Results of a new economic impact study conducted by ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership in December 2008 and January 2009 point to new challenges associations might have to face in the near future. The study, titled ASAE & The Center Impact Study — Beliefs, Behaviors and Attitudes in Response to the Current Economy, shows that although overall the association sector is doing well, there are some important points that association leaders should consider when planning their business strategies for this and next year.
ASAE & The Center President and CEO John H. Graham IV, CAE. says, “… Many associations are emphasizing virtual experiences right now, which is probably good planning, but the study clearly shows that the members who participated in the study want to meet face-to-face instead, and may even skip some more localized events that they would normally attend in order to afford a larger, distant meeting where the perceived value is high. This study really speaks volumes about what members want and value from their associations, and should be a great resource for associations as they adapt to these changing economic conditions.”
Two highlights of the study that associations should be concerned with:
– Only 58% of association members who have attended a face-to-face meeting or an event last year indicate they have a high probability of doing so this year — primary markets are shrinking;
– Millennials, individuals born after 1977, will have to be convinced of the value of membership and are most likely to drop membership and event attendance. To be successful, we have to show them, and all members, how our associations help them in a down economy.
Millennials (GenY) is the audience most comfortable with social media tools. They are networking already without the help of associations. And, while not specifically stated, the more virtual media is pushed to replace the face-to-face meetings, the more association members will crave IRL connections.
For more information about the study and to read the white paper highlighting the results, visit www.asaecenter.org/economy.