When we promote registering for Doody’s Digital Workshop to society executives, we guarantee that they will leave with no fewer than three actionable ideas that they can implement for their organization’s benefit immediately.
The 2015 Workshop featured an outstanding program centered around the dual themes of the digital and global transformation imperative facing professional societies and learning how to engage millennials by understanding how they learn, consume information, and form / join social groups.
By my accounting, the Workshop produced a dozen or more practical, immediately actionable takeaways. But I want to focus on three that seem most universal in their appeal and applicability.
Reach out to millennials NOW
Josh Baze, a keynote speaker at this year’s Workshop, offered outstanding insight and perspective about millennials. We know from our consulting practice that millennials are not joining most professional organizations at the same rate that baby boomer and GenXer’s have done in previous generations, a cause for great concern. Chances are you’ve been reaching out to millennials. But guess what? They aren’t hearing you. When asked why they don’t join professional societies, 21% of the responding millennials say they were never invited. So they aren’t seeing the invitations you’re extending to them. A practical suggestion: hire millennials and task them with using appropriate marketing media to reach the millennials you want to attract as members.
Develop a social media marketing program that focuses on your members’ needs
Most societies we interact with have Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts and use them as broadcast channels. Susan Gay, one of our panelists and an expert on the use of social media in medical practices, suggests that all associations have an opportunity to help their members manage (i.e., enhance) their online reputations. Set up properly and thoughtfully, such a program could become an important new member benefit.
Achieve staff “buy-in” to change through a simple communication principle
Change is in the air at all professional associations. Long-time, valued staff members are being asked to do things differently. Becky Harris, one or our panelists and a learning and performance technologist, said that in order to get staff to accept and invest in the change, it’s vital for their managers to explain what the change means to each one of them on an individual and personal basis. And let them even help with the architecture of the change that is being implemented.