Social Media Roundup: Do Members Really Want to Network?

A study by a Canadian association consultancy shows that members value networking over education—a finding that echoes a U.S. study. Also: the logistics of the March on Washington, coordinated entirely without computers, cellphones, or months of lead time.

Sure, you may put a lot of work into your educational offerings. But according to some recent studies, your true value may lie in the networking opportunities.

More details in today’s Social Media Roundup:

Networking > Education?

What members want: According to Canadian association consulting company Greenfield Services, the value proposition of networking is on the rise—at least among association leaders. In 2012, the firm’s Pulse Report showed that 24.4 percent of members considered education to be the top reason for joining a Canadian association, with 16 percent saying networking was the most important reason. In 2013, the study showed a dramatic shift—just 7.4 percent of respondents said education was the key reason to join, while 24.3 percent said networking was most important. The company says that finding mirrors Marketing General Incorporated’s Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, which covers U.S. associations. What to make of the shift? Greenfield’s Meagan Rockett says associations should keep these results in mind, but be careful to balance member interests. “If their programs and marketing emphasize networking, when members are really interested in education, organizations could lose ground with their single most important audience: the people who pay membership dues and trust their associations to represent their best interests,” she notes. (ht @dshiao)

The Logistics of the March

Planning a really big meeting: Putting together the March on Washington 50 years ago this week wasn’t easy—but, as meetings consultant Roger Rickard notes, they did it quickly, and with much success. “The March on Washington … did not take place in a vacuum. The idea for such a march was planted many years earlier,” Rickard writes. “However, the coming together of a powerful coalition formed by multiple groups did not take final shape until six weeks before the event.” The organizers had to work around preset complications (Rickard notes attendees could not visit the nation’s capital the day before, nor could they stay the night), and the logistics themselves weren’t easy to deal with—getting people across the country with only a few weeks notice in an age before cellphones or the internet—but they pulled it off. “Their task was monumental, their desire unshakeable, the outcome unmistakable,” Rickard said. Interested in the topic? Check out RealClearPolitics’ take on Bayard Rustin, the behind-the-scenes figure who helped make sure the event went off without a hitch. (ht @rogerrickard)

What are you sharing today on social? Tell us about it in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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