New Year Resolutions for Association Executives

New Year Resolutions for Association Executives

As we gear up for another year, you and your association staff might find yourselves at a crossroads of new opportunities and challenges. The new year invites a chance to reflect and chart a course for growth and success for your association. However, it’s hard to know where to start the process. Here are some ideas that may help you and your association staff reflect, organize, and craft a plan to make 2024 an efficient and successful year for your association.


Reflect on Achievements and Challenges

A great place to start is by reflecting on the past year – both what went well and where you had challenged. It’s hard to do this by yourself! Loop in your staff and ask them for their feedback, through either a survey, group discussion, or anonymous feedback form. Take note of the achievements that shaped your association’s journey - whether it was a successful annual conference, shifts in membership numbers, restructuring initiatives, the addition of new staff or board members, or the outcomes of strategic planning.

By looking back at both the successes and hurdles, you and your staff can create a comprehensive plan for the new year. Make sure to do this with your overarching mission at the top of your mind to ensure that every step taken is a purposeful stride towards a more robust and successful association in the coming year.


Setting Visionary Goals

Once you’ve gathered with your staff and reflected on the past year, you can take the step of setting specific and achievable goals for the upcoming year. With last year’s success and challenges in mind, you might create a list that includes evaluating your current technology stack, implementing new recruiting techniques to widen your membership base, or brainstorming new fundraising techniques. Once you’ve set goals, think about what would the outcome be if these goals were top of mind for you and your staff throughout the year.

Enhancing Member Engagement

An overarching goal for many associations is to improve member engagement. With every association being unique, the list to do this is endless - but the following ideas might help you get the brainstorming started.

  1. Dig into the data! Use your database to pull reports and see which of your programs or membership offerings were the most compelling for your members. Data doesn’t lie, and relying on just a gut feeling to tell you where to focus your efforts can be misleading. Use your data to lead your initiatives through the upcoming year.
  2. Collect surveys and feedback from your members to better understand their needs and demographics. With this, you can tailor your communication streams to be more clear and effective. Whether this be enhancing your social media presence or adding a newsletter, think about what might be most beneficial to your members when sharing updates or important information.
  3. Implement a member community where your members can interact with each other, network, and contribute ideas. This will give your members a sense of belonging and commitment to your association.
  4. Provide different resources and content like webinars, industry insights, or volunteer opportunities for your members to explore
  5. Bulk up your events by adding networking opportunities or providing a virtual option if possible. This ensures that your membership base as a whole is engaged.
  6. Celebrate the achievements of members with awards or other forms of recognition to show that they are valued.
  7. Evaluate your membership packages and see which ones most of your members are choosing. From this, look at how you could potentially convince young professionals to convert to a bigger membership package. In addition, look at how you’re marketing each package to see if members understand the benefit of joining a higher tier.
  8. Consider adding a member engagement tool to help you association quantity how engaged your members really are. An intuitive scoring tool allows you and your staff to appropriately weigh what makes an engaged member for your association - which can be changed over time as you develop new programs or member offerings.


Leadership Development

Aside from growing your association and members, it’s important to invest in yourself and your staff so that you can lead your association successfully, as well as accomplish those goals that you have set. There are many ways to develop your leadership skills. It might be helpful to attend a conference for association executives, seek out mentorship opportunities, or join an association executive community where you can share and learn from others.

Leveraging Technology for Productivity

Although it can be daunting to shift away from the technology you’ve used for decades, clunky and outdated systems only hinder staff efficiency and productivity. Harnessing the power of new tools to simplify tasks, enhance collaboration, and improve member experience will allow your team to focus on more strategic and impactful projects.

Starting the new year with direction and goals is a recipe for a successful year. Whether your goal is to develop leadership skills, boost member engagement, or evaluate your technology stack, 2024 will be a thriving year. Overall, remember that the most important of any New Year resolution is to commit to them, so get all staff on board!

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