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Association Trends for 2022

With 2021 drawing to a close and a new year on the horizon, associations around the world are preparing for what’s next. Although there is still some uncertainty about how 2022 may unfold, new opportunities, challenges, and trends do exist in the non-profit community. We’ve rounded up 5 prominent conversations happening in the association community so your organization can be prepared for a mission-filled and purposeful 2022.


1. JDEIB Leadership

The last few years have shed a significant spotlight on the importance of diversity and inclusion for every organization. In 2022, the spotlight is intensifying and expanding from DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), to JDEIB (Justice, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging). Stakeholders of all segments are calling for sincere and deliberate commitment to these values, giving associations a standard to measure their initiatives by. On that topic of standards, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) has recently released a framework for advancing anti-racism strategies on campus.


2. Virtual and Hybrid Events

By now, your members have likely attended, hosted, or otherwise engaged in a virtual event or two. They may have even experienced the innovation of a hybrid event. In late 2020, virtual and hybrid events were expected to serve as a temporary solution to a temporary problem. Today, organizations of all shapes and sizes are realizing that virtual and hybrid events will remain a significant element of membership engagement. Brad Gillum of Willow Marketing purports that “Offering hybrid events that include in-person and virtual attendance opportunities will be important to a membership base that include members who may be still reluctant to travel, or who may simply enjoy the ease and lower costs of attending virtually.” In 2022, associations that don’t offer virtual alternatives to members will be the exception to the norm.


3. Mental Health and Well-Being

It should come as no surprise that mental health and well-being were hot topics in 2021, and will continue to be in 2022. Psychological safety for all stakeholders is coming to light as a critical issue for healthy environments and sustainable organizations. Burnout and fatigue are quickly losing their charm and their connotation of commitment and work-ethic. The Predictive Index’s 2021 People Management Report provides startling insight on workplace stress and significant implications for the importance of mental health in 2022. However, the importance of mental health extends beyond psychological safety for employees and volunteers. It is important to know that your members are also more stressed out and overworked than ever. For this reason, associations are increasingly prioritizing self-care activities at conferences, etc. The Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) recently received raving reviews from conference attendees for including a self-care session at the beginning of each conference day – a simple and practical way to ensure members feel supported and cared for. Take some time to brainstorm and research some self-care activities you could integrate into 2022’s calendar.



4. "Future-proofing"

If 2020 and 2021 taught us anything, it is the importance of “future-proofing” our organizations. While this looks different for each association, for most, it will include contingency planning, adequate insurance coverage, and a strong culture of flexibility and preparedness. In 2022, the focus will shift from reactivity to proactivity, with an emphasis on planning for challenges instead of being at their mercy. Of course, unexpected situations will arise from time-to-time, but leaders’ understandings of the breadth and variety of those situations has expanded and should feed into advanced planning for the next year.


5. Social Media

We know you know why social media is important by now. You’ve heard plenty of statistics and read plenty of headlines about the immense power available to non-profits through social media. If you need more convincing, visit our recent blog post on the topic. Every year, the significance of social media marketing for organizations increases, and 2022 is no exception. While the platforms are changing and the trends in social media are evolving, the basic principle remains that social media is a part of most of your prospects’ lives. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 people with internet access using social media. If any of your marketing goals for this year include general brand awareness (and they should, social media should be on your list of marketing channels.


If your association, foundation, or society could use support in preparing for these and other trends in the new year, contact AMC Source today!

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