Your association isn’t for everyone. You serve a specific industry and a specific type of professional within your industry. The better you understand your audience and your own purpose, the better you will be able to serve your members.
Recognizing your own niche will also help you properly market your association. You’re unique; you are not actually competing with all the other associations in your industry out there. You’re best at being what you are, and that’s exactly what you need to focus on.
Generation Y doesn’t want to blend in with the crowd, they want to stand out. They want the organizations they join to stand out too, to be unique so membership is more meaningful. If your association is going to survive, you need to attract the next generation; you can do it by being you.
When I talk about finding your niche, I don’t mean deciding who you’ll be and going for it. I mean, looking at your association to understand who you already are and what differentiates you. What are you already doing? What’s working? How do those things define you?
Finding your niche is about recognizing your strengths, it’s not about changing who you fundamentally are as a group.
A niche, by definition is narrow, but be careful that your niche doesn’t limit you. Just because you have an area of expertise, something you do better than anyone, doesn’t mean you can’t change to be even better at what you do. It doesn’t mean you only do one thing. Finding your niche and focusing on it is not meant to be limiting, it’s meant to give you a clear understanding of what your strengths are and keep you from trying to be everything for everyone.
Self awareness can be difficult. If you are looking for more guidance to help your association find your niche and utilize it to promote your organization, try our Next Generation Association iPortal. This online learning tool will help lead you through discovery and provide ideas for not only defining your niche, but for sustaining your association for years to come. Try it today!
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