Thanks in part to the recent release of the Looking Forward 2014 survey by Association Laboratory, associations execs are once again thinking about our members’ experience of information overload.
According to the Association Lab survey, the association executives who responded believe that information management, including both volume and quality of information, is their members’ top concern in 2014.
Although Association Lab concludes that:
the development of comprehensive strategies to help members deal with information management issues is a strategic priority for associations
(indeed, one might argue that it’s a top strategic priority, if, in fact, the survey respondents are correct in their assessment of their members’ concerns), they also found that:
Executives anticipate that members will continue to rely on their associations as a primary source of information.
I’d like to question that. And in a recent post to Associations Now, Joe Rominiecki discusses the same thing, urging associations to begin taking on more of an information curator role for our members, shifting from our more traditional information creator role.
Inherent in the shift from “association as source of information” to “association as hub of information” is that the community of professionals, experts, and organizations your association lives in is now a constant driver of knowledge in your field. (It always was, of course, but now everyone has blogs and social media.) This dynamic is both a source and result of our information overload. Which means good information management is curation of both content and community.
Information overload and what associations can do about it for our members was the focus of the very first Spark whitepaper, published in November 2012. As I wrote in Attention Doesn’t Scale:
Content curation provides a potential path to a new type of thought leadership [for associations], one that is more suited to a world where information is no longer the scarce resource…But that type of support will require a significant shift in our business models.
It also requires a shift in how we think on an organizational level and how we relate to our various audiences, both member and non-member.
The key for associations, I believe, is to select carefully and provide context for our audiences.
In other words, don’t write another article on leadership for your enewsletter. Find the three best pieces that have been written on leadership in the past six months from places like Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review and Forbes and Fast Company and Seth Godin and Dan Pink and Clayton Christensen, etc., and explain why they’re the best and how the points they raise are going to impact executives in the particular profession or industry your association serves (the reconceptualized Associations Now, by the way, provides an excellent example of what this looks like).
What is your association doing to help your audiences cope with our information-saturated reality? How are you shifting what you provide and how you provide it to position yourself as a trusted adviser to your audiences?
The free whitepaper describes the scope of the information overload problem we all face, poses content curation as a potential solution, discusses the types and modes of curation an organization can engage, looks at that required shift in thought and relationship, describes some of the skills we need to nurture in order to curate effectively, and shares a few examples of organizations (both non profit and for profit) that are doing curation well.
Download your free copy.