If it’s one thing small staff association leaders know it’s making the most out of little.  Less time, less money, less help, fewer resources, less participation, maybe even a dwindling leadership team. But have you heard the expression “less is more?” Even though sometimes it feels like your hands are tied, there are a lot of ways you can get the most out of your world of scarcity!

Small Staff Associations: Making More with Less

Change your thinking

Psychologically speaking, if you focus on what you don’t have, its all you can see. Helen Keller said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” I’m not saying disregard the short resources you have, but try not to throw around the reason, “I could do more if only I had…” Instead of focusing on the things you cannot do due to limited resources, focus on the things you can put on. Pump up events, brag about changes you have made, and all the strides your associations has made.


Poker Face

There are definite advantages to being a small staff, but frankly, not everyone knows that. There are distinct advantages to certain people believing you have a huge staff, and why correct them? Don’t mislead people, and don’t avoid the question, though. However, if you’re doing such great work leading your association that someone thinks that your staff of 3 is a staff of 30, take that as a credit to your hard work and leadership!


Enjoy the things you have in abundance

Make a list if things you can celebrate that you have in abundance, from paper clips to handshaking opportunities. Also consider positive quality traits of yourself and your members. Then take advantage of those! If you are all great at networking, use that to your advantage and hold some great events. If you happen to have an abundance of available meeting spaces, hold different types of events and really find out what works best for your members. It’s time to get creative!


You may be living with less as an association executive, but that doesn’t mean you have to run your association like you have less! You can live like you’re rolling in money, help, and resources.