See how iMIS association software is purpose-built for the way associations work at table 14 at AAMSE 2023 on July 19-21, 2023.
Preparing Your Association for 2024
Gear up for 2024 with our top 6 strategies to boost member engagement, enhance your association’s value proposition, and create new revenue sources.
2024 is destined to bring new opportunities, unanticipated challenges, and a few surprises along the way. Your best course of action is to try to ensure you have the optimal tools in place to support your efforts, gather the intelligence you need to accurately forecast new trends, and deliver on a value proposition that ensures member loyalty and long-term viability.
Coming Soon: 2024 Membership Performance Benchmark Report
Stay tuned for the upcoming release of our 9th annual report which covers global trends in member retention, AI, generational priorities, and more.
Here are our top 6 strategies to help you proactively prepare for the new year ahead.
Top 6 Association Trends for 2024
1. Embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Your members are consumers and consumers are wild about what AI can do for them. You will be, too, if you think of it as doubling, tripling or even quadrupling your staff’s productivity at a super-low cost.
Why Your Association Should Use It
- Content Generation: In a matter of seconds, AI tools such as ChatGPT can access information and knowledge from across the internet that would take you hours or days to compile. The internet is powerful but AI increases that power exponentially.
- Routine Task Automation: You can automate repetitive tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions, providing instructions or explanations, or handling simple inquiries. This frees your staff to tackle the more complex issues.
- Reliable, Accurate Information: Members always get consistent answers to their questions and AI doesn’t get tired at the end of the day or feel overwhelmed by the volume of member requests. It’s not going to replace your staff; it’s going to make them better at their jobs.
- Round-the-Clock Availability: Your members don’t have to limit their inquiries to your office hours — they can get the answers they need when they need them.
"AI is essentially wisdom in a can. It's giving more power to all workers...AI won't take your job. It's somebody using AI that will take your job."
How Your Association Can Use It
- Researching: When preparing a presentation, blog piece, etc., you can use an app like ChatGPT to help you find reports, surveys, etc. to cite.
- Outlining: Need to put together a whitepaper? You can ask ChatGPT for a list of bullet points to cover on the topic you choose. You’ll still need to review and make the narrative your own, but this can help get you on your way much faster.
- Expanding Skill Sets: Your staff can use it to pick up new skills and gain a greater knowledge of your industry and their profession.
- Decision Making: You’ll still need to use your own good judgment, but it’s easier to make an informed decision when you have all the pertinent information gathered for you.
- Improving Readability: In addition to proofing your work to ensure against typos and grammatical mistakes, you can use AI to ensure the content is appropriate and accessible for the audience you’re addressing.
"The promise of artificial intelligence and computer science generally vastly outweighs the impact it could have on some jobs in the same way that, while the invention of the airplane negatively affected the railroad industry, it opened a much wider door to human progress."
2. Take Your Association Beyond “Data-Driven” to “Data-Conscious”
As a successful association professional, you want to leverage the intelligence you’re able to gather — such as about your members' habits, priorities, goals, and challenges — and then use it to better respond to their needs. In other words, become “data-driven.”
But now you need to go a step further to become “data-conscious.” This means taking a more holistic approach to how you review, analyze, share, and utilize the data. The data may tell you the “what” — but it may be missing the “why” and the “how.” It’s important that you consider both quantitative and qualitative factors that might influence your conclusions. Your data is no replacement for human judgment. It can inform your decisions — but it shouldn’t make them for you.
Being data conscious also means you are committed to securing the data, using it responsibly, and being transparent about its origin and use.
See our article, Why Your Association Should be Data Conscious, Not Just Data Driven, for more details.
Coming Soon: 2024 Benchmark Report
Stay tuned for the upcoming release of our newest report on important association trends and insights.
3. Hyper-Personalize the Member Experience
While not a new trend, it’s one of the most important things you can do in 2024 to increase member engagement, ensure retention, generate new sources of revenue, and secure your organization’s long-term viability. “Hyper-personalization” simply means that you are delivering highly personalized content, offers, benefits, and resources for your members’ benefit.
"Consumers aren't as concerned about data privacy if it means they get personalized content and experiences in return. 'Data Ad-vocates' want ads catered to their interests, location, and lifestyle preferences. Companies that fail to tailor their campaigns risk being overlooked by consumers. But when executed effectively, personalization can be a powerful way to attract new customers rather than turn them off."
How Do You Do It?
You can use the data from your member engagement management system to:
- Create member personas
- Build detailed member journey maps
- Anticipate your members’ needs and proactively respond to them
- Increase member engagement and retention
- Enhance the effectiveness of your communications by considering your members’ preferences and interests
- Reinstate lapsed members
The right association software will support your efforts; a system that can provide a Single Source of Truth (SSoT) will:
- Provide a 360° view of all your member interactions (joins, renewals, product purchases, continuing education, event registrations, and more)
- Empower you to manage everything in one system — including your website, member data, and accounting
- Ensure top-level security of your data
- Integrate with the market’s best-in-class applications
Learn more about creating an SSoT in The Ultimate Guide to Association Software whitepaper.
4. Explore Micro-Learning
Micro-learning is gaining popularity as a way to break down educational content and training into short sections that can be completed quickly. This can be delivered via videos, documentation, quizzes, augmented reality, etc.
- Students can quickly learn a new skill and begin to accumulate the prerequisite knowledge they need for more advanced courses/certifications.
- Courses are more affordable for those on a tight budget.
- Students are not overwhelmed by the time commitment and often have a great deal of flexibility to complete the assignments.
- Short, interactive courses keep students engaged and motivated.
Your organization can benefit by training a new generation of industry professionals and generating additional revenue from these new course offerings. Your corporate members will also appreciate the valuable training you offer their staff.
Read more from TopClass LMS: Microlearning: Education to Fit Anyone’s Schedule & Budget
5. Cultivate Inclusion
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a widely-discussed topic in recent years and more associations are stepping up to address inherent biases and promote fairness. This often means changing the corporate culture and challenging the status quo — which is an important element of any successful Digital Transformation Strategy. If your organization is creating a digital transformation plan and needs help getting started, download our 3 Critical Steps to Digitally Transform Your Association whitepaper.
6. Generate New Revenue Sources
Identifying new sources of non-dues/non-membership fee revenue is always a top goal, but it’s particularly important in today’s global economic environment. Here are some tactics you can use to (significantly) add to your bottom line — and they can all be accomplished with the right member engagement management system.
- Online Ads: When your association software can help you identify which members are receptive to certain messages, you can offer more targeted advertising opportunities to your partners.
- Year-Round Mobile App: You probably already use an event app for your meetings/conferences but a year-round app will help you keep members informed on breaking news, poll them about important issues, encourage them to engage, allow them to network, etc. It can also provide a new delivery vehicle for specialty advertising and sponsored content. Read about the advantages of a year-round mobile app.
- Events: Purpose-built association software can help you manage your events more efficiently and provide valuable intelligence. With an SSoT, you can better target advertising opportunities for your partners — and deliver only the personalized ads your members want to see.
- Targeted courses/programs: By tapping into intelligence from your association software, you can analyze which new courses would be most valued by members and strategically expand your programs for greater revenue gains.
- Micro-Credentials: You can also explore Micro-Learning (see strategy #4 above) to generate new micro-credentials that may be more accessible and doable for newer professionals who may face time and budget constraints but still require the knowledge you can provide.
Get more revenue ideas with our recent article, Boost Non-Dues Revenue with Your Association’s Website.
Make sure you have a member engagement management system that will support your 2024 initiatives.
Need some inspiration? Take a 2-minute Quick Tour of iMIS.