The Disassociation Association (#ASAE16)

by Matt Mattson

People aren’t inspired by tote bags.

People don’t have deep affinity because of direct mail.

People won’t give their all for a paycheck.

People can’t fall in LOVE with strategic plans.


Associations are becoming increasingly disassociations. Too many have forgotten that it is people that we’re associating together. Too many are associations are trying to get data points to love other data points.Too many associations are so focused on the outcomes and the purpose and the strategic priorities, that they’ve forgotten the most basic and important element of the work — people. Relationships. Human connection.

Organizations like those represented by the many attendees at #ASAE16 will thrive when humanity is placed at the center of their every day operations.

Whether you want higher membership levels, deeper employee engagement, better member retention, higher conference attendance (or feedback scores), bigger donations, or higher morale… there is often one solution. That solution is not some gimmick. That solution is not some new piece of software. That solution is not a fancier meeting location. That solution is not a new compensation model. That solution is not some other transactional interaction where you give x to receive y. That solution is a CHOICE to put real human relationships back at the center of your association and the groups that it represents.

Re-associate. Deepen the level of conversation and relationship. Require emotional exchange throughout your work. Above all, your association is HUMAN BEINGS looking for a group that can help them thrive and feel like they matter. They are human beings. They are not advanced analytical metrics. They are not dollars and cents in a ledger. They are human beings. They want to be loved and they want to matter.