Lessons from the Plight of Associations

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The End of Membership as We Know It (Sladek, Sara. Wiley, 2013) www.amazon.com
Now that is a strong title for a book!

I was the wrap up speaker last month at a leadership workshop for top association executives… the clients of AH www.AssociationHeadquarters.com. Greg Melia referenced that book and shared recent ASAE research findings. He’s the Chief Membership and Volunteer Relations Officer for the American Society of Association Executives. www.ASAEcenter.org.

Woah. You may think you have heard all of this before. But, the ASAE trend research about the decline in association membership, attendance at conventions, and participation in committees is striking. This is not just about a slowed economy! The trends are driven more by generational differences, advances in technology, and skepticism.

Frank Kane spoke at this event about loyalty www.JamesKane.com. There’s another dynamic and inter-related topic. One of many strong points that jumped out at me was that customers (or association members) want you to MAKE THEM SAFER, MAKE KEY TASKS EASIER FOR THEM and MAKE THEIR LIVES BETTER. In some ways, that feels almost like a continuum. Maybe one association’s advocacy about regulations and provision of insurance can make their members safer. And then can that same association provide timely education so their members can do core professional tasks more easily than non-members? And then…the big one…can that same association muster the resources and pick up enough speed to get out in front of its bright, ambitious members to actually make their lives BETTER? Woah!

From the AH event, I attended the annual convention of NSA, the National Speakers Association (NSA) www.NSAspeaker.org. There are lots of changes in NSA directly related to these inter related subjects. Imagine making the commitment to get out ahead of NSA members…this country’s top communicators … thought leaders… the authors of best-selling books!

This feels like a cue to all of us to take a close look at our own goals and strategies. Are you poised to be way out ahead of your customers so you can really make their lives BETTER…to earn and keep their loyalty?

About Aldonna Ambler:
Known as The Growth Strategist®, Aldonna Ambler built and grew a suite of companies to help midsized B2B companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability® A Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Ambler has addressed over 2000 audiences and hosted a syndicated online talk show about growth strategies for 9 years. As a growth financing intermediary, Ambler raised over $1 Bil dollars for midsized companies. The winner of over 2 dozen prestigious national and statewide "entrepreneur of the year" awards, Ambler is available to speak about “profitable growth during any economy” and/or serve on the board of a growth-oriented privately-held company.

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Aldonna is very perceptive. It's amazing how quickly she grasps the unique strengths and weaknesses in a company. Her assessments and recommendations about local entities served as an important spring board for my work with local presidents within the region. She has worked with bright executives, appreciates the complexity and is constructive in her advice.

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