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Leadership in Action: Crafting Technology Roadmaps to Enhance Membership and Marketing in Associations


Daniel Elacqua


In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, association executives face the challenge of driving membership growth. This is often accomplished through enhancing marketing effectiveness. To help deliver more effective marketing, and accomplish membership growth, the association must align these goals with technology. This requires a good technology strategy. A well-crafted technology strategy is critical in aligning technological advancements with organizational goals to foster engagement, improve communication, and boost efficiency. A technology strategy is not just a checklist of software to purchase or systems to update; it is a strategic plan that outlines how technology will help achieve the broader goals of your association. It prioritizes initiatives, allocates resources effectively, and sets a timeline for implementation and evaluation. Most importantly, it ensures that every technological investment contributes to enhancing member value and improving marketing outcomes. This article aims to inform on best practices in creating a comprehensive technology strategy.

Step 1: Align Technology Initiatives with Organizational Goals

The first step in developing a technology roadmap is to have a clear understanding of your association’s goals. A good place to start is the strategic plan of the organization.  What are the goals of the organizations strategic plan?  Are you looking to increase membership retention, enhance member engagement, or improve operational efficiency? Once these goals are defined, you can identify technology solutions that align with them. For example, if member engagement is a priority, investing in an advanced CRM system to personalize communication might be a key initiative.


Step 2: Engage Stakeholders in the Planning Process

Technology roadmaps SHOULD NOT be created in isolation. Engaging stakeholders—including staff from various departments, members, and even board members—is crucial. These interactions can provide insights into the actual needs and expectations from technology investments. Additionally, involving stakeholders in the planning process ensures buy-in and facilitates smoother implementation.


Step 3: Assess Current Technological Capabilities

Before you can plan where you are going, you need to understand where you currently stand. An audit of your existing technology infrastructure, software, and tools will help identify gaps that need to be addressed. This assessment should consider not only the age and functionality of current systems but also how they integrate with each other and whether they meet the current and foreseeable needs of your members and staff.


Step 4: Prioritize Technology Investments

Not all technology solutions are created equal, and not all of them will be equally critical to your association’s success. Prioritize the initiatives that will have the most significant impact on your goals. This involves not only looking at potential benefits but also considering implementation challenges, costs, and ROI. For instance, a new AMS (Association Management Software) might be expensive but essential for automating membership management and improving member experience.


Step 5: Develop an Implementation Timeline

A practical technology roadmap lays out a timeline for the rollout of technology initiatives. This schedule should consider key milestones, budget cycles, and any external factors like compliance deadlines. The timeline needs to be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected challenges yet structured enough to ensure progress.


Step 6: Monitor Progress and Adapt as Necessary

Implementing a technology roadmap is not a set-and-forget process. Regular reviews of the roadmap’s effectiveness in meeting your goals are essential. Metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) should be established to measure the success of technology implementations. Additionally, as new technologies emerge and organizational priorities shift, the roadmap should be adapted accordingly.



For association executives, developing and implementing a technology strategy is an exercise in leadership. It demonstrates a commitment to leveraging technology for organizational success and sets a tone that values proactive adaptation and continuous improvement. By aligning technology investments with membership and marketing goals, you can not only meet but exceed the expectations of your staff, board of directors, and members.

Remember, a successful technology roadmap is one that evolves. It requires ongoing attention and refinement to ensure it remains aligned with the association’s objectives and continues to deliver value. Leadership in this context means being forward-thinking, inclusive in stakeholder engagement, and responsive to the changing technological landscape. Through thoughtful planning and execution, you can harness the power of technology to propel your association toward a more connected, efficient, and innovative future. 

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