An Environmental Scanning Whitepaper for the Association Industry

It is impossible to develop successful, sustainable long-term strategy without understanding the future in which your members will live and work. Whether through strategic planning or value proposition design, Association Laboratory’s research confirms that associations must develop strategy based on the anticipated future of their industry or profession if they want to be successful.

Now in its 7th year, Association Laboratory’s Looking Forward series is the longest-running and most comprehensive association industry environmental scan. Each year, the study asks hundreds of senior association executives – representing dozens of industries and thousands of individual members and member companies – about the factors affecting association members and the effect of these factors on association strategy.

Association Laboratory surveyed association leaders and senior staff on factors affecting the association environment in five key areas identified through qualitative research:

  • Economic Factors identified as having substantial impact on the industry and professional structure of association members.
  • Information & Technology Factors identified as having substantial impact on the technology and communications underpinning industry and professional activity.
  • Workforce Factors identified as having substantial impact on the movement, use, and competencies of individuals.
  • Government Factors identified as having substantial impact on the relationship between association members and local, state, and federal governments.
  • Global Factors identified as having substantial impact on relationships between individuals, companies, and governments across international boundaries.

For each topic area, participants were shown a list of issues and asked to select up to three that would most impact the members of their association over the next 12 months. A total of 225 association chief staff officers and senior/executive staff took part in the survey, along with 113 association domain staff.

This year they identified four critical challenges to successfully leading an international or global association.

  • 70% – creating successful global partnerships or coalitions
  • 67% – incorporating non-US stakeholders into the association
  • 65% – creating and sustaining profitable global products and services
  • 64% – developing local delivery mechanisms for non-US based value propositions

Download your copy of the Executive Summary Whitepaper here.

For the complete study, visit the Association Laboratory Knowledge Center at .

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