Friday, June 15, 2012

Budgets Make Dreams Come True

The summer brings a lot of things for associations.  One gift that keeps on giving is your budget planning.  As you prepare your budget for 2013, ask yourself what dreams do I want to come true? Budget season for me was a time to go to the table and ask for things that I didn't think were possible at any other point in the year.  You start with a clean slate, so here are some things that other association professionals are asking for this budget season.

At the ASAE Marketing & Membership conference, they took an informal survey of the room.  Approximately 95% of the room hadn't redesigned their website in three years or more.   I am all about brand consistency, but when new functionality comes out it's important as an association to stay current and not annoy your customers.  At the same conference, it was revealed that a target budget is going to depend on what you want your website to do. 

Here is a list of questions that I would ask a vendor if I were looking for a web site redesign. 
    • Open Source? Customized? Off-the Shelf? 
    • Do you have any white papers, best practices written on association websites?
    • What is included in this price and what is an "add-on" and additional charge? 
    • Is hosting extra? 
    • Is the content management system (CMS) made for someone without programming experience? 
    • What about updates/tweaks? 
    • What is your per hour charge if we go over our estimated hours? 
    • What is your experience in the association space?
    • Do you have references in my industry that I can speak to?
    • What integrates with this? database? financials? social networking? 
    • Does this include bringing over all my content? 
By asking the right questions up front you make sure that you know what you're getting into before you begin this big project.  

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