How to Persuade Your Supervisor to Support a Mobile App.


Posted by Angie Jackson - 06 January, 2020


In this day and age, the growth of mobile technology is an irrefutable truth. Almost every consumer brand and organization has a mobile app to support the experience they want to create – so what’s stopping your association?  Probably that seemingly uphill battle to effectively persuade your key decision makers to support investing in a year-round mobile app beyond your events. 

While it may seem like your supervisor is predisposed to their standard line of “it’s not in the budget,” more than likely you just need an effective strategy to demonstrate the value of a mobile app. Fortunately, with the right preparation and a few helpful tips below, you can overcome even the toughest critics and bring mobile innovation into your association.

How Your Supervisor Thinks When You Propose a New Idea

Before approaching your supervisor, it’s important to consider her mindset prior to pitching your new idea to implement a mobile app. Remember, department leads and Senior Executives are usually stretched thin for time and resources which means you’re fighting for their attention.  They are probably thinking:

The team is already stretched too thin for the projects we have, implementing a mobile app will push them over the edge.
Our budget is tight, and your mobile app idea will cost us money without a guaranteed return on investment.
If I cannot tie this back to the strategic objectives that the Board approved, then it’s a no-go.


While you may not hear these comments directly out of your supervisor’s mouth, consider that these are the types of points you’ll need to address when presenting the idea of using a mobile app to increase member engagement and retention. You also want to take into account how your association approves new project requests.

  • Many associations require some form of written business case to address the key concerns like benefits, costs and potential return on investment (ROI).
  • Gaining consensus among key decision makers in other departments is essential to the process. When you can demonstrate that you’ve already done the heavy lifting, it provides support for your supervisor to advocate for the project.

Six Steps to Get Your Supervisor to Say “Yes” to a Mobile App:

1. Research and do your homework.
Be proactive and gather as much information as possible about the benefits of year-round mobile apps within associations.  Research case studies, watch webinars and search for the top mobile app developers, that specifically work with your AMS.  Gathering as much information as possible will help you identify which key features will support the initiatives within all departments in your association.

2. Align the mobile app features with department initiatives.
Before approaching other departments about the ROI of implementing a mobile app, clearly outline which features will support their department goals. For example, the ability to take in-app transactions will support the Membership department with their recruitment and retention goals by giving them yet another channel to collect membership dues.  Additionally, having a resource center/library supports the Education and Publication department with providing another way to distribute member-only content where members are more likely to engage, on their smartphones. Drawing these conclusions will make your individual conversations with department stakeholders that much easier.
3. Plan your mobile app pitch like a business consultant.
The best way to hear a “yes” is to make your pitch as irrefutable as possible. Your supervisor wants your association to be successful just as much as you do but need help not extra work. Emphasize the key challenges that a mobile app will solve like attracting a younger membership base and increasing non-dues revenue with additional sponsorship opportunities.  Get a ballpark estimate of the potential cost and if you have budgetary access, determine where funds can be reallocated, if necessary.  Lastly, outline potential scenarios for ROI to offset the estimated costs.  Nowadays, some association partners are purchasing packages that covers the cost of implementation for an entire year.
4. Offer polite solutions to objections.
While sharing the mobile app solution with other departmental stakeholders, ask them about the potential objections you can anticipate from your supervisor and Senior Executives.  Pre-plan possible solutions and write them down ahead of time so you’re prepared for the discussion.  You may also want to run some of the objections pass the mobile app salesperson to see how they’d suggest addressing such questions.
5. Identify the right time, place and opportunity.
Be smart and intentional about identifying the best opportunity to pitch a mobile app.  Pay attention to what is top priority on your supervisor’s mind, the optimism of your association and the best time of day to schedule a meeting.  Most people are more attentive before lunch and when major conferences or meetings are over.
6. Offer to lead a task force.
Leadership is always rewarded so offering to be the one to take lead on pulling together the key people to implement a cross-departmental mobile app takes the pressure off of your supervisor.  Plus, you’ll look like a star within your association once the app launches and begins to generate an ROI.


The Bottom-Line

The role of management is allocating resources to the best investments – like a mobile app.  When you understand the key drivers, goals and initiatives that your supervisor considers, you’ll have greater success at getting her to say “yes” to the idea of a year-round mobile app.  Remember, to gather pertinent information, share your ideas with others across the association and reach out to a mobile app salesperson to help you build, present and defend your case to your supervisor.

Topics: Increase Sponsorship Revenue, Mobile Engagement, Member Communications & Outreach, Membership Renewal, Mobile Strategy

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