Sunday, December 23, 2012

Branson Experience Parallels Most Associations

My wife and I joined colleges friends recently for a trip to Branson (MO) for its Christmas shows.

What a great experience. From the visitors center (which gave us tickets and tips) to the restaurants (which quickly handled the four of us plus 3-4 busloads of tourists) to the awesome shows (Andy Williams, Six, The 12 Irish Tenors and Shoji Tabuchi) to the holiday light shows.

Branson delivered a great experience ... especially for retiring boomers or older folks.

A couple of times during the week, my friend remarked: “I wonder how Branson will do when the ‘gray hairs’ are gone? The music and musicians and experience are tailored to an age of people that won’t be here in 15-20 years. Then what becomes of Branson. Who will perform? Who will attend?”

My response was ... “Wow, that’s the same dilemma most associations are experiencing.” In the past 50 years, most “legacy associations” were built by and for Boomers, their needs and interests.

But as one Boomer celebrates a 65th birthday every 8 seconds (that’s 10,800 more 65-year-olds every day!), what happens when members “age-out” of their associations. 

Perhaps association executives and board members don’t care because they too will age-out and won’t be around when the association crumbles because it hasn’t adapted to a huge new generation with differing needs, tastes and interests.

This topic (aging members) should be part of your association’s ongoing dialog, visioning and planning. Combined with the rapid changes in technology, the “aging-out” of members serve as a transformational challenge for legacy associations.

Meanwhile, enjoy the show 

And, best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each of you!

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