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Pandemic makes 10th-anniversary ‘Relevance’ more relevant

‘Race for Relevance’ authors say shock of shutdowns proves case for smaller, competency-based boards and aggressive digital approach


Sept. 10, 2021
By William Ehart

Mary Byers and Harrison Coerver took bold stances 10 years ago in their book, “Race for Relevance,” about how associations needed to change. Governance, programs and the adoption of technology all required revolutionary recasting to ensure the long-term sustainability of membership organizations.

In 2019, the authors contracted with ASAE to write a 10th-anniversary edition. They began to prepare new case studies and expand on their research, which is reflected in the book.

Then the pandemic hit. What had been proactive recommendations on matters like competency-based boards, smaller governing bodies and digital transformation became survival imperatives and, in some cases, realities: Digital transformation was forced on associations.

So, in addition to sustainability, the authors had to address recovery in the anniversary edition.