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4 Relevancy Hacks for Associations



Organizations of every size and subject matter can face issues that make them fall behind without even realizing it, but technology is once again here to save the day. When it comes to credentialing, educating, networking, and advocating, few entities provide the perks of professional organizations. In order to remain relevant–if not ahead of the curve–these organizations need to continuously evolve.

There will always be the occasional wrench that finds its way into the works. Travel, for instance, hasn’t exactly been the picture of stability recently. Short-term hiccups aside, it’s always wise to plan for generational changes, which we can see coming for years; your membership might include members of many generations and you have to be able to engage them all. And who wouldn’t want to accomplish all this alongside a little extra cost efficiency?

1.  Increased member interaction

Even if you only have to worry about accommodating a handful of folks who are maybe 100 miles away, you still value their participation…and they want to feel valued, too. Technology such as live, two-way video allows for face-to-face, real-time conversations even over great distances. You can’t get that over email or a phone call.

2.  Added value through content

Your members joined because you offer them relevant perks they can’t find anywhere else. Keep them engaged with a Q&A with an author who just wrote a bestselling book about your industry, a keynote speech by a respected thought leader for your next conference, or an augmented reality presentation that will have them talking long after the event ends.

3.  Demonstrated innovation

Innovations such as live, two-way interactive video can help cut costs and demonstrate a tech-forward approach.

You don’t necessarily want robots running your entire event quite yet, but it is important to show your members you’re at least interested in the latest event and educational tech, if not already employing it. It’s OK to stay in the present while keeping an eye to the future, but don’t get left in the past.

4.  Cost savings

Pinching pennies on things like training and education may not be the best idea, but neither is spending unnecessary dollars. If you don’t have to fly your members in from around the country, why would you? If you can secure a top-notch instructor to present the exact same material with the same level of interaction virtually at a fraction of the cost of their in-person fee, you do it, right?

Implementing these hacks can be huge in the moment, but they can be game-changers for years to come as well. When the Young Presidents’ Organization needed impact keynote presentations for their signature Innovation Week conference, they brought in AOL co-founder Steve Case, venture capitalist Brad Feld, and business innovation expert Peter Sheahan–all virtually. When the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis heard from members who were dissatisfied with the e-learning component of their Continuing Legal Education curriculum, they responded with improved video production and event management.

These steps aren’t drastic, and they don’t have to cost a fortune. But they will produce results that your membership will both notice and appreciate. Don’t be guilty of standing still or, worse, falling behind.