In a recent whitepaper, “Designing the Future of Associations,” produced by Digital Now, 81% of association executives stated that they expect data science and analytics to have a significant impact on their sector. As we look towards the last half of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 this stat is not surprising. As we’ve learned from many of you, your association is facing increased competition on the member front, due to the catapulted digital transformation of many industries. Pre-pandemic, many associations were the central hub of information and data for its members. As sponsors, vendors and associations alike in all industries ramped up their digital offerings, this created a new competitive threat that many associations simply had not faced before. In addition to having this increased competition, membership is decreasing as noted in the 2021 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. 47% of associations reported a decrease in membership over the previous year. Yet, on average 43% of an association’s annual revenue is derived from dues. So, what can associations do to address these new concerns?
Compliance plays a role in every organization and often there are programs or actions that are a direct result of ensuring compliance. It is fine if these programs involve transactional only items, but DEI is more than transactional. It is about the culture of the organization, the success of the team and ultimately the bottom line. Compliance may be able to address the diversity part of the equation, but that is not nearly enough to thrive it in today’s environment.
I learned in one of my finance or economics classes (can’t really remember which) that economic and stock market growth can sometimes be as much a psychological exercise as it is a physical or fundamental exercise. Meaning, when people feel good or positive about something, it can have a strong impact on the performance of that activity. This is true in many areas of our lives. I know that when I stand over a golf ball on the tee box that my confidence meter is never completely neutral, it leans one way or another and typically my tee shot follows.
Benchmarking over the past few years has been evolving, and COVID-19 simply catapulted us into the era of the shorter more frequent studies. As a benchmarking company in the association industry, we at Dynamic Benchmarking have seen the needs of our clients shift to deliver smaller, more time sensitive, studies periodically throughout the year. However, they did not want to sacrifice what we refer to as the "me" data or the personalized benchmarks for their members. They wanted the simplicity of a basic survey, but they did not want to give up the benefits of benchmarking.
Example of a Benchmarking Question with Me Data in Purple:
Example of a Question with No Me Data:
“For associations to make better decisions and fewer mistakes, they need to embrace the idea of collective intelligence.” Lior Zoref, a researcher and author of Mindsharing: The Art of Crowdsourcing Everything
This post was written by Amanda Kaiser, CEO and Founder of Kaiser Insights, LLC. Amanda is a qualitative researcher for the association industry and co-creator of the New Member Engagement Study. You can read Amanda’s weekly blog for association professionals at SmoothThePath.net or follow her on Twitter @SmoothThePath.