Imagine for a moment that you are an auto mechanic.
You have been recently hired by a nice, busy, repair shop.
You show up for your first day of work and find you have a full schedule of vehicles to work on.
Life is good. It’s going to be a busy day. You have no time to waste if you hope to get your work done and please the customers and your boss.
You get that first cup of coffee, and after a little friendly chit-chat, you start to tackle the first job, a simple tune-up.
But here’s the catch…
You don’t have a mechanic’s standard set of tools. You don’t have the big rolling toolbox. You have more of a tackle box filled with standard household tools. You have a couple of pliers, some regular and Phillips screw drivers, a reasonably complete set of wrenches, and an old rusty socket wrench.
But you get down to work, doing the best you can with what you have.
A few hours go by and you are already behind schedule. While the other mechanics are making great progress, using just the right tools for the job, you are frustrated at every turn.
By the end of the day, you have only accomplished a minimal amount of work. Tomorrow will be twice as bad because now you are behind. What could be a fun job for you is now a chore that leaves you frustrated and stressed. Your colleagues aren’t too happy either with you for not keeping up.
Maybe, you start thinking, you should find another line of work.
Now, let’s pivot this story over to the association and chamber world.
Image yourself getting to the office.
When you get to your desk and turn the computer on, does it boot up fast? Or is your computer old and full of junk files that bog it down?
Do you have the latest software that you need to do your job quickly and efficiently? Or is your software outdated and lacking the latest features?
Do you have the latest handheld mobile device, you know, the one with the great camera? Do you have the latest social media apps on it?
Is your Internet speed blazing or do you tolerate slow load times? Do you have to forego watching (or creating) training videos and participating in online conferences because your equipment lags?
If you are trying to do today’s work with yesterday’s tools, then it is no wonder you are frustrated and stressed. You can’t possibly keep up with your peers that are using the right equipment for the job.
Don’t despair if there isn’t money in the budget for this. Truly, where there is a will, there is a way.
Here are a few ideas to get you the technology you need to get the job done.
Create a voluntary “Technology Fund” line on your renewal invoices. Members know how important it is to stay current with technology. Many will be glad to throw in a few extra dollars. That can add up fast.
Reach out privately to a few of your larger business owners and let them know what your pressing needs are. See if they have some surplus equipment. What’s old for them can be practically new for you. They want to see you succeed and are often glad to help. You can also share your need on social media or through your emailed newsletter.
Adjust your budget. The world has moved towards digital and your organization’s budget may have failed to change with it. What percentage of your budget is allocated towards technology? Maybe once that is pointed out the powers that be will see the wisdom of reallocating funds?
It really comes down to this…
You can’t do a first class job with third class tools. Not only will you get frustrated and stressed, the end product won’t be as good. Determine that your organization is going to prioritize having the right set of tools for the digital age. Get what you need now, through donations if you must, and put your annual tech upgrades into the budget. You must have current technology to get the job done today.
How else can an organization get the technology they need? Comment with your ideas and suggestions below.