When hiring a management company, it’s a sigh of relief. Your board members have enough work on their plate as it is; your management company is excited to take on a new challenge and create a strategy unique to the needs of your organization. It’s tempting to think of this new agreement as a completed task – your board can go back to their vital operations and the management company will return to your association with essential business and marketing strategy. But if you’re looking for the best possible outcome, your nonprofit and management company are entering more than just a single interaction. You’re beginning a shared walk to identify and guide your association’s goals over time.

After that initial handshake, there is a misconception that your management company will part ways to work on business development and company strategy and later return with a miracle solution that can be delivered as a final product. The reality is that creating a strategy that works for your association requires steady collaboration between the management team and your board of directors. As your new management team begins to craft a plan for your association, this is the ideal time for your board of directors to meet regularly with your management team to clarify your association’s goals as well as finding the best methods for implementation:

Who is your primary audience? What is your procedure for interacting with third parties? Is the way you address your associations members different from how you address the public?

If your management team is left to answer these questions themselves, they might come back to you a month later with a strategy that misses the core demographic you wanted to reach. Next thing you know, you’re back at square one. But if your board and your management team are consistently working together to review strategy as it develops, the finer details can get hashed out as you go, creating a workflow of continual improvement until you finally reach your mutual goal – a solid plan for your nonprofit or association. 

Now, this doesn’t mean your board will need to be constantly working on developing strategy. (After all, your management company is here to take work off of your plate!) Your management company will complete all work possible, then call in your leadership for review and then implementation. This is the key to creating a strategic difference in how your association or nonprofit is managed. Your management company knows how to develop strategy, but no one knows how to begin applying it like you. When implementing strategies with third parties as well as the public, there is nothing stronger than the peer-to-peer ask. Your management company has set you up for success; now your board simply has to take the reigns.

Why are we emphasizing collaboration? Because it works! Through decades of working on association management and strategic development, our team at TVD Associates found that the best outcomes occurred when their experience with their clients was less transactional, and more about a collective journey. By working with the board of directors throughout the development, refinement, and implementation process, TVDA has found that treating the relationship between our management team and your board as a shared walk through the process of finding and addressing your association’s needs leads to developing the perfect strategy that’s unique to your association.

So whether your association is in the middle of developing its management strategy or just starting out, TVDA is happy to join you and continue the journey together.