June 2, 2016
For many associations, the office hallways aren’t bustling with people running from department to department. The sound of simultaneous conference calls don’t fill the air and the break room is usually empty. That’s because for many associations, they are operating with a very small staff. Some departments are a party of one, with an abundance of various responsibilities. With insufficient resources, many individuals are forced to accept the challenges they face daily. If your association has a small staff, they may feel the stress that comes with it. I have great news: They don’t have to. How do they manage it all? What are the secrets to success?
If your association is functioning with a small staff, chances are that each department is being pulled in a million different directions. Everyone is looking for assistance wherever they can find it, as they should. If you’re a one-man (or woman) department, it’s important to truly understand why you’re in this role. Prioritizing your priorities should be your main priority. Sounds redundant, right? That’s because it’s that important. On any given day, your colleagues may ask you for help and/or guidance. However, it’s important to maintain a level of consistency and attend to your critical duties. To do this, you should refocus your attention on your main responsibilities. What falls solely on your shoulders? What responsibilities won’t get attended to if you don’t do them? Those items should be the first checked off your to-do list. Sure, it’s great to embrace teamwork and aid your co-workers when needed; however, when dealing with limited resources, you have to focus on the main objectives in your department. It’s ok to be a little selfish with your time when necessary.
Putting it lightly: You are busy. Your to-do list may be overflowing and your daily overhead never dissipates. Because of this - time management is critical. As stated above, your first objective should be to accomplish all of your must-haves first. If something directly affects your role - handle it first. We know everyone in your office is probably swamped, but if applicable, you can delegate some duties to co-workers or volunteers to lighten your load. When you first get to your desk in the morning, create a tentative daily schedule. Understand what tasks must be completed that day and coordinate them with your schedule. A great way to get more accomplished is to cut back on nonessential meetings. If a meeting doesn’t directly affect you or your department, see if you can sit that one out. Your peers know that you are busy and will be receptive. There are only 24 hours in a day, but if approached properly, you will be able to utilize your time wisely and accomplish your daily goals with ease.
If your association has a small staff, it’s critical to work as a unit. Everyone is bearing the burden of finite initiatives; therefore, it’s important to work as a team to showcase your organization’s mission. Obviously, everyone has their own duties they have to complete, but by creating organizational tasks, you may help each department. If someone is struggling to stay above water, it may be the right time to intervene and see if they need help. Whether it’s administrative paperwork or completing a report, offering assistance could shine light on a struggling co-worker. Teamwork not only increases productivity, but association-wide morale.
5 words: manual and duplicate data entry. This is the demise of many association staff members, as it cuts down on productivity and ultimately morale. The right AMS will allow your association to be fully functional with a small staff. It will let staff revert back to member data to make data-driven decisions. Additionally, with the elimination of manual and duplicate data entry, your staff will be able to focus on primary responsibilities. Your AMS can pick up the slack of not having another viable co-worker. This may be one of the most expensive things on your association’s budget, but the value that it provides associations is noteworthy.
If your association has a smaller staff, it isn’t alone. Many associations can function with their small staff, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for those on the front lines. By following the tips listed above, you will be able to get the most out of your work day and accomplish what is needed to make your association shine.
To learn more about how technology can help associations, take a look at our whitepaper, Changing the Status Quo.