Showing Thanks through Listening & Action

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The time of year we reflect back on what we should be thankful for. Putting on your professional hat for just a moment … what do you have to be thankful? Your staff & colleagues? Your members? Your volunteers? Your component organizations?

It really takes all to create a vibrant association.

It’s also the time of year where we wrap up projects and often begin to plan for the new year. It’ll be a tough 2009 if we don’t have the staff, members, volunteer and component organizations working together, yes? But there will be changes. How will you make the best decisions?
I’d like to suggest two actions:

1) Take time now to do a member “inventory.” I don’t mean a needs assessment. I’m talking about finding out how you members are engaging and how they want to engage in your organization. It’s more aptly called perhaps a volunteer inventory. We know from the Decision To Join and the Decision To Volunteer surveys that the more engaged a member is the more likely they are to renew. I’m proposing you take time to build in tracking mechanisms to find out how members are engaging on many levels and perhaps form you own Engagement Score.

2) Join in ASAE & The Center’s new study on the Impact of Local Components on the Decision To Join. This study will further help you understand how members are engaging on the local level. For a reasonable $12,000 and supplying member email addresses, you will get a robust data report on the impact of local organizations in general and specifically to your association. This info could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run (assuming you, like most associations, spend between 2-5% of operating budget on components plus staff) by more effectively directing resources. Contact the ASAE Research Department by email or phone (202-626-2820) for more details.

Sometimes the best way to show genuine thanks is by asking and listening – and then modifying your practice to reflect what you heard.

Mariner Management & Marketing provides association management, volunteer coordinator and leadership development information for associations and non-profit organizations.