Association executives should implement a few tactics to leverage this incredible industry talent.
What I’m learning now is if you give board members the right information, they can be strategic. Perhaps, the reason they are sitting around arguing about the location of your next conference or whether you should serve chicken or beef at the event – is because you don’t position them for strategic guidance.
I have three recommendations:
#1 Give board members information about the association industry. This will enable them to make better decisions because, while they are (for example) experts at widget manufacturing – they don’t know how associations operate. Education them with analysis and comparisons. Give these leaders a steady diet of association information so when the day comes for their input, you have provided context
#2 Give your board data about your association business. What are members buying from your association? How are members engaged in your programs? What content are they reading? How much do members give of their time and money to the association? Again, this kind of intel will give them an overall understanding of the organization, which will enable them to more effective for you.
#3 Provide your board qualitative information about what the industry thinks about the association. Complement the data from items one and two with ongoing members interviews – go deep about why they are or are not utilizing the membership offerings.
With this information, your board can make informed decisions and offer guidance on everything from the future direction of your organization to whether a new membership category should be developed. It’s incumbent upon you to give them the information to make them effective.
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