Associations Year End Checklist

Best Practices : Article

With the calendar down to just one page, now’s a good time to think of all the “year end” activities for your association. Here’s my list, I’ll leave it to the guy with the beard to check it twice.

Environmental scan
Every Board should spend some focused time looking outwardly at trends that are driving their industry and the broader environment for membership organizations. Trends can emerge with lightning speed—associations that are today struggling with social media should remember that ten years ago, Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school. It’s critical to look out over the horizon at what trends could be coming up that could change your organization.

Policy check up
One of my first jobs with one association was to revamp their bylaws. On reading them, I noted that one of the ways the Board was to be notified of meeting was via “telegraph”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t send a lot of telegraphs these days. What this speaks to is outmoded, outdated policies that haven’t been read in too long. Year end is a good time to take inventory of what you have—and what you’re missing. Speaking again of social media, does your association have a policy on the use of social media by your employees? Now’s the time to take a look.

Thank you’s
William James once wrote that the deepest human need is the need to be appreciated. He’s right. And year end is a good time to thank your members, staff, and volunteers who make your organization run.

Mission check up
I’ve written before that mission statements are the “true north” of an organization, and year end is a good time to check the compass to make sure it’s not broken. As an example, Dartmouth College was founded with the mission of educating the Native American population of northern New England. At some point, they realized that their mission had to change. Year end is a good opportunity to revisit the mission and make sure it’s reflective of current realities.

Recharge the battery
Even the “always on” culture of Blackberries and Twitter needs to take a break now and then. Don’t fall in to the “one more thing” trap of trying to complete your 2011 goals between Christmas and New Year’s. The end of year is a great time to take stock, reflect and set realistic priorities for next year. And remember, your board may meet monthly, but Santa comes only once per year. Take the time to enjoy it!

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