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The Battle For Relevance: Stick To Your Mission And Engage The Next Generation Of Leaders

Your members are with you because you have fulfilled an expectation for them and can provide them with something valuable they feel paying membership is worth. It probably had something to do with your mission. At least it did. Are you happy with your new member recruitment? If not, you need to consider relevance.

Your members are with you because you have fulfilled an expectation for them and can provide them with something valuable they feel paying membership is worth. It probably had something to do with your mission. At least it did. Are you happy with your new member recruitment? If not, you need to consider relevance.

EMBRACE THE DISRUPTIVE TRENDS

I was at the library checking out a book the other day wishing that I could just access that information online. How will libraries stay relevant in a digital age when people can access tons of information from their home computers and even mobile devices? Shelves of books are an old fashioned and time consuming way of finding information.

But libraries are embracing the digital age and the new way people come to find information. Reference librarians today need to be tech savvy; it’s a science, and I don’t mean learning how to use the Dewey Decimal System. Libraries are becoming a place to check out e-books and leading efforts to scan and digitize rare, unique and fragile collections, making them even more accessible. Libraries are staying true to their mission and finding great ways to remain relevant. Your association needs to do the same.

KEEP UP

Take a look at your mission and consider how people look for that value today. Provide the value to your members in the way they want to access it now. You’ll never convince them the old way is better, you’ll just lose membership.

Has technology changed the way your association does business; has it changed the way your members expect to do business? Keep on the cutting edge. Don’t let your association be the last to adopt new technology that your members value. If you don’t even use their tools, how will you convince them you know how to add value to their lives?

PLAN FOR YOUR FUTURE

Stop trying to play catch up and take time to strategize about future growth. Don’t wait until it’s too late; start planning for your future now. You need more than just a plan for the next few months, you need to know how you will achieve growth over the next 10 years. Have a marketing plan in place to do it. You need to know how you will reach out to new people and what they will be looking for so you can attract them.

The association competition is too stiff to just expect business as usual will keep your ranks filled. You need to find your focus and set goals. You need to know what your obstacles are and deal with them. You need to make the most of a marketing plan.

ENGAGE THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS NOW

You need to engage your next generation of association leaders. Start cultivating your new leaders now, and they might not be the people who have been members the longest. Do you have junior members who show potential? Invest in their leadership skills now. How can you do that? Let’s go back to the library.

The American Library Association (ALA) has an emerging leaders program that allows new library workers an opportunity to learn about the organization and be involved in problem solving. Participants may be offered opportunities to serve on committees and other groups. The ALA is engaging their future leaders, and you need to do the same.

With a major demographic shift happening right now as Baby Boomers retire and Gen Y moves in to fill open positions, things are changing. If you want to keep your association moving forward on mission with strong leaders to keep you relevant, you need to develop a strategy now.

Take the first step towards your future.

Looking for a game changer at your next event or a strategy unique to your organization?