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The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

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(June 21, 2006) 

In yesterday's article, John Bell, the CEO at Boxwood Technology, pointed out that Association Industry leaders are beginning to realize the strategic value of sponsoring a jobboard. With this realization is the understanding that disruptive technologies as competitors make Associations vulnerable.

Like the newspapers, these legacy organizations have tended to look in traditional places to understand the changes in their futures. Meanwhile, their services are being provided by others with differing motivations, threatening Association relevance.

Professional and Trade associations have their roots and self-concepts in the guilds and trade associations of an earlier era. Their primary value has always come from a lag time in communications. Their position at the center of networks gives them an interesting and unique advantage in the generation and transmission of information.

Or, at least it used to.

The competition for mind-share is a daily thing on the web. As blogs and social networking services proliferate across the spectrum of professions and industries, the gathering of customers, suppliers and other members of the supply chain is becoming commonplace. Experiences that used to be unique to the association membership are now routine online activities.

The risk isn't that association membership won't grow, it's that it will become irrelevant. Discussion groups (like those on ERE) supplant the need for membership in SHRM. The benefits of belonging have changed their location. Peer to peer networking, the fleshy, human kind, happens in email, instant message, discussion group and so on. The boondoggle aspect of the annual convention is becoming more and more important.

So, how do these operations learn to cope with the new market dynamics?

For starters, a well executed job board strategy that delivers audiences and advertising at the chapter level is an important starting point. The process of identifying candidates and job opportunities is a critical part of the informal benefit stream offered to members. By formalizing and proceduralizing that process, Associations can put themselves out in front of their members while generating necessary cash flows.

A job board offers several benefits:

  1. It makes the value offered by the association clear in very tangible ways to it members.
  2. It introduces the association to a hard to capture key constituency: the organizations from which their members come.
  3. It creates a network of networks between the association and those employer organizations.
  4. It creates a nest egg of cash flow that can be used to develop additional streams of value for members.
  5. It creates additional sustainable endeavors within the association. Growth and effectiveness can be self-financed.

Next: Other expansions of the association using Web technologies.

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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