Looking forward to the future can be a frightful thought for associations. How can you ensure to retain your members, plan bigger events and projects, and keep climbing towards your goals?
Planning ahead can save your association a lot of these worries. If you can get a clear vision of what the bigger picture is for your organization, you’ll be able to take the necessary steps towards make that vision a reality. Sound easy, right?
But for many associations, connecting the dots to make those plans happen can be difficult. Remember, you’re not just planning for great success- you’re also preparing for any possible mishaps and disaster situations.
So, if you’re looking to start on the path to preparing for a better future, you have a lot to focus on. Luckily, we’re going over a few tips and tricks to make your planning and prepping an easy task. With the right focus, your association can stop leaving the direction of its future up in the air.
1. Create a plan
As with all good planning, your association’s future preparation should start with a plan for success.
While this may seem obvious, many associations try to jump to a better future for their organization without the proper thought process and mapping that it takes to get the results they’re looking for. Strategic planning is key for any association looking to get a better grip on how they want to grow within the next year or so.
So, what goes into a good strategic plan? As you may expect, a lot of things.
Any association plan should always start by considering its membership. After all, members are the lifeblood of your association. They bring in revenue, provide you with a purpose to keep things running, and help you make the changes you want in terms of advocacy. Without your members, your association wouldn’t be able to generate any success, so you need to make sure to include their wants and needs in your future plans.
You also need to take into consideration the many moving part of your association. From marketing staff, to tech tools and the people it takes to maintain that technology, to your event staff and even your volunteers. Your association is a lot like a clock- with one gear out of place, it just won’t run the way you need it to.
Start by creating a plan with your members in mind while taking into consideration each part of your association, and you’ll have a solid foundation to plan for the future.
2. Involve your association’s team
Your association’s staff works hard to make sure everything runs smoothly, not just for your organization, but for members as well. Therefore, they deserve to have a seat at the table whenever your executives make plans for the future.
While most of your associations plans may be decided upon by your higher up executives, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a second opinion from those staff members who work day in and day out to execute these decisions. Without including your association’s team, you may be building a toxic company culture from the inside out without even realizing it. So to avoid any bad blood within your own team, it’s important you keep everyone in the loop when plans are being made.
When it comes time to talk future plans, be sure to host an office wide meeting and include staff who are being affected by any changes being made. For example, if you’re looking to change the way your association markets to its audience, you’ll want to consult with your communication and marketing staff. The same goes for financial changes, event planning ideas, member management improvement, and so on and so forth.
3. Start implementing decisions
Once you’ve gotten your team together and started the planning process, you don’t want to forget to actually implement the plans you have set in place.
Decision making is the most important part of preparing for your association’s future. While analyzing data and coming up with solutions needs to happen first, all you’re doing is setting yourself up for proper execution when the time comes.
It’s the direct responsibility of your association’s top professionals and decision makers to delegate tasks and make sure your planning comes to fruition. Decide which members of your team should take on what goals, how you need to change the way your association functions, and what further steps should be taken in order to execute your future plans.
Make sure your team knows about the bigger picture in your association’s plans in order to properly execute. You should be moving towards significant changes, so you want them to make moves that proactively move towards those goals. For example, changing up your email automation will help you better move towards marketing goals than a change in member management software would, so be smart in the steps you take in terms of what you want to accomplish.
Plan for a better future for your association by using our tips. If you have the right preparation behind you, you’ll be able to take on any goal you may have with ease.