- Membership growth, higher visibility in the association's industry or field, and increased member participation remained consistent as respondents' top three functional priorities in 2013 and 2014.
- Compared to 2013, the 2014 respondents attached somewhat more importance to advocacy, event attendance, and higher visibility in the field, and somewhat less to revenue growth. Event attendance has grown steadily as an association priority over the three years of Pulse Report Research, from 36.7% in 2012, to 39.9% in 2013, to 43.8% in 2014.
- The "Other" category revealed the deeper texture of individual associations' criteria for success including member participation and satisfaction, membership or industry growth, effective service delivery and public protection, interest in certification, effective service delivery or business plan execution, and policy influence. One respondent parodied the tactical approach that holds some organizations back from more sustained success, claiming that his or her association measured performance based on "feelings. You know, if we FEEL that we're successful then that's good enough, right? RIGHT?"
Finally, for the third year in a row, the 2014 Pulse Report identified a key disconnect between association's objectives and their strategies for achieving them. While membership growth consistently scores above 60% as a key success factor for respondent's organizations, the proportion that prioritized efforts to renew existing members actually declined marginally from 2012 and 2013 to 2014. As we reported in 2013, "this reinforces a picture of organizations that are scrambling to acquire new markets, without devoting the time and resources that would help them build a satisfied, sustainable membership base."
Does this still look like the same picture for 2015? What are your goals this year, and how do they differ from last year?