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“The future cares much more about why and how you exist than what you do or where you have been."

If your organization can find its true purpose and create a culture that cultivates — not just maintains — growth, then it can maximize the benefits of where the business is going. The ever-expanding advantages of technology allow us to reexamine the ways we think about everything from membership models to organizational culture, to the very purpose of business itself.

Associations have the timely opportunity to find smarter, easier, more profitable and more fulfilling methods to do their work.


This course is a companion to the book The Open Garden Organization: A Blueprint for Associations in the Digital Age by chairman Amith Nagarajan.

The foundation of the course is the Open Garden Model, an equation founded on three main principles: purpose, culture, and inclusivity. Associations are uniquely positioned to use their expertise and purpose to engage an audience that cares and usually extends much farther than members alone.

The Open Garden Model encourages associations to:

  • clarify and deepen their purpose
  • redefine and implement a strong culture
  • shift their business model to one that embraces an inclusive and expansive audience, reaching far beyond the scope of their current membership targets

The course is broken into three sections:

  1. The Bedrock: Finding your Core Purpose and defining your Core Values
  2. The Soil: Constructing and nurturing your culture
  3. The Crops: Finding and engaging your community

The lessons that follow serve as much as a guide to the changes associations currently face as they do a call to change, and each lesson ends with a Workshop, which provides a series of questions and activities you can use with your own association to help apply the material to your specific circumstance.


The following topics are discussed during the course.


Click each tab to learn more.

Additional Tools

Download your Open Garden infographic poster to help you follow along as you complete the course. Save and download or print.

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