The end of the year is crunch time for everyone, and without knowing it you may be adding too much pressure onto your members. That could have some dangerous consequences, not the least of which is burnout. Member burnout is one step on a short road to evaluating at 2015 budget and realizing that association dues may not make the cut next year.
If you see some members looking a little fried with your association or just in general, here are some ways to ease their pain.
- Lay off for a while
Of course you’re not meaning to zap your members, but even things like normal meetings or regularly scheduled events can mean an overloaded calendar while your members are wrapping up their fourth quarter, finishing projects, and dealing with family and holiday stress. If you can, why not just take a breather? It’ll give you some time as a small staff association leader to get things ready and it’ll give your members a chance to focus on other things for awhile.
- Focus on positive messaging
That doesn’t mean you should disconnect from your members entirely, however. If you send out a holiday card or newsletter, go ahead! But be cheerful. Show a lot of gratitude for the awesome year you’ve had and make specific callouts to those who deserve it. A little pat of the back is always a path to a good mood. “Attaboys” go a long way towards alleviating the stress, even if it’s just for a moment.
- Remind members of your value
While you’re at it with the attaboys, brag a little. Mention some highlights from the year and point out big wins for both members and the association. Planting the importance of membership and reemphasizing the value of your association is a good thing and reminds overwhelmed members that ultimately it’s worth it.
- Be strategic with future “asks”
If you do solicit for volunteers this time of year, make sure it’s strategic and presented as an opportunity and not an obligation. Maybe offer the volunteer positions to members who haven’t been as active lately first!
- Do something purely for fun
Give your members a chance to blow off some steam. A holiday party is a great way to drop the business for a little while and have some fun. Even if you don’t have the time or resources to plan a holiday party, an association-sponsored happy hour can be a lot of fun an a big relief.
- Ask about and encourage unrelated interests and passions
Often stress and burnout is caused because professional obligations are overshadowing things members like doing and have personal interests in like hobbies and family. Put family fun on the table for your members by suggesting local holiday outings for your members (does your town have a grand illumination, for example?) or making room for some fun that isn’t all business like a book club.
If you feel some members are burnt out past the point of no return, it’s time to start thinking about member retention. We have a guide for you! It’s free, and just by clicking below you’ll get an excellent resource that you can use to keep your members around for another year (or more!)