In case you missed it, Matrix Group now has a podcast. It’s called Associations Thrive! Each week, I interview association and nonprofit CEOs, Presidents and Executive Directors about the things their organization is doing to increase membership, generate revenue, and ultimately thrive.
Associations Thrive came out of a marketing planning meeting I held with my team at the beginning of Summer 2022. You see, at least once a year, we do a webinar where we showcase some of the amazing projects of our clients. This year, we thought, “Why not showcase what associations and nonprofits are doing, regardless of whether or not they’re clients, and why not do it through a podcast for greater reach?”
So in October of this year, we launched the Associations Thrive podcast. The podcast is available on Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon Music and Stitcher (you have no reason not to listen!). I am absolutely loving the conversations I’m having with my guests, some of whom are clients, while many are not.
What are some of the themes that are emerging? What do successful organizations all have in common? Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
- Successful organizations have chief executives that work cooperatively with their Board. This sounds so unbelievably obvious, but it makes sense. When Boards provide the guidance and oversight, and then let their Executive Directors or CEOs execute on their vision, great things happen. For example, Lindsay Currie of CUR has a Board that practices anticipatory planning and has an innovation fund. Russ Webb of the Bay Area Apartment Association says he doesn’t tell his members how to run apartment buildings, and they don’t tell him how to run the BAAA, but his Board does provide mission and guidance.
- Successful organizations took advantage of the pandemic to update their governance, update their strategic plans, think proactively about the future, and revamp their education programs. These are organizations that are not going back to their pre-pandemic structures and offerings. For example, CASE updated its strategic plan and created a new career journey framework during the pandemic.
- Many are re-imagining their conferences. They are updating the formats, creating new events, and rethinking legacy events. For example, Russ Webb of the Bay Area Apartment Association has a FOMO (fear of missing out) event strategy. The BAAA’s annual conference is held at different times of the year, in different locations, and with different program elements. The Book Manufacturing Institute has a Book Manufacturing Mastered event that is offered at different locations and the program is guided by the most important topics affecting book manufacturers at the time.
- Research and reports are helping members navigate the future and create amazing member value. For example, AAPACN has research that shows having at least one AAPACN-certified nurse at a skilled nursing facility improves quality outcomes and increases reimbursement rates. The BMI and CASE report data from members around the world.
- Technology powers successful organizations. For example, CASE updated its technology to become a more nimble association. CUR updated its technology and is now an all-remote association.
- Successful organizations value member feedback and create opportunities for hearing member concerns. For example, Alan DeYoung of the Wisconsin EMS Association visits member agencies once a month to solicit member feedback, distribute goodies, and ask how WEMSA can help. Vince Talucci of the International Association of Chiefs of Police went on a listening tour to solicit deep member feedback. The Pet Advocacy Network meets members at industry events to solicit feedback and share what Pet Advocacy is doing to showcase the industry and its issues. Then, they act.
- Successful organizations are committed to making their member journeys amazing. For example, NVAR revamped the physical space at their HQ, created a member experience team that can answer any and all member questions, and even created a digital studio to help members navigate social media, and record audio and video.
What a pleasure and an honor to learn about these successful association leaders and their organizations. I hope you’ll give Associations Thrive a listen and give me feedback on the content, format and guests. And if your organization has added member services, updated its governance, or launched new services and are seeing great results, I want to hear your story! Please ask your chief executive (or their assistant, most likely) to visit https://podcast.matrixgroup.net to apply to be on Associations Thrive!