Relevant Schmelavant – are Associations Days Numbered?

Lori Halley 11 July 2012 0 comments

Are you tired of industry experts telling you that your association is no longer relevant and its days are numbered? Patricia Hudson certainly is. 

Trish, who is President of the Melos Institute (a nonprofit independent think tank focused on addressing challenges facing membership-based organizations) and a regular contributor to Wild Apricot's Membership Knowledge Hub, believes that:

“associations are on the cusp of their finest hour. Indeed some adjustments must be made in order to get there. And if you’re willing to pursue them, your association has the capacity to be a place where members across generations can benefit in distinctive ways that cannot be replicated elsewhere…not now…not ever.”   

We need to stop looking at associations solely through a business lens

In her latest article (available through our Hub), Trish suggests that “the problem we are facing is not one of relevance, but one of perspective.” Even though, she notes, “associations have been in existence since the dawn of the Republic, our understanding of what makes them operate best remains limited.”   

Trish challenges the notions that “you need to transact business with your members… and [sell] a membership’ as though it is no different from buying a new mobile device. And that multiple transactions with your members will engender loyalty. And ultimately ensure retention.”  Trish cautions that using this perspective “distorts the way you relate to your members; and how they in turn relate to you. This approach is guaranteed to produce a viable customer base but is guaranteed not to generate a highly-engaged membership community.” 

In this article, Trish suggests that  those associations that operate as member-based organizations (MBOs) are those whose futures she feels have the greatest potential. In the article, Trish offers tips on how changing your perspective and that of your staff will help to change your outcome, including:

  • shifting how to communicate with members
  • building a working relationship with members
  • helping members learn how to establish more meaningful relationships within the organization 

Trish believes that “extraordinary things happen in membership-based organizations when they operate in a relation-centered manner.” And reminds us that “no other entity – no matter how advanced the technology – can replicate what MBOs [member-based organizations] can do.”  

Read Trish Hudson's Full Article 

You can link to the full article in our Membership Knowledge Hub here:

Relevant Schmelavant….. Your Association Right Now Can Deliver Meaningful Experiences to Your Members

Once you've read the article, let us - and Trish - know what you think in the comments below.

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 11 July 2012 at 8:30 AM

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