Findings from the Australian Associations National Survey announced today reveal that associations are inadequately prepared for the future, but that the threats they face are similar across 60 diverse industry and professional sectors.
Government Funding/Policy and Changing Member Needs ranked as the two biggest future threats, followed closely by Increasing Competition with virtually all associations affected by one of these. 48 per cent of associations reported the extent of disruption they faced as either high or extreme, with another 42 per cent reporting moderate disruption.
The survey also identified the challenges currently holding associations back from peak performance. Unsurprisingly, Insufficient Resources ranked highest but the next three challenges were all controllable factors around skillsets, capacity and culture - Board Capability (41 per cent), Traditional Mindsets (40 per cent) and Resistance to Change (39 per cent).
Australian associations generally perform better on day-to-day operational matters such as immediate Mission Goals and Member Needs than on future focused activities. The worst four traits of association performance are Future Focus, Managing Change, Innovation and Commercial Growth – with 80 per cent of associations self-ranking themselves as poor or mediocre on commercial growth.
“The survey is the first of its kind to benchmark the challenges and opportunities facing Australian associations, and also identified key governance requirements”, said Omer Soker, CEO of The Ethics of Success Corporation and author of The Future of Associations.
26 per cent of Associations self-reported as having inadequate Governance Structures. Association Chairs ranked highest on Capability, with 55 per cent rated Excellent or Good, but Board Capability on Strategic Leadership and Risk Management was low, with 66 per cent and 67 per cent of Boards respectively rated as either Poor or Mediocre.
The survey was conducted online. A total of 1,000 associations were contacted with emails sent to CEOs, board directors and department heads of large, medium and small member serving associations across 60 sectors. Replies were tallied after the first 100 responses had been received. No incentives were provided to respondents.
The Ethics of Success
Author and publisher of future focused books including The Future of Associations and The Trust Future. Content developer and thought leader in the nonprofit association and corporate sectors.