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Is Your Association Ready for 2016? Dos and Don’ts for December in the Association World

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Most associations wind down in December for the holiday season, as do many of us. You may only have another week or so with your volunteers before they take a well-deserved holiday.  Here are a few things to consider as we enter the holiday season.

Don’t – Push membership renewals. This may sound strange, considering many associations have December 31st renewal dates, but realistically, who is going to be renewing their membership on New Year’s Eve? If you haven’t already pushed renewals prior to December, plan your membership campaign for early in the New Year.

Do – Start thinking about financial reconciling if you operate with a December 31st fiscal year end. Forecast your expenses and revenue to December 31st. You have likely been monitoring this all year, but it’s a good idea to do another check to make sure there are no surprises when final numbers come in.

Don’t – Go into 2016 with an unapproved budget. With any luck, your budget was approved with your strategic plan or operational plan some time ago, but if not, do your best to complete it ASAP. This will help you to hit the ground running in the New Year with your operations.

Do – Revisit your operational plan. Regardless of where your association is in their fiscal year, use the next few weeks to see where you are tracking and make a list of priorities for the next quarter. Many associations take some time to ramp up again in January, partly because volunteers are getting back to work and catching up with their full-time jobs and personal lives, so December-January is a great time for association leaders to get some traction on the planning side.

Don’t – Host a last-minute holiday event if you haven’t already planned and marketed it to your membership. There are so many holiday events taking place that most people already have to pick and choose which to attend, and sending an invitation this late in the game may mean that your attendance will suffer.

Do – Spend some time making sure your records are up to date, including minute books and any tracking documents. Purge any records that no longer need to be kept based on your record retention policy.

Don’t – Reflect too long on anything that you wish you had accomplished in 2015 but didn’t find the time for – instead, think about all you can do in 2016!

Do – Thank your volunteers! ‘Tis the season of giving. Let them know you have appreciated their commitment to the association over the last year. If you haven’t planned a holiday social for your association in early December, try hosting an informal social for your board and key stakeholders or sending a small gift to show your appreciation.

Wishing you a great start to the holiday season from our team at Redstone!

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