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Do you need groceries and have them delivered in an hour? No problem, InstaCart can help you. Amazon purchase delivered same day? It’s available. HBO Go, Netflix, Zappos, Lynda.com and Uber – all great examples of companies building their success on providing products and services to their customers through an “on demand” business model.

The On-Demand Economy is defined as the economic activity created by digital marketplaces that fulfill consumer demand via immediate access to and convenient provisioning of goods and services. So, what does have to do with your organization. Potentially everything.

The days of the traditional 8 to 5 office are over, even for those folks who haven’t yet come to that realization. If your members are trying to connect with your organization at 11 pm to register for an event, get information on continuing education, or wanting to access other information or services and can’t connect with you, how would you know? And what if they are trying to connect with you via a smart phone or tablet? Is your organization’s website mobile friendly? If not, are you turning people away? More importantly, if they skip you how hard will it be to get them to come back?

The reality is to continue to grow and succeed membership organizations must have a robust virtual presence. The vast majority of any organization’s members will rarely engage you in your office or at an off-site event. Geographic and time related constraints prevent that. As a result, your website has become the window to your organization. Does it have the technology behind it to deliver the membership experience your members and prospects are expecting?

So how does an association or membership organization become an active participant in the on-demand economy? The simple answer is by leveraging the affordable technology that is available today to help more efficiently serve your members’ current and future needs.

Here are several areas where I think organizations can compete and succeed in the On-Demand Economy:

  • Member Management Software – Data driven websites that allow visitors:
    • To access high valued content and services related to their careers
    • To register and pay for membership dues, event registrations, products, and more
    • To access and update their personal profile, download certifications, connect with peers via private communities and much more
    • Mobile Event Apps – take your meetings to a new level of engagement
  • Online Career Centers:
    • Connect your members to relevant employers seeking their specific skill sets
    • Help passive job seekers with their next career move
    • Hold Virtual Career Fairs that bring even greater value to job seekers and employers
    • Outstanding resource for generating non-dues revenue
    • Build loyalty and increased engagement with your organization
  • Learning Management Systems: e-Learning is the next great frontier
    • Connect your members with an e-Learning environment that is invaluable to their professional development
    • Enable your members to gain access to the education they seek when it is convenient for them
    • Offer a variety of learning from events and eLearning modules to publications, videos, and webinar recordings

This is just a sample of what your organization can be doing today to compete and succeed in the On-Demand Economy. If you would like to learn more, please mark your calendar to attend our YM CAE Thought Leadership Webinar on September 23rd, Becoming a 24/7 On-Demand Service Provider to Meet Member Expectations. JP Guilbault, YM’s President & CEO will be sharing his views on how associations can leverage technology to develop compelling offers to help retain current members and to recruit new prospective members as you grow your organization. I hope you can attend.