Your organization may be small. But that shouldn’t keep you from moving forward on your mission. Here are five things that may be holding you back, and what you can do to break free.
You know that dream where you’re trying to run, but it feels like you’re moving in slow motion? Does it ever feel like that with your association: Your organization has big goals, but you just aren’t reaching them?
Here are five things that may be holding your association back from its mission (and what you can do about them):
1. The need for a strategic plan.
It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running your association. But strategic planning is critically important to an organization’s success. In the 2019 Economic Impact on Associations Study, strategic planning was cited as essential to an association’s success.
Strategic planning includes technology. In fact, the Community Brands Benchmark Report on Small-Staff Associations found that small associations feel technologically unprepared for the future. Not good.
What’s an association to do? Polish up on best practices around key performance areas for your organization and incorporate them into your strategic plan. Here are some resources to get you started:
- Membership growth – 13 Ways to Attract New Members
- Member retention – The Ultimate Guide to Membership Renewal
- Revenue growth – The Ultimate Guide to Generating Non-dues Revenue
2. Manual processes.
As your processes evolve and mature, they become more time-consuming. If you want to move your mission forward, your team needs to focus on serving your members, not on executing manual processes.
Look for association management software (AMS) that can automate things like email communications, membership renewals, and reports so your team can focus on delivering a great member experience. For example, in your new, automated world, when members register for your association’s annual conference, they register with their updated mailing address and check a box to update their profile information with the new contact information. The system automatically updates their profile instead of requiring a staff member to manually update it.
3. Multiple technologies.
Juggling unwieldy spreadsheets and multiple systems to manage all of the different aspects of your membership experience is no way to get ahead. You’re logging into multiple systems. You’re entering the same data in more than one place. It’s wasted time.
Look for a single member management system that can handle all of your member data and processes, so you no longer have to log into multiple systems and perform duplicate work.
4. Only one person who knows how your database works.
You’re working with limited resources. But having just one person on staff who understands your membership tracking spreadsheets and systems is not the answer. What happens if that person is out sick? Or leaves for a new job opportunity? Your membership services can’t just grind to a halt.
Look for a platform that handles all of your membership management activities and also offers training and support. Your entire team, whether paid or volunteer can then use the system, and you’ll have help on hand when you need it.
5. A lack of strategic focus at board meetings.
Your board’s job is to help move your mission forward through governance and strategy. Board meetings spent on minute details and updates only frustrate your board and don’t move your organization forward.
Keep your board meetings focused on strategic discussions and decisions, not updates. Non-controversial or routine updates can easily be reviewed via email prior to the meeting. Make sure you send out materials at least five days ahead of time. Materials such as the agenda, previous meeting minutes, financial statements, membership reports and staff reports, and any other documents can be sent to board members prior to the meeting.
There’s no reason for associations of any size to be detoured from their mission. Learn more about YourMembership’s affordable and easy-to-use membership software solution.