Be In The Know: The 8 Top Association Trends in 2020

Is your association in touch with the latest trends?

According to our most recent membership survey, 51% of membership organizations didn’t grow revenue at all in 2019. 

If you’re part of that number, 2020 is the year to change that. 

And to make sure you can do so, we’ve taken a look at eight of the biggest trends in the association sector this year. 

In this post, we’re making it easy to tap into all that’s on the horizon for associations from social media trends to data privacy. 

Ready to discover everything you need to know about association trends in 2020? Read on! 

1. Do This to Keep Members Around

A Wiley survey found that 40% of association members don’t feel engaged —so make 2020 is the year to change that! 

Here are just a few ways you can quickly up your engagement game:

  • Connect your members. Consider starting mentorship programs, or create a Facebook Group for members to support one another. 
  • Ask for user-generated content, like guest blog posts or Q&A live streams hosted by expert members.
  • Get personal, especially with new members. Give them a personal phone call or send a simple welcome gift to thank them for their membership.

Read More:7 Proven Ways to Increase Member Retention Right Now

2. Provide These Kinds of Resources

People are increasingly investing in their education, but are not willing to put themselves in any further student debt at traditional universities. 

So, it’s no surprise that the e-learning market is one of the fastest-growing internet industries and growing. 

Associations have a unique opportunity to provide valuable and trusted e-learning resources to their members. In addition to blogs, articles, and ebooks, consider offering credentialing and certifications through online learning courses. 

Read More:How to Provide Member Development Opportunities in Your Organization

3. Members Expect More From Events

Members aren’t down for the same old traditional conference or event. According to IACC, eighty-five percent of meeting planners require more “experience creation” in their role. How can you make your events more exciting and experiential? Associations Now give these great tips as a start:

  • Make your sessions more interactive, like having attendees brainstorming and solving common problems. 
  • Think of how you can incorporate art and music, including at registration, in between sessions, and in the expo hall. 
  • Consider gamifying your entire conference through an event app, a big new take on the exhibit hall bingo card.

Read More:6 Strategies You Can Use Today to Increase Event Attendance

4. Make your Communications More Accessible

There is an increasing push for all companies and organizations to take steps to be more accessible for those with disabilities. Are your association’s communications optimized for members with visual, audio, or physical impairments? 

If not, 2020 is the year to ensure your communications are accessible to all members. You may be missing out on engagement with many valuable members.

  • Add alt text tags to all images, which will allow people with no or low vision to have a description of the picture.
  • Enable captioning on videos.
  • Limit your use of emojis, since automated text readers may confusingly interpret them.
  • When choosing fonts, stick to size 12 or larger, and use sans serif fonts like Arial and Calibri. Serif fonts like Times New Roman may be challenging to read for those with low vision. 
  • Write descriptive web links, so that the reader understands what the weblink will direct them to.

5. It’s Time to Invest in This 

Are you aware of the latest technology on the market? Associations Now predict an increase in the use of all kinds of emerging technology, like artificial intelligence, sophisticated event apps, and virtual reality, to bring member engagement to a whole new level. 

Investing in the latest technology will result in a better membership experience for your members. In the long run, they will make your work more efficient and likely save your organization money.   

Don’t be daunted by the need to embrace all the latest technology, especially if you’re on a budget. Start with adding chatbot technology to your website. Chatbots will be able to answer most frequently asked membership questions 24/7.

6. Make Sure Your Organization is Available on Every Device

Worried that members aren’t opening your emails? 

Make sure they’re available on mobile! 

If your digital communications are not mobile-friendly, make this a top priority this year. Over half of web users are consuming the net on their phones

Here are a few simple tips: 

  • Make your subject lines short. Take advantage of preheader text if you need more text, so all text is seen.
  • Keep the most relevant information and calls to action up top.
  • Make your messages concise and easy to read by writing short paragraphs and using subheadings.
  • Don’t overuse images, which often take up too much space on a small screen.
  • When sharing links, use buttons. They’re easier to click on mobile.

Read More: Why a CRM Might Work Better for Your Association Than an AMS + Our Top 10 Picks

7. Focus on This Social Media Content

Video is still king on social media. Social Media Today recently released survey results that showed that marketers say video is the number one way to attract attention on social media. As a result, 80 percent of brands and up (a whopping 93% on Facebook) are posting this media weekly to Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. 

What’s more, investing in social media videos may also land you more members. Of those surveyed, 64 percent of brands reported that they gained a new client through a Facebook video.

How can your association take advantage of the video trends? Livestream behind the scenes and at events to allow members to engage with your organization in real-time. Use a site like, which is a free online video maker that has everything you need to create high-quality social media videos.

Read More: The Ultimate Nonprofit Video Marketing Strategy

8. This Type of Protection is a Must

It seems like every day, another business is dealing with a data breach nightmare. As a result, people are demanding data security — and rightfully so.

Your members are no different — especially considering how much member data your association has on hand. Don’t risk your member’s data privacy and protection. If you haven’t done so already, 2020 is the year to invest in cutting edge data security. 

(And if you’re already a Wild Apricot customer, here’s how you can make sure your member data is secure.) 

There’s a good chance you’re already ahead of the game with a number of these association trends. If not, choose two or three that you can make a priority to tackle this year. 

And if you’re hungry for even more 2020 trends, read our Top 12 Nonprofit Sector Trends for 2020

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