Daily Buzz: Should Your Association Get Political?

In a time of political division, knowing who your members are and following through on your mission is more important. Also: Find your competitive edge in education.

In what often feels like an increasingly polarized world, it can be hard for organizations to plead Switzerland-like neutrality. Should your association take a stand?

“Amidst all of this division and polarization in the world around us, how should your nonprofit react?” asked Kevin Peters on Blue Avocado. “On a practical level, there are several steps you can take: know your constituents, your donors, and the laws regarding nonprofit status.”

An association’s first allegiance is to its members, so it’s important to understand what they are looking for in your organization. The value your group brings might be multifaceted—but the ability to rise above politics and come together as one might be part of the package.

“By knowing who you serve and staying focused on your mission, you can filter out the noise and do what is best for your people,” he said.

Depending on its goals, your association might also face outside pressure from certain political or lobbying groups. Again, keeping your members and mission close to heart will help guide your team’s next steps.

“Politics may seem unavoidable, whether on the news or even just talk around the water cooler,” Peters said. “But your organization must find a way of staying focused on the mission for which it was formed. For the time-being, there are laws … in place to help you maintain this focus. Know them and follow them.”

What’s the Next Trend in Continuing Education?

Where associations once had the pulse on professional development and continuing education, universities and corporate competitors are taking away some of their competitive advantage. That means it’s even more important for associations to discover and study emerging education trends ahead of the competition, said the WBT Systems team on its blog.

“If you build your attention muscle, you will find market gaps and emerging educational needs,” they said. “But, if you wait too long to act, someone else will capture your market. Become indispensable to professionals in your industry by noticing what they need now and will need in the future—see what other organizations don’t see.”

One way to do this: Talk with members. Ask them what features or abilities they wish they had in continuing-education courses. If you see a common theme, talk with your team about how to turn those dreams into reality.

Other Links of Note

Is the membership model a passing fad? The Membership Guys discuss on their latest podcast.

ICYMI: Twitter began rolling out a new desktop interface. PCMag explains the changes.

Word-of-mouth marketing often delivers impact faster than other modes of communication. That’s one reason why you should leverage your team of messengers, says the Wild Apricot blog.

(serazetdinov/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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