I am not going to join an association if I don’t find value in it. As both the Democratic and Republican parties look to re-build they need to re-engage their members. Like any organization, its leaders need to communicate the value membership brings while constantly giving people reasons to join in its mission. This can be accomplished through the benefits they provide or the stories they tell to help people connect emotionally to the organization.

To be effective at that the organizations need the infrastructure and refine their business operations to reflect the reality of their industry, their membership and the world around them.  In addition the organizational leadership needs to build a sustainable organization to help attract a new generation of members.

Once the infrastructure is in place the messages need to be crafted to communicate organizational value. The agenda needs to resonate with the right audience and be communicated in a way that they will listen to it. The messages should be action-oriented. People join an organization because they share common values but also because they want to belong to something. So, give people a reason to get engaged.

Today, associations must also Re-Evaluate how it uses emerging technologies and the various media platforms around them to their advantage. We should only look forward in how we do things.

Once the messages are developed, now you can go out and raise money or increase membership. However, this too takes a new way to think about the how and why you approach others. As an organization, you should rethink your members or donors as “investors,” and work to create a donor relations program to keep them engaged in organizational activity – year-round.

While the organization raises money or seeks new members it should work diligently to find new candidates or younger members. The MS Society has created a Young Leaders Group, there are programs like Leadership Detroit and also the Michigan Political Leadership Program (of which I am a fellow and board member). But other organizations, including political parties can work harder at nurturing the next generation of leadership.

In restructuring a political party or an association, it will taking rethinking how the organization is structured, what the messages are that needs to be communicated, rethinking how you embrace membership and donors and finding ways to raise a new class of leadership. However, todays realities demand we re-think how we manage our lives and our associations.

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