Maggie McGary offers her viewpoint on the recent discussions about Associations vs Online Communities, coming from her background in non profit Associations.
Rather than stand by and let for-profits own the online community part of an association's membership, why aren't more associations recognizing this low-hanging fruit and being more proactive about their own online communities? If AMA had a really robust, well-managed online community for members, maybe Doximity wouldn't have been so successful at attracting physicians. Yet even in the face of case after case of for-profit online communities popping up and offering traditional association members something better when it comes to online community and networking 24/7/365 instead of just face-to-face at annual meeting, associations for the most part don't see online community as something worth investing in. The difference in resources and attention given to online community in the for-profit and start-up world and in the association world is night and day. Where most associations have no dedicated staff running their online communities, start-ups often have several community managers and many companies have whole community teams.