October 27, 2020   |   Vol. 19   |   Issue 10
Tony Rossell, MGI Senior Vice President

Fall 2020 Association Economic Outlook Report

Here is some shocking news: the challenges your association faces today may have an upside. Instead of waiting for today’s turbulent environment to end, many associations are using this time to take significant actions to transform how they serve and support members.

In MGI’s just-released Association Economic Outlook Report, over 500 association executives shared the pandemic and recession’s impact on their organizations.

They reported substantial hardships.

  • 39% see their membership as going down by the end of the year.
  • 78% postponed their in-person events this year.
  • 20% cut the salaries or hours of their employees.

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However, the research highlighted a surprising outcome. Associations have responded forcefully and effectively to address these circumstances.

Most notably, the present challenges have decreased the impediments to change and innovation experienced by associations. A year ago, in the first MGI Association Economic Outlook Report, respondents reported that some of the barriers to change were institutional resistance to risk and the slow pace of board and senior executive decision-making. This year’s data shows that those impediments have substantially declined.

Instead, associations are rapidly making adjustments. For example, nearly all of the respondents said that they have updated their member messaging. They are sharing crucial information to help members or their companies through the crisis (90%), emphasizing association networking opportunities (50%), and offering members economic assistance or discounts (40%).

Beyond messaging, associations are adapting their products and procedures.

  • 84% have increased their virtual professional development opportunities.
  • 78% have developed new products and services to assist members and member companies.
  • 72% have reevaluated and streamlined internal processes.

As associations step up and deliver essential services to members, they see the impact. Fully 69% say that member engagement has increased during these times. For those willing to provide critical information, networking, and community to members during hard times, the results can be increased loyalty and organizational resilience. The message is, do not waste the opportunity for innovation and change that challenging times bring.

Download the full Association Economic Outlook Report today! If you would like assistance in helping your association adapt its marketing for these challenging times, please feel free to contact Tony Rossell, MGI’s Senior Vice President, at 703.706.0360, or by email at Tony@MarketingGeneral.com.

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