Leadership, Productivity Top 2014 Association Priorities

The three top goals for association managers in the Washington, D.C., area for 2014 are to increase membership, deliver new programs and services and to keep up with technology changes. To get it done, 96 percent will either keep current staffing or increase it.

Those are among the findings via responses from more than 400 associations in and around the nation’s capitol and compiled by Professional for NonProfits, a staffing firm with offices in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Last year was a transition year, according to the findings, as association “moved from ‘holding on’ through the economic downturn to facing the need to begin growing membership and programs again,” according to the report.

The survey showed when it comes to strategic priorities that the most important challenges have to do with “talent management.” Some 58 percent of respondents hope to raise performance level and productivity, 55 percent will add staff in key areas and 50 percent of association executives responded that their plan includes an increase of staff training and coaching.

Also on the to-do list are: Measure and reward performance (46 percent); improve staff retention (46 percent); and, fill critical staff positions (33 percent).

Some of the associations are willing to pay for the additional focus. Only 3 percent of organization said there would be no raises for 2014. A majority (51 percent) responded that increases will be between 1 and 3 percent; 34 percent said the increases will be between 3 and 5 percent; and, 12 percent responded that increases will be 5 percent or more.

All of this takes planning and association managers are taking steps, according to the survey results. Some 44 percent said they will evaluate and assess program results; 42 percent responded there would be a greater focus on marketing strategies; 36 percent plan an upgrade in technology systems, including 27 percent who will further develop use of social media.

While leadership is important, just 28 percent responded that that there is a plan to strengthen leadership and succession plans.

For more information on the survey, go to www.nonprofitstaffing.com