April 24, 2015
This post is by guest author, E. Francisco Dalere, the editor of Association TRENDS, the weekly e-newsletter and monthly magazine for association executives. Contact Ed at edd@AssociationTRENDS.com.
If there is one issue on every association executive’s mind – be it the CEO, CFO, membership vice president or marketing manager – it is finances.
Competition ratcheted up two decades ago when the world discovered the Internet. Not only were associations vying with each other for dues-paying members and nondues revenue, but for-profits, through the web, made contact with our members more easily, offering them education, long the domain of nonprofits, and other services without having to pay dues. The doomsday outlook was that associations finally had met their match in for-profit companies, and that it was only a matter of time…
Fast forward 20 years later and that hasn’t happened, but competition as well as the devastating recession of 2009 changed the association community. We are leaner – some groups didn’t survive, or were forced to merge. Another new reality is that we are smarter: those groups that are still here (and a few that even emerged!) have restructured to fit their new realities: new membership and governance models, new technologies, new benchmarks for success – the list evolves to this day.
But most of all associations have learned to adjust their finances: we’ve tweaked dues structures, created new nondues revenue streams in conjunction with the new products and services our associations have developed for their industries.
Association TRENDS has covered all of these changes for the past years and continues to do so today. Recently we published “Growing Your Group’s Financial Health & Security,” a special focus on association finances. We invite you to take a look here. Topics we cover in this section include:
- Raise revenue, not taxes
- Define your risk management strategy
- Protect your executives from excess compensation penalties
- Determine your organization’s appropriate level of reserves
We also invite you to submit your articles and thoughts for topics you’d like to see us cover. Is there an association management issue you believe needs more exploration? Submit your ideas to me at edd@AssociationTRENDS.com.