Why Trade Associations Need to Think Bigger
Rethink partnerships and meetings to remain effective
Trade associations have a reputation for being monolithic organizations—they represent the whole of a major industry, busily advocating for its member companies but not looking far beyond that. A new survey, though, suggests that trade associations have been compelled to stretch more, and recognize that they are just one piece in a larger value chain.
The report, released earlier this month by Potomac Core Association Consulting, found that leaders are feeling generally more confident about their standing: 58 percent say they feel better about their association's "overall situation," compared to 51 percent in 2022. They're more upbeat about their finances as well, with 66 percent saying revenue will improve compared to 2022. (The findings are based on responses from 93 C-level association executives, mostly CEOs, surveyed between February and May 2023.)
But to arrive at those good feelings, they’ve had to approach their work differently, said Potomac Core CEO Dan Varroney. “Trade associations have made a substantial pivot from being the traditional trade association to being a strategic partner to an industry,” he said. “They’re acknowledging that we’re in an era of chronic uncertainty.”
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