As your association is evaluating your 2013 budget and looking ahead to 2014, it might be time to entertain a fantasy common among association executives: more help. But before you post an ad on just yet, there are several things to consider. We’ve broken it down into an easy list format for your viewing pleasure!

What Could You Do With One More Staff Member

Before you decide to hire:

Are key tasks not getting done due to limited time for current staff?

Is there an under served area of your association’s operation?

Are members generally feeling as if their needs are being met?

Is your hired staff completely fried and overworked?


All of these are important questions to have answered already before you go to your board or other leadership to approve a new hire. Remember this  has to be an open and probably lengthy conversation!


The pros of hiring a new staffer:

More time for you to focus on big picture projects

Potentially another person to pay attention to member issues

Whole staff can take a deep breath and get more balance

Staff size could add some clout to your association


And the cons:

Money money money (obviously)

Could create a crutch for current staffers

The hiring process is lengthy (and difficult)

Dealing with future turnover is always a possibility


Maybe now’s not the right time for you to bring on someone else. Never fear! There are ways to still answer your association’s need without breaking the bank.


How else could you get more help (for free or cheaper?)

Ask for volunteers

Offer a comprehensive internship for college credit or a small stipend

Arrange for collaboration with a graduate study course

Reevaluate present work flow and “cut the fat”


What could you do with that money instead?

Hold a recognition and awards banquet for your active members and volunteers

Publish informational materials about your association’s mission

Invest in a leadership retreat with your board


There’s often more than one way to solve whatever obstacles your association is currently facing, and that’s true about your obstacles as a leader as well. It’s always somewhat heart breaking to hear that there’s just no room in the budget for more staff right now, but that doesn’t mean help isn’t coming. It just takes a little creative problem solving!

One thing that could take some heat off of you is a great AMS.