Use Tech Tools to Show You Care

5 ways small associations can use technology to create membership value.

Association members’ behaviors change constantly, and that has been especially true during the coronavirus pandemic. Association executives have been forced to adapt quickly to changing needs with the technologies we use, and our focus must always be on providing the right package of services for members.

With the technology available today, fortunately, small associations have the ability to operate just like larger ones. Many tech services are free or low-cost, and they allow us to provide added value to our members.

Have you thought about asking members how they wish to receive communications? Now is the time to do so, since many member preferences have changed during the pandemic. AEs have to review the available technology and rethink our old assumptions: What are we doing to stay on top of tech trends? What are you offering now, and is there something better out there?

Some members are complaining that they have developed tech fatigue in the pandemic. Many associations are seeing fewer members show up to online meetings. What are you doing to drive them there?

We have to guide members to knowledge, because that’s what will empower them to succeed in their businesses in the future. If they are sick of online meetings, consider creating two- to three-minute videos on YouTube instead. It’s free, and you can get your point across quickly.

Here are a few steps you and your association can take toward better tech usage:

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  1. Know your membership. Using an affordable application such as Constant Contact or Survey Monkey, survey members and ask what their needs are. Ask them how they like to receive communications. Ask them if they are satisfied with the services they receive.
  2. Organize your plan in an online calendar and stick to it. Programs such as Google Calendar can help you create a schedule to share with members, staff, volunteer leaders, committees, and even family members. A well-organized calendar will keep everyone apprised of the tasks you set out to complete.
  3. Make your site interactive. The more information and tools you offer on your website, the more you can drive members to it for answers. Give them everything they might need there; make it a one-stop shop for all of the great information that your association, your state association, and the National Association of REALTORS® provide.
  4. Boost your social media presence. If you don’t have social media accounts, it’s time to create them. Check out Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Take a look at other associations’ pages, and follow what the successful ones do.
  5. See what Zoom and other video conference platforms have to offer. Even if members are tired of being onscreen, they will still appreciate the safety of online meetings as well as the money and time they save. See “You’ve Gone Virtual. Now What?” on page 16 to find out which platforms might be right for you.

There is a quotation from leadership guru John C. Maxwell that has helped me serve my members over the years: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is a game-changer! It truly can make a difference in someone’s day to know that someone else cares.

Pick up the phone and call three members every day just to ask how they’re doing, what they need, and how you can help. Find out what matters most to your members, and do a few of those things really well. This is your year to shine as an AE and lead your association into the future!