Good news! For some associations, particularly those in the medical area, membership is starting to once again rise. While this is certainly great news, this opens the door to a new question: now what?
As we’ve talked about before, the landscape is in a rapid period of change. Not just the technology itself, but the way people interact with technology. But lets back up; technology is such a cold, impersonal term. For many of us, we see it as the thing that gets in the way of really communicating with one another. I would suggest that it be looked at as the facilitator. Technology is being used in today’s world in the same manner as the dining room table was used in generations past. It’s where families come together to share about their day, their adventures; where we all come together to talk about and make sense of the world.
With this view in mind, take another look at the tools that you have at your disposal, and ask yourself, how can I use them to cultivate a sense of family? For so long, our websites existed in a passive manner. A piece of content was created, posted to our website, and we’d hope that our members would find and read it; but now, there’s just so… much… content. In order to stand out, we need to move away from just passively orphaning our content, and ask our members to engage with us.
A lot has been said about gamification, and it’s already being looked at as some kind of voodoo carnival act. But I think there’s a principle from it that can be lifted: it gets people involved. Not everything needs to be turned into a game, but using such tools as lead capture devices: having your members fill out a survey before they can view the content, is a good first start in doing this. It may seem brash, and intentionally feel a little spammy, but if done right, it will help your members slow down and smell the roses. It also has the added benefit of making them feel involved.
With large memberships, maybe we can’t invite them over for a home-made dinner, but we can still sit around the digital table, and become a family.