With so many headwinds blowing against the association sector, it has become more important than ever for association executives to take the lead in future-proofing their organizations and preparing for uncertainties in 2024 and beyond.

Every association needs to account for the potential risks that they face from the global economic and geopolitical landscape. Trade disruptions, ongoing conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, and factors such as higher costs can significantly impact associations. For example, as insurance companies’ costs increase, associations may find themselves with less coverage for the same price.

And while there were some positive economic developments in 2023, such as avoiding a recession and declining inflation rates, some clouds remain on the economic horizon for 2024. For example, it is expected that the growth of the Canadian economy this year will continue to lag the US due to high household debt.

To proactively address these risks and uncertainties, associations should review their insurance coverage and ensure adequate protection against potential losses. Associations should also stay informed about the opportunities that artificial intelligence (AI) offers for increased efficiency and productivity. Associations should consider investing in software and hardware updates to enhance operations and keep up with the rapidly changing technological landscape.

Member retention and engagement are also vital to the sustainability and future of every association. Comprehensive HR plans and training programs can help address potential labor shortages and ensure a skilled and motivated workforce. Providing leadership opportunities, training, and mentoring for younger members fosters their engagement and contributes to the continued success of an association.

In terms of financial management, associations should consider moving away from traditional payment methods, such as cheques, and embrace electronic funds transfer for increased efficiency.

Adopting self-management for committees and leveraging automation tools can help streamline processes and save valuable time.

Considering the vulnerability of in-person events, it is essential for associations to evaluate the costs and potential impacts on the organization. Prioritizing member and sponsor retention, enhancing cybersecurity measures, and staying vigilant about evolving technologies are paramount.

To learn more about how to effectively mitigate risks, seize opportunities, and navigate the challenges that lie ahead, watch the recording for Zzeem’s January 2024 webinar entitled “What’s in Store for Associations in 2024?”