When an association’s membership or participation wanes, leaders often assume that the problem is with those darned members, who just don’t get it. This in turn leads to discussions about how to better communicate all the advantages of full participation in, say, the Alliance for the Preservation of Used Coffee Grounds.
A more useful discussion opens with, “Are we relevant?” If the answer is an honest “yes,” then, fine, look for ways to better communicate as much. But if member participation is dropping off, chances are the answer is an honest “no.” That leads to another useful question: “What changes should we make to re-become relevant?"
Following the introduction of a polio vaccine, March of Dimes reinvented itself. You may have noticed that it is still viable. By contrast, not too many people are lining up to join the Flat Earth Society.* (There really is one, and they really do think they’re right.)