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How to Make Your Association’s Budget Count: 3 Money-Saving Tips

Let’s talk about 3 ways your association can start saving more money and make budget planning a breeze!

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You work hard to prepare a budget that works for your association’s needs and to stick to it each and every year. But when your budget starts to feel tight, it can be tough to get things done and have money left over for incidentals. Projecting and executing your budget can help any association keep its head above water in terms of finances, but it’s no secret that even the best of budget planning can go south when problems and emergencies come up.

With that in mind, it would be nice to stretch your budget out and cut on costs when you can in order to pad your finances. Saving money is something every association sets out to do, but many end up dropping the ball throughout the year. But with our money-saving tips, you can learn how to make your budget count and even how to possibly end up with more money than expected by the end of your fiscal year.

So, let’s talk about 3 helpful tips your association can implement in order to get started saving more money and make budget planning a breeze!

1. Know your fixed costs

The first thing to realize when it comes to budget planning is that there will be costs that cannot be skimped on or avoided. Expenses that cannot be eliminated are typically known as fixed costs, meaning they are fixed to your budget and constants year over year. These costs should be the top priority when creating your budget as you cannot get around paying for them in the long run like you can with other incidentals and smaller items. So what sort of things fall under the fixed costs umbrella term?

There are many things that can be considered fixed costs, and it all depends on your association as a whole. Things like office rent, employee salaries, association software and management tools, employee benefits, and anything else you feel your organization cannot function without. Once you can sit down and analyze your fixed costs, you can then build a better budget centered around those fixed costs. Using these costs as a base for the rest of your budget will allow you work with any extra room you have to cut costs and save money in other, more flexible areas.

2. Cut advertising costs with smarter marketing

Is your association spending more money than you’d like getting the word out through promotional marketing messages? It may be a smart idea to cut back on the costs and re-evaluate your marketing and advertising strategy. While attracting new members means increasing your dues revenue, there are better, low-cost ways to get your marketing messages out into the world without spending a pretty penny on advertising. In fact, you may even have better luck with low-cost and free marketing options as opposed to paid advertisements.

One great way to cut back on advertising costs is through the power of social media marketing. It’s no secret that social media is a powerful tool for associations. According to a survey done by Hootsuite, 48% of Americans have interacted with companies on at least one social media site. And with social media being, for the most part, and absolutely free tool to market, there’s no reason why your association shouldn’t implement a social media marketing strategy of its own.

Use your social media profiles to your advantage to attract and engage a new audience that have potential to become members. You can create visual content that links back to your website, interact with audiences through comments and posts, and even directly message individuals to get the word out about how great your association is. With social media marketing, your association can cut back on advertising costs without hurting your member recruitment efforts.

3. Cut off excessive tech tools

Having software that works for your association is great, but you may be paying for costs that aren’t necessarily doing anything beneficial for your organization. Paying for a myriad of software tools that aren’t giving your association anything worth the cost can weigh down your budget and allow you to spend more money than expected. If you have a variety of paid services that you’re allocating budget space for, it might be time to assess their worth and narrow it down to only the most efficient tech tools. But how is this done?

You want to look at every service you pay for and ask yourself a few questions. Are you using this tool to the best of your ability? Is every single feature of this tool a useful and lucrative feature? Are there other low-cost and/or free ways to get this service that you could be using instead? If you have tools that your association absolutely cannot function without, feel free to find a spot for them within your budget.

However, tools with only a few useful features or with features that can be duplicated in much more cost-friendly ways should be further analyzed- and possibly cut altogether from your association’s videos. You can even create a set of guidelines and/or criteria each tech tool needs to meet in order to be kept in your association’s budget. By sticking to these guidelines, you make sure your needs are met and that your aren’t keeping around tools that aren’t getting used to their maximum cost.

Bonus: Incorporate revenue-accruing software

While this isn’t exactly a way to save money in your association’s budget, it is a way to add more revenue to cover budget costs. There are many low-cost, easy to use software tools out there that your association can introduce into the mix that can help you increase your non-dues revenue.

This way, you can work on bringing in more revenue as you continue to cut back in other areas, overall increasing your finances. A great example of this is an online career center for your association. With a career center, members and employers can pay premium fees in order to be matched up with what their looking for in the professional world. In return, your association cashes in on a serious revenue opportunity. (Does this sound like something you’re interested in? If so, check out how you can starting earning more revenue with our job board software).

Saving money by cutting down on costs can help your association stick to a budget and make it last throughout the entire fiscal year. Use our tips to keep your association’s finances right on track where they should be.