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Current and Future Association Technology Needs Unveiled in New Community Brands Study

The all-new Digital Evolution Study provides insights on association technology needs for both members and association professionals

September 20, 2019—ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Community Brands, the leading provider of business management, commerce and payment solutions for member-based organizations, announces the release of the new Digital Evolution Study on association technology. Included in the findings are the perspectives of association members and professionals on key technology topics. Personalization, mobile capabilities, and data analytics are highlighted as key areas of focus for associations’ current and future technology needs.

One of the more telling findings in the study is that association members are largely satisfied with the current use of technology by associations with 70% providing an “excellent” or “very good” response when asked about their primary professional association’s application of technology. Association professionals however rated their organization’s adoption and application of technology as being much lower with only 38% of responses providing an “excellent” or “very good” response.

“While members are largely satisfied with the technology provided by their association today, they have clear expectations for enhanced capabilities for personalization, mobile, and data privacy and security in the near-future,” stated Tristan Jordan, EVP and GM of Careers and Education, Community Brands. “The data suggests that association professionals foresee missed opportunities in their organizations today and are interested in continuing to invest in new capabilities to stay ahead of member expectations.”

This study addresses perceptions and behaviors of today’s members toward technology, how those member views align to the views of association professionals, how prepared associations are to meet future needs, and how associations can evolve to best meet the digital needs of tomorrow. A parallel study was also conducted with association professionals to compare their perspective, providing a unique view of issues from both groups.

Additional key findings from the report and what they mean to associations and other professional membership organizations include:

  • Members and professionals have a positive outlook on association technology. Members overall are currently satisfied, but professionals are looking to stay ahead with the adoption of new technology.
  • Use of mobile technology falls short of members’ rising expectations. Members expect the same capabilities on mobile as on desktop, and for many associations’ mobile capabilities are lacking with investment yet to happen.
  • Questions and concerns of data privacy and security grow in importance. Members view data privacy and security as a top concern for both today and ahead, but there is currently a disconnect with association professionals who are underestimating members’ concerns.
  • Personalization, seamless experiences across touchpoints, and data analytics are needed to deliver compelling member experiences. Members have new expectations for engaging with association technology across touchpoints, and association professionals are looking to better leverage data and member insights.
  • Association IT staff is often focused on member experience and retention, and less on long-term tech objectives. Topics such as data privacy, security, and governance, as well as data analytics will require association IT staff to spend more time on projects outside of where they are focused today.
  • Data and analytics play a key role in many of the trends highlighted within the study. Yet the data suggests that association professionals do not feel prepared to fully leverage data and member insights.

Poor quality data, a lack of integrated data, and a skillset gap in reporting technology were highlighted as key roadblocks in holding organizations back.

The full study can be accessed here. Highlights from the study will also be discussed by Community Brands subject matter experts Tristan Jordan, and Sig VanDamme, Membership Software Evangelist on an October 3rd webinar.

Learn more about Community Brands and its Association Solutions, Nonprofit Solutions, K-12 Solutions, and Faith-based Solutions.

About the Report
Commissioned by Community Brands, Edge Research conducted an online survey of 1,143 U.S. members who self-reported they are 18 years old or older and a member of a professional membership organization. Survey respondents were recruited through an online non-probability sample, meaning findings are not projectable to the larger population of members. The term “members” refers specifically to those who were surveyed. A parallel online survey was conducted among 405 professionals who work in these organizations. Survey respondents were recruited using both online non-probability sample and Community Brands industry contacts. The terms “professionals” or “pros” refers specifically to those who were surveyed. The surveys were in the field during July 2019.

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