Association Trends for Late 2022

20 Apr Association Trends for Late 2022

If you thought last year brought ambiguity for associations and nonprofits, the coming 12 months probably won’t be much better. While we may have a slightly better handle on COVID, there are still unknowns out there, with new concerns about shortages, shipping delays and economic stability. 

Hybrid Events

This is such a hot alternative to conventional meetings and conferences that we did a whole post about it. Hybrid events are a combination of in-person and virtual participation. They let organizations satisfy both camps: people who want to convene onsite and those who prefer not to travel. 

The keys to success with hybrid events are: 

  • Setting objectives and working backwards with meeting planning
  • Hiring consultants to help with complicated online parts of the event
  • Making sure both types of attendees have an equally rewarding experience

 

Greater Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion

The past year has witnessed a great deal of conflict around issues of discrimination. Therefore, associations are taking more time now to ensure they’re being more sensitive and inclusive. This includes:

  • Creating programming and content for more diverse audiences
  • Widening membership and lowering barriers to entry
  • Bringing on new board members
  • Assessing internal operations for potential issues

Even if your group is doing well in this category, it’s wise to consider occasional diversity training, surveying members about inclusiveness, and shoring up insurance to protect against allegations of discriminatory practices.

More Digital Revenue Streams

Online income continues to be a lifesaver for many organizations. It can replace some traditional revenue models and seems like it’s here to stay. How can your association bring in more money digitally? Ebooks, gated content, special access forums, accreditation, mentoring, and courses are still popular options. Videos and podcasts are taking off right now too, which are ideal for attracting younger members.

Increased Awareness About Data Breaches and Cyber Crime

All that online activity shouldn’t come with a price, though. Nonprofits and small organizations actually have a surprisingly high rate of cyber crime perpetrated against them than larger groups. Associations are particularly at risk because of the amount of financial data they collect. 

Your association should be making sure it’s not vulnerable to ID theft, hacking, and other forms of cyber crime. The more business you do online, the more you need to protect your members with employee education, better encryption, and cyber attack planning, including recovery strategies.

Agile Strategic Thinking

While the pandemic knocked many of us off our feet, it forced us to take a look at how we plan for the future. It’s not sufficient anymore to write one-, five- and ten-year plans, assuming those agendas are set in stone.

It’s better to create short-term and long-term goals that have contingency strategies built in. Consider questions like:

  • What will you do if another event like the pandemic happens? 
  • Are your investments and savings well positioned to weather a market downturn?
  • What are your membership projections for the coming years, and what will you do if you don’t hit those numbers? 
  • Should you switch from a physical presence to a virtual office? 
  • How can you maintain your mission during times of uncertainty, or can you adapt your mission based on events outside your control?

 

New Alliances and Mergers

One strategy that many associations and nonprofits are entertaining these days is forging partnerships, consortiums, and even mergers to better withstand changing times. Essential points to remember if your organization is exploring this idea include:

  • Make sure you agree on a common goal first.
  • Understand what strengths each party brings to the relationship.
  • Come to a consensus about redundancies with staff or the board.
  • Put agreements in writing.
  • Have legal representation review all documents. 
  • Assemble a plan for informing members and the general public.

 

Outsourcing as a Labor and Logistics Solution

Another way associations are saving money and manpower is by outsourcing, long having been more of the purview of the corporate world. Everything from website content creation to event planning can be accomplished with outside labor, and it’s part and parcel of the overall movement toward an increased virtual presence.

In the long run, outsourcing and going virtual can help your association significantly trim the budget without closing its doors. You can take as much or as little off your plate as needed, freeing up staff and board members for other tasks and calling on expertise you don’t have internally. 

If you are ready to outsource tasks for your association, Jaffe Management welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about it. We provide comprehensive management assistance, including a headquarters office, membership administration, and financial services. Call us at 212-496-3155, or reach out online today to let us know how we can help.