Does the Washington Post have the Full Story?

The Washington Post headlined the struggles of associations today on the front page of the Business Section. The article presented a pretty dire story faced by many associations. The Post says,

“Reflecting the economic turmoil of the industries they represent, many national trade associations based in Washington are hemorrhaging members who either have lost their jobs, run a financially distressed business or said they need to spend their dwindling discretionary dollars on necessities rather than dues.” [1]

Clearly, associations serving industries in decline have a tougher road than others.

But it is also good to keep in mind that applying best membership marketing practices and meeting member needs during challenging times can and does still result in growth.

Here is one example spotlighted in a press release about the exceptional growth this year for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Membership has gone from 36,000 in 1992 to 250,000 this year making them one of the largest U.S. associations.

In part, SHRM attributes this rise in membership to the aggressive membership acquisition program that they launched in 1992 and have consistently maintained and improved over the years.

I think that Michael Treacy says in well, “Growth endures not because of fortuitous demand, a hot product, or any single tactic. Growth endures when management follows a portfolio of disciplines to ensure that a broad set of growth opportunities are identified and captured as routinely as costs are controlled and processes are improved.” [2]

Is your organization disciplined in it approach to growth?

[1] By V. Dion Haynes, Washington Post Staff Writer, Trade Groups Regroup, Monday, December 15, 2008; Page D01
[2] Michael Treacy, Double-Digit Growth.

2 comments:

Don Metznik said...

The quotation by Treacy is a keeper. It explains growth in a simple but powerful way that general statements about spending during downturns often lack.

Tony Rossell said...

Hi Don -- Thanks for your comments. Yes, I agree teh quote is on target. I also recommend his book. Tony