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.
As we enter the New Year and (as of midnight last night a new national lockdown) everyone could be forgiven for having a real sense of groundhog day and, despite a plethora of ‘positive’ posts and articles around, there is no denying that some organisations are wondering how they will survive.
Back to basics
Before anything else can happen, and if you haven’t already, assessing the basic fundamentals of your organisation will be key to its survival and, in the long term, its growth.
Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at what we are working with – really look. If the old way isn’t working anymore then what does the new way look like? Who are your members and what are their needs NOW? Try to see your organisation through the eyes of your members – both current and future. This is never easy when you are submerged in an organisation (especially one with a long history) but really understanding what your membership needs, both right now and in the long-term, will form the foundations for everything else.
Audit, assess and educate
Once you know WHAT people need and WHY they need your organisation you can start to define the services and support that will fulfil their needs and keep them with you. It is this fulfilment of needs that people are happy to pay for and the more fulfilled they feel the longer they will choose to remain.
Take a step back and be brutally honest about any gaps in your member provision. Associations whose leaders are prepared to change their thinking and educate themselves about their offering stand the best chance of survival.
This is also a great opportunity to remind your members WHY they need you. Don’t be shy! If your assessment confirms that what you are offering is valuable to them then remind them!
Once you have identified what you need to offer your members you will need to truthfully acknowledge whether you have the skillset to make this a reality. Whilst expanding staffing levels or taking on new recruits to strengthen your offering may feel like unnecessary expense at a time when you are trying to watch every penny the fact remains that if your members aren’t satisfied with your offering they won’t continue as members anyway. The term ‘speculate to accumulate’ was created for situations like these.
Delegate and outsource
A lot of associations are run with teams of volunteers and many are run by individuals. If you identify areas that need strengthening or improvement – or if in fact you just need to be shouting a little louder about what it is you can offer – don’t be afraid to delegate or outsource projects that you can’t fulfil inhouse.
Don’t look back on 2021 as the year that your association stagnated – look back on it as the year that galvanized it to greatness.
CJAM have a wealth of experience in all areas of membership and association management and we would love to be involved with your plans for growth and improvement. Contact us today and lets talk….