Associations and Unions all have members, and staff, who are now on the front line dealing with the significant changes in our working and personal lives that we all face because of the coronavirus outbreak.
These changes make it particularly important that Association CEOs provide leadership with a laser-like focus on the needs of both the members and their teams. The question of how they do that is challenging for many organisations as they adjust to how it affects their personal and work lives, they contemplate staff working remotely (many for the first time) and members becoming more and more difficult to reach (and perhaps service) as they address this outbreak. Here are a number of things to consider:
· Website: Your web site is one of the first places your members will go to. Make accessing this information as clear and easy as possible and most importantly ensure it is mobile friendly. Member services teams and their call centres are experiencing massive demand so look at how your web site can best support your members just as your valued staff do.
· System in the Cloud: As staff begin to work remotely, ask are your systems available for your staff to access in the cloud? For organisations that have yet to fully embrace the Cloud, it’s not too late. Anywhere, anytime, on any device, has never been more important.
· One system makes this less complicated: How many different systems are you using to manage member data? Compile a list and do an audit – you might be surprised. Consolidating to a single, enterprise, cloud member platform will allow you to be more nimble in this current environment.
· Managing data security: How do you now manage data security with your staff working remotely? Additionally so if you have numerous systems.
· Become an expert in conducting remote meetings: With face to face events cancelled, what other ways are you engaging with your members? There are many powerful online tools available to enable dynamic delivery of content and engagement. Whether they be educational now being delivered via an Learning Management Systems (LMS), or meetings and events going virtual, consider how you can incorporate these tools into your member engagement plans.
· Become a community: Consider online communities and online special interest groups to drive connection between your members and your organisation. Your members are going to feel isolated so look at how can you easily connect and bring them together. You’ll be surprised how grateful they will be and what that means to them, and your organisation.
· Agility to adjust membership types: And with changes to demands and expectations, not just on events, but also your membership you may need to look at amending membership from a typical yearly cycle to 15 months with an extra 3 months free as an example. An important questions is whether you have the billing agility to easily amend all of your pricing of membership, events, and services across all your offerings.
For many of you the future is now and you may not have the luxury of easing into these changes, but it is critical that you look at how you manage your systems and all of your data. Not just from a data security perspective, but also from a member engagement perspective. What members do, and how they access resources, you will soon want, and need, to track all of this as measuring member engagement will be critical to adapting current offerings and creating new services to your members, not to mention aiding member retention in the months and years ahead.
I hope that this blog has been useful in helping you consider quickly adapt. Please know that we are available to help facilitate these kinds of conversations inside your organisation. As an organisation with a mission to ensure that NFPs achieve success, we are now going to offering aree Success Assessment Workshops where we can help your team explore what is best to service your members and enable your team to be their most productive during these trying times. Please contact us if you are keen to find out more
Mark Glynn, Performance Improvement Leader, Advanced Solutions International, firstname.lastname@example.org