November 22, 2017
    5 elements every association needs to OWN in 2017

    Can your organization be that body of H.O.P.E.?

    By Tom Morrison | 12/15/2016

    The following is an excerpt of a recent blog post by Tom Morrison. 

    WOW! What a year 2016 has been! There was so much excitement and emotion in so many areas of people’s lives. Individuals and businesses in this country have their eyes wide open, looking for any organization that can give them H.O.P.E. for their life to be meaningful, stress free and prosperous in the future.
    Now that the dust has settled with the election, people can get back to work and make choices for their profession, career or companies that will vault them into the future. The question for your organization is, “Can your organization be that body of H.O.P.E. in your industry that people latch onto and say, ‘You have what I want...take me into the future.’”
    The H.O.P.E. I speak of is what I feel everyone in any industry is looking to tap into. H.O.P.E. is a longstanding acronym that I came up with for four characteristics that people are looking for in an association. It is an association with:

    • Hell of an Attitude

    • Optimism

    • Passion

    • Energy.

    The combination of these four characteristics inspire people everyday that the future is going to be OK, and it’s going to be OK because our association is here to fight for your cause or business model. Together we will win the future. As Russell Crowe said in The Gladiator, just before chaos broke out in the Roman arena, “Whatever comes out of these gates, we have a better chance of survival if we work together. We stay together, we survive.”

    The same holds true for every industry in America. The industries that work together will create an environment where their members can thrive in productivity, profitability and quality of life. By members thriving, it will create an excitement for others to join, to get engaged in programs, and volunteer to be a part of something greater than themselves. 
    For this to happen, it is crucial that every association have five elements in 2017; ensuring that they draw their industry closer, and be seen by them as the H.O.P.E. that can create the difference in people's lives, productivity, profits and quality of life. The following are the five elements I feel every association will need to thrive in 2017 and beyond:
    1. Know members friction, anxiety and stress. Every business model has some level of friction, anxiety and stress in the areas of operations and commerce. It is this friction, anxiety and stress that leaves any industry open to “Uberization,” as it did in the taxi industry. Associations that can identify the friction, anxiety and stress in their industry's business model will learn the areas where they can drive the highest value to their members. Find the solutions to your industry’s friction, anxiety and stress, and you will find the golden handcuffs to membership and engagement in nondues revenue.
    2. Clear and focused value proposition. Once you have identified the friction, anxiety and stress, you now have the opportunity to build a value proposition that is laser-focused on providing solutions to those problems. To be successful in 2017, associations will need to move away from the traditional, grandiose, strategic plans that have many elements that mean nothing to the day-to-day success of a member, but rather provide a “Value Proposition Strategy” that hits at the heart of member’s every day success. This plan should contain a “power statement” surrounded by three to six core elements that are solutions for your member’s friction, anxiety and stress. Your value proposition should be a visual that can easily fit onto any business card as a presentation for “Why Belong.” This visual should be able to be clearly communicated by your board and staff. 

    Morrison’s next points cover communications, technology and engaging millennials. To read the entire column, click here

    Morrison is an association executive and a speaker, especially on “Uberization” and association strategies. Contact him at

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