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Road to Relevance: 5 Strategies for Competitive Associations


Mary Byers, CAE

Based on their book, Road to Relevance: 5 Strategies for Competitive Associations, and their work with over 1,400 organizations, best selling authors Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, CAE provide an introduction and overview designed to help you take the conversation about relevance to the next level. You will learn about associations that have successfully adopted the strategies, gain insight into how to do the same for yours, and get valuable handouts and worksheets designed to aid you on your journey.


Harrison Coerver
There are five interlocking strategies on the Road to Relevance. Understanding all five—and how they work together—is essential for today's association staff and volunteer leaders. The concepts are simple, yet powerful, and help create a sustainable, efficient, and relevant association. Though each module provides a stand-alone look at one of the five strategies, together they present a road map for staff and volunteers, allowing you to operate more effectively in a highly competitive environment.

By viewing the series, you'll:

  • Gain insight regarding competition and how it's changing the future of associations
  • Understand the role of “profit" in a not-for-profit environment
  • Learn how business strategies have positively affected other associations
  • Identify strategies designed to help increase your association's value proposition
  • Hear from two of the leading thought leaders in association management
  • Receive complimentary access to the capstone webcast at the end of these five modules

The Road to Relevance series has been carefully designed to accommodate your busy schedule. Each strategy is covered in a 60-minute program to be watched at your convenience. Each module may be viewed a total of three times at no additional charge so that you can share with staff and your volunteer leaders.

Mary Byers, CAE


Mary Byers, CAE, is co-author of "Race for Relevance: Five Radical Changes for Associations" and "Road to Relevance: 5 Strategies for Competitive Associations." She’s the former director of communications and member services for the Illinois State Dental Society and served in that capacity for nine years prior to starting her consulting business in 1998. Mary specializes in working with volunteer association leaders and chief staff executives to help define their roles and clarify their vision through leadership conference programming, facilitating strategic planning retreats and coaching. Mary is a certified association executive and a member of the National Speakers Association. She is also the author of seven books.

Harrison Coerver


Harrison Coerver is President of Harrison Coerver & Associates, a management consulting firm specializing in trade associations, professional societies and other tax-exempt membership organizations. Since 1985 Coerver has consulted with over 1,000 associations in strategy, planning, marketing and management. He is known for his group facilitation skills, straightforward style and innovative approaches to association governance and management. He is also a frequent speaker and seminar leader on future trends for associations and professional societies and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Association Forum of Chicagoland, a 4,000-member organization serving association professionals in the greater Chicago area.

Strategy #1 Build on Strengths
The Road to Relevance starts with identifying and building on your strengths. This in-depth session takes a look at possible strengths, helps you identify yours and explores how knowing them will lead to focus and clarity in your future financial and human resource decision making. You’ll get a list of questions to help you discover your strengths as well as a matrix to help you match your strengths with opportunity.

Strategy #2 Concentrate Resources

Bill Gates attributes his success to the fact that he “focused in on a few things.” This strategy is powerful for your association as you go through the process of deciding where to focus your energy, expertise and financial resources in order to get the biggest return on investment for your members.

Strategy #3 Integrating Programs and Services

Are your programs and services the result of a carefully planned portfolio of offerings—or the result of years and years of adding here and there? We bet it’s the latter. If so, this session will help you identify action steps to create better synergy in the future.

Strategy #4 Aligning People & Processes Efficiently

Associations are a living example of “we’ve always done it this way.” Unfortunately, in today’s competitive environment, “this way” may actually be making it harder for you to compete effectively. Get a simple template for starting process discussions in your association to break through bottlenecks and obstacles to providing an outstanding value proposition for members.

Strategy #5 Purposeful Abandonment

It’s counterintuitive but less really can be more in the association environment. Find out why during this compelling and thought-provoking session created to provide you with advice, tools and questions to stimulate movement to a carefully crafted portfolio of service offerings—one that will help position your association as “must have membership.”

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