Is Your Chamber Ready To Go “Associations Unorthodox”?

“I don’t need to be part of an organization that thinks it’s 1983!”

Where did that come from, you ask? Did you hear it in that dream? Or was it a nightmare?

Watch this interview with Jeff De Cagna of Associations UnorthodoxIn your dream, you pictured a serious 24 year old college graduate. She wanted to start a business in your town and serve the community.


Then you saw her surfing the Internet, checking out your chamber’s website, social media, current product and services.

Old School or Associations Unorthodox?


Did she value your chamber’s current programs, many of which have been basically the same for 20 or 30 years.

Did she see value in 7:30 am networking meetings, monthly luncheons, annual galas, or was she looking for 24 x 7 x 365 online relationship building?

When she checked out your Facebook page and found little to no engagement and interaction, what did she think? What did she find when she went to your chamber’s Twitter account? Crickets? SELF PROMOTION?

Did she ask around and discover that she would have to be a member for years to decades before she would be taken seriously and allowed to serve as a committee or board chair?

Did she send a friend request to the CEO and get ignored, or worse, rejected?

Did she find out she couldn’t communicate with the CEO because he doesn’t text? He has a flip phone? The website isn’t mobile optimized? The chamber is old school? Yuck.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives,

nor the most intelligent,

but rather the one most adaptable to change.”

― Leon C. Megginson


The fact is, if your organization is basically being run the same as it has for past decades you are just not going to survive much longer because things change (have changed) and those that fail to adapt to a changing environment eventually becomes extinct.

Your organization, for all intents and purposes may already be extinct, you just haven’t gotten the memo faxed over to you yet.

Is it time for Associations Unorthodox?


In this episode of the Chamber Focus Show we had a great discussion with the author of Associations Unorthodox, and founder of Principled InnovationJeff De Cagna. Jeff has been challenging organizations for years to fight back against orthodoxy and reinvent themselves.

We discussed:

  • The radical idea of free chamber membership models versus the real question of rethinking the entire chamber business model, not just the dues structure.
  • How organizations of the future will be creating, delivering, and capturing value not just for their members but for ALL stakeholders.
  • How to begin the Associations Unorthodox conversation at the board level about making innovative improvements and how this had better be done sooner rather than later.
  • Building organizations capable of getting to the next level in a quickly changing and unpredictable environment.
  • Fighting against myopia, nostalgia, denial, and inaction.
  • Thinking short term, intermediate, and long term and what questions need to be ask to build an organization able to thrive in the long haul.
  • Methods of engaging stakeholders in order to tease out their wants and needs so we can provide value to them. Hint: Surveys might not be working for this so well any more.
  • The dream of getting rid of boards and how that just isn’t a realistic proposition. But you can work with them.
  • Crowd sourcing strategy. This is discussed in shift 2 of Associations Unorthodox.
  • More…

Watch Now

Is your organization ready to go Associations Unorthodox?

Comment below.

Jeff De Cagna [Deh-CAHN-ya] is a respected association community thought leader, innovator and contrarian. For more than twenty years, Jeff has been inviting association leaders to think differently about the future, and pursue the generative work of transformation. He regularly challenges association orthodoxy as a popular speaker, author and advisor to associations across North America and around the world.


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