#ideas10 Association of the Future


photo credit: flickr user a5magazine

ASAE tried to draft the under 30’s awhile back to participate in their Association of the Future (AOTF) “program” (I guess that’s the word to use). I didn’t participate because I think if I had anything more on my plate, my head my spontaneously combust.

So today at #Ideas10 they had a session about AOTF. I unfortunately couldn’t attend, because I was presenting my own presentation (shameless plug: Choose Your Own Social Media Adventure, play at home).

I’d still like to offer up a few visions for an Association of the Future…

Thinking about Millennials (and being one myself), we can be driven by rewards. We like to earn things, whether they be gold stars, free gift cards, etc. We like incentives.

In taking that idea, how about membership is based on incentives for doing things for the association. There are various levels of engagement (much like there are now), but instead of paying for the privilege, we reward them for their good work.

What I’m saying is… let’s get rid of dues, at least partially. Now membership people stop freaking, hear me out. (I’m being polarizing here)

I belong to associations, but seriously, I hate paying dues. Also membership dues support from employers is being cut like crazy. People are having to dig into their own pockets to fund their professional development.

What if there is a way to incentivize their participation in the association by lowering dues for participation. Now really, this isn’t a new idea, I’ve known tons of associations that comp Board Member or Past President dues, but this is taking that idea and blowing it up on a larger scale.

At my Association we have a Capitol Hill day, where everyone goes up on the hill to speak with their representatives. What if participation in that knocked 5% off your dues. Three follow-up visits in the next year will knock off another 10%. Then all of a sudden you’re starting to create relationships with Congress and your members feel empowered, while keeping a little extra cash in their pocket.

Another idea is have your members do your retention phone calls. They probably are the best source of information about the member experience and will be able to relate and convince lapsed members why it’s important to be a part of the association. Let’s say they get 30 members to renew within 30 days of calling, then next year their dues are comped.

Now there are lots of things you can incentivize members to do which will cut back on the staff time needed to dedicate to these tasks. The trick is to finding the balance. I’m not saying these ideas are perfect, or original for that matter, but it might get us thinking about the way we encourage member participation in a different way.



One Response to “#ideas10 Association of the Future”

  1. 1 Cathi Eifert

    Great ideas – keep them coming!!

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