Traditionally, associations played a vital role in helping enterprises and professionals across all industries develop and implement collective strategies to overcome the challenges they face. However, the advancements in technology and introduction of new business models have significantly influenced the way professional associations work and deliver value to their members.
Retaining membership numbers remains the fundamental issue for associations in today’s technology-driven world where the internet has made it easier for an individual to access and share information about anything with anyone. As a result, people are no longer willing to pay for the privilege of belonging. They need a more tangible reason to become a part of an association in an era where private companies are investing heavily in the skills and education of their employees.
In the face of such disruptions, the question arises: what unique value do professional associations provide? Consequently, trade and professional associations are seeking ways to emerge as a thought leader in their respective industry. They have shifted their focus to building a community of visionary leaders who are capable of crafting the future.
Another way trade and professional associations can attract and engage members is by providing just-in-time information to their audiences. To ensure this, they must invest in robust technology that can enable them to provide information beyond market trends and dynamics to their members in a real-time manner.
Resistance to ‘acting like a business’ is another reason behind diminishing membership numbers. Many trade and professional associations are led by volunteer leaders with limited relevant industry experience. It is important for the leaders of these associations to understand that associations are entities in which stakeholders invest their resources and expect a return on their investment. Associations must adopt adequate management and governance practices that enable them to be viable, robust, and live up to members expectations of the organization.
At Allen Austin, we provide executive search and leadership development services to help trade and professional associations overcome the governance and management issues and retain membership numbers. We utilize our extensive experience as an executive search firm to assess the leadership needs of associations and devise a comprehensive strategy to fulfill them.
Our experts have a strong track record of finding and evaluating top executives with exceptional subject matter expertise, diplomatic skills, and the motivation required to achieve the unique objectives of professional associations. Our well-established presence also affords us access to the best leadership talent, helping us fulfill the needs of professional associations operating across a broad spectrum of industries. We are able to provide highly tailored executive search and leadership advisory services that deliver tangible value to associations and help them achieve growth and sustainability.