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Putting the Business in Your Business Model

Manage your organization like a for-profit

There is no way to be "crisis-proof," but you can diversify your portfolio to reduce the likelihood of a single catastrophic hit – a common practice in the for-profit world. This requires a business-driven mindset, thoughtful planning, investment of time and funds into strategic value areas for your members and an eye toward where your growth can have the biggest impact the fastest.

Associations that were able to pivot best in the last few years, did so because they had created a culture of long-range planning like a for-profit business, had a strong mix of business-minded board members, had accumulated enough reserves to weather financial hits, or simply were lucky. Luck usually lasts only so long, so how can you shore up these other strategic areas for your organization?

Manage like a For-profit

One forward thinking association executive recently said, “You can’t make a bunch of value and then hope members will pay for it. You need to plan to make money so you can expand the value.” This translates into evaluating what your members would need regardless of what economic, political or professional climate they face, and recognizing that offering multiple “all-weather” value items will increase the chances that, in good or bad times, you will capture enough of the market share to remain relevant and hopefully grow revenue.

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