2020 has been a complicated and difficult year for everyone. The worldwide spread of coronavirus has impacted how almost every industry functions, and people have had to adapt and change in numerous ways in order to move forward.
From moving staff to working remotely from home to figuring out how to engage members virtually, associations have had to undergo difficult transformations to continue to succeed this year. Even so, a study done by Community Brands found that more than 50% of association professionals found that member interaction increased, which means that organizations are more important than ever during these tumultuous times.
Here are some areas of focus association professionals should think about as we move into the new year.
Replace Lost Revenue
Since a main source of funding for associations come from in-person conventions, trade shows, and other in-person events (many of which have been cancelled due to the pandemic), brainstorming ways to replace lost revenue should be a priority for the new year. Creating non-due-collecting virtual fundraising events such as online auctions, flash fundraisers, or partnerships with local businesses can help continue efforts in 2021.
Add Value to Virtual Events
A main concern in 2020 has been how to create value for staff and members in a virtual setting. In fact, 93% of association professionals say developing or improving virtual opportunities for members is a top priority. Focus on creating an environment for learning new industry-specific information, training and educational events, group brainstorming strategies for mission-based success, and create a welcoming space for members and staff to convene and discuss professional and industry issues.
Virtual events also create the unique opportunity of bringing together people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet, such as industry professionals or educators from across the country. Use your virtual events to book insightful speakers and as exciting networking opportunities.
Develop a Risk Management Plan
After this year, we all know how important having a risk management plan is. A risk management plan can help you prepare for the unexpected, minimizing extra financial costs and other risks. These plans anticipate possible risks and threats to your organization and put plans in place to minimize the negative impact these things could have to your association.
To put it simply, ask yourself these questions:
- What could go wrong/what are some risks that can apply to my organization?
- How will it affect our operations?
- What can we do to prevent the loss or recover from it if it happens?
- If something happens, how will we take care of it financially?
Concentrate on implementing diversity and inclusion in the workplace in 2021. A diverse workplace will help your association better serve your community and create a powerful and balanced workforce. Implementing diverse practices and hiring in your association has also been proven to increase employee happiness, productivity, and innovation. Review your organization’s current practices and see where you can improve diversity standards.
Show Appreciation and Practice Self-Care
This year has been difficult for everyone, and experiencing burn-out is common. In order to keep morale high and decrease stress, focus on showing appreciation to your staff, volunteers, and members in the new year. Set up regular check-ins with your employees, tell your volunteers how much you value their hard work in an email or personal letter, and plan fun social activities to help your team relax and let loose.
Don’t forget about taking care of yourself, too. Becoming engrossed in your work life, taking care of others, keeping up with COVID-related news, and making sure things run smoothly can easily burn you out and drown you in stress. Take time out for yourself, whether that means a daily meditation, a weekend away, making time for exercise, or simply drawing a hot bath — focus on you and retain a good work-life balance.
We Wish You a Safe and Healthy New Year
2020 has been rough, so focusing on some of the aforementioned goals can be helpful when planning for a brighter, smoother, and more successful 2021.
Everyone at Dennison and Associates would like to wish you all happy holidays, and a safe, and healthy new year!