Why Joe won’t renew with ASAE in 2011

Joe Flowers of the National Association of Dental Plans has a MUST READ post up: Why I won’t renew with ASAE in 2011.

I was going to excerpt from some of the many comments – both pro- and con- association membership – but I think it’s worth reading the whole conversation. I hope SocialFish readers will add your thoughts.

The world is changing around associations in so many ways. The ease of group-forming online; the declining value of the industry information, of the print media, of the job boards and of the “networking” that associations traditionally provide; the frustration with outdated technologies and lack of agility and innovation; the decline of conference education; the perceived lack of interest in or for new or younger members… and that’s just for starters. That’s just in the body of Joe’s post. There’s a ton more in the comments…

We have been talking about these issues for years, at this point. ASAE, what are you going to do about it? What can any association do about this? Do we just say “we can’t win ‘em all” and keep swimming against the tide? Joe doesn’t represent everyone. Plenty of people will renew as long as their bosses will pay. The traditional value of associations can last quite a long time… even playing catch up can keep us going for a few years yet. But one day – will we wake up and realize we no longer have a future?

I don’t want that to happen – and I’m a huge proponent of change. I have no interest in throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but Joe’s post makes me feel sad. As a member since 2005 and a staunch supporter of ASAE, I want to be able to change his mind. But you (ASAE) don’t make it easy for me. I make excuses for you every day. None of the arguments in my head hold water, especially when I struggle with similar issues myself, particularly from the individual cost to value ratio angle. So what can I do? I am willing to take responsibility for the view that my association makes me a better professional and pushes my industry forward. I’m willing to stick my neck out for you, and I’m certainly not the only one. But are you going to help me help you? What are you, ASAE, doing to address these issues?