We’re essentially a month away from 2017 - can you believe it?! We sure can’t! Where did 2016 even go?
As the year is winding down, it’s time to start looking at the year ahead. Is your association ready for 2017? To help you hit January at “full speed ahead,” here are a few items you’ll want to consider and knock out ASAP:
1. Evaluate your team and make adjustments as needed
Success all starts with the team you have, so when prepping for 2017, start by evaluating your existing staff. First and foremost, do you have enough staff? If not, can you afford to add one or two more people in the upcoming year? Aside from staff size, take a look at individual job titles and roles. Are you catering to people’s strengths? Maybe you hired someone for one job, but realized later they’re actually really good at something else. Consider making those internal changes. If you can build your team up for success, they’ll be better equipped to build your organization up for success.
2. Refresh your social media accounts and strategy
“New year, new look!” That’s what people say, right? Well why not apply that to your organization’s social media accounts? Give them a new look to re-engage people and get them excited about your organization in 2017.
And speaking of a refresh, this is also the perfect opportunity to revisit your social media strategy. Take a look at what you did social media wise in 2016. Were you consistently active? Consistently inactive? What worked and what didn’t? More importantly, what are you trying to achieve? What are your goals for 2017 and how can social media help you achieve those goals? Use all of this to rebuild your social media strategy.
3. Schedule a few “reading days” on your 2017 calendar
Do you remember reading days in college? These were days set aside by the university to catch up on work and study for final exams. Well it may not be a bad idea to schedule a few reading days throughout the year at your association. These can be days to reflect on your goals and progress and re-evaluate your strategies as needed.
See, a lot of people set their goals and determine their strategies in late Q4 or early Q1 - and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But as the year gets going, things get busy, and if a goal isn’t being met or a strategy isn’t working, there’s usually little time to go back and revisit it/brainstorm new ideas. That said, if you schedule a few reading days on your 2017 calendar - one per quarter or two per year - you can use those days to evaluate your progress and revise your strategy as needed. (And if you schedule those days now, you’re more likely to commit to them as the time gets closer.)
4. Re-evaluate the software you have and/or the software you need
Software can be a huge tool for you and your association. That said, at the end of every year, you need to evaluate the software you’re using and/or the software you might need. If you are using software, are you happy with that software? Is it making your job easier or causing more harm than good? If you are happy with it, then ask yourself, are you getting the most out of it? Are you using all of its functions and capabilities or are you only brushing the surface? If you’re paying for it, you might as well be getting the most out of it, so ask your software provider how you can do just that.
Now let’s say you’re not currently using any software, but realize it might be time for a change. Well first of all, consider what your problems are and what you need software to assist with. Is your organization growing faster than you can keep up? Are you drowning in paperwork, emails, and never-ending member data? If that’s the case, you may want to consider an association management system. An AMS is a software solution designed to make membership management easier. Event registrations, email marketing, dues renewals, etc. You name it, an AMS helps with it. Plus, an AMS is tied to your database so EVERYTHING is in sync!
Still not sure you need an AMS? Allow us to explain more (because trust us, it’s a game changer). Check out our free guide, Why You Need an AMS, below!