February 2017

SmithBucklin Reveals 20 Association Insights

SmithBucklin, an association management company, released its annual publication, Circuit. This year’s edition includes the new "20 for 2017" section which focuses on key issues, trends and developments in the industry.

"These 20 pieces give us an opportunity to showcase the thoughts and insights of association experts including our own SmithBucklin colleagues,” said Matt Sanderson, president & CEO, SmithBucklin. “Our hope is that these stories will jumpstart thinking and conversation about the evolution and continuing significance of associations.”

Some of the 20 industry issues, trends and developments discussed include:

  • High Marks for Unconventional Education: Tried and true association education methods such as instructor-led courses, structured sessions and certification are now evolving in unconventional ways.
  • A Focus on Members: Membership retention and recruitment will continue to top association agendas in 2017. In fact, member-related topics represent four of associations' six highest priorities.
  • Look Out! Politics Ahead!: One outcome of the recent election campaign cycle was that some associations—and more specifically, the industries and professions they represent—were hit by quick-strike collateral damage arising from candidate comments.
  • It's All About the Experience: In 2016 Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Associations are likely aware of this, as Millennials are also becoming an increasingly important factor as members and constituents. Studies show that Millennials favor experiences over things.
  • Do Good, Feel Good, Look Good: While associations are naturally engaged in important work on behalf of their members and industries, the interest in, and demand for, opportunities to make an impact on altruistic causes through association events and other activities is increasing.

"Overall, Circuit highlights the enduring value of associations, and reflects our fascination with and commitment to the association industry," Sanderson said. "I hope all of our readers will [take away something useful]."

A digital version of SmithBucklin’s Circuit is available at

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