am softwareA Brief Description

Association management software systems manage the core operations for associations such as professional societies, trade associations, fundraising organizations, recreational organizations, and association management companies. Example functions include member services and management, event management, fundraising, and compliance.

Virgo Capital’s View

Associations are a relatively recession-resistant business, but as the professional labor force grows during economic recovery, professional and trade associations specifically need to be ready to engage potential new members who seek to advance their careers through membership. For national organizations, as opposed to state-level organizations, membership is voluntary, so these groups need sophisticated tools and technology, including social media, to continually attract and engage members, especially the younger generation of professionals, and fend off competition from for-profit entities who can also provide relevant content and experiences to members.

Current Trends

According to the American Society of Association Executives, “millennials” will make up 40% of the workforce by 2015. In order to attract and engage these younger professionals, associations need to provide continuous learning and collaboration opportunities outside of their usual events, through channels such as webinars, mobile devices, and social media.

A recent ASAE survey1 noted that most associations are active on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but only about one-fourth of those active had what they considered a fully implemented strategy. By having an integrated social and mobile presence, associations can use their member knowledge to improve experiences and collect data on member activity.

Another key trend from the ASAE survey is that 60% of associations felt threatened by increased competition from for-profit entities that provide educational content through channels such as webinars, white papers, and conferences. In order to win this battle, associations not only need to keep attracting the best experts to provide content, but be able to deploy content and member experiences effectively and broadly.

1 ASAE Marketing Section Council. 2012 Association Marketing Trendswatch. May 2012.