The following is an edited excerpt from Race for Relevance:

“Associations continue to operate as if everybody has time on their hands by… Producing publications or communications that members have time only to skim rather than read in depth. Associations of the future will need to adopt speed dating-like approaches to engagement to stay relevant.”

“While all of this happens around us, associations continue with their time-intensive model… Time to get involved in grassroots political activity. Time to read association newsletters and magazines. Time to attend seminars and conferences. Time Time Time.”

“These activities assume that average members take the time to inform themselves about the association and its opportunities. The reality is that members are so pressed for time that just getting the attention of a member today is a considerable challenge. Most associations complicate this challenge by trying to communicate too much, resulting in lower, not higher, awareness.” (Coerver Byers. P.7)

As the authors make clear, constraints on a member’s time require short pithy communications. Instead of employing a shotgun approach by discussing all outstanding issues in an effort to cover all bases. Only a single issue should be discussed with each member. But which issue? This is where data-driven personalization enters the discussion and, surveys can be used to collect qualitative data so that every members trigger issue – the issue that most resonates with them, and is their primary motivation for joining the org – can be identified and emphasized in the communication, whether it’s a newsletter, digital publication, or follow-up email.