2022 Research Shows Positive Outlook for Associations

Representatives of 416 associations provided their insights into the economic outlook for trade and professional organizations for the next year. The results predict a powerful economic rebound for 2022 and outline the changes in staffing, meetings, and spending that will be continued as organizations continue to recover from the challenges of the past two years.

  • Respondents (92%) believe their association responded and adapted quickly to the events unfolding in 2020. Factors supporting the quick adjustments are primarily attributed to the rapid pace of senior executive decision-making (81%) and staff expertise in launching new initiatives and programs (79%). More than half of the associations credit strong relationships with sponsors/donors/supporters (57%) and the quick pace of the board decision-making (54%) in their ability to act quickly.
  • While many were able to pivot and provide a virtual annual meeting experience in 2020, 84% saw a return to in-person meetings and events in 2021. Only 8% expect a virtual-only event in 2022.
  • Throughout 2021, 71% of associations saw increased member engagement, and 85% of associations expect an increase in member engagement in 2022.
  • Organizations have returned to pre-pandemic messaging and are emphasizing benefits of membership such as networking opportunities.
  • Throughout 2021, 56% of associations report that their membership marketing budget did not change from 2020, while 25% saw an increase in their membership marketing budget in 2021. For 2022, 44% of associations expect an increase in their membership marketing budget.

Overall, associations have a positive outlook for 2022, with expected increases in membership, renewals, and engagement; an optimistic financial outlook for the end of the year; a return to in-person events, and anticipated increases in their marketing budgets.

A copy of the full 2022 Association Economic Outlook Report can be downloaded for free.