Connecting Technology with Organization Strategy
Every association executive and local chapter volunteer uses technology to communicate with members, allow people to register for events and send out thousands of emails. You would think that technology is inherently linked to the overall strategy of the organization.
But an ASAE study found that only 41% of the highest-ranking IT employees of associations report directly to the CEO/President. That means that the rest report to either COO, CFO or to none at all. This calls into question the way association executives connect technology with the overall organization strategy.
Is IT perceived to be too “technical” and full of jargon, pushing leaders away from the conversation? Do association leaders fear to make decisions on topics they are less familiar with such as technology?
When we work with board volunteers in local chapters of national associations, we see how crucial the StarChapter technology is to their day-to-day work: from setting up an event registration page to updating membership records and sending out mass emails to prospective members, they know all the nuts and bolts of the system. Familiarity with the system becomes so important that even if they lead a large chapter as presidents, they still want to see how the technology is fulfilling the organization’s strategy and mission without becoming experts.
If fear clearly isn’t the case, then what is?
One issue we hear now when we talk to chapter executives who do not use StarChapter is that they don’t really have a go-to person for managing all the technical aspects of the chapter. In some cases, they use multiple systems to accomplish the same goal (one system runs the event registration, while another manages the membership directory). In worst cases, these systems have little to no ability to communicate with each other, making the board spend too much time doing redundant tasks.
It’s all about connecting technology with the strategy.
Once association leaders realize the benefit in using a technology, the next step would be to research for the kind of technology that will help accomplish the organization’s strategy. If the chapter focuses on reducing volunteer time and increasing member participation, you might want to consider an all-in-one software that includes all the activities of the chapter under one roof, like StarChapter. Investing in technology isn’t a luxury for the association but should be the catalyst for a healthier change, which could lead to improvement in membership rates, attendance at events and stronger member participation – all to accomplish the overall strategy.
Regardless of the technology chosen – the important thing is to get all board members to use it to execute the strategy. If you plan to let your board use the system and not hire an AMC, training is by far a good way to evaluate the technology’s compatibility with the goals. Otherwise you’ll have to factor in more training costs. In StarChapter for example, we provide users with all types of support, from phone to online, including a knowledge base with tons of articles and video tutorials. Training starts as early as in the implementation phase and is ongoing throughout the duration of the contract.
StarChapter Support holds 6 training sessions every month - see full training schedule
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