Associations, a special form of Communities, provide
a forum for people and/or businesses to collaborate and work together toward a common interest.
Associations are perhaps best thought of as more formal communities, usually with a formal
statement of purpose, and registered as a legal entity or organization.
In the U.S. alone, there are close to 1.8 million associations, with probably 86 thousand of those
being trade and professional associations. The vast majority are philanthropic or charitable
Associations are typically formed for a wide variety of reasons, yet they often have common benefits
for their members:
Associations provide a forum for their members to come together to face and solve common issues
Members gain access to information and resources that would be difficult to obtain through only
Members are often recognized, or even certified, to follow certain codes of conduct or to have achieved
certain levels of proficiency.
Education and professional development opportunities are often made available to members.
Members gain a sense of community - of belonging, to an organization where they are able to have
a positive impact with the help of others.
With typical "off-line" associations, it's very possible for members to feel detached and uninvolved,
except during all too infrequent opportunities for members to get together. Your members want much
more from your association than simply to be able to say they're a member.
By providing an online environment where your members can interact with one another - and interact
with you, they are able to get much more from their membership.
Extending your association online with a Communities OnTheWeb™ site allows your members
to constantly interact with one another. They can solicit and share ideas, work together, and
participate in your association every day. Discussion Boards, Chat Rooms, Newsletters, and
other online features keep them active.