According to the United Nations, in the year 2100 the world’s population will be 11.2 billion people.
Not surprisingly, Africa and India account for much of that growth, meaning businesses will steadily expand into those regions. As such, we could see a booming global marketplace, which opens the door for associations.
As markets grow, businesses will increasingly need the services associations provide, such as professional development, knowledge transfer, networking, education and professional certifications, according to Globalstrat, which recently released, “2016 Association Growth Global Trends Survey Report.”
Among the challenges associations will have are identifying the markets yielding the most potential for growth and creating business models to address specific markets, Globalstrat said.
According to the report, 30 percent of associations have 5 percent or fewer international members and conference attendees. However, while only 18 percent indicate 5 to 14 percent of their members are international, nearly 30 percent of associations in that same range had international conference attendees. So there’s not always a direct link between international members and international program participants.
What does that mean for associations?
For those with a high number of international members, there may be opportunities to better market events internationally, Globalstrat said. At the same time, these organizations should consider hosting events outside their home countries. On the other hand, associations with a high number of international event participants but a low number of members may consider improving membership value for international members.
Other key findings in the report:
- North America is the most popular location in the world for global expansion among associations, followed by Europe, Australia/New Zealand and South America.
- Organizations that have a solid international business strategy experience faster growth.
- The top three metrics for success are membership, financial performance and number of meeting and event participants.
- In terms of services, trade associations place a high emphasis on in-person networking opportunities while professional organizations rank the delivery of a journal or magazine as a priority. (For global expansion, Globalstrat recommends professional associations lead with live events, focusing less on membership, while trade associations should focus on membership and live events in tandem.)
- About 50 percent of survey respondents use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn proactively while 90 percent of respondents use these social media channels in some fashion. (Twitter is the most popular.)
“Associations are so diverse and operate under conditions and in environments that are so significantly different from one another that it is impossible to suggest a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to international development,” Globalstrat said. “Yet, it is hard to identify an association or organization that is not affected, in some significant manner, by globalization. The question for association leaders, managers, staff and their stakeholders is, ‘How will they interpret the changes taking place, correctly identify the implications and then decide a course of action that successfully navigates these changes?’”