How better surveys of your members promote engagement, retention

Associations are slicing and dicing survey data to gain more insights about what members say they want—versus how they actually behave. "You can have two individuals with very similar demographics, but their motivation and how they want to engage with the association can vary considerably," said consultant Sheri Jacobs.

Looking beyond lobbying: Judge's vision for growth

Peer-to-peer exchanges are part of expansion plans at the Private Equity Growth Capital Council. The 7-year-old group had to focus solely on advocacy at first, said CEO Steve Judge, but "people really benefited from a gradual movement into those member services."