Abila Predicts Key Association Trends to Watch in 2016
Focus on member experience, alternative revenue sources, and mobile adoption critical
January 7, 2016 – AUSTIN, Texas – Abila, the leading provider of software and services to nonprofits, associations, and government entities, today shared the trends it predicts will have the greatest impact on associations in 2016: Associations will need to gain a deeper understanding of member engagement and the member experience; certification revenue will eclipse membership revenue; hybrid membership models will continue to expand; we’ll see an increase in partnerships between associations and for-profit organizations, as well as between national and regional organizations; and the association management system (AMS) will emerge as a strategic tool versus simply a transaction tool.
“2016 will be a year in which many associations will take a deeper look at membership and the entire membership experience to better understand when and how to engage,” said Amanda Myers, senior product marketing manager for Abila. “Many organizations will also look more closely at revenue channels and partnerships as hybrid membership models continue to emerge, revenue from certification programs grows, and associations will form new and different partnerships. The AMS will also re-emerge as a key piece of technology and play a far more strategic role.”
- Focus on Member Experience: While engagement and membership experience are not new ideas, the way associations approach engagement and the entire membership experience will be different. According to a recent study, 38 percent of those who don’t renew their memberships site a lack of engagement with the association. Associations will be focused on finding a baseline as it pertains to engagement, retention, and member experience in this new normal.
- Certification Revenue will Eclipse Membership Revenue: Certification programs are emerging as principal revenue drivers for many organizations. For many members, certification has greater perceived value and affords a career edge that mere membership doesn’t provide. The related online education opportunities also provide significant value to the learner and to the association as an important vehicle for driving not only revenue, but engagement as well. There will be a tipping point where certification revenue will surpass membership revenue as individuals look to get the most value out of every dollar they spend.
- Hybrid Membership Models Becoming Mainstay: Traditional membership models are focused on a one-size-fits-all dues structure – primarily, individual and company memberships. Emerging hybrid models will change the way associations engage with their membership, and will also be more reflective of current culture and behavior, with associations offering tiered membership levels, hyper-focused services within existing memberships, and differentiated value for individuals and groups. The move is toward a membership experience that is as unique as each member.
- Increased Partnerships: Sharing of resources and ideas across organizations, as well as looking for partnerships in the for-profit sector, will become the new normal. Associations will look more closely at similarly aligned organizations – regionally, nationally, and internationally – to forge alliances for greater visibility and awareness. All avenues, channels, and opportunities will be explored to connect with potential new members and customers.
- AMS used as a Strategic Tool: Many associations use their AMS as a tactical tool, focusing primarily on transactions. A tremendous opportunity exists for organizations to tap into the power of their AMS for use as a strategic tool. For example, as for-profit organizations offer more and more customized experiences for consumers through data analytics, segmenting, and choice, associations will need to quickly follow suit and use technology to create personalized member journeys for their individual members.
“This is both an exciting and challenging time for associations,” said Myers. “The organizations that begin to fully comprehend the demographic shift in our country, understand the power and reach of the Internet, and embrace the evolution of technology at our disposal will position themselves for success in meaningful and verifiable ways.”
Abila is the leading provider of software and services to nonprofits, associations, and governmental entities that help them improve decision making, execute with greater precision, increase engagement, and generate more revenue. With Abila solutions, association and nonprofit professionals can use data and personal insight to make better financial and strategic decisions, enhance member and donor engagement and value, operate more efficiently and effectively, and increase revenue to better activate their mission. Abila combines decades of industry insight with technology know-how to serve more than 8,000 customers across North America. For more information, please visit www.abila.com.