Never in history have we experienced so many technologies changing at such a fast pace. With millions of jobs being replaced by technology in a few short years, economic models, the way we work, and how we serve our constituents will change dramatically.

During .orgCommunity’s “30 on Thursday” webinar on March 9, .orgCommunity Co-Founder Sherry Budziak discussed challenges and opportunities facing associations, and how they must transform to advance the professions they serve and significantly increase revenue to support their missions.

“We are focusing so much effort on studying the next industrial revolution because it will have the greatest impact on society, associations and almost every profession they serve,” Budziak says. “The question for association leaders is ‘How do we define new business models and new ways of work?’”


Forces Driving Change

Many associations’ traditional functions can be achieved through solutions such as self-organizing networks and knowledge sharing platforms. Associations today are competing with other sources for education dollars and volunteer time, and their traditional governance structures continue to create barriers for innovation. All this coupled with online and mobile communication advancements, globalization, generational change and rising customer expectations are challenging association boards and executive staff to increase their speed and relevance.

“We have experienced for some time that many traditional associations are behind when it comes to technology, and the ability to provide customized services to their constituents is becoming increasingly difficult,” Budziak says.

Thriving, Innovating in a Digital World

To succeed and stay relevant, associations must take advantage of technologies that enable them to get even closer to customers—becoming more familiar, responsive and personal with them. Budziak recommends:

  • Harnessing data to become more responsive to members and constituents needs
  • Addressing the “market of one” – knowing the needs of the individual vs. the group
  • Engaging new and different audiences on a global scale
  • Revolutionizing how you communicate
  • Creating products enhanced by data
  • Predicting performance of assets
  • Transitioning traditional business models to digital models
  • Becoming agile, flexible and taking risks
  • Becoming the hub for content and resources for the industry that you serve
  • Cultivating staff talent to meld for-profit marketing and product development business acumen with the inherent strengths of a nonprofit organization
  • Engaging a diverse, distributed and expandable workforce, and considering project-based resources
  • Embarking on new partnerships to create collaborative innovation

“We have been conducting extensive research on how associations can thrive as we enter the next industrial revolution,” Budziak says. “Though this journey, we have been inspired by CEOs who are leading their organizations with great success stories. If led through this disruption and rapid technological revolution with courage, the associations that take risks can uncover extraordinary opportunities.”

Continue the Conversation:

  • Attend .orgCommunity’s one-day Disruption + Innovation: The Future Association Landscape conference on April 27 in Rosemont, Ill., where presenters will go more in-depth on these themes and topics.
  • Upgrade your .orgCommunity subscription to “VIP-All Access” and get exclusive access to the Association of the Future Think Tank meetings and learnings. At the VIP subscriber level, all .orgCommunity education and events are included in the annual subscription fee and space at all our programs is automatically reserved. VIP subscribers also can invite staff to attend .orgCommunity programing at a reduced rate and designate a staff member to attend the events they can’t for FREE.
  • Join the Association of the Future Think Tank (exclusive benefit to .orgCommunity VIP-All Access subscribers). We are facilitating a series of sessions where association leaders can envision a future for their organizations and the industry. Think Tank members discuss how the next industrial revolution may impact association management, how to rise to challenges we face, and how to create organizations that are vital and growing.

Position Your Organization For Success

Join .orgCommunity today for free.

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