I was recently reading the results of a scan that was posted in Association Now Daily. It made me want to remind my colleagues that the analysis and interpretation of scan data is what makes it insightful.
The report trumpeted the headline that “42 percent of respondents said their membership revenues were down last year.” Here’s an alternative headline: “68% of respondents said their membership revenues were stable or growing last year.” Or, how about this one: “6 in 10 DC associations say their membership revenue grew or remained stable in 2013. “ OR, how about: A majority of DC Associations report successfully increasing their non-dues revenue stream. (That’s one possible explanation of the finding which would have great significance to its meaning.)
The association community has been without an objective scanning mechanism since the suspension of ASAE’s future forces research initiative during the two years the Foundation itself was not functioning. During that hiatus, we observed a number of associations falling prey to “the sky is falling” headlines promulgated by some vendors offering a solution to a coming Armageddon.
At the moment, there is still a lot of noise in the association eco-system. Careful analysis, interpretation and reporting seem to us to be increasingly essential to informed decision-making.
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