Building  Owners  and  Managers  Association  International

Building Owners and Managers Association International

The Latest Association Trends and Insights

​By BOMA President Henry Chamberlain, APR, CAE

The Economic Impact on Associations
A new study by the ASAE Foundation, “Associations after the Recession: Attitudes and Beliefs among CEOs and Members,” finds the economy solidifying with modest signs of recovery. The survey revealed incremental improvement in funding for staff salaries and benefits, association memberships, and attendance at education and training programs. The top five issues in rank order concerning CEOs are membership retention, sponsorship revenue, membership recruitment, volunteer participation and annual meeting attendance. Also of concern is the rising percentage of members who say they will drop their dues regardless of who pays; 16.3 percent of current members say they will drop their membership regardless of who pays, up from 5.7 percent two years ago. How strong is your value proposition?

In terms of non-dues revenues, the survey revealed that most associations have bounced back with their revenue streams but not back to pre-recession levels. On the meetings and education front shorter meetings (one day or less) have recovered more quickly than longer meetings (more than a day). A growing number of associations are seeing increases in revenue from on line education offerings – from 60.9 percent of associations in 2009 to 62.4 percent currently. With virtual media participation through social media channels growing slowly, members still prefer a mix of face-to-face and online options.

A 2011 Economic Impact on Associations survey done by McKinley Marketing finds that 48 percent of respondents are still feeling the negative impact from this economy. While 44 percent of associations think membership will grow this year, 38 percent believe it will decline further. The top issues of concern: membership recruitment and retention and sponsorships (88 percent), annual meeting attendance (83 percent), and advertising and attendance at other educational seminars (74 percent). The top 2011 priorities include improving member retention (50 percent), new member acquisition (44 percent), branding/increasing awareness (36 percent), developing new methods for member engagement (34 percent), and increasing meeting attendance (26 percent).

Race for Relevance – 5 Radical Changes for Associations
“Race for Relevance – 5 Radical Changes for Associations” by Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, CAE is an  interesting new book that explores new approaches boards can take in helping their members be more successful. As members have less time to be involved in associations, we need to find ways to create tangible value (ROI) while focusing on meaningful, interesting  projects that are fun as well (a good BOMA trait!). We are facing consolidations impacting decisions on participation, several generations of industry professionals to service, and fiercer and fiercer completion from all sides. In response boards should explore:

  • Overhauling governance models and how work gets done through committees to create a nimble and flexible decision making structure;
  • Empowering the CEO (BAE) and enhancing staff expertise about the industry, key players and the dynamics of the marketplace;
  • Rigorously and realistically defining the member market for your association and concentrating your energies on it;
  • Rationalizing programs and services around what members desire and what the benefits are from them – “what is in it for them?”
  • Building a robust technology framework that allows you to reach your members on their mobile devices and allows them to reach you wherever they are whenever they want.