Conference season is truly hotting up and this week we are managing two global conferences, the first commencing the morning and running across five days, with 25 speaker sessions, breakout rooms, networking sessions and panel discussions. The event has attracted hundreds of professional delegates looking to explore and unpick the hottest topics and biggest questions in their field.
So Chancellor George Osborne has outlined his plans for £6.2 billion of spending cuts to address the budget deficit. It looks like many areas of the public sector will now face a dramatic shake up in order to maintain (or even improve) service levels with their new reduced funding.
However, as Plato shrewdly remarked – “Necessity is the mother invention”. It looks like many organisations will now have to adopt a similar philosophical and proactive approach to survive the impending period of austerity. Many private sector organisations adopted this attitude during the recent recession and we saw a whole host of solutions such as flexible working and changes to working practices to help people keep their jobs and for companies to thrive (or at the very least survive) in an otherwise difficult situation.
While associations and trade bodies may not have a government slashing their income, their members are likely to feel the pinch as the knock-on effects hit the wider economy. As a result they must prepare themselves for the hard battle ahead. They need to become lean, agile and super-efficient. Member companies need to be able to fully justify their membership fees to their finance directors who will be looking to ruthlessly replicate the Chancellor’s axe wielding skills.
However, the problem that many associations will face is that they are so close to running their own organisation they will not be able to step back and make the necessary strategic decisions for the long-term growth and survival. In these cases finding an experienced partner to help run the association can pay significant dividends. Calling in a skilled association management company can free up staff to recruit new members or make sure that existing members are getting the service and support they deserve. The association’s board can focus on the strategic growth of the body rather than on day-to-day administration matters which can be handled more effectively or efficiently by external experts. A fresh input of ideas or new perspective on an existing challenge is also likely to generate some creative solutions which may not have been considered previously. What’s more, the impact on the bottom line may be instantly improved through efficiency savings and economies of scale leveraged by the association management company.
So, if you’re running an association and think that the Chancellor’s challenges won’t impact on you, then maybe you need to reconsider matters. An experienced association management company, such as CJ Association Management, can help reduce costs and improve your effectiveness. If you’d like to hear how we’ve managed to help a number of associations grow, cut costs and expand services in the last few years, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.