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Welcome to the New Future

This blog is the second in a two-part series. Check out last week’s article here. 2020 isn’t just a new year, it’s a new decade, the early beginnings of the next 10 years of data, demographics and evolution. A data-savvy, technology-nimble and forward-leaning association is one that will adapt, zig and zag as needed and thrive in this decade.

Here are five specific considerations to help your organization keep up with—or catch up to—the changing times.

1. Most nonprofits have limited technology options that are available to the largest corporations like Amazon, Facebook, LiveNation and even your local grocery store. You are limited in how you can communicate to individual members without the sophisticated CRM systems, predictive algorithms and customized messaging and media targeting that today’s top commercial players are so good at. But you can segment your members into relevant cohorts based on research, data and low-cost systems that allow you to meet them where they are.

So, Step 1: Do the audience segmentation research necessary to stay relevant and targeted with your messages, offers, and products and services.

2. Step 2: Beware of generalizations. Boomers, Gen X, Gen Z and Nexters have many things in common: Career goals, professional development and they desire live community gatherings with PLMs (people like me). It’s in the “how” you deliver that makes all the difference. This step requires you to recruit ambassadors of your audience cohorts (defined in Step 1) and have them lead the charge making your organization more relevant.

3. Step 3: Look at your website. Who designed it, who is it for, how does it stack up against the other websites your members and especially your new desired members interact with every day? Best not to answer this yourself. A cross-cohort audit of non-members will tell you the truth. Be ready. While you may not like what you hear, you’ll be on your way to a new “storefront” for your organization that will be a game-changer going forward.

4. Do you have products and services that appeal to gig workers, freelancers, remote workers, independent workers? What do they need, how is it different from the needs of a more traditional member, and who is meeting those needs today? Think Slack communities, portable insurance coverage, local meet-ups adjacent to your big, national event, and remotely-delivered professional coaching for a new workforce who is seeking mentors and safe spaces for career advice.

5. Experiences, stories and your organizational narrative must be inclusive and align all of the wants and needs of your desired community. Most mission statements were written by a committee or maybe haven’t been pressure tested recently. Now is a good time to step back and see if yours has the magnetic appeal of the mission of today’s most influential brands and institutions.

So what you say? We’re now in our third decade of this century and the time is right to fix your roof while the sun is shining.

Welcome to the new future of the 21st century association.

Want to spitball a few ideas and see how we may be able to help?

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