2021 Association Technology Trends and Predictions

See this year’s association trends.

Want to know what’s on the horizon for association technology in 2021? You don’t have to look far. Read on for trends on

How to keep your association operating effectively

It’s that time again. As we move from one year to the next, it seems like everyone’s talking about trends and making predictions.

But when it comes to association technology trends, you don’t necessarily have to look far into the future to see the road ahead. You just need to look at what’s happening in the world today.

Here are four key trends worth noting:

1. Emphasize innovation

Did you happen to see the demo of the “unbreakable” window on Tesla’s Cybertruck? Spoiler alert: It shattered.

But here’s the thing: In today’s world, technical innovation is moving fast. From Tesla and Amazon to Salesforce and Apple, companies are stepping up the pace of technical innovation. And that speed of innovation sometimes results in “fails” like Tesla shattering an unbreakable window. But that doesn’t mean you stop innovating.

As we move into 2021, associations will be ratcheting up their innovation as well. For example, American College of Chest Physicians sets money aside every year specifically for innovative initiatives.

Just as Tesla aims to reimagine an everyday item like the car, associations will reimagine their use of key technology such as their association management software (AMS) systems. They’ll turn to systems with modern functionality like workflow automation and artificial intelligence (AI). And, while they may stumble a bit along the way, they shouldn’t be afraid to take the next steps to future-forward technology. Doing so will result in greater efficiencies and a better experience for their members.

2. Take advantage of the Democratization of artificial intelligence

Gartner identified democratization as one of the top industry trends at their IT Symposium/Xpo 2019. Democratization may sound like a lofty concept, but it’s really about providing people with access to technical expertise, such as machine learning, or AI, without requiring extensive training.

For associations, democratization of artificial intelligence is on the upswing, particularly due to the emergence of easy-to-use AI tools. For example, using Nimble AMS, which leverages the Salesforce Einstein AI technology, associations are already piloting Salesforce Prediction Builder, which enables true point-and-click AI.

These organizations can ask Einstein to give guidance and make predictions and then empower staff with tools to act upon what it finds. For example: It can create a call down list for your membership director of high value members that are most likely not to renew. It can also predict potential upcoming donations to give you an idea of what’s to come.

It’s important to note that democratization of AI doesn’t mean that one minute you’re just starting out, and the next minute your whole association is being run by robots. The key with tech innovation is to start with manageable, bite-sized projects. For example, you can start by setting up chatbots, a simple form of AI technology, to do things like automate aspects of member service, such as answering/assisting with common questions or renewing a membership to provide immediate response 24/7 and free up staff time for other projects.

3. Focus on data privacy

We continue to hear a lot about data security these days — from data privacy/ protection laws like GDPR and the recent California Consumer Privacy Act to consumer demands for privacy. It’s a hot topic for consumers.

In fact, Nimble AMS customer, International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), doubled its membership in less than 3 years, with 54,000 members in over 120 countries. That’s a strong indicator of how many organizations are taking data security issues seriously.

Cathleen Scerbo, CIO at IAPP, explains, “For years, consumers have paid for services and insights with their data, both knowingly and unknowingly. The explosion of Artificial Intelligence and personal use technology, like smart watches and smart speakers, has further exacerbated the availability and value of our data to organizations. The law is quickly catching up with consumer protection and enforcement for misuse, and companies are clearly responding.”

How you approach data security is important. You might have heard in the news about Twitter encouraging their members to set up two-factor authentication on their accounts, and then using their information to serve up advertisements. That’s simply not the right approach. People often are willing to provide their information, but only if it’s secure and used to their benefit.

For example, the Community Brands Digital Evolution Study shows that 71 percent of members of professional associations say they worry about data privacy and security. But this concern doesn’t prevent most of them from sharing information if they feel it’s secure and/or for their benefit.

2020 Association Technology Trends And Predictions

As associations grow and collect more personal information about members (which fuels the personalized, valuable communications members crave), they simply can’t afford not to protect their member data. Associations will continue to move toward cutting edge security, like that provided by Nimble AMS, to help protect member data and reduce risk for their organization.

4. Recognize the importance of information and education.

A recent Gallup report shows that Americans remain largely mistrustful of the mass media. At the same time, student loan debt has climbed to new highs. In this era of “fake news” and increasing student loan debt, associations have an important role to play.

Now, more than ever, associations can serve as a trusted industry resource. They can use modern AMS technology to offer up relevant, valuable information to members via websites, email newsletters, and online member communities. In addition, they can serve as an affordable alternative or supplement to higher education, offering certifications and credentialing via convenient online learning courses.

Set up your association to succeed – today and beyond.

As your association strives to remain relevant into the future, be sure you have in place modern technology to deliver the experience your members and staff have come to expect. Your ability to embrace innovation and ultimately deliver a great customer experience depends heavily on your AMS.

Learn more about how Nimble AMS helps associations deliver a future-forward member experience.

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