How to Kick-start Your Association in 2016

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Welcome back! We hope that you all enjoyed a restful holiday season.

Picking up where we left off on our blog on the Dos and Don’ts for December in the Association World, here are some of our recommendations on how to kick-start your planning in the New Year.

Give your volunteers a couple of weeks to get caught up. Their immediate priority will most likely be on their full-time job, their families, their new year’s resolutions, so bombarding them now might actually be counter-productive. Once they get back into the swing of things, you’re sure to have their attention.

Get a meeting in the books. If you haven’t already, schedule ahead of time any regular meetings for the upcoming year. Regular board or committee meetings should be scheduled as recurring whenever possible – this will help both association executives and your volunteers stay on track once they get into the routine. While you’re at it, go ahead and set yourself reminders for when to start planning for each meeting.

Focus on membership renewals. If your association has a calendar year renewal period, don’t wait! Let this be your focus for the next 60 days. Send targeted emails to each of your membership demographics, and then start picking up the phone. Next year, challenge yourself to do even better – schedule this membership campaign for October-November.

Take a look at some of your association’s industry trends for 2016 (or even 2017). Learn about what challenges or opportunities your members will face, and determine a strategy to support them. This is all part of being an industry leader and anticipating changes to the composition of your association. For example, are a portion of your members facing budget cuts within their organizations? This could impact your membership revenue. Is there another industry conference taking place at the same time as yours next year? This could cannibalize your attendance.

Start marketing your events. Employers have probably already created their staff’s budgets for professional development for the year, so being the first out of the gate to market events taking place in a few months time could also mean taking first place to some of the other industry events that have not yet been promoted.

Think about where you want your association to be by the end of 2016. Take your operational plan one step further. Outline your calendar and activities on a monthly, or even on a weekly, basis. Stick to your deadlines. This will hold you accountable in a way that becomes much more manageable.

Happy New Year, from the team at Redstone!

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