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(June 20, 2006)  In the Association universe, there is no one smarter than John Bell (CEO of Boxwood Technologies). Bell has been relentlessly building the job board business in Association land for the past decade or so. We forwarded him a copy of the study we mentioned last week to see what he thought.

This research, like others I've read, concludes that the future for the association industry looks bright, even though some associations will not survive. There is very little discussion of threats from outside the industry. Associations are just waking up to the fact that their existence is being threatened from within, as members are increasingly demanding better, cheaper and faster services. Industry innovators are just now talking about the threats from new for-profit organizations and beginning to re-invent themselves, while industry leaders are just catching on, leaving the followers without a clue, but hoping for the best. I think there is a strong parallel that can be drawn from the newspaper industry of 7 years ago.

What comes to mind is:

  1. While membership is the absolute key to the future of the industry, there is no real discussion of the absolute need for association to improve their service offering. Its almost as if it was going to just happen because of population demographics and human behavior.
  2. No real mention of the impact of technology and the Internet. The influence of the Internet, I would think, must skew the statistics for future behavior. Technology will enable members to more easily become active in association programs ... a huge long term positive factor for industry relevance and growth. But individuals can also and will seek services from outside the association industry ... a huge competitive component in predicting future behavior. Technology will be the major factor in individual association decline over the next 7 years.
  3. If associations don't figure out how to provide their services better, faster and cheaper, using the Internet. Workers will be joining associations, all right ...online for-profit associations. And there is no other industry threatening the association sector more than for-profit job boards, particularly those developing into "the career portals of the future". But there is no discussion about this activity, only about providing more profession training and development education.

One thing for sure the association space is huge and well established. And has what every online business is paying millions to acquire... established, loyal user communities seeking and paying for their on-going services ... for now!  (John Bell)

That's why so many associations have come to trust John and his company's services. The role of the job board in the future of the Trade and Professional Association can hardly be understated. No longer a mere classified advertising service, the well executed association job board is a ticket to financial stability and profitable service delivery. In the face of disruptive competition, that's what Associations really need.

In order to adapt to an uncertain future (one in which the competition is disruption, not stable trends), any organization must be able to invest and experiment. A well executed job board can provide the financial capacity to make the necessary investments that can ensure successful adaptation.

Tomorrow, we're going to take a deeper look at the role of the job board in the future of Trade and Professional associations.

We keep updating the blogroll. There are now 145 Recruiting related blogs. Our latest discovery: Recruitomatic.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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