Thursday Buzz: Cultivate a Sense of Belonging

Are your members members in name only? Here's how to develop an authentic sense of belonging. Also: how to manage your association's rainy-day fund.

How do your members feel about their relationship with your association? Do they get a sense of camaraderie, as they would with a book club? Or would they say that the relationship is more transactional, like with Amazon Prime?

This provocative question is being asked by Amanda Kaiser in a new post for Smooth the Path. Kaiser contends that associations can provide a connected sense of community that may be missing in many people’s lives.

How can your group encourage a more intimate sense of belonging?

One way, Kaiser suggests, is by fostering friendships within your association. The workplace can be competitive and even hostile, but your association can be a respite from that. “Some associations set the tone for an open, helpful, and friendly member culture with each new member and with each contact with members,” she says. “And some associations foster friendships by connecting members one to one through mentor programs, buddy systems, and new-member orientations.”

For a Rainy Day

Financial reserves are important, but how do you balance saving for a rainy day with spending money to achieve your goals?

“Reserves are intended to benefit the membership and advance the mission. Yet when an expenditure is essential, I’ve heard boards tell the executive director, ‘We can’t afford that, it’s not in the budget,’ although the savings were flush,” writes Robert C. Harris in a recent Multibriefs post.

Harris goes on to describe ways to build your reserves while also spending them strategically.

Other Links of Note

Fundraisers would love to know more about donors. The NonProfit Times looks at how to predict donor behavior using behavioral science.

Would you like a stronger volunteer team? Engaging Volunteers shares guidelines for building a successful program.

You may be able to get more from donors by asking for more. The Agitator reveals why you should ask contributors to give outside of their comfort zone.

(AleksandarGeorgiev/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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