Three Ways an Association Can Increase Its Momentum
By Dustin McKissen, February 14, 2017
In any association, good ideas are never in short supply.
But turning those good ideas into real accomplishments
requires building and sustaining organizational momentum.
Here are three things your association can do to increase
its momentum and ensure your organization remains thriving and relevant in the
years to come.
1. Become a
The role of the Board of Directors in an association depends
on a lot of different things, including the organization’s history and—most
important—the individual personalities of board members (especially officers)
and staff leadership (especially the CEO or Executive Director).
But generally speaking, board members should not be the
driving force behind specific projects or initiatives. Board members should
hold staff accountable for performing that role, but they should not be doing
Of course, in small associations board members can actually
be involved in more operational roles—but in an organization that has staff to
perform a specific function, board members should step back and hold staff
accountable for doing their jobs.
Because even the most engaged board member is serving a
temporary, part-time role. Some association initiatives take years to
accomplish, and may only become reality under an entirely different (or mostly
different) board than the one in place today.
Associations can struggle with innovation.
The phrase “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it” is
said more often in an association than in any other organization I’ve been
around. There are reasons for this. “The way we’ve always done it” might have
been invented by a well-meaning board member in a time when the association had
few other options.
In an association, offering a new way to do something can be
misinterpreted as rejecting a person, rather than just making a necessary
innovation. As a result, you need to tread lightly when changing the way the
association “has always done it.”
But you do need to be innovative—otherwise your association
can flounder and eventually close shop (it does happen).
Then “the way we’ve always done it” becomes “the way we used
to do it, back when there was still an association.”
And no one wants that.
3. Let your employees
use their talent on momentum-building projects.
Even an association with a relatively large staff still has
a relatively small staff.
What does that mean?
It means that a typical association needs to accomplish a
lot relative to the size of staff it has. Because of this, you can’t afford to
use valuable staff time and talent on mundane, non-value- added tasks.
As a former association executive, I can tell you that few
things are more mundane or add less value than preparing board binders ahead of
a board meeting. All that time spent collating, stapling, and hole-punching
could be used in a lot better ways.
Because most associations have a small staff, that work
often takes time away from higher-skilled employees who could be thinking of
your next great member benefit or developing ways to increase attendance at
your next annual conference.
That’s why BoardPaq is the board portal of choice for a
growing number of associations and professional societies.
with BoardPaq frees your association staff to focus on the things that
really matter—like making sure your organization is a relevant, powerful voice
for your members.