Why We Love Associations: 10 Top Stories From the Associations Now Archives

From news to opinion to quirky features about creative association pros, these are some of the stories that have made a splash with Associations Now readers over the years. Read them again for an end-of-decade reminder of why you love associations.

Associations Now didn’t have a digital news presence until 2012, but we’ve covered enough of the 2010s that we have a lot of association stories to look back at in our archives.

How much is a lot? More than 12,000 posts since went online. The 10 articles below—a mixture of all-time best-read posts, period-specific news stories, and recent favorites—would make some great reading as you enjoy the holidays. Dive in to remember some of the amazing things associations—and the people who work in them—have done over the past decade.  (And if you want more, give the magazine archive a look.)

On with the list! Cheers to you, associations!

(illustration by Ernie Smith; icon by Erin Gillaspy/The Noun Project)

Take It From the Top: How Leaders Foster an Ethical Culture (Or Not). The most successful piece published on Associations Now over the past decade, this 2014 guest post by Lori Porter, MBA, IOM, CAE, part of a series from ASAE’s Ethics Committee, discussed the fundamental issues around building an ethical culture.




5 Future Trends Affecting the Events Industry. This 2013 blog post from meetings blogger Samantha Whitehorne highlighted a number of industry predictions from the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. How correct were they? Read the piece and judge for yourself.



(photo by

The Leadership Elements That Made Nelson Mandela an Icon. The 2013 passing of Nelson Mandela, the South African leader who propelled the anti-apartheid movement and became a symbol of nonviolent resistance, brought a time of reflection for his admirers, including many in the association space. In the six years since, this post has been one of Associations Now‘s most enduring.




Do You Know Your Members’ Engagement Potential? Associations Now has been home to a series of bloggers, including longtime membership blogger Joe Rominiecki, now manager of communications at the Entomological Society of America. In his most popular post, from 2014, he shared some smart takeaways on engagement from the book ‌The Art of Membership, by Avenue M Group’s Sheri Jacobs, CAE.



Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. (David McNew/Getty Images)

What Amazon’s Culture Says About Managing Employees. Amazon has frequently offered an example for associations to learn from, on everything from customer service to personalization to workplace culture. Case in point: this 2015 post by leadership blogger Mark Athitakis looking at the emotional impact of Amazon’s infrastructure on employees.




Why Is Your Association Still Sharing PDFs Online? This 2016 blog post, in which I made a case to stop sharing certain kinds of documents in the PDF format, drew a lot of discussion, with readers seeing the issue from both sides. Meanwhile, the PDF has remained an association mainstay.



Thanks in part to the usage of ratings, video games are now more popular with adults than with kids. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Four Ways That Ratings Changed Video Games Forever. Originally published in 2014 and getting a refresh this fall in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, this piece highlights an important association success story: how the video game field prevented federal regulators from implementing a ratings system on games, instead creating their own voluntary system, which is still used today.




Win Back Your Lapsed Members. Our most popular post from 2017, by membership blogger Tim Ebner, tells how the American Association for Respiratory Care  reinstated 800 members in just 45 days. Readers have been returning to it ever since.



(SBphotos/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

4 Data Issues to Act on Now, as GDPR Looms. This March 2018 post had the most visits last year, proving just how seriously the association community took the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which took effect that May.



A scene from Freed’s 2012 out-of-office message, titled “Andy Freed is Out of the Office: The Trailer.” (YouTube screenshot)

How One CEO’s Out-of-Office Messages Draw Fans and Build Trust. Published last month, this was the most successful Associations Now story of the past year. It features Andy Freed, CEO of the association management company Virtual, Inc., and his Hollywood-style out-of-office messages. People love them, and Freed says they show the importance of authenticity in even our most mundane interactions with each other.

What was your favorite Associations Now story of the 2010s? Share it in the comments below.

(Samantha Whitehorne)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

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

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