Monday, November 12, 2012

Six Questions for Globalization: Part One

By Virgil R. Carter

Six Questions for Globalization

Is your non-profit organization considering globalization?  Or have you already begun efforts towards becoming a global organization, and are wondering what’s next?  Here’s the first part of six key questions which may help guide your organization’s discussions and decisions about going global.

  1. What does success look like?
Has your organization reached agreement on what constitutes success?   Establishing and communicating clear, measurable benchmarks for success—strategic and operational--may be one of the single greatest ways of realizing success in globalization, and avoiding the criticism inherent in attempting worldwide leadership.  Identifying success measures also supports continuing assessment of whether or not your association has the proper business model and business plans needed for successfully achieving the measures.  Success measures and business models go hand in hand.  It’s hard to have one without the other.

  1. Does your organization offer open and equal leadership opportunities for members, regardless of geography?
Members and customers, regardless of geography, want to have something to say about (and participate in) the direction of the organization they support, and the quality and timeliness of your goods and services.  Otherwise, they let their feet do the talking, and walk to another association that is more open and responsive.  Global organizations have to find ways to share in leadership opportunities, regardless of geography.  When was the last time your board’s chairman was from an emerging market country, or you held a board meeting in an emerging market country? 

  1. Should dues differ and reflect the annual salaries and earnings of members in emerging market and other nations?
Airline tickets and hotel reservations are no longer are priced at a single rate for all users.  World-wide air travelers know that air fares purchased outside the U.S. tend to be cheaper than those of U.S. carriers (thanks to host government subsidies in many cases).  Why should association dues be any different, especially when your annual dues in U.S. dollars may represent a host country amount equal to perhaps 20-25% of the annual salary of a potential member?  The opposite side of this issue, however, is that expenses to support a new or renewing non-U.S. member generally exceed those of a U.S. member (at least for associations whose major business units reside totally in the U.S, and whose service must originate from the U.S.). What to do?  Successful global organizations are likely to be those whose dues recognize the differential abilities to pay, and who can provide needed services and value outside the domestic U.S.

Next week we will cover the last three of the key questions towards going global.

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