Looking back on a year that drove change, and ahead to the future of associations

29 December 2021

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At the start of the year, AH released a series of predictions of what lies ahead for associations and non-profits in 2021. We're revisiting those predictions each month to see what's changed as associations and non-profits continue to adapt.

When AH’s experts released their predictions for associations and non-profits in 2021, it was a time of unrest and, largely, of unknowns. “The beginning of 2021 has demonstrated that the world at large is still remaking itself — and the need for foresight and adaptability in associations and non-profits is inevitable,” reads the inaugural blog. Today, at the end of a year spent evaluating what’s next for associations, that statement remains true as AH, its Client Partners, and associations and non-profits around the world prepare to further their impact on society.

Visions Realized
Many AH predictions were spot on, such as the Meetings & Events prediction by Brooke Passy, CMP, DES, Senior Meeting Manager at AH. Passy predicted that the safety and well-being of communities would continue to be a priority throughout the year even as in-person events slowly returned, and that despite the forum—virtual, hybrid, or in-person—strategy would become the driving force informing the programming, format, and content offerings of association events.

Other predictions were a catalyst for further conversation, such as the Membership prediction by Michele Buggy, CAE, IOM, Association Executive at AH. Buggy predicted that associations will expedite the process of moving to a customer-centric, digital, subscription-style of business, and that successful organizations would start offering more options to meet changing member demands. That led to new conversations about membership dues structures and membership models that reached across the industry.

Still others, such as the Executive Leadership prediction by Bob Waller Jr., CAE, President and CEO of AH, reflecting the growing focus on the need for change within organizations. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has finally taken center stage and many organizations are making strides to not just talk about how to address diversity, but to develop real actionable approaches to ensure that it becomes part of the organization at all levels,” wrote Waller. “I predict that organizations will look to ensure that their board of directors is more reflective of their membership.” Waller’s prediction was put in motion by AH Client Partners, including the American Neurological Association and Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, who created programs and initiatives to enact real change in their organizations and industries.

Association Impact
As mission-driven organizations, association volunteers see how their work impacts the world around them. In 2022, AH is looking forward to celebrating the impact associations have on society, from advancing health care to advocating for environmental change, helping improve people’s lives, and leading life-changing scientific research.

While the 2021 Predictions initiative was an exciting deep-dive into the changing world of associations, the upcoming Association Impact initiative is an opportunity to highlight and reflect on the amazing work associations do in light of so much change. AH looks forward to celebrating the successes of this year and the year ahead with the associations and non-profits leading the way.

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