We carry on month after month, year after year, doing the same programs and offering the same benefits to members. It’s as if we’re on auto-pilot. That allows us to develop consistency and to be very good at what we do. It can also lead to complacence and we may lose sight of who we’re serving and how. Two books that came out last year are rockin’ the association industry and I love them both! The authors describe why the membership models we created more than 100 years ago won’t be sustainable going forward. I’m curious to hear your feedback on the major points which I’ve highlighted below.
Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers share startling statistics about membership decline in many associations that have been around for a very long time including The Shriners, Parent-teacher Associations, trade associations and chambers of commerce. They discuss trends and their impacts on our members and our organizations, such as:
- Time Poverty–Americans are busier than ever working more hours than their counterparts in other developed countries. It has led to work/life conflict and the consequences of shorter vacations, fast food dinners, and reluctance to volunteer for long-term commitments. Yet, associations continue to operate with a time-intensive model.