The Growing Impact of Association Media

AARP MagazineThere’s a subtle and powerful shift happening in the world of nonprofit associations.

“Whether by realizing cost efficiencies or by having a better understanding of the power of a media group’s ability to market an association’s mission to its membership, or both, nonprofits have been merging the various communications efforts with their media teams to create a more powerful advocacy platform,” Bill Mickey writes in Folio:.

Whether the mergers came about due to the recession, or through a realization that coordinating in this way could lead to great impact, the results are better advocacy, membership growth and ad revenue.

AARP, for example, has decided to “surround its members with content, no matter what their consumption habits are,” Mickey writes. As they’ve done this, they’ve created new channels of advertising opportunity for their partners, which in turns supports the budget for even more content.

“The more revenue we can drive, the more robust the content can be,” said AARP’s Daly Miller.

This savvy use of content equates to massive growth of influence for the American Legion, which brought all its channels to bear on the 2014 veteran’s health scandal.

Mickey explains that, when the scandal broke, “the American Legion, which is a prominent voice for veterans, immediately took to social media to promote the message that the veterans’ health system was broken and called for the resignation of the secretary of Veterans Affairs. From there, the media and communications teams coordinated press conferences and kept members up-to-date with newsletters and the website. By the time the magazine was printed, Stoffer was able to follow all that up with in-depth analysis of all the fallout.”

It doesn’t take a national scandal to provide opportunities for associations to take the bully pulpit and make real change, as evidenced by other examples Mickey gives in the piece. The results of taking a strong stand that resonates with your audience, and using well-crafted content to share that story, gives nonprofits a new stage on which to compete with traditional media brands.