Reading the Crystal Ball: Helping Members By Anticipating Change

Oct 7, 2020

If there was ever a year during which being able to read a crystal ball would have been valuable, 2020 would be it, right?

It’s one thing to be able to pivot after you’ve been hit by something that makes change necessary, it’s quite another to see the impending change brewing out on the horizon and being able to anticipate the necessary adjustments.

I have a few organizations for which I regularly facilitate strategic planning retreats, and often, there’s a future-casting element included. You see, I believe there’s significant value created for members when organizational leaders are able to anticipate the changes that members may face in the months and years ahead. Such thinking gives us a chance to get a couple of steps ahead and prepare for what members are going to need from the organization, before those needs actually emerge.

While many organizations DO ask what members need, it’s often asked within the context of the here-and-now, not from a future-casting perspective.

One exercise that can get your creative wheels turning as you think about future changes is to envision your organization as a hot air balloon, then ask what forces *could* add lift to your balloon and what forces *could* anchor you down. This simple visualization can put you in a “what-if” frame of mind and help you plan for forces that don’t actually exist yet (and in the case of those anchors, we hope that they won’t come to fruition).

In my most recent podcast interview, I talked with Marlys Arnold. Marlys works in the Trade Show/Exhibit Industry…and boy-oh-boy, has that industry been hit hard by change in 2020. During our interview, Marlys shared that she had been able to see the change coming as the wave began to roll across the globe. Her ability to see just a wee bit ahead into the crystal ball gave her the opportunity to start putting some supports into place before her clients even recognized the full impact or asked for help.

You can listen in on my conversation with Marlys here!

I’d love to hear what, if anything, your organization does to intentionally plan for member needs that haven’t emerged yet. Hit reply and let me know.

How MY Team Has Been Helpful This Week:

In the spirit of focusing on helpfulness, I’m continuing to share snippets of insight into the ways that my team has been helpful to clients recently. 

This week, I started working with an awesome new client that is focusing on revenue generation for their association. In collaboration with a colleague of mine who specializes in nonprofit fundraising, we’re doing a six-week deep-dive into the association’s capacity and gaps, then supporting implementation of change over the next few months. 

While I believe the association has some quick wins that are possible with a few tweaks to their membership model, I am especially excited to see what comes out of the broader approach in terms of strategy, tools, and templates… but even more importantly – results!

As always, I’d love to connect around what YOUR organization is trying to accomplish to see if there are ways that I can make that feel much easier.

You can grab an appointment on my calendar here:

Hey there.  I’m Joy Duling, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

Clients hire me to help them design and deliver exceptional member experiences. If you lead an association, trade group, or membership-based nonprofit, you can find FREE resources to help you run and grow your membership organization by visiting here:

I look forward to connecting with you there.