With the first signs of economic recovery on the horizon, association executives show increased optimism in the operation and financial performance of their organizations, according to a new study released by ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership.
“Associations and CEOs: A Report on Two Studies During a Down Economy” is the second installment of the association executives study and fourth in a series that looked at the impact of the economy on the association community.
“I know everyone in our community welcomes this increased optimism as we eagerly await a full economic recovery,” said John H. Graham IV, CAE, ASAE and The Center president and CEO. “While our sector may continue to see its ups and downs, the results of this survey show that the end of these turbulent times may be in sight. Though as I and many of my colleagues in the industry said many times before, we need to be patient as associations are a late indicator of the economy.”
The key findings of the study indicate that:
• An increased number of association executives predict their revenues will increase in the coming year (23.5 percent compared to 11.6 percent in the previous study of association CEOs); fewer believe it will decrease (38.1 compared to 63.9 percent);
• More than half of respondents believe membership will decrease, an improvement from 66 percent last year; more than twice as many respondents as last year believe membership will increase (11.4 compared to 4.9 percent);
• A larger percentage of respondents believe revenue will increase from multi-day events, increasing from 6.3 to 33 percent; multi-day education events, 9.2 to 20.9 percent; sponsorships, 13.4 to 27.4 percent; and foundation giving, 11.7 to 20.5 percent.
• A majority of executives anticipate online tools will provide new revenue streams, although only a third reported such an increase so far;
• Association leaders successfully predicted how the recession would affect their long-standing core non-dues business activities, such as short-duration education programs and publication sales;
• Leaders of smaller organizations, which traditionally invest their reserves in liquid investments, are the least confident that their total revenues will increase in the coming year.
Conducted between Jan. 26 and Feb. 2, the study surveyed 960 association CEOs. It was preceded by the first study of association CEOs, conducted in the spring of 2009. Only one person from each organization was able to participate.
For more information about this and previous economic impact studies, visit www.asaecenter.org/economy.