It's a new year and a perfect time to get organized. Here's a rundown of some tech tools to help your association meet any resolutions it has to get more done in less time in 2016.
It's that time of the year again when we make personal commitments to start the new year off right by losing weight, stopping smoking, and finally getting organized.
While most of us focus on personal goals for New Year's resolutions, we can apply the same goal-setting activities to work. This year while you're renewing your gym membership, try taking your resolutions to an organizational level to improve your relationships with your members, finally create that association scrapbook to capture your history, and help your team achieve "Inbox Zero."
Here are four smart association resolutions that you can accomplish in 2016 with a little help from technology:
Cut Down on Time-Wasting Emails
Wouldn't it be wonderful if 2016 could be the year of Inbox Zero—not just for you but for the whole staff? Everyone's tired of overstuffed inboxes filled with spam, unnecessary CCs, and just plain clutter.
A new trend in email assassination is the reinvigoration of the chat box. Slack, a tiny box that lets teams communicate without long email strings, can drastically cut down on interoffice email because team members can pop off a question to the right person in a jiffy without adding another email to the box. Building off the popularity of Slack, Office 2016 created Groups inside Outlook, letting officemates share notes, get quick answers, schedule meetings, and more.
Another email management technique that can help your team is to introduce everyone to Unroll.me. This service works with your cloud-based email systems to hunt down automatic notifications, newsletter subscriptions, sale notifications, and other not-quite-spam emails. Once Unroll.me finds them, your team members can either unsubscribe with a click or choose to receive the emails together in one digest.
Capture Your Association History
Your association's anniversary is rapidly approaching, and the board wants you to tell its story. After you find volunteers to write different parts, organize the steps with a project management tool such as Trello or Basecamp. The systems will keep everyone on track with deadlines and tasks without your constant emails. You can set up Google Drive or Dropbox folders and documents to collect the submissions and organize the info. Hire a freelancer from Upwork to assemble the parts, then run a book-cover design contest on 99designs. Finally, pre-sell the book on Kickstarter to generate money and get members excited about the project!
Get a Better Picture of Member Demographics
Big data has arrived, and chances are your association is capturing more facts and figures about your members than ever before. Instead of stockpiling the information, transform it into graphic illustrations that you can share with your members, leadership, and sponsors.
Try the Easel.ly and Infogr.am sites for infographic templates that help you visually illustrate the increase in event attendance or the trends in nondues revenue. When you transform the data into easily understandable charts and graphs, you can communicate your points more quickly and prompt faster action on important trends. Bonus site: For a quick look at the geographical diversity of your database, paste your addresses into Batch Geo to see where your most active centers are (or aren't).
Show Your Appreciation
This year, make it a part of your association's culture to show your volunteers, sponsors, exhibitors, and members how much they mean to you. Encourage your staff to download apps such as Postagram and Felt, which let you send pictures from your phone as real, hold-in-your-hand mail. You can take a picture of the volunteers as they stuff bags for the convention, and with just a few clicks you can upload the addresses, add a note, and have a card or postcard waiting for your helpers when they return from their trip.