By: Skip Dulle

There are associations for everything.

You probably belong to one—or several associations—related to your work, hobbies, religion or other aspects of your life.

One of my favorites is the Professional Organization of English Majors, also known as POEM.

There is even an association of associations, the American Society of Association Executives.

Associations do a lot of good for its members. They provide valuable information, publish magazines and newsletters that keep them informed and even offer training and development. In some cases, professional certification from associations is the key to getting and keeping a high-level job.

One thing all associations have in common…dues!

Dues are often the financial life blood the association, and very vital to funding the costs of offices, staff, computers and more.

Many associations also generate substantial amount of non-dues revenue from magazine advertising, tradeshows, continuing education and other sources.

However, another thing that almost all industry associations have in common is that industry consolidation results in fewer corporate members and less revenue from dues.

In these cases, associations must strategically look at their mission and services, and should also consider consolidation. This is unusual among nonprofits, as well as creating additional member benefits or further value for dues dollars paid.

In addition, associations need to be very adept in developing sources of “enterprise revenue” from services that are available exclusively to members, or at the very least, at a discounted fee for members.

These new directions require a strategic perspective, rather than the typical association management perspective that is usually focused only on dues, events, trade shows and continuing education. In most cases, an outside viewpoint is required to provide an unbiased perspective and the special skills needed to steer an association forward successfully, in these times of industry consolidation.

If your association needs help developing a strategy, we can help! Call us at 314-536-8906.

About the author
Oliver (Skip) Dulle, Jr. is the president and CEO of Dulle & Company International.

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