Is Your Association or Society Essential?
Growing Preparedness and Trust
In the era of the Covid-19 pandemic, the concept of whether your business, or your job, is essential has moved to the forefront of our society. According to various news sources e.g., FastCompany, Business Insider, US News Report, and Fortune: the consensus is that an essential organization offers services critical for a functional society and that the interruption of these services would endanger the life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the population.
While professional associations and societies were not deemed to be essential by state or local government definitions, it does beg the question…
Is your association or society essential?
We believe that to deem an association or society to be essential; your members, and society as-a-whole, would agree that if your organization ceased operations, the profession it represents and supports would decline negatively thereby impacting individual careers and the value the profession creates for society.
Bottom line, your association’s essence must represent the heart and soul of the profession and the profession’s indispensable qualities. If this is not your central focus, you risk being considered non-essential in the present and leading into the future.
It’s time to stop hiding behind the notion that change is hard.
To be essential, you must have the intestinal fortitude to learn and adapt to nearly constant change. Only with the acceptance of change will you continue to strive to understand what your members need to remain indispensable to their employers and customers.
It also means that you accept that change is not a one-time event. It is a continual and constant core process. Organizational resources are dedicated to learning, innovation, planning and advocating for change that supports the delivery of essential services, content, and experiences for its members.
And when confronted by a major challenge like an economic recession or depression, terrorist attack, or a health pandemic, you will be prepared to adapt and ensure that you can continue to support the profession you represent.
What it takes to be an essential organization
There are two key components to an essential organization: preparedness and trust.
To be prepared means your association has plans and activities in place to enable readiness to respond quickly to challenges and changes. This includes the focus, insight, willingness, and zeal to find ways to deliver essential services for your members under any given circumstance.
An ongoing investment in preparedness includes:
- Financial Reserves – to ensure continuity of business for six months or more
- Member Insights and Research – to ensure knowledge of what members need now and what they will need during challenges in the future
- Operational Resiliency – to ensure investment of resources are being spent wisely by:
- Reducing operational redundancies
- Supporting products and programs that are achieving the goals expected and are contributing to the value propositions that address the most important – essential – needs of the profession
- Introducing technology that addresses business efficiencies and customer needs
- Cultural Agility – to ensure an awareness of change, and adaptability to change, and initiative to take on new challenges and support innovation
This also means that your association is trusted — by your members, your leaders, your vendors, and your employees. An organization that earns trust among its constituents, embraces four key constructs as reflected by volunteer leaders, management, and individual and organizational communications. Trust is earned through continuous demonstration of authenticity, logic, empathy, thoughtful execution, and resilience to failure.
- Authenticity — As consistently demonstrated in graphical, image, individual or organizational communications, you present no airs — only the real you. You are truthful and transparent.
- Logic – Confidence based on your logic – your reasoning and judgement are sound and understandable.
- Empathy – You care about me and my success. You demonstrate compassion and responsiveness in times of trial. You stand behind me when I succeed.
- Execution – You demonstrate how you are using my ideas.
- Failure – You understand that failure is a part of innovation and growth and you demonstrate this through the ability to pivot as necessary.
How we can help you be prepared going forward
2040 Digital in partnership with Data Economy has developed a solution that enables you to engage your members at a more intimate one-on-one level by capturing insights about what they need and expect, connecting them to the people and resources that address those needs and expectations, identifying their degree of engagement with your association or society which will help to further refine your overall value proposition. And we do this without disrupting your current work flows.
We believe that member engagement is the key to insight, to membership retention, and membership growth. It also makes the difference between being prepared and resilient to support your work as an essential organization for your members.
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