Editor’s Note: The Power of Small Associations

Small associations are great at heavy lifting even without a giant staff.

One of our mantras here at Associations Now is that associations are everywhere. But I didn’t expect to encounter one in the locker room at my gym, as I did recently after an early-morning workout.

More accurately, I encountered an association staffer who, until that moment, I knew only as a gym buddy, not as an ASAE member and fellow association professional. It was a funny—and slightly awkward—moment, as we stood there getting ready for work and talking about her upcoming annual meeting. As she vented about her preconference workload and stress levels (I nodded sympathetically), she stunned me when she added that all of that work was being accomplished by a staff of three.

Now, I’ve been around associations a long time, but I’ve never worked for one with a small staff—certainly not one with staff you can count on the fingers of one hand. But we know you’re out there, small-staffers, and we know it takes a special kind of versatility, energy, and just plain grit to get your job done. We also know that small-staff organizations are experimenting with some interesting ways to work, including ditching the physical office and figuring out how to go virtual without losing the cohesion that keeps the staff machine humming along. We explore a couple of those experiments, their successes and their challenges, in this month’s cover story.

There’s a lot more in this issue, but let me stop here to raise my glass, or perhaps my gym membership card, to my workout buddy and our colleagues at small-staff associations everywhere. What they’re bench-pressing these days is pretty impressive. There’s a lot of power in small.


Julie Shoop

By Julie Shoop

Julie Shoop is the Editor-in-Chief of Associations Now. MORE

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