3 Takeaways from .orgCommunity’s Innovation Summit ’19

I just attended my first conference as a member of the Gravitate team – the .orgCommunity Innovation Summit in Chicago.  

I’ve known Sherry and Kevin at .orgSource for more than 20 years and it’s fantastic to see what they have built.


The event was focused on emerging trends and innovations in association management and the major themes that dominated were:

  1. Disruption is all around – associations need to embrace and experiment with new business models and deploy systems that can help them make better informed and faster decisions.
  2. Implementing social psychology strategies is an effective and viable way to positively influence stakeholders – when implementing marketing strategies, associations need to consider social psychology concepts such as social proof (getting one member to copy the activities of others), reciprocity (granting special privileges for certain members), fun (we’re attracted to companies that mix it in), and scarcity. 
  3. Culture eats strategy for lunch – associations need to be intentional about their culture to keep their best talent and attract top new talent both as it relates to staff and volunteers.

What strikes me is that better information is a common antidote to these three challenges. 

Clearly, associations need better information to combat disruption and define new business models.  But they also need engagement data to identify member preferences and opportunities for segmentation that could be used to grant special privileges and identify opportunities to embrace a certain stakeholder group. Even when assessing potential volunteers, the association needs to be able to measure their involvement and engagement – and determine if they are a great culture fit.

At my prior association, 340B Health (an association of over 1400 hospitals) we were able to combine data and measure engagement across data in iMIS (association management system), Higher Logic (private community) and Informz (email marketing tool) using the Nucleus analytics platform.  This allowed us to uncover trends and member preferences – and even quickly identify our next board member based on their engagement score.

I’m pleased I attended the .orgCommunity Innovation Summit. It was a productive day, the speakers and information were excellent and it confirmed my belief that all associations need to arm themselves with information and a tool like Nucleus to thrive in this new paradigm. After all, winning a marathon is much more difficult if you don’t know the route : )

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