We know that the most successful products or companies are those that solve a problem. We also know that once that problem has been solved, management must find new problems. In other words, a successful business cannot stand still, essentially doing the same things year after year.
But, that’s exactly what most trade associations and charities do. So, they lose members and sponsorship and status within their industry. That leads to losing board members. Who wants to be identified with a stagnant organization? They may be unpopular for a time, but just like in business, the BOD of your nonprofit might just have to make some tough decisions in order to save it.
Giant magazine publisher Meredith is making some changes in their portfolio of publications, teaching us that “the numbers must be listened to.” Their news magazines are no longer needed to quench the thirst of the population. That need is filled in spades from Internet sources on a real time delivery basis. Who would wait for a week for Time to be delivered?
But their lifestyle properties that are doing well will be further supported by Meredith and their growing ad sales. Traditional Home, Eating Well and Happy Paws are a few with growing readerships. Respected titles like Time and Newsweek and even Sports Illustrated no longer solve a need. Tough decision to cut them.
I’m aware of a trade association whose annual celebratory board of directors’ installation dinner was nearly canceled due to poor response for attendance. Might it be time to change it up? Could sponsor and member money be spent another way rather than on an expensive self-congratulatory evening? They have a year to consider that.