Five reasons why membership is killing association business models: Part I
JULY 17, 2012
Membership is perhaps the most sacred tenet in all of association orthodoxy. Indeed, for many organizations, the membership imperative defines the very existence of the association: membership is who they are and what they do. In a time of relentless societal transformation, however, the impact of forces beyond our control makes it necessary for us to question all of our most deep-seated beliefs, including our beliefs about membership. In this three-part series, I will share five critical reasons why the continued emphasis on membership is “killing” association business models.
What is Associations Unorthodox?
AUGUST 27, 2012
Now that my new e-book , Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future , has been out for a couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to step back and reflect on the reasons why I wrote it, as well as its deeper implications for association leaders. hope this post helps to explain my motivations, and places the e-book in a broader context. What do you think?
Associations Unorthodox e-book available on August 8
AUGUST 7, 2012
Jeff De Cagna’s new e-book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future , will be available as a free download beginning this Wednesday, August 8. The e-book was produced in collaboration with DC-based branding firm, CHIEF. Jeff De Cagna serves as a senior advisor to CHIEF. If Jeff’s new e-book isn’t enough of a wake up call, stay tuned. Eliminate budgets.
Five reasons why membership is killing association business models: Part III
JULY 31, 2012
Membership is perhaps the most sacred tenet in all of association orthodoxy. Indeed, for many organizations, the membership imperative defines the very existence of the association: membership is who they are and what they do. In a time of relentless societal transformation, however, the impact of forces beyond our control makes it necessary for us to question all of our most deep-seated beliefs, including our beliefs about membership. In this three-part series, I am sharing five critical reasons why the continued emphasis on membership is “killing” association business models.
Three design challenges for 21st century association business models
JANUARY 14, 2013
Association boards, CEOs and senior executives will need to answer a wide variety of questions as they embark on the work of developing new business models to enable their organizations to thrive over the next decade and beyond. The practical challenge: Making the shift from membership-centric to value creation-centric business models. . Blog either by email or RSS. Thanks for reading!
Ten “next truths” of governing the 21st century association
JANUARY 9, 2013
In my last post on six serious ideas for 2013 , I discussed the concept of “strategic legitimacy,” which is about challenging association boards to do a better job of providing future-focused stewardship in a world experiencing relentless transformation. To inspire association leaders to embrace strategic legitimacy, I have identified the following ten “next truths” of governing the 21st century association. By articulating these ten beliefs about the new work of governing, I’m hoping to replace some of the old baggage that still weighs down board performance.
Associations Unorthodox Shift #3:Eliminate budgets
SEPTEMBER 4, 2012
This is the third post in my series on the six shifts presented in my new e-book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future , created in collaboration with CHIEF. The Problem. As a general rule, associations are risk averse organizations, instinctively conservative in every way, especially with their financial resources. Not surprisingly, orthodoxy prescribes the use of conventional non-profit budgeting approaches to mitigate risk and marshal funds for maximum impact. The reality of association budgeting, however, is often more problematic. The Opportunity.
Empathy, new value creation and the stakeholders of the future
APRIL 8, 2013
In early January, I wrote a post on six serious ideas for 2013 that included the concept of SED, which is short for serendipity, empathy and discovery. SED is a term I coined to inspire association leaders to shift their conversations about the future in a more generative direction. Here is what I wrote about SED in that post: In 2013, I want to challenge association leaders to prepare for the vast serendipity that lives all around them, experience genuine empathy and embrace new possibilities of discovery. But there are different views on what constitutes empathy and how it is achieved.
Join Jeff for P.I./TMA Resources Executive Breakfast on March 6 in Alexandria, Virginia
JANUARY 30, 2013
Join Jeff De Cagna of Principled Innovation on Wednesday, March 6 for the P.I./TMA TMA Resources Executive Breakfast for association CEOs, C-Suite executives and other association leaders. This free breakfast session will be held at the headquarters of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) in Alexandria, Virginia, and registration for this event is now open. The schedule for the morning is below: Registration and Continental Breakfast (8 am-8:30 am). Please join your colleagues for breakfast and networking before the morning session. Detailed Bonus Deep Dive Session (10 am-12 noon).
My new Associations Now article is now live!
MARCH 1, 2013
My brand new Associations Now article on boards and business models is now available online. The magazine has given the article the title, “Trapped in The Past,” although I refer to it as “Five Reasons Why Boards Are Killing Association Business Models.” TMA Executive Breakfast next Thursday, March 6 in Alexandria, Virginia.
Asking different questions: MMCC 2013 edition
JUNE 3, 2013
“Is the association model broken?” ” “What does ‘member’ mean to you?” ” “Do we need a new membership model?” ” “Is membership dead?” ” These are all interesting questions, and I understand why some people are asking them. Unfortunately, they are not the right questions. Every association will need to come up with its own specific answer to this question, but one thing is abundantly clear: associations need to develop new capabilities for co-creating radical new value with their stakeholders. Thank you!
Join Jeff for Better Boards Workshop on March 8 in Denver
JANUARY 16, 2013
Join Jeff De Cagna of Principled Innovation on Friday, March 8, 2013 in Denver for a full-day workshop on Building Better Boards , presented by the Colorado Society of Association Executives. Registration for the workshop is now open. The Building Better Boards workshop will address three “wicked problems” of governing the 21st century association: selecting capable board members, keeping those board members focused on the work of governing and implementing a governing process that leads to smart decisions. Updates
Serious Questions: Are associations dead?
OCTOBER 18, 2012
In August, I launched the P. I. Serious Questions newsletter. Each issue of the newsletter presents a serious question on which I offer my thoughts for newsletter subscribers. Today, Today, I am publishing what I wrote on the September 2012 Serious Question of the Month on the P.I. The September 2012 Serious Question of the Month. Are associations dead? This was not the “serious question” I planned to write about this month, but a recent conversation with an association executive director inspired me to tackle it. It was an unanticipated, yet not entirely surprising inquiry. Sorry!).
Overcoming the association value gap: part I
MARCH 25, 2013
This post originally appeared on the Associations Now Leadership Blog on March 7, 2013. In a recent post , Associations Now blogger Joe Rominiecki shared what both he and I regard as a startling fact: 53 percent of associations surveyed in 2011 had raised their dues in the previous three years. To put it another way, during the most severe economic decline in most of our lifetimes, more than half of associations surveyed still moved forward with a dues increase. No other single revenue category comes close to reaching that number. Thank you! Business Model Innovation Strategies for Progres
Associations Unorthodox #5: Collaborate everywhere
OCTOBER 7, 2012
This is the fifth post in my series on the six shifts presented in my new e-book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future , created in collaboration with CHIEF. Please check out the previous posts in the series.) As always, I invite your feedback in the comments below, or you can join the Associations Unorthodox conversation on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #auxsix. The Problem. Meanwhile, as previously mentioned, there are billions (and counting) of smartphones and tablet devices in use worldwide. The Opportunity. Additional Thoughts.
Making Innovation Happen Survey: Sharing Key Results
AUGUST 12, 2012
Video not showing? Find it on YouTube. Last week, I released some preliminary results from the P.I. Making Innovation Happen Survey. This morning, I am sharing more detailed survey results in the form of the video you (should) see above. You are welcome to download this video, as well as a PDF with an overview of these key results. This may help explain the top five priorities they have identified for the next twelve months: Building board support and encouragement for innovation. Business model innovation. Capturing time to innovate. Creative thinking and imagination.
Jeff De Cagna to deliver keynote at CESSE 2013 Annual Meeting
MARCH 31, 2013
Jeff De Cagna , chief strategist and founder of Principled Innovation, has been selected as the opening keynote speaker for the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) 2013 Annual Meeting. Jeff’s keynote talk, which will take place on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island, will focus on themes and ideas shared in his provocative free e-book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future. As a well-known association provocateur, Jeff is the perfect person for the job. Thank you! Updates
Associations Unorthdox Shift #6: Build a strategically legitimate board
OCTOBER 10, 2012
This is the sixth and final post in my series on the six shifts presented in my new e-book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future , created in collaboration with CHIEF. Please check out the previous posts in the series.) As always, I invite your feedback in the comments below, or you can join the Associations Unorthodox conversation on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #auxsix. The Problem . The true nature of the orthodoxy surrounding association boards is often hard to understand. It is a challenge associations must resolve to overcome.
Why business model thinking matters to associations
JUNE 9, 2012
This post appears as an article in the May/June 2012 issue of Success by Association , the magazine of Association Executives of North Carolina. You can download a PDF of the article (512 KB). If your association would like permission to republish this article, please submit a request through the P.I. contact form and provide details in the Message box. Building a 21 st century organization is not an endeavor for the faint of heart. Finding the next trajectory of association success begins with the challenging yet necessary work of business model innovation. Business Model Innovation
P.I. Making Innovation Happen Survey is now open
JUNE 9, 2012
The inaugural Principled Innovation Making Innovation Happen Survey for Association CEOs is now open and accepting responses. All association CEOs are invited to complete the survey , which can be found online at [link]. As innovation becomes a more significant strategic priority in the association community, Principled Innovation will be tracking the challenges association CEOs face in making innovation happen within their organizations. The survey will be open to receive responses until Saturday, June 30 at 12 am PDT. contact form. Updates
An opportunity for Sacramento associations
JUNE 4, 2012
Jeff De Cagna will be in Sacramento, California in mid-August, and he is available for sessions on August 16 and 17. Any Sacramento area association interested in having Jeff work with its board, senior team or staff can confirm a workshop at a very favorable investment level. To learn more or to schedule a session, please submit an inquiry through the P.I. contact form and mention this post in the Message section. If you work in a Sacramento association, you can confirm a session with Jeff De Cagna in mid-August at a very favorable investment level. Read the full post to learn more. Updates
It’s all about boards and business models in March!
FEBRUARY 27, 2013
In support of my new article, “Trapped in the Past,” a.k.a. “Five Reasons Why Boards Are Killing Association Business Models,” that will appear in Associations Now next month, I have a few activities on the calendar to which members of the association community are invited. Here is a list of what is planned so far: March 6– P.I./TMA TMA Resources Executive Breakfast in Alexandria, Virginia including a free talk on the Five Reasons-Boards article and an optional “deep dive” session (registration fee for deep dive). Learn more/register at [link].
Associations Unorthodox Shift #4: Go all in on digital
SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
This is the fourth (and profoundly delayed…sorry!) post in my series on the six shifts presented in my new e-book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future , created in collaboration with CHIEF. The Problem. Most associations continue to rely on face-to-face interaction as part of their core value creation efforts. Despite the widespread adoption of distributive social, learning and related technologies, orthodoxy still insists associations conduct annual meetings and trade shows, as well as other in-person conferences, seminars and workshops. The Opportunity.
Serious Questions: What will it take for your association’s stakeholders to thrive?
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012
Last month, I launched the P. I. Serious Questions newsletter. Each issue of the newsletter presents a serious question on which I offer my thoughts for newsletter subscribers. Starting this month and going forward, I will post the previous month’s serious question and response to the P.I. Blog once the current month’s issue of the newsletter is released. The August 2012 Serious Question of the Month. What will it take for your association’s stakeholders to thrive over the next decade and beyond? How should you and your colleagues begin to think about this question?
Jeff De Cagna elected chair of RedRover Board of Directors
NOVEMBER 1, 2012
Jeff De Cagna FRSA FASAE, chief strategist and founder of Principled Innovation LLC, has been elected chair of the RedRover Board of Directors. Jeff will begin his two-year term in January 2013. “RedRover is thrilled to have Jeff serving as the next chair of our Board of Directors. RedRover is very fortunate to have a top-notch staff team, capable volunteers and dedicated supporters. Update
Announcing the Making Innovation Happen Survey!
JUNE 4, 2012
It is my great pleasure to announce that Principled Innovation is launching the inaugural Making Innovation Happen Survey for Association CEOs this morning! Innovation is certainly a major topic of conversation in our community these days, and more association CEOs are taking steps to build innovation as a deep capability in their organizations. Here is the survey link: [link].
Jeff De Cagna serving as curator for ACE Symposium on July 12
APRIL 28, 2013
Jeff De Cagna FRSA FASAE , chief strategist and founder of Principled Innovation LLC, is serving as curator and provocateur for the inaugural Association Chief Executives (ACE) Symposium , to be held on Friday, July 12 at The Gannett Building in McLean, Virginia. The ACE Symposium is open exclusively to association CEOs, and CEO attendees may register their #2 executives to participate with them in the event. In addition, noted thinker Seth Kahan , author of the new book, Getting Innovation Right , will be the keynote speaker. The ACE Symposium is going to be an amazing learning experience.”
Overcoming the association value gap: part II
APRIL 2, 2013
This post originally appeared on the Associations Now Leadership Blog on March 28, 2013. You can read Part I here. In Part I of this series earlier this month, I identified the association value gap as an underlying structural problem within membership-centric business models. Put simply, associations are unable to drive profitability solely by delivering on the membership value proposition and must find alternative ways to monetize membership to maintain their existing business models. The problem for associations is that the member market does not really exist. Thank you!
Read Jeff De Cagna’s latest article on business model innovation
SEPTEMBER 9, 2012
Jeff De Cagna’s latest article on business model innovation, “Designing Association Business Models for the Network Age,” is now available for download. The article appears in the August/September 2012 issue of Association Magazine, the official publication of the Canadian Society of Association Executives. Jeff will lead a three-hour workshop on this same topic at CSAE’s National Conference in Ottawa, Ontario on Thursday, November 1, 2012. These smart value offers can be designed to directly influence stakeholder behavior in positive ways. Updates
Associations Unorthodox Shift #2: Crowdsource strategy
AUGUST 28, 2012
Last Tuesday, I began this series of blog posts on the six shifts presented in my new e-book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future , created in collaboration with CHIEF. If If you have not done so already, I hope you will download the e-book , and read the Shift #1 post , right away. The Problem. For many decades, having a strategic plan has been the sine qua non of association management practice. The Opportunity. The era of strategic planning is over. Additional Thoughts. How can your association prepare to capitalize on serendipity? .
Associations Unorthodox Shift #1: De-emphasize membership
AUGUST 21, 2012
Over the next six weeks, I will publish a post on each of the six shifts presented in my new e-book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future , created in collaboration with CHIEF. If If you have not done so already, I hope you will download the e-book today. Also, please join me on September 26 from 2 pm-3:30 pm EDT for my webinar on the e-book, presented in collaboration with Peach New Media. As always, I invite your feedback in the comments below, or you can join the Associations Unorthodox conversation on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #auxsix.
Making Innovation Happen Survey: Preliminary Results
AUGUST 6, 2012
In preparation for ASAE’s Annual Meeting next week, I wanted to share some preliminary results from the Making Innovation Happen Survey we conducted during the month of June. More than 100 association CEOs from across the country responded to the survey, and there are some very important findings for our community: +Association CEOs report they value innovation both personally and professionally, and recognize the necessity of innovation to create new value for their stakeholders as their organizations face increased competition in the years ahead. Making Innovation Happen
ASAE12 Making Innovation Happen workshop agenda released
AUGUST 1, 2012
The agenda for Jeff De Cagna’s upcoming Making Innovation Happen workshop, to be presented during ASAE’s 2012 Annual Meeting (ASAE12) in Dallas, is now available for download [PDF]. Association Association CEOs and C-Suite executives attending ASAE12 are invited to participate in the workshop, which will take place on Sunday, August 12 from 1:30 pm-5:30 pm in Room D161 of the Dallas Convention Center. The workshop will focus on three critical aspects of innovation for associations: The role of business model thinking in making innovation happen. Updates
Jeff De Cagna to speak at ASAE12 in Dallas
JULY 23, 2012
Jeff De Cagna, chief strategist and founder of Principled Innovation, will be one of the speakers at ASAE’s 2012 Annual Meeting (ASAE12) in Dallas, Texas next month. The schedule of Jeff’s formal and informal sessions is below: On Sunday, August 12 from 1:30 pm-5:30 pm CDT, Jeff will present a four-hour workshop, “ Making Innovation Happen: An Executive Learning Experience for Association CEOs ” in Room D161 of the Dallas Convention Center. Making Innovation Happen Survey that was conducted earlier this summer. Updates
The era of strategic planning is over
JULY 11, 2012
During the more than twenty years I have worked in and with associations, it is my guess that organizations throughout our community have committed millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours of staff and voluntary leader time to generate tens of thousands of pages of strategic plans and related documents. have been thinking about the net impact of this extraordinary investment of time, money and effort, and while there are some exceptions, here is a brief list of the outcomes I see: Associations questioning their own relevance.*. Not exactly an impressive track record.
Jeff De Cagna joins ATA Board of Directors
JULY 10, 2012
Jeff De Cagna FRSA FASAE, chief strategist and founder of Principled Innovation LLC, has been elected to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) Board of Directors. ATA, located in Portland, Oregon, exists to cure tinnitus through the development of resources that advance tinnitus research. Tinnitus Tinnitus is the medical term for the perception of sound in one or both ears or in the head when no external sound is present. 50 50 million Americans experience tinnitus to some degree. Of Jeff De Cagna said, “I am very excited to be joining the ATA Board. Updates
Sign up for Serious Questions
JULY 8, 2012
In early August, Principled Innovation will launch Serious Questions, a regular electronic briefing for senior association leaders. Each month, Serious Questions will explore a new “serious question” facing the association community, provide a curated selection of useful readings for association executives and share other announcements and offers from Principled Innovation. All association board members, CEOs, C-Suite executives and other leaders are invited to sign up for Serious Questions at the following link: [link]. Updates
How to Make Your Events More Inclusive
JANUARY 3, 2017
"Anyone can come to our event." That’s what we tell ourselves - we the people who program and labor over our events. We don't bar anyone from joining the fun, and the only barrier may (or may not) be a ticket price or alcohol-related restrictions around age. When we do price our events, we make sure they're affordable for our demographic and right along with our competitors’ prices. Who's missing?
Does Your Association’s Structure Stifle Success?
NOVEMBER 16, 2015
A startup mentality can help an association generate new ideas. But success has less to do with “failing fast” than knowing how your organizational structure stands in your way. Silicon Valley is the last place you’d look for hard-core fans of challenging Irish playwrights, but in recent years a few lines by Samuel Beckett have become a cliché in the startup culture there : “Try again.
Three Analytics Community Managers Need to Track
JANUARY 17, 2017
When it comes to analytics and KPIs, it can be hard for community builders to know exactly what to focus on. Some platforms have dashboards that display the ins and outs of the community, but some community managers work with simpler social media networks, or painstakingly pull Excel spreadsheets with tons of raw data. But what are the important numbers for you to focus on at any given time?