Amid all the chaos and heartbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are truly inspiring stories of people coming together to help each other. Your association can be one of those stories. This is your opportunity to be a resource to your membership, to add value to their lives and businesses, and to help them through this difficult time.
Here are five ways you can help your members during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
Provide COVID-19 information
Associations are reporting jampacked webinars with thousands of participants, a sure sign that your members are eager for information and guidance. Topics include CDC recommendations for hygiene and social distancing, how to apply for relief loans and grants, and how COVID-19 affects your industry specifically.
While busy webinars indicate increased engagement, you can do even more. Many members are focused on immediate business needs and don’t have an hour to spend on a virtual event. Use webinar content to create quick resources like checklists, flow charts, infographics, or tip sheets. Your busy members will be grateful for curated content that helps them navigate this situation.
To further drive engagement, include time for live Q&A or provide a post-event feedback forum. This will help you gauge what issues are most important to your members and assure them that you’re listening and responding to their concerns.
Offer teleworking resources
Many of your members find themselves working from home for the first time. Help them navigate this new frontier by providing resources on setting a schedule, using video conferencing, maintaining cybersecurity, setting teleworking expectations for employees, and more. Consider hosting a virtual networking event via videoconferencing to demonstrate best practices and answer any questions.
Discounted membership for next year
COVID-19 will no doubt leave financial damage in its wake for a lot of your members, causing many to rethink membership and event participation to save money. Stay ahead of what could be a mass exodus from your organization by offering free or discounted membership for next year. What you do now will determine the success of your organization in the months and years to come.
Host mini virtual events
Going virtual can help you serve members and recover some lost revenue from cancelled in-person events. But be mindful of people’s time right now. Avoid shifting your entire event to the virtual space. Instead, see what you can break into bite-sized content for smaller individual events, for example a livecast from your keynote, online panel discussion, virtual networking session, or pieces of helpful content in a digital resource bundle.
Give people a platform to help
People want to help, whether it’s by donating masks, offering free services, or mobilizing in their own unique ways. Your association can provide a platform to connect the dots. Consider creating a special website or communications channel, such as COVIDResponseTeam@YourOrganization.com, to answer questions or match needs with resources.
Rise to the challenge
Instead of letting COVID-19 or some other crisis cripple your association, you can rise to the challenge and help your members get through it too. As a member-driven association, you’re already an expert at bringing people together and rallying around a cause. Right now, overcoming COVID-19 is the cause. The more you can serve as a resource for people or even a place for them to voice their fears, the more likely it is that members will stay loyal to your association now and long after this situation is over.
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