No matter your politics, our country needs associations. The challenges are our industry’s to take.
Collectively, we are at a pivotal point in U.S. history, and associations will be key to bring viable solutions to our country and its challenges. This is no lofty aspiration or illusion of grandeur. While other civic institutions are reeling, associations remain organizations with relatively unblemished loyalty and trust. And, thusly, we must leverage this trust and deliver creative solutions to our markets and industries.
Some may voice: “Okay, sure. How do we do that?”
Given that my background and focus is in education, here are some ideas to consider within an educational context.
Provide critical skills-based education to your markets.
Remember, if it’s required education, it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be expensive. It is simply what’s needed for a professional to get to a more competitive state in the market, and that alone should provide flexible solutions on costs of delivery.
Survey your profession. Can you generate a short list of possible areas to target? Associations typically can tap field leaders who seek to contribute back to the profession. These subject matter experts can quickly (with some urging) generate educational content that can be further developed into a certification program or concentrated learning activity.
Help cross-train people switching fields.
Your profession and industry may be growing, whereas others are seeing a falloff. Consider providing introductory and transitional education in related fields and specialties that may be stagnant or in decline. People need new skills and may be switching their career focus. Can your organization help them?
Advocate with education.
Can you uncover a need for funding or legislation to benefit society by using an education piece or content that helps steer the attention of funding institutions?
A real example I’ve recently seen was a piece for critical healthcare education needed in hospitals. A video was created to evoke emotion, educating viewers about the reality of the lack of properly trained clinicians in a healthcare situation. The call-to-action was clear: more funding and better care are essential in such a highly-specialized treatment area.
So, as you can see, there are possibilities. And, these are only a start.
All of us in the association industry have a reason to be bullish about our opportunities to influence positive change. Trust is required, and it’s a critical element in our favor. Furthermore, we have captive audiences, access to subject matter expertise, and a broad view of our respective fields and professions.
I wish you the best of luck and offer our assistance in your efforts.
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