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4 Hot Topics Affecting Associations Today

Aug 28, 2018

There are associations for everything—even, believe it or not, for association professionals like us at TMG! We recently spent a great weekend in Chicago attending two conferences: the American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) annual meeting and the Association Management Company Institute’s (AMCI) AMCs Engaged conference. (That’s Ben, BW, and Lou at ASAE’s opening keynote above!)

Here are four takeaways from the meetings that all association leaders should keep top of mind:

1. Rethinking Value

ASAE’s opening keynote, Yancey Strickler, discussed how the definition of “value” shouldn’t always be connected with money. The former CEO of Kickstarter, Strickler helped create the crowdfunding model as we know it today, making thousands of ideas into realty—regardless of whether they generated money. According to Strickler, we should think about value in terms of community, future orientation, knowledge, purpose, security, and tradition.

As association professionals, we know well that our organizations provide those very forms of value to members. Be sure to identify where and how you provide alternative forms of value, hone those offerings, and make sure you’re communicating them.

2. Creating Effective Antiharassment Policies

The #MeToo movement has made society aware of a wide array of inappropriate conduct in the entertainment industry, and workplace harassment is just as an important topic for associations. If your association does not have an antiharassment policy—including procedures for processing complaints—now is the time to create one. For those AMC-managed associations, it is helpful to work on the policy with your AMC so everyone working in and on the association is on board.

3. Closing the Skills Gap

AMCI’s keynote speaker, Elizabeth Summy, president of the Human Resources Management Association of Chicago, discussed the changing nature of work. Associations should monitor the shifts in workforce needs in the professions or industries they serve. Depending on supply and demand of talent, some professions may need to upskill or reskill people. In helping to close the skill gaps with educational products or services, associations can truly serve their industries and remain relevant to upcoming generations.

4. Prioritizing Meeting Safety

Almost every association hosts meetings or conferences, but such events where crowds gather have increasingly become targets for violence. As an association leader, it’s imperative to implement training and safety programs to keep your meetings safe. Some smart practices for event security include performing a risk assessment of the event site, having evacuation plans in place, and implementing methods for managing crowds.

We’re excited for the next round of conferences so we can share even more useful tips with you! In the meantime, TMG is always ready to offer associations the knowledge and resources they need to succeed. We’re always here to help.

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