NEW YORK, NY (April 14, 2011) — Trade associations and professional societies across the country are working to continue to add value for their members, focus on advocacy and deliver innovations despite budget constraints says a recent survey conducted by Kellen Company, a leading global professional services company.
The survey, which was directed at association executives, revealed that many of the top industry trends from 2010 — challenges and opportunities alike — are carrying over to 2011, forcing associations to focus on innovation and creativity as a means to retain and engage members and grow their organizations.
It comes as no surprise that a third of survey respondents cited maintaining operational excellence despite a decreased budget and/or staff as the biggest challenge of last year. However, in the year ahead, the largest hurdle appears to be comparable: flat or decreased budgets (40% of respondents) as well as maintaining a value proposition for members (40% of respondents). What’s more, almost half of respondents (48%) reported that their 2011 budgets are similar or the same from 2010. Similarly, meeting attendance is predicted to remain the same this year (69%) as well as sponsorship (65%). But it is not all bleak: 36% did, in fact, report that budgets have been expanded in 2011.
Despite flat budget numbers, more than half of respondents stated that overall advocacy for their industry/mission — not revenue generation — is the organization’s top priority for 2011. Interestingly, advocacy was the top reported priority in 2010 as well, when budget numbers fell drastically from the previous years. Less than a quarter of survey respondents cited revenue generation as this year’s primary goal.
As with almost every industry today, customized virtual communications, accessibility and convenience are no longer just added value, but essential components of successful associations and professional societies. To this point, survey respondents predict more “virtual offerings” (i.e., limited access memberships, Webinars, virtual trade show attendance) and growth of PURLs (personalized URLs), social networking and other innovative interactive tools as a member communications vehicle as the top areas of growth this year.
“We continue to see creative offerings in the form of customized virtual communications adding tremendous value to the member experience,” said Peter Rush, Kellen Company’s chief executive officer. “Despite an ever challenging economy, association leaders have been able to leverage resources and tap into such interactive trends within budget constraints.”
For more information, please contact Geralyn Lederman at 212-297-2118.