The benefits of going global
Let’s talk about internationalism - about being "global". Ours is a more global world than ever before, smaller than it’s ever been. However, not everyone sees internationalization as a valuable path or a top priority, with some associations preferring to work in splendid isolation believing that an international outlook is “not for us”. This is of course a perfectly understandable perspective, as long as a solely domestic focus reflects an informed decision by an organization’s leadership team, having considered and understood the value of global cooperation.
It is undeniable that in this tech-driven age even the most local markets are still impacted by global supply chains, global technologies, and socioeconomic circumstances that are impacted by global events.
So, let's talk about the steps to evaluate and to potentially engage in that international market. Well, it doesn't have to be world domination! Start with small steps into a global conversation, where you can look to grow your network, understand how to extend your influence, and learn what products, services, and approaches will allow you to offer your (local and global) members more value.
Many of the organizations we work with (be they in the scientific or medical sectors or any other of the many environments in which we work) have international counterparts who almost invariably will welcome collaboration over competition, so that first step with your sister organizations overseas is a massive, quick win.
What's the next step beyond the simple connection and collaboration? Well, think about revenue diversity, about access to new markets, and about opening up greater entry points to global markets through a SMART technology strategy. If we’re able to be more inclusive and equally more expansive and have a broader diversity of thought from a wider audience, then that diversity of thought will trickle through not just down to your members’ experience but through to your leadership team and the wider culture and strategic perspective or the organization.
A global model which is predicated on the benefits of engaging with different perspectives, different markets, and different time zones(!) will allow you access and exposure to new funders and sponsors, to more social media channels and influencers, and to supporters of your cause. Increasing the awareness of your organization, your purpose, and your impact can realize amazing results, not only in terms of your reputation and your credibility but also with regards those fundraising aims.
There are of course challenges – financial costs, time-zone considerations, language barriers, cultural differences, and spreading yourself too thin as an organization – but these are all things to consider as part of that "informed conversation" rather than reasons to simply say no.