Economic Impact Study: Two Years Later and a New Corner

Economic Impact Study: Two Years Later and a New Corner

How are you feeling about the economy? For the past two years, McKinley has tracked the association community as it has faced unprecedented layoffs, budget cuts, declining memberships and dwindling reserves. Our goal was to find out – by individual, by sector, by community – how the association profession was grappling with one of its most challenging environments.

We are delighted to report that, in many ways, the association community has turned a corner. The 2011 Economic Impact Study shows marked improvements along almost every major economic indicator. The majority of the 300 study participants show optimism about the future of the economy, express declining concerns about the residual impact of the recession both generally and along specific business lines and report rebounding fiscal and organizational health. In McKinley’s study, it was not only the shift in perception, but the degree to which the participants’ perceptions shifted towards a more fiscally stable and positive outlook.

At the same time, recovery doesn’t happen overnight. Survey participants reported lower five-year membership retention trends (despite rebounding short-term retention and recruitment rates). And while optimism and recovery were important themes of the survey, sector-specific data revealed continuing struggles among the building/construction industries. This is a reminder that stability is tenuous, and that it takes discipline, innovation and patience to survive challenging circumstances. At McKinley, we’ll be watching closely as our clients and colleagues chart a new course with a more disciplined, realistic and member-driven approach.

If you would like to participate in future benchmarking studies or would like to arrange for a presentation of the EIA results to your senior staff or board of directors, please contact us at ssanner@mckinley-advisors.com.