May 10, 2016
Let me set the scene. Your organization’s quarterly board meeting was coming up and you planned to make a request for the purchase of new Association Management Software (AMS). You felt confident about the ask because it was obvious that your organization needed a new solution and the one you wanted to buy was within budget.
You left the meeting feeling confused and a bit defeated. Where did you go wrong? You had calls with the vendor. You presented the various features and functionality to the board. You were clear about the cost and the fact that it was within budget. What’s the problem?
Many association executives, probably not unlike yourself, have been in situations like this before. Before you blame budget restrictions, a problematic board member, or a relationship with your current vendor - consider the role of your board of directors. For most associations, they are an integral component for success. They lend their expertise, offer guidance, and provide strategic direction. At the end of the day, your board wants you to be successful. So why then would they deny a request for a tool that could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization?
When it comes to big decisions, your board of directors wants to see that you did your job - that you did your due diligence. With the impact and the cost of an AMS, purchasing a new one is classified as a big decision. If your board fails to see evidence that you put in the work necessary to come to the right decision, they will likely deny your request. They need to see proof that you exhausted every outlet in your search in order to be confident that you found the right solution for your organization.
The question then becomes “how can I prove that I did my due diligence?” We spoke with several of our clients to ask what they considered necessary to win the vote with their board. Here’s what they recommended: