Business & Professional Associations

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 21,300 business and professional associations in the US provide services to and promote the interests of their members and industries. Business associations include chambers of commerce, real estate boards, and manufacturers’ and trade associations. Professional associations include healthcare professional and bar associations.

Employment Affects Membership

High unemployment often causes association memberships to decline.

Increasing Dependence on Non-Dues Revenue

Uncertainty over dues revenue has led associations to become more reliant on non-dues programs.

Industry size & Structure

A typical business association employs 7-8 workers and generates almost $2 million annually, while a typical professional organization employs 9-10 workers and generates $3-4 million annually.

    • The business and professional association industry consists of about 21,300 organizations that employ about 201,900 workers and generate about $66 billion annually.
    • Business associations include chambers of commerce, real estate boards, and manufacturers' and trade associations.
    • Professional associations include healthcare professional and bar associations.
    • Most organizations are small and operate out of a single location.
    • The median board size for associations is 15, according to the ASAE.
    • Large associations include the National Association of Realtors, National Association of Manufacturers, American Medical Association, and the National Education Association.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Business & Professional Associations Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Mar 3, 2024 - Weak Revenue Growth Expected
                                  • Business and professional association industry sales are forecast to grow at a 0.52% compounded annual rate from 2022 to 2027, slower than the growth of the overall economy, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc. Business and professional associations generate revenue primarily through membership fees and dues. Industry labor costs increased during the first eleven months of 2023 as employment increased slightly while average wages for nonsupervisory employees increased moderately.
                                  • The business and professional associations industry has been more cautious than others about adopting and investing in artificial intelligence (AI), according to Info-Tech Research Group. The reluctance is primarily due to concerns around the limitations and risks associated with Generative AI technologies that are often highlighted in the media. This hesitation is further compounded by a lack of organizational insight amongst IT leaders to formulate a business-aligned Generative AI strategy and governance model.
                                  • Business and professional associations can enhance member engagement by establishing metrics that measure member interests and perceived organization value, according to Forbes. Forbes notes that while satisfaction surveys are a great way to hear from members about their experiences, preferences, and desires from their associations, analyzing raw data can reveal behavioral patterns that help inform how members engage (their preferred mechanism for engagement), what topics or activities are getting their attention (getting them to click the link and register), and what keeps them coming back (getting them to show up and participate). Determining the performance metrics to track be is not a one-size-fits-all process. Many organizations look at metrics at both the individual member and at the entity and national levels while others track metrics like membership dues payments as a measure of engagement even though entities often pay for dues on behalf of individuals.
                                  • About 67% of associations are engaging their membership only to a moderate degree, according to a survey by association-services firm MCI of more than 12,700 members and customers from 51 associations around the world. Just 13% are engaging their membership strongly while 20% are engaging their membership in a “weak” fashion. The average engagement score between associations and the responding members and customers was 88 out of 150. A report based on the survey finds that subject-matter expertise and relevance of content are areas where associations are “excellent” in their performance, while fostering innovation, “representation of my company’s interests,” and providing value for money were areas where no more than 30% said their association was “excellent” in its performance.
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