By Jackie Anselmo, Manager, Partnerships, Concordia
As 2021 comes to a close, we look back over the past year and reflect on Concordia and what we, as an organization, have accomplished. Perhaps our biggest accomplishment, after hosting our 2020 Summits in virtual formats, is that we brought together our community in person in September for a hybrid 2021 Annual Summit in New York City.
Our membership community sits at the heart of all we do. While Concordia has supported partnership development over the years, in 2021 we created a Partnerships Department with the mandate to better support our Members, Programming Partners, and Programming Sponsors connect their work to Concordia’s mission of strengthening the partnering ecosystem. This year, we evaluated our membership program to determine if the benefits offered are best suited for our members. We also began more engaged outreach with members, calling on them more frequently and seeking new and creative ways to help them accomplish the membership goals they set forward, while also encouraging them to utilize the Concordia Connect networking program and look for members to potentially partner with on varying initiatives. We want our members to be engaged year round and understand the full scope of year-round membership benefits such as the Convene-Connect-Create program. This includes support in partnership formation, strategy advice, critical connections, and expert-led partnership development discussions.
This enhanced engagement has started to pay off. For example, we saw a number of exciting new relationships form, leading to increased grant resources for impact and improved implementation strategies that rise to the urgency of the moment. We increased our social media and membership newsletter promotion of our community in line with various campaigns, launches, and announcements (have you noticed?!) which has created some exciting organic follow up and more demand for Concordia Connect. We’ve learned that smaller in-person events can lead to better real-time connections and conversations, that targeted Concordia Connect requests result in better response rates, and that regularly-scheduled check-ins empower both parties to much more effectively seize on opportunities year round.
Looking ahead to 2022
Our membership currently spans 21 states and 19 countries and over this past year we saw a 4.5% increase in organizational membership and 2.5% increase in individual membership. This upward trajectory is necessary for the continued growth of our membership community and allows us to expand our network and programming. In early 2022, we will ask our members for help in understanding what a successful membership looks like. Concordia will send its members a survey to determine what aspects of their membership they find beneficial and what benefits they enjoy and use, and utilize the findings to assess our offerings and determine which benefits and opportunities are most valuable to our members.
In 2022, Concordia is planning a very ambitious schedule of programming and is hosting six Summits throughout the year. This will begin with our first U.S.-focused Summit in Lexington, Kentucky on April 7-8, followed by the Americas Summit in early June and the Europe Initiative in late June. Between September 19-21, we will once again host our Annual Summit in New York, followed by our Indo-Pacific and Africa Initiatives in November. With the wide breadth of opportunities available in the coming year, we will look to our membership community to take part in our lively and dynamic conversations, whether it be in person or virtually.
Until we begin 2022, we wish you all the best for a peaceful and joyous holiday season!