Associations Now: How Trade Associations Stay Optimistic

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Despite plenty of uncertainty, a new survey says trade-group execs remain positive, thanks to efforts to move beyond advocacy.

These might be complicated times domestically and globally, but trade associations feel like they’re well-equipped to handle them. The 2024 Trade Association Executive Survey, released last month and produced by Potomac Core Association Consulting with Edge Research and Vetted Solutions, found that a majority of trade-association CEOs (57 percent) rate their organization’s situation as “better,” with another 32 percent saying it’s about the same as in the past.

Moreover, nearly half of the respondents (49 percent) say they believe membership will grow in the coming year, and 57 percent say they anticipate revenue to increase. The report is based on an online survey of 146 trade association executives, conducted between February and May of this year.

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Associations Now: Why Trade Associations Need to Think Bigger

Advocacy is still Topic A at trades, but a new survey shows that they’re rethinking partnerships and meetings to remain effective.

Trade associations have a reputation for being monolithic organizations—they represent the whole of a major industry, busily advocating for its member companies but not looking far beyond that. A new survey, though, suggests that trade associations have been compelled to stretch more, and recognize that they’re just one piece in a larger value chain.

The report, released earlier this month by Potomac Core Association Consulting, found that leaders are feeling generally more confident about their standing: 58 percent say they feel better about their association’s “overall situation,” compared to 51 percent in 2022. They’re more upbeat about their finances as well, with 66 percent saying revenue will improve compared to 2022. (The findings are based on responses from 93 C-level association executives, mostly CEOs, surveyed between February and May 2023.)

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