Why Associations Should Invest in Young Leaders

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Longstanding associations have been notoriously known for and labeled as being outdated and stale. Age and experience often go hand-in-hand, logically connecting the correlation between association leaders and an older demographic. Amplifying this stereotype delves into an unfair outlook that young professionals may be classified as inexperienced, unprofessional, or ‘off-brand’ with the organization’s image.  

Yet, these emerging leaders are also equated with energy, new thinking, and passion. Ignoring and neglecting to identify and invest in these qualities of the young professionals within your association will only stifle the growth and progress of your organization.  

The next generation is the future, and here are some reasons why investing in this is beneficial for your organization.  

  1. They are driven by causes they care about 

Young leaders are passionate about the causes they care about. If they’re involved in your organization, it’s likely because they truly believe in the mission, vision, and values. They are driven to make a difference and promote your association. 

  1. They challenge the status quo 

Young professionals will think outside the box, and they aren’t afraid to try new ideas and approaches. They can push boundaries, challenge conventions, and change the game for the better. This allows them to find creative ways of solving problems and create innovative new solutions and can breathe new life into your association. 

  1. They are tech-savvy 

As the world grows increasingly digital, it’s hard to stay up to speed. The fact is, you have to meet people where they are, and it’s vital to keep up with technology for the convenience of your membership. Young people have grown up in this digital age. They understand it, learn new tech quickly, and can bring these skills to keep your organization digitally relevant. 

  1. They are your future 

Although they’re not your successors yet, they are the future of your organization. Nurture their drive and passion by providing them with the skills they will need to succeed when older leaders eventually step down. Your association will be better prepared for the future! 

Unfortunately, developing young leaders is easily disregarded in comparison to other priorities within an organization. However, the consequence of not strengthening this can result in stagnant growth. An organization may be considered a high-performance association, but its longevity can be stunted without properly investing in future leaders. Developing a program to invest and nurture the leadership of young people can only benefit your organization. 

Learn more about how to identify and activate emerging leaders in your association at Lindsay Murray’s upcoming session at the 2022 CSAE National Conference October 19th-21st in Halifax, NS.   

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