in areas like sponsorships and partnerships, which can bring in  extra dollars and increase awareness. Issuing joint memberships with associations in different provinces or south of the border is another way to partner with like-minded associations and potentially increase membership.

Trend: Growing demand by members for tangible ROI

Member communications that convey the value of membership with your association can go a long way, whether it’s a welcome webinar for new members, quantifying member value, or exclusive access to industry knowledge and resources. Promote your members as thought leaders in the industry and recruit existing members to champion your association and the value of membership.

While the constantly changing landscape of the association sector presents challenges that may seem impassable, your organization can achieve success by embracing them as opportunities for innovation and growth. We invite you to get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you navigate change.

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