COVID-19 has caused associations across the country to cancel annual conferences and other important member activities to protect the well-being of their members and themselves. With uncertainty as to when large gatherings will be allowed to take place again,There are many ways an association can show their worth and maintain relationships with members and sponsors alike. Below we have listed some ideas that will help you show your value in these challenging times to your members and potential future members.
1. Virtual Meetings and Webinars
Many people have taken to the popular video meeting app, ZOOM, as a way to conduct business meetings and keep things running as smoothly as possible. ZOOM allows multiple people to join in a video conference together where they can choose to share video and audio as they meet with others. There are share screen options so sponsors and members can give presentations they have prepared to up to 100 participants at a given time. This tool can be utilized in a number of ways for your association such as hosting member webinars, association meetings, courses, and other events. This is not the only digital conference tool available, and there are many available if you have specific needs to be met. ZOOM is free to use for 40-minute group meetings or an unlimited one to one meeting. There are premium paid options that allow for longer meet times and more participants. Virtual meetings, webinars, and courses are a great option to keep members engaged and feeling valued.
2. Keep Communications Open
Whether or not you have had to cancel events or not, it is very wise to keep communication with your members and sponsors open during this time. Providing them with updates, news, and plans show them that you are considering them and their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. A weekly email update is a great way to keep in touch and let your association members and sponsors know if and when things change and what the association’s plan is if they do have to cancel or reschedule an event. If an event is canceled, many members and sponsors may want their money back, or they may be looking for other ways you can get them what they’d hoped to get out of the canceled event. This is where hosting a virtual meet and greet could come into play or scheduling a presentation by your sponsors to the group they had hoped to target at your event. There are many options you can offer before giving an automatic refund that could be more beneficial to your sponsors and members and really show them that you are working your way through the challenge to bring them value. They will respect your dedication and it will strengthen the relationships you have.
3. Be Empathetic and Provide Resources
Many of your members and sponsors are part of companies that are dealing with their own challenges that have arisen due to COVID-19. Some businesses and companies are having a harder time than others in navigating their way through this crisis, so empathy and useful resources are always welcome. Reach out and let your members and sponsors know you are there for them and send along any resources that might be helpful. There is no shortage of useful information for businesses and companies who are working their way through these uncharted waters; sending them this helpful information can go a long way in showing that you appreciate them and are supporting them. Make sure to word your messages in an empathetic and hopeful way to help alleviate stress and let your members and sponsors know we are all in this together.
Help and Hope
As an association, your members and sponsors are what make your association run. They trust you and look to you in times like this for support and guidance. Doing all you can to show your value will not only keep your members happy but will help strengthen those relationships and cause these members to want to stay with you through thick and thin. It is important in these trying times that we all step up and show our value and help one another through. COVID-19 is unlike anything we have faced in recent times and it is taking a lot of hard work and effort to get through. The more we help each other, the easier overcoming this major challenge will be.
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