The Future of Associations

By |Published On: January 28, 2014|

On Friday, January 17 I had the privilege of moderating an esteemed panel of experts in a discussion titled, The Future of Associations at the National Association of Manufacturers Council of Manufacturing Associations Winter Meeting.

The audience included more than 100 association executive members of the NAM CMA and more than 200 people joining live via webcast.

If you missed the session, you missed a lot.  However, don’t be upset because you can view the entire session by visiting this link.

I thought the points of view offered by the three panelists were very interesting and in some ways surprising.  All in all, the panelists agreed on one major point:  In five to ten years associations will not look like they do today.

Each panelist had very different points of view as to why associations will change and what exactly associations will look like in ten years.

I would like for this blog post to become an opportunity for all of you (association executives, association staff, association volunteers) to share a dialog about the future of associations.  Think about the following questions and reply with your answers to some or all of them.  Let’s see if we can shape the future of associations instead of letting the future shape them for us. 

1.  What kind of thinking should associations and association leaders be doing to deliver value to members in the future?

2.  How are demographic shifts impacting associations now and in the future?

3.  With major demographic shifts occurring, how will associations deliver value to their significantly different members in the future?

4.  How are volunteers and volunteering changing in the future?

5.  What are the key drivers of change in associations?

6.  Will the consensus process of decision making change in the future?  If so, how will that change affect associations?

7.  Who/What will be the three greatest competitors of associations in the future?

Let’s get this discussion going.  I’m excited to see the results.

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