Associations frequently have limited resources and your staff members always have multiple responsibilities, so finding ways to implement new programs and services can be challenging. But with such a high focus on delivering value to members, many associations don't take the time to reevaluate their processes or look for new ways to accomplish their goals without breaking the bank.
Here are 8 ideas for how you can do more with less.
- Define who you are as an organization. When is the last time you took at look at your mission statement? Is it still accurate or should updates be made? Keep your mission close to what you do each and every day. If something comes up that doesn't fit your mission, toss it to the side.
- Document your processes. What does it take to put on an event or run a membership acquisition campaign? Documenting the process can not only let you see what steps may be able to be removed or done more efficiently, but will help you the next time you are planning for a similar event or campaign. You'll eliminate having to create that to-do list each time and going back over the things you've forgotten.
- Eliminate red tape. Are there approval processes that can be simplified? Waiting on a decision/action can be costly so think about how you get to decisions more quickly.
- Assess whether or not you are using staff to their full potential. Do you have a communications whiz that is spending a lot of time on tasks that would be better suited to someone else? Make sure your best assets are using their skills in a way that will have the best impact on your organization.
- Evaluate your current systems. If you don't use an association management software that integrates your events, communications, finances, social media, website, and non-dues revenue into one easy to use system, you're likely wasting time entering duplicate data. Having one system to update versus several can be a great way to save time, as well as keep your data more accurate.
- Have the right priorities. It's often easiest to check off a few tasks that can be completed quickly, rather than working on a larger or harder task that is more important. The Urgent/Important Matrix is a great tool for setting the right priorities. Start working on what will drive the biggest impact first, rather than what's easiest to complete.
- If you're in a rut, get out. Just because “we’ve always done it this way” doesn’t mean you still should. Is there an event that is no longer valuable? Or a printed newsletter that is no longer delivering much value? Think about those tasks that are done more as a "habit" and consider cutting if they are no longer valuable.
- Outsource. While this isn't technically doing more with less, there are lots of ways to get affordable help that frees up staff to work on larger tasks. Consider hiring an intern or using a service like elance or odesk to assist with administrative and other tasks.
Changes to your staff, membership base, and systems make an impact on your organization's efficiencies. Plan to reevaluate your processes on an annual basis to keep your organization running smoothly and using your time, money, and resources in the best way possible.
What are some ways your organization works to do more with less?