Posts tagged #communication

Toot Your Own Horn! 5 Ways to Promote Your Association

So many associations don’t do enough to toot their own horn.  In my mind those that are successful at keeping their members in the loop so that they are crystal clear about the results the association is getting on their behalf is one of the most critical factors that separate the good from the awesome in the association world.

Here are a few rules of thumb to consider when it comes to tooting your own horn:

1. Show members that you are listening and that you actually care about what they have to say.

Example:  “The membership survey told us that you think we’re doing a great job providing relevant professional development programming but that we’re falling short in providing you with opportunities to network with your peers.  We’re listening and are working on a plan to raise the bar in this critical area.”

 2. Demonstrate how you are taking action.

Example: "Based on your input, we’ve updated our education program to include opportunities that are more relevant to your needs.  These will be launched this coming January and will include X, Y, Z."

 3. Show members the measurable results you have achieved.

Example: "It has now been six months since we asked you to speak your mind in our member satisfaction survey. Since that time we set several ambitious goals designed to address your key concerns. Here’s an update on what we’ve achieved so far.

Government Relations Goal: Get a seat on X regulatory board by 2016                   Status: Achieved

Media Relations Goal: Be called on for expert advice at the national media level 12 times per year.    

Status:  On track for 2015 with the association and its members appearing in national media 8 times.

Education Goal: Develop and fill six new workshops on the impact of the economy on our profession.  

Status: First three workshops have been completed and were a great success. All were sold out. The remaining three sessions for this year are already at 75% capacity.

 

4.  Do Your Homework

Make sure you understand what balance of communication works with your members. In other words, not only do you need to know what channels your members want used (email, snail mail, fax etc.), but how often they want to be touched by your association (once a month, week, day). You also need to understand what type of messaging is most effective for the different segments of your membership.

5. Tell Them Often and Tell Them Again

Communication to your members about what is happening in your association cannot be something done once or twice yearly. Depending on what you learned from #4, communication needs to be sent on a regular basis using different channels and with variety in the messaging to make sure the message ‘sticks’ to the different segments of your membership.

 

Toot Your Horn: Communicating Effectively in Member-Based Organizations

If you lead an association, you know its important that your members play a role in shaping your strategy and priorities....but being member-driven is just half of the battle. The other important and often overlooked piece has to do with communication.

It can be hard for organizations to make 'tooting their own horn' a priority, but the ability to communicate successfully to members about the results they are achieving on their behalf can spell the difference between good and outstanding in the association world.

Following are a few rules of thumb to consider when you're wrapping your head around how best to educate your members about all of the great things your association is accomplishing.

1. Show members that you are listening and that you actually care about what they have to say.  Let them know that you've heard them and plan on taking action based on their needs:

Example:  “The membership survey told us that you think we’re doing a great job providing relevant professional development programming but that we’re falling short in providing you with enough opportunities to network with your peers.  We’re listening and are working on a plan to raise the bar in this critical area.”

2. Demonstrate how you are taking action. Tell members in specific terms how their input is going to be used to turn their vision of the association into a reality:

Example: "Based on your input, we’ve updated our education program to include opportunities that are more relevant to your needs.  These will be launched this coming January and will include X, Y, Z."

 3. Show members the measurable results you have achieved: Keep your members up-to-date with your progress related to the goals you have set. Celebrate your accomplishments when you reach your targets and be honest and accountable when you fall short.

Example: "It has now been six months since we asked you to speak your mind in our member satisfaction survey. Since that time we set several ambitious goals designed to address your key concerns. Here’s an update on what we’ve achieved so far.

Government Relations Goal: Get a seat on X regulatory board by 2012.

Status: Achieved

Media Relations Goal: Members and/or representatives of the organization to be called on for expert advice at the national media level 12 times per year.

Status:  Ahead of schedule for 2015 with the association and its members appearing in national media 8 times in the first quarter.

Education Goal: Develop and fill six new workshops on the impact of the economy on our profession.

Status: First three workshops have been completed and were a great success. All were sold out. The remaining three sessions for this year are already 75% full."

4. Do your homework.

Make sure you understand what balance of communication works with your members. In other words, not only do you need to know what channels your members want used (email, social media, snail mail, MMS etc.), but how often they want to be touched by your association (once a month, weekly, daily). You also need to understand what type of messaging is most effective for the different segments of your membership.

 5. Tell them, tell them often and tell them again.

Communication to your members about what is happening in your association cannot be something done once or twice yearly. Depending on what you learned from #4, communication needs to be sent on a regular basis using different channels and with variety in the messaging to make sure the message ‘sticks’ to your various member groups.

Carol-Anne Moutinho is a Senior Consultant with The Portage Group

Show Your Members They Drive the Agenda With a One-Page Strategic Plan

There are a number of tools you can use to succinctly and effectively communicate to your members that they drive the association agenda. The one-page strategic plan is a great way to present your strategic plan in a succinct way to your members - the key is to make it clear that their input is being used to drive the agenda. Below is one example of a one-page member-driven strategic plan. Here is an example.

Connecting the Dots: Communicating Association Strategy to Your Members

Most associations seek member feedback. Many take this feedback into account in their planning activities….but if this information doesn’t get back to members, all that hard work will have been for nothing. This in mind, there are a number of effective ways to communicate your association’s strategy as an ongoing means to keep members in the loop about what is happening and how their needs and priorities drive the agenda...