When I write about the latest association trends you get to learn about the innovation that is happening across multiple industries and experiences.  When I speak on trends you get to hear about what is new so you can share new ideas with your team.  And when I facilitate conversations with my clients on the latest trends, we seem to choose whether the group wants to set the trend or read about someone doing the same thing months later.

When it comes to association management, there are are some distinct trends for 2018 that I wanted to share with you and the questions I would ask if I was meeting with your team to discuss the overall strategy, business case to support the trend, and options on how to go about its implementation.

Data Mining the Membership

  1. What specific data can be collected about a member over the entirety of their membership?
  2. Which value propositions, services, or offerings would the association would benefit from predictive analytics and what would be the economic impact by implementing predictive analytics to demonstrate the success of each one?
  3. Who specifically in-house or vendor outsourced would be able to create machine-learning algorithms that would predict the likelihood of a member taking action based upon the history of their member profile?

Curriculum Creation by Membership

  1. Which members are considered to be experts in a specific niche and are committed to giving back to the association in the form of sharing specific expertise in a requested format by association staff?
  2. How many different ways can you package raw content used for curriculum in multiple media formats that members would actual use? Pay extra for?

Read 101 Questions to Ask Your Professional Development Function

Bots, Bytes, and Bits of Intelligence

  1. Where does the brain of the association live and how many categories, sub-categories, and micro-categories exist that contain information about everything related to the association and its members?
  2. What inside the brain of the association can be automated using bots to improve the membership and what cannot?

Business Modeling Strategy Visualization

  1. What process does the association leadership, governance, or volunteers use when submitting new ideas in order to improve the quality of their membership?
  2. For this new idea… what are the objectives, metrics for success, contribution to value, time estimated for completion, risk associated, cost to execute, and risk if it doesn’t happen?

On-Demand Intelligence with Voice Assistants

  1. What frequently asked questions do new members, visitors, event participants, volunteers, new leaders, and staff have on a day-to-day basis?
  2. What areas of the on-site/remote facilities require regular supervision or communication from a distance?
  3. What areas of the facility would benefit from having a voice-enabled assistant?

Platform Subscription Services 

  1. If you were to look at your personal bank/credit card statement, which subscription services do you buy from Amazon, iTunes, Google, or Microsoft?
  2. What similar offerings could the association repackage from its existing revenue streams to add on as an extra value add? 

Amazoning the Association Model 

  1. What features of the online customer experience does Amazon use that you enjoy the most or that have wowed you when you least expected it?
  2. What Amazon devices have you seen or used that can be integrated into the membership experience, event experience, or volunteer experience?

Adoption of More Sophisticated Collaboration Tools

  1. Which collaboration tools does the association use that are platform agnostic (available on Mac, PC, desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.)?
  2. Which cloud platform allows the most amount of integrations?

Libraries of Synthetic Intellect

  1. What data repositories are readily accessible to integrate with the association management system?
  2. What are the association’s algorithms that can predict the likelihood of a member being successful, taking action on a specific value proposition, or voting?
  3. How many different ways would a member, staff, volunteer or consumer ask the same type of question to be used in natural language understanding for chat bots?
  4. What developer code repositories can the association pull from in order to save software development costs (ex. GitHub)?

Blockchain of the Membership Experience

  1. How many steps are involved by either the member, staff, or automation that process the membership experience from the time that they join the association until they receive Emeritus status?


Organizations bring in Doug Devitre from St. Louis, Missouri USA when they want to dramatically increase operational performance, create breakthrough value propositions, and serve customers beyond geographical constraints on a minimal budget. For more than a decade he has been setting trends with how organizations engage customers with social media, video marketing, and custom-built software applications. Doug’s book Screen to Screen Selling published by McGraw Hill pioneered the way sales professionals sold homes without being physically present before the COVID-19 pandemic. He is one of a select few who have earned the Certified Speaking Professional Designation from the National Speakers Association and has experience as a REALTOR.

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