McKinley Advisors’ 2023 survey of association executives, identified “new innovations to association programs or services lines” as a key priority for nearly all Associations. This emphasis on innovation reflects a broader trend in the association management industry where organizations are constantly seeking ways to adapt to changing member needs, market dynamics and technological advancements.

Here are a few suggestions on how best to come up with new ideas:

  • Ask your members:
    • Conduct surveys, focus groups, or interviews with your members to understand their current needs, challenges, and aspirations.

    • Analyze member feedback and data to identify gaps in your current programs or services.

  • Keep abreast of what is happening in your industry:
    • Attend conferences, webinars, and trade shows to gain insights into emerging trends.

    • Research competitor offerings to identify gaps or areas where you can differentiate.

  • Explore technological advancements:
    • How can technologies like AI, blockchain, or data analytics be applied to improve your offerings.

  • Look outside your immediate industry for inspiration:
    • Study successful associations in different sectors to learn from them.

  • Analyze member engagement, program participation and financial performance data:
    • Use data analytics tools to uncover insights that can inform your innovation strategy.

  • Seek external perspectives to bring fresh ideas.
    • Collaborate with experts, industry partners, or other associations to co-create innovative programs or services.

Overall, the drive for innovation in association programs and services is a positive sign of the industry’s commitment to evolving and meeting the changing needs of its members and stakeholders.