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Any plan is only as good as your ability to execute it. Without board approval for the purchase of a new membership management software, your plans to promote the long-term viability of your organization are all but dead in the water. It stands to reason, though, that your board is as invested in organizational growth as you are, which is a good thing!
That common ground likely means that board members will be open to proposals that put your organization on the path to continued or renewed success. Presenting your desired membership management software using the following 5 steps should make adoption and investment a no-brainer.
First and foremost, it’s important to frame your presentation around organizational growth/success in the digital age and to establish the membership management software as an integral piece to that puzzle. Explain how essential the membership management software is to day-to-day operations and member relations, what is gained by using intuitive software, and what is lost by not doing so.
Position a new membership software as an investment the will reap a return not an expense to the organization. Be sure to note that staff and members interact with the software regularly and underscore the importance of a quality online experience to member retention and engagement.
You have already assessed your need for a new membership management software; now, it’s time to share that assessment with your board members. They are going to need to know why an upgrade is necessary, so you need to be explicit about the limitations of your current program and the issues they cause.
Make the problem real and concrete for them—link those issues to membership loss/stagnation and workplace inefficiency with some hard facts and examples. Demonstrating how your current software is negatively impacting the organization will make the board more receptive to your proposed solution.
If you are going to identify a problem that needs addressing, it’s always best to bring a proposed solution to the table as well. This step and the following shows you just how to do that. First, introduce the membership management software you’ve identified as a potential option for your organization, providing the board with enough detail to familiarize it with both the company and product. This would be a good time to highlight some of the product’s marquee features and to propose additional beneficial features. After, adequately introduce the desired software.
Now we’re getting into the meat of your presentation—the moment when you will solidify support for acquiring a membership management software. Return to each of the problems you previously laid out and show how the new software would either solve them or provide your team with the tools to effectively do so. An appropriate strategy might be to go down the list, problem by problem, pairing each organizational issue with a specific feature of the new software and illustrating how the feature would ameliorate the situation.
Again, the more explicitly you can do this, the more effective the argument will be. Finish up by showing how, through solving these problems, the new membership management software would increase member engagement and stimulate workplace production.
At this point, the board members will likely have two questions in mind:
1) How long will it take to implement?
2) How much will it cost?
At the end of the day, it won’t matter whether the system is perfect for your organization if its implementation isn’t feasible and the product isn’t affordable. Given this fact, it is wise to have this information ready and to present it in a way that would allay any concerns or fears. We highly recommend preparing this information by discussing the implementation and cost with the software provider before the presentation.
If you’ve identified the right product and delivered the above information, you’ll have board approval in no time. Now it’s time to get your budget squared away. The following blog post in this series will help you do just that: How to Budget for a New Membership Management Software.
Read the previous posts in this series: