How does an association build upon their cornerstone events while simultaneously crafting a strategy to broaden their reach, and revenue, through value added components of membership? Josh Babb, Director of Federal Government Affairs with McKesson, gave us a glimpse into this and opened our minds to some key questions every association should be asking themselves.
First, Babb rightly pointed out the benefits of having an association pool their resources to help lobby on behalf of its members for the collective good of the industry. Is there inherent value in providing a voice for the industry and does that warrant carving out specific fees or pricing schemas to capture that benefit for those in the organization who need that representation?
Second, if you have large organizations or industry behemoths who already have inhouse dedicated resources for such things as lobbying, what role does your association play? Babb stated that while he is now focused on long term planning for McKesson as a company, the ability to turn to an association for short term eyes, ears, and resources is how he views the value add of a membership group. Does your association function in a way that allows you to provide scalable resources and in turn, be able to charge for them as alternative sources of revenue?
Lastly, what other areas of business are open to this type of discussion? Professional certification has long been an area through which associations have helped industries codify and formalize their workforce. Are there new areas of training and education that your association could build up or extend as scalable resource opportunities? Bringing events online can open up your audience size and present opportunities to bring other engagements online as well. When designing your new virtual platforms, is online education a viable addition to draw more value?
The rapid pace of change and uncertainty is here to stay, how is your association looking at your resources and talent to create opportunity for new service lines or different pricing schemas to capture that value? Rather than cutting costs and perhaps staff, are there more innovative ways to offer up scalability in a time when your members may be looking to do the same?