The efficient exchange of information within your association membership is vital to achieving your mandate and retaining members, but it isn’t easy.
I have talked to many, many communication team leaders at associations of various sizes and their frustrations are usually the same, ‘How do I communicate more effectively to my members?’ and ‘How do I measure those efforts to ensure the message is getting through?’
You’re not alone.
The American Society of Association Executives reports that association membership is declining. Why? Social media for starters. I recently read an article by Andrew Rush that tackled the challenges of communication within associations. I recommend you read the full article, but the high points are as follows:
- Social media groups can replace the relevancy of associations. Member associations need to understand the unique benefits they offer and add value to their communications so that they remain relevant.
- It’s super-important for associations to embrace technology and there is no replacement for member-driven feedback to shape that digital transformation.
- Member opinions are increasingly diverse, often with competing interests. Associations need to add value here by addressing these differences and developing strategies to help their members ‘navigate the waters’.
Try these simple steps to leverage the resources you already have.
Associations offer valuable resources and benefits to their base. Communicating this value is more important to member engagement than ever before.
Chances are you may already have programs and resources that offer value. Perhaps you just need to try a different method of communication?
1. Reach your members on their own device.
Members often have other roles and demands on their time and inbox.
Reaching members on an app-based form of communication is a win-win. For starters, you can reach members with direct or role-based communications messages. You can also create and control your own social platform for members.
2. Ask for feedback – but keep the survey short (really short).
Your membership base is the voice of your association, but long-form surveys are, well, long.
Show your member base that you respect both their time and their opinion with well-crafted and meaningful one-question polls. You could pose a question relative to industry standards, policies or even benefits that they would like developed.
3. Step away from newsletters.
Even if you’ve already moved past paper copies of your newsletter, any monthly or quarterly publication – even digital – is likely past its day.
Unless you have open and read rates that are off the charts, consider moving to a digital notice board and notifications within an association-branded app.
Associations face a number of challenges that are different than typical workforces and organizations.
The obvious is that your membership can be located across time zones and physical locations, but you’re also fighting against those larger challenges of diversity, competition for interest and relevancy in a changing digital environment.
A single communication platform with mobile application allows for the concise flow of information through all levels of an association. Having a go-to medium for communication simplifies the process of sharing vital information and reduces the risk of ineffective efforts.
Creating a branded app that’s exclusive to your association is easier than you think.
Are you responsible for communicating to your member base and curious about your own communication platform? Get in touch with me and let’s talk.
As Director of Business Development for iTacit, Nathan leads global business efforts for the entire suite of products, connecting, educating and engaging employees at all stages of the work cycle.