Several members of the Omnipress team made the trek up to Vancouver recently to participate in this year’s AMCI Annual Meeting. The event was packed with interesting sessions on a number of topics, but if you had to condense it all into one word, it would be “sustainability.”
The association world has seen dramatic growth over the past 20 years, and taking steps to sustain that growth into the future was an underlying theme of each presentation. The speakers at the event offered many ideas, but in general, there were three approaches to help associations build on the success of the past two decades:
Approach #1: Creating Excellence Within Your Organization
Several presenters at the conference suggested that organizational success begins by looking within. These speakers focused on making internal improvements to your culture, mission or processes.
Virtual workforces: This organizational structure is becoming increasingly common for both corporations and associations. For associations, there are some clear advantages in creating this type of environment:
- Allowing employees to work off-site is an effective incentive in the hiring process. Millennials, in particular, are interested in non-traditional work environments, and the ability to work remotely is an enticing benefit.
- Having a de-centralized staff creates greater flexibility for growth. In a traditional scenario, growing your staff often results in outgrowing your office space. When you have staff that works from home, you can quickly scale up without needing to find larger offices.
“The Givens”: This presentation focused on the culture within an association. “The Givens” refer to those aspects of your mission statement that are so common, they really are a given. Boilerplate values like integrity and honesty don’t need to be part of your mission statement because these qualities are assumed. Instead, your mission statement should include the values that only your organization can provide.
Approach #2: Promoting Your Association to New Members
Marketing continues to be another area that generates interest from association professionals. Using content marketing for promoting the value of membership is still something that many struggle to put into practice. As older members retire and leave the association, online content marketing is an effective way to reach the next generation of young professionals.
AMCs that can provide guidance and best practices for associations to reuse their content can add tremendous value to the organizations they work with.
Approach #3: Improving Member Engagement
For most associations, increasing member growth and engagement are top priorities. Educational sessions that delve into these topics are always crowd favorites, and one presentation combined both of these elements into one interesting hour.
Associations that have a large number of Baby-Boomer members are facing an interesting scenario: As members retire from the workforce, they may not be ready to retire from the association. In fact, retirement may allow these senior members an opportunity to participate in ways that were not possible while they were employed. One solution for these members is for them to serve as mentors to younger members. Mentorships offer a new kind of engagement for members and provides a tangible benefit for younger members that are looking to advance their careers.
In addition to these sessions, the 2018 AMCI Annual Meeting provided many opportunities to talk with peers about how they are working to keep the momentum going. Listening to the ideas presented at the event, it’s clear that the association industry is poised to continue the success of the past 20 years.