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Do Executive Directors generally feel that Associations are in the fight for their lives?

Hi Jeff:

Thanks for participating in this AMA session. Earlier this year I was involved in an email exchange with a long-standing association Executive Director that was considering an association branded ECN but decided to punt the decision to a later time. She cited the current economic climate and indicated: "We are simply not in a position to expand offerings that add cost. Associations continue to fight for their lives."

We have subsequently entered into royalty agreements with associations so that they don't incur any out-of-pocket expenses to launch an ECN under their banner and that seems to be going well. However, I was curious about the statement that "Associations continue to fight for their lives." Is that the general sentiment of EDs in the association industry? With so many innovative offerings and third party providers available to partner with associations, it seems that it could also be the best of times.  Thanks for your thoughts. 


1 Answer, 0 Replies
Jeff De Cagna
Jeff De Cagna  replied:

Thanks for your question Brian. The story you share captures my attention for its bluntness and, quite honestly, the underlying fear it reveals. While I have not heard other association CEOs express themselves in exactly this way, it does not surprise me that some CEOs believe their organizations are in a struggle for survival. In some fields, that is almost certainly true.

 The powerful forces of societal transformation, including the disruptive impact of technology, will destroy some jobs, fundamentally alter the way many jobs are performed and create entirely new jobs. No matter how you look at it, this dynamic environment creates strategic challenges for associations for which many senior staff and voluntary decision-makers are not yet prepared.