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Written by Kevin Heisey
on August 11, 2021

The global pandemic disrupted normal operations for Associations and forced a rapid shift in how they serve members due to constraints associated with the pandemic and new membership needs. This added to already existing challenges of delivering and demonstrating value to members and reaching the next generation of young professionals. Where there is disruption, however, there are opportunities to grow.

Associations developed new digital capabilities to serve members throughout the pandemic and better position themselves for new future opportunities. There are five emergent areas where digital products can help Associations build on new capabilities and better serve their members. Have you considered the potential of these digital products for your Association?

  1. New Revenue Streams

In recent decades, Associations have moved from being primarily funded by membership dues toward more innovative business models with diverse revenue streams. Digital capabilities open new opportunities for events and event participation, training and education, access to exclusive content, sponsor partnerships, member career development and job boards that can be additional sources of revenue.

  1. Membership Engagement

Digital products provide increased capability to track and collect data to better understand members and meet their needs. Associations can customize content offerings to meet individual member interests and gain insight on webinar and training topics that members find most useful. A deeper understanding of what members value most can be the catalyst for new offerings, such as job boards, events or networking platforms.

  1. Hybrid, Multi-location Offerings

The pandemic forced Associations to either cancel conferences or pivot to virtual conferences. Rather than going back to traditional, in-person events, future events will leverage the best of in-person and virtual to create new, hybrid experiences that include and engage with more members. Potential configurations are endless and include single events that connect multiple physical in-person, locations and individual virtual participants.

  1. Management Efficiency and Better Use of Resources

Streamlining business processes and automating workflows can both help meet resource constraint challenges and allow for more focus on member engagement. Most Associations have realized benefits of streamlined online membership processing, training and event registration and attendee management. Using digital capabilities to improve processes helps Associations to use resources more efficiently and serves members better. For example, a streamlined, user-friendly membership processing system often leads to an incremental increase in members.

  1. Remote Workforce Systems

While remote work was a necessity during much of 2020, remote working can open the door to new opportunities in terms of administration, board member collaboration and increasing the potential talent pool for specialized roles. Removing the hurdle of everyone having to be in one place to effectively work together presents new opportunities for efficient, effective management.

To see how well your Association is positioned to take advantage of these emerging digital products, take xScion’s Problem Space Exploration Survey. This 4-minute survey gauges your Association’s maturity around Product Management best practices and provides you with tips to help optimize your digital product efforts going forward. To learn more, visit Problem Space Exploration Survey.