Abila Predicts Key Association Trends to Watch in 2017

Focus on education, Membership of Things, and foundations will be essential

January 4, 2017 – AUSTIN, TexasAbila, the leading provider of software and services to associations, nonprofits and government entities, today shared the trends it predicts will have the greatest impact on associations in 2017: Education and learning will be a key area of focus; the importance of integration and application programming interfaces (APIs) will shift the core focus of the AMS; we’ll see more deliberate cooperation between local/regional chapters and national organizations; the ongoing emergence of the foundation as both a revenue and engagement tool will gain steam; in a post-election world, advocacy will emerge as a powerful tool; and the rise of the Membership of Things will shape how organizations think about member engagement going forward.

“2017 looks to be a pivotal and transitional year for many associations, especially as the scope and utility of education and online learning continue to expand. Additionally, the Membership of Things really will force many organizations to re-evaluate their member engagement strategies,” said Amanda Myers, Abila’s director of product management. “Moreover, as associations continue to explore alternative revenue sources, the rise of 501(c)3 foundations will continue.”

Key Association Predictions for 2017:

  • Education as a Focal Point: More and more, we’re seeing the emergence of the Chief Learning Officer as a strategic role at associations, with a greater emphasis on education and online learning across the entire organization. The importance of on-demand, online, and mobile learning options, and the value of certifications will be on the rise. Educational offerings for not just members, but also the public at-large, will be a big revenue drive for associations.
  • Integrations will be essential: Integrations and the free flow of information and data between software solutions will be crucial. We foretell that the core functionality of association management systems (AMSs) will shift from merely being the database of record to providing new levels of actionable insight into membership. Additionally, a greater emphasis will be placed on APIs and function-specific applications that work together seamlessly in a platform-driven ecosystem.
  • Importance of Chapter and National Relationships: Tighter collaboration between national chapter and component societies will facilitate a more seamless, consistent, and transparent member experience, creating a greater sense of value around membership. Organizations will look to technology to increase cooperation and insights sharing.
  • Rise of the Foundation: More and more, organizations will look at establishing a 501(c)3 charitable foundation to broaden the reach of the organization and invest in the future. We’ll see an acceleration of this in 2017 as organizations look for new revenue and engagement opportunities.
  • Advocacy Will Emerge as a Powerful Tool: As the political climate changes going into 2017, associations leaders will see an opportunity to have their voices heard and perspectives shared in a way that will benefit their organizations and the members they serve. As political and regulatory agendas are shaped and defined, many associations will view 2017 as the best opportunity to engage in advocacy campaigns.
  • Membership of Things: Consumer behavior is changing in dramatic ways, and consumers expect organizations with which they engage to follow suit. The consumerization of the association/member experience will have a tremendous impact on associations of all shapes and sizes as members request more mobile, nimble, personalized, and efficient engagements similar to the experiences they have with Amazon or Netflix.

“Organizations that understand and embrace the demographic shift these trends purport will be best positioned to succeed now and in the future,” said Myers.

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About Abila

Abila is the leading provider of software and services to associations, nonprofits, 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 nearly 8,000 customers across North America. For more information, please visit www.abila.com.

Media Contact:

Jenna Overbeck