Lunchtime Links: When to Change Your Association’s Name

When your name no longer reflects the the needs of its members. Also: why it's important to be nimble and agile.

Changing your organization’s name is never easy. But it’s sometimes necessary. That, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

Redefinition: When The Hill newspaper reported a few weeks ago that the American League of Lobbyists (ALL) was debating dropping the word “lobbyist” from its name in order to rebrand the organization to more accurately reflect the changing roles of its members, observers noted that associations often don’t have the marketing prowess and financial clout to do a name change right.  That may be true. But what happens when an organization’s name no longer accurately reflects the needs and roles of the people it serves? “I must admit that I’m a bit torn by this issue,” writes Stefanie Reeves, MA, CAE, a practicing lobbyist, on her blog. Reeves continues, “I understand the argument that lobbyists do more than just lobby. We also give presentations to our members. We draft articles for our association publications. We organize events.” What kinds of changes would need to take place in your industry to prompt your association to change its name?

IT done right: If association executives are the captains who steer the ship, information technologists are the people in the engine room who make organizations go. In the age of email and mobile communications, little work gets done without the help of IT. That’s why it’s important to have an IT team that works efficiently, often invisibly, to keep your organization moving. Writing for Forbes, Oracle Chief Customer Officer Jeb Dasteel profiles five companies that do IT right. Want to create efficiencies within your operations or use technology to more effectively meet the needs of your members? Chances are, your association could stand to learn a thing or two from these companies. Check out Dasteel’s full list.

Stick and move: There’s no shortage of cautionary tales in American business. Some of the largest, most influential companies have demonstrated the ability to fail in spectacular fashion. Such collapses are almost always the result of a company’s inability to evolve in the face of changing needs. Writing for his firm’s blog, association leadership consultant Steve Drake cites lessons learned at phone-maker Nokia and camera company Kodak. Not unlike businesses, Drake says associations need to be “mobile, agile, and hostile.” That means learning to adjust in the face of change and having the operational infrastructure in place to move quickly when changes in your membership or industry occur. It also means being disciplined and reducing waste within your organization.

What do you do to keep your organization ready for change? Let us know in the comments.


Corey Murray

By Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!