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Heavy lifting: Helping associations "move in"


This past weekend, I helped my cousin and his wife pack up and move to a new house. It reminded me of how much work goes in to moving!

First, you have to pack up your old place and keep track of what items are going in to what boxes. Then, you have to haul it to the new place, unpack, make sure everything survived the move, and find new places for it all. On top of that, you need to change your address, forward your old mail and set up for internet, TV and phone service.
It was a lot of work—I was drained, both physically and mentally. That’s when I realized I would be coming to work Monday morning and starting a similar process: I’m currently taking the lead on transitioning on a new client! Thankfully, we’ve developed some tools, tips and tricks at AMPED to ensure that all transitions are a smooth one.

Transition Checklist
We’ve developed a really thorough Excel-based transition checklist that is constantly updated to ensure we are getting the needed information, files and materials from the incoming organization to keep them running. It also keeps us on track with getting them set up with phone and fax numbers, email addresses, new print materials, changes of address, etc. There are four main columns that identify the task, who is responsible for it (The new client? AMPED? If AMPED, which employee?), a due date, a place for notes and a completion check box. To make things even easier, we’ve filed each item under a larger category like Administration, Database/Membership, Meetings, and so on. As soon as we know we are bringing on a new client organization, we take the generic template and spend time customizing it to meet the needs of the incoming client, going through item by item to determine if it is relevant or if anything is missing. We make sure to share this with the client right away so that they have a chance to go through and identify missing items as well. 

Scope of Services
While this should be finalized in the negotiation process, it is important to go through usual services offered and those the organization is requesting to ensure they align. I like to paste the scope into Excel and add columns for staff assignments and questions/ notes.

Face Time
We find it extremely beneficial to sit down and have face to face meetings with either the current association staff or the transitioning AMC. If this is not possible, an e-conference like GoToMeeting works great. I set an agenda using the Scope of Services Excel document I mentioned before, adding a column for how much time should be dedicated to each item and highlighting the specific questions and processes I want to review. This ensures that every process and task that we will be doing for the organization is covered. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about how the organization is run and identify ways we can help make it more efficient.

Creating thorough documents like the ones I’ve discussed along with setting aside some face-to-face meeting time helps ensure all of our client transitions are painless and that nothing slips through the cracks. Now, if only I could be this organized for my next house move!

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