Digital Transformation for Associations: Why It Matters and How to Do it Right

Digital Transformation for Associations: Why It Matters and How to Do it Right

Associations struggle with funding, retaining members, and struggle to keep up with technological innovations.

Maintaining adequate operations means investing in digital transformation. The productivity gains with this type of infrastructure is every bit as important as the improved user experience that you can offer to members. 

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weaknesses of traditional organizational processes, hastening organizations’ steps to digitally transform into models that improved the many challenges at the time. With budget being a critical factor determining an association’s priority, you may confuse digital transformation as dispensable — but it isn’t.

Associations that undergo digital transformation have the necessary tools and technology to stay relevant in a fast-changing world.

What Is Digital Transformation for Associations?

Simply put, digital transformation is a strategy used to streamline operations and improve user experience across your organization. Digital transformation can touch every department from technology to marketing, finance to operations and member services. Done right, this type of upgrade to your operations can seriously improve the member experience. 

But what happens when digital transformation goes horribly wrong? 

It’s not unusual for associations or organizations to launch into these efforts with the best of intentions, full of great ideas and well-funded plans (or so you think!). Unfortunately, many digital transformation initiatives fail as they are so widespread that it’s nearly impossible to maintain focus on the broad changes needed throughout the organization. After a year or two, leaders are finding it difficult to maintain momentum for change . . . all while the costs continue to mount. 

What Do Associations Stand to Gain From Digital Transformation?

Nonprofits and for-profit associations budget towards and execute plans to actualize their digital transformation goals in the hopes that they provide a long-term boost to operations and member experience. Here’s how associations are seeing benefits from digital transformation.

1. Cloud-Based Storage and Computing

With their services hosted on cloud platforms, nonprofits can better communicate and collaborate any time, anywhere and anyhow. These features make it easy for your organization to work on the go and keep your staff member’s work lives simple. Phones, tablets and personal computers all experience the same speed of interaction and eliminate the need to purchase specialized hardware for work. 

2. Improved Security

Small organizations are the most attractive target for hackers because they typically lack specialized IT support and offer impressive data stores. Using cloud-based services decentralizes your data storage location and makes hacking very costly, which can discourage threats to your important information and operations. 

3. Data-Driven Operations

Using technology makes data storage straightforward and hassle-free. Migrating to cloud platforms allows you to leverage sophisticated tools to improve your marketing decisions based on real-time data and surpass past milestones in donations.

Areas in Your Association You Can Begin Digital Transformation

The success rate of digital transformation is only about 30% because many organizations try to do it all at once or lack a clear definition of their goals. Success is seen as the ability to design a system that improves a nonprofit’s performance and sustainability. 

To increase your chances of being in the successful 30%, you must begin your digital transformation by identifying what needs fixing. First, access to necessary information:

  • Data insight
  • Community engagement 
  • Process analysis
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Payment automation and integration

Digital transformation for associations is not limited to these areas. However, carefully analyzing these systems will reveal the most urgent needs and guide the innovations you make going forward. Shift focus to other areas once you have these baselines under control. 

Tips for the Ultimate Digital Transformation Strategy

Executives of nonprofits and associations must implement design thinking to ensure digital transformation success, as it requires intense planning, budgeting, and precise execution.

Here are five tips adopted by associations that have successfully transformed their management system. 

Clearly define your organization’s goal and purpose

  • Assess and begin with an area that aligns with these goals
  • Communicate with other staff and listen to their input
  • Explore multiple technologies
  • Test, appraise and execute

In addition, an understanding of timing will come in handy. Spending too much time in one layer of the framework can result in an even more costly consequence.

Digitally Transform Your Association Using iMIS Today!

The intricacy of digital transformation for associations is one of the reasons the chances of failing at the process are astronomical. As such, you must begin with the most pressing system. Intuitive Business Concepts proprietary implementation of iMIS makes digitally transforming your nonprofit stress-free and effective on your first try with help from our team of experts. Call us at 443-603-0215 today to get started.

About IBC: At IBC, we have a deep understanding of the critical business needs and processes specific to associations, non-profits, and unions. We ‘get’ your culture, your goals, and what drives you, too. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective AMS, LMS, and Cloud Financial Software for our clients, we’re well-versed in identifying and applying the integration techniques that will save you time and money. Since 2001, our cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning services have helped organizations like yours increase their operational and financial performance by leveraging best practices and proven solutions. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at or call 443.603.0215

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