Associations are engaged in a formidable challenge regarding their relevance. Not only must they compete with other nonprofits and for-profits for members’ time and money, but they also must contend with quick and free sources of information, and scores of online alternatives for “associating” with others.
Discerning and prospective members alike have different expectations these days of how to connect, learn and interact with their professional association and their peers. The same is true of staff and executives operating these professional associations.
Rapidly evolving digital technologies are changing the way Americans live, do business and connect with others.
With those technologies comes data – data from our cell phones, social media sites, climate control systems, electronic transaction records, digital photos and videos, among many other sources. There’s so much data, in fact, that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years.
If you don’t yet have one, do you know why you should?
Often when associations think of elevating their presence in the digital space, they focus on acquiring and maintaining the actual technology—from mobile to social media to cloud and beyond—rather than the strategy needed to transform an organization digitally.
Create the Right Approach to Transform Your Organization
Our world is more connected now and in ways that few could foresee. In a matter of weeks, health foundations can attract more than $100 million in donations from an ice-bucket challenge. Overnight, singing sensations are discovered on YouTube. And in a few seconds, citizens in repressive regimes can report on real news—temporarily bypassing censors to reveal the truth.
Associations typically have an organizational strategic plan. But there is often a lack of strategy when it comes to technology, even though it is needed in order to implement successful marketing and membership initiatives.
You don’t need to be a million-dollar organization to be innovative. You just need to be opportunity thinkers.
Members of the .orgSource team recently attended the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives Innovation Summit. Pam Henderson, Ph.D., author of “You Can Kill an Idea, But You Can't Kill an Opportunity!” was the keynote speaker. Her presentation got me thinking: How could I (and the associations that I work with) become “opportunity thinkers”?
The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, prodded by some of its members, came upon an idea to get them more engaged: Instead of rewarding them for who they are, reward them for what they do for the association.