Even more so than “usual” now is a time for associations to provide their members with the resources they will find valuable. Does that mean we should be creating resources? Curating resources? Both?
I recently came across an association that was struggling with this question. Initially it seemed like they were going to jump in with both feet and create resources that directed individuals in their industry on how to act at their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis. The association had never played that role before and members did not rely on the association for that type of information, so it seemed like an odd strategy for the association to implement. I am not a lawyer, but I also wonder if putting out guidelines and recommendations put the association at legal risk if something were to happen to a member that was following something they received or read.
Ultimately the association decided to point members toward verified and reliable resources that were accepted throughout the industry. They became a curator of resources and not a creator of resources. As I suggested to the leadership of the organization many times from behind the scenes, I think that was the right thing to do.
Is your association a guideline-setting organization? Or do you provide other benefits and services, including information and education for which your members come to you? If you are not a creator of guidelines, I strongly recommend that you do not become one now. Instead, you can help your members and your industry by curating verified and trusted resources and helping make it easy for them to access them.
Scott has over 20 years of marketing experience in the association and publishing industries. Before starting his consulting firm, he worked for market leaders like National Geographic Society, AARP, and Science. Throughout his career Scott has excelled in developing, implementing, and analyzing multi-channel direct marketing programs. He is highly skilled in creating effective membership, marketing, and sales programs with the ability to align resources and operations to consistently achieve and exceed goals.