A dedicated international strategy fuels faster association growth, report says

The Association Global Trends survey has shown that associations with an international strategy are growing much faster.

Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

The Association Global Trends survey highlighted that 88% of faster growing associations either had a dedicated international growth strategy or were in the process of developing one. The more international an association was, in terms of both members and revenue, the more likely it was to experience overall growth.

Nearly 70% of all associations that responded viewed globalisation as an opportunity, with another 28% viewing it as both an opportunity and a threat.

Associations face numerous obstacles when trying to grow. Half of respondents cited defining the appropriate business model as a major obstacle to growth. Other obstacles included identifying qualified partners, accurately estimating the international market’s potential, legal and registration issues, for example GDPR, and language and culture barriers.

The survey collected input from nearly 700 participating trade and professional associations from more than 20 countries over the period 2013, 2016 and 2018.

A summary of the data collected set out to identify the trends and important factors that make the difference between successful international associations, and those that struggle to grow.

"Associations are entering a period of great opportunity to grow globally as the world continues to become more closely connected and as information technologies give even the smallest organisations the ability to reach members almost anywhere in the world.

"These surveys we have taken over the years help us to better understand how associations are approaching international development and allows other associations to learn and compare their own approaches," said Terrance Barkan CAE chief strategist and business architect at GLOBALSTRAT, and the primary author of the report.

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