How associations can benefit from the new gig economy

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Published work involves contributions from multiple staff members in copywriting and editorial roles, with possible integration of AI technology


Employment norms of the past are no more. The pursuit of stable, long-term positions is no longer the only path to career development. Instead, the rise of the gig economy – contracted, temporary jobs – has opened up new possibilities for how people build valuable skills and contribute to the economy.

Previously released results of a survey about the gig economy commissioned by BMO Wealth Management got me thinking about how associations can benefit from an agile workforce. The study finds it’s not just Millennials who are getting their gig on. Rather, there is a diverse range of ages seeking contract work.

That’s good news for associations.

Mind the gap

The one constant with associations is there is always more to do than available resources can manage. How many projects are on your back burner, just waiting for some attention? That’s why it’s a great time to tap the gig economy to flexibly fill in your personnel gaps without adding headcount.

Because there is a broad range of people looking for temporary positions, you’ll easily be able to find the level of expertise you need – and deserve – for your projects.

Experienced professionals – Most people who work for associations spend their entire careers in the industry. There’s a huge group of Baby Boomers who are ready to step away from full-time work, but not retire completely. Tap into their extensive knowledge base to lead projects that are important to the growth of your association, but don’t require the commitment of a full-time employee.

For example, if it’s time to implement a new strategic plan, pull in an experienced professional to develop a plan, engage the board and key staff members, and lead the effort to reset your goals for the coming year(s). Need to develop a board training program?  A retired association executive director might be well-positioned to offer great experience and advice about the best way to help your association onboard new volunteers.

Up-and-coming professionals – Think about where your membership has the most growth potential. It’s likely with younger professionals in your field from the Gens Y or Z.  What better way to figure out what’s relevant to these age groups than to make sure their voices are represented during strategic planning sessions while building marketing plans and managing events?

Younger, up-and-coming professionals are especially comfortable with the uncertainty of the gig economy. It’s part of their collective DNA to be at ease while stringing together a series of freelance positions. Take advantage of their tech-savvy and tenacious drive to jump in and energize your growth initiatives.

Stay the course

The gig economy is a great way to augment your resources as needed. But, don’t get carried away. Some association management tasks are best served by long-term commitments with staff or an association management company. 

You’ll benefit the most when you bring in outside temporary experts to accomplish specific assignments with concrete deadlines and expected outcomes.

It’s a brave new world! Need help finding qualified temporary professionals or scoping out projects? Frontline can help. We’re kind of the OGs of the gig economy with lots of experience partnering with associations for short-term strategic initiatives in addition to long-term, effective operational programs.



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