Associations following Newspapers? It’s Talk v. Action

Two-dimensional thinking by newspapers has put them in a precarious spot. They aren’t the first industry to be in this same spot. In fact, they have reported on the many before them. They have in some cases even predicted the situation to come. And yet, they watched smugly by.

One of my very favorite association thinkers, Bruce Butterfield of The Forbes Group, reminds us that our industry – associations – is patterning itself after the newspapers. Maddie Grant, another of my fav thinkers, captured Bruce Butterfield’s latest thoughts in a post with the intention of getting us talking. Will talk help?

In December, ASAE hosted its Big Idea Month on Acronym. About half-way through, Shannon Otto asked what’s going to happen with all the talk.

A number of years ago, I attended a leadership meeting at ASAE and we talked about creating a incubator for associations to create the future model. We urged ASAE to create a safe haven for associations to explore.The project hasn’t (yet?) reached the light of day. But this would take the talk to action.

Today, I am working with two associations that are venturing out of the safe world to create a new future. They are finding the path unmarked. They are gambling with resources. They are fielding questions and jabs. They are the brave ones though. They may be the survivors too.

So, read Bruce’s comments and the growing number of replies. Add you own. But don’t stop there. Talk didn’t save the Rocky Mountain News or the hundreds of others shuttered in 2009.