Membership|Save the Associations

Your Niche Is Your Pitch

January 17 @ 3:08 pm CST

With the NFL playoffs just around the corner and the Superbowl only weeks away, football fans are more energized than ever, eagerly anticipating how their respective teams will perform and whether they will take home that coveted championship title. My family supports the Minnesota Vikings, but I was part of a Chicago Bears household growing up. Not a football fan? Maybe there is another sport or team you support. Sports teams provide us with electrifying energy, excitement, and a sense of belonging.     We all want to be part of a winning team.    I want you to think about the following scenario: what if your favorite team added other skill sets to its repertoire? For example, if the Bears or Vikings suddenly announced they were also going to play baseball, volleyball, or some other sport in addition to football, they likely wouldn’t have the same value to their fans. We support specific teams because we consider them the best at their craft, not because they do it all.    Membership associations aren’t much different. Your members will typically join your organization because you provide something others don’t.     That one thing that sets you apart from the rest is your “niche” and is the secret to long-term, sustainable success.    Unfortunately, when challenges arise, many associations tend to overcompensate by trying to be accessible and available to everyone by offering too many services. This reaction leads to confusion, frustration, and burnout amongst your board and members alike. Associations in these situations quickly lose focus of their niche and, ultimately, their purpose. What many organizations don’t realize is that there is money to be found in niches. By carving out an area of expertise and being the ‘go-to’ resource, you will attract more members, and thus, more funds.   In today’s marketplace, your organization needs to offer access to something of incredible value to eliminate your competition. To help find your niche and maintain it, I recommend regularly…

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