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The End of Membership As We Know It

A call to action for associations

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the writing of my best-selling book, The End of Membership As We Know It.

As ominous as it sounds to say we’re at “the end” of membership, there is no denying we’re at the end of an era. Especially now.

There was a resurgence in purchases and interest in The End this past year, as associations once again contemplated their futures. Change has been increasingly difficult to ignore, accelerating in economies, technology, demographics, workforces, industries, and governments the world over.

These changes, both the small and the significant, influence our skillsets, values, and behaviors. Over time, these changes influence how we communicate, define success, and make purchasing decisions.

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But just because we’re at “the end” of membership as we know it doesn’t mean we’re at the end of your association. This isn’t a finish line.

As challenging as this time may be for your organization, I would urge you to approach the coming year as an opportunity; an opportunity to innovate and build a future-focused community poised to prosper and grow for generations to come.

In fact, this is more than an opportunity. It’s a responsibility.

Your association wasn’t founded to host events, maintain status quo, or uphold traditions. Rather, associations were founded to serve the needs and interests of the members, engage and represent a community, and provide value, relevance, leadership, and vision. The year 2021 is an opportunity to fulfill that mission and responsibility.

In 2002, I founded a future-focused consulting firm to help organizations engage younger generations, prepare for the future, and stay relevant and competitive. Since then, our company has expanded and so has our audience. We’ve reached leaders in more than 36 countries who have sought our expertise in how to sustain during an era of disruption.

I am incredibly grateful for those who have been on this journey with us since “the end” arrived and committed themselves to innovation, relevance, and finding a new path forward.

This past year was difficult on us all, but as we enter 2021, take a moment to reflect on all that you’ve learned in this past year and to celebrate your successes, no matter how small. And answer for yourself why change is important. Imagine what the world would be like without your association in it, then do everything you can to ensure that never happens.

Whether you realize it or not, you are writing your organization’s future right now. Our collective futures will be determined by the actions you and all our leaders take today, so make it count.

Welcome to the next chapter. Welcome to the future of membership.

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