Writing in early April, I had urged association leaders to be prepared, “uncertainty should not equate to inactivity”. There would be an extended period of European, political, financial and economic instability.
Brexit is the choice of the British voters and we know now that we can add geopolitical instability to the list. The United Kingdom is splintering. Here in Brussels, the British EP Rapporteurs are handing back portfolios to their secretariats and Commissioner Hill resigned to a standing ovation from MEPs sitting in a special parliamentary session.
There will be no Europe à la carte; the single market is a full menu. As the English political elite decide on their frontrunners for the upcoming leadership contest, I urge you to be active and to follow the advice below.
In brief, plan for short to medium term instability and look for opportunities in re-organising your governance structure to fit the priorities for the months to come. You will need to re-balance your membership, how it is financed and how you respond to your members’ needs. Where possible, seek to speak with one voice and be accountable for your statements (unlike some UK politicians…).
Clarity and a unified approach will stand out starkly against this background of battle ground aftermath. Claim that space with innovative solutions to this unprecedented situation and lead your sector to seize the opportunities that will arise, eventually.
- Survey your members and your closest stakeholders on their activity with and in the UK and carry out financial impact analyses;
- What is the position of your UK member – will they remain in your organisation with maybe a greater need for input and alignment than before?
- Look in particular at non-tariff barriers (for business associations) and any effects on certification (for professional societies);
- Consider alternative revenue streams for funding if you are a UK based charity or civil society organisation – the EU is an increasingly reluctant donor…
Read more on this topic: Association Leader’s guide to Brexit and beyond.
Picture by: NurPhoto / SIPA USA/PA Images.
Written by Dr. Rachel Barlow, Adviser
Rachel leads on executive search assignments for associations and NGOs. As a former Vice President of Kellen Europe, Rachel’s 20 year career has centred on the optimal interest representation of complex organisations towards decision making authorities.