This is a frequently voiced refrain from people in leadership positions of community groups. Why? Because as a volunteer member, elected leader or salaried administrator of a parent organization, school, recreation club, or youth group, it always seems like there are a million things to do. And even though most of us in these positions work harder, it doesn’t mean we’re always working smarter. We tend to repeat the same processes to keep the organization running from year to year. But what if an organization isn’t functioning that smoothly and the leadership doesn’t realize it?
Year after year, most community organizations first go through the process of selecting or retaining their leaders, and then they try typically to recruit and/or manage the organization with the same budget (or less!) and number (or less!) of staff and volunteers. They raise and spend basically the same amount of funds and distribute the same amount of paperwork to roughly the same number of parents and families each year. In responses to questions about how their organizations function, they often tend to say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But what really happens is that the task of managing the organization’s day-to day-business requires such an enormous amount of time and energy that the leadership is prevented from devoting any time and energy to “fixing” (i.e., analyzing and improving) the organization to make it more efficient.
For every task on your to-do list, there are probably hundreds of ways to get it done properly. But PTA/PTOs, Booster clubs, and recreation groups, have a tendency to handle everything the way their predecessors did – or the way they agreed upon five years ago. And those old ways probably aren’t necessarily the easier, more efficient ways of operating.
In this series, we’re going to help you assess the health of your organization…….not necessarily in terms of the amount of members you recruit, or the amount of money you raise – but the processes and procedures that you use to keep things running smoothly and efficiently throughout the year. The first step in this assessment is to answer the short questionnaire that follows:
Take our short quiz below, and find out if your group is operationally healthy!
During registration season, do you find that you’re overwhelmed with keeping track of registration forms, registration fees, and other money?
Do you find, throughout the year, that you are constantly sending out reminders (verbal or electronic) asking members to pay their dues, register for a class or session or event, order their t-shirts, etc?
When it comes time to place orders for supplies and materials, do you find that you’re constantly shuffling through order forms and your accounting ledger to see who gets what and in what size/quantity?
Is creating deposit slips, running down payments with insufficient funds, getting to the bank to deposit your group’s funds a complete hassle?
Do you find that there are times of the year when your accounting ledger isn’t quite matching up to the amount of available cash in your group’s account?
Is there a streamlined, accountable method in your organization for keeping track of information, records, data, etc.?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then it is very possible that your organization isn’t operating in the most efficient way possible. You are likely still dealing with a lot of hard copy paperwork, or manual accounting, or transporting of forms, check payments, bank statements and files. These practices contribute to ineffective management of organization practices, which can lead to errors and mistrust, and, of course, a lot of extra man hours, stress and burnout. Staff becomes overworked, underappreciated and less involved in supporting the activities and health of your organization. And the cycle of inefficiency continues.
Pay4SchoolStuff.com offers solutions to all of the above issues, and others! Next week we’ll talk a bit about how to streamline your registration processes and procedures using not only Pay4SchoolStuff.com, but other electronic resources.