Have you ever sat in a meeting analyzing the success/failure of a program your organization offers its members and been baffled because people aren’t taking advantage of the program (even when it’s free!)? If you answered “yes” to this question, keep reading for tips on how to better inform members of programs and services.
Create a communications plan.
When analyzing the potential ROI of any new program, remember that part of the investment you must make is investment in communication channels that will share this new program with your members in the most effective ways. Write down the ways you plan to share this new program with your members, and set goals to determine the success or failure of these communication strategies. One of the first lessons I learned as a PR major in college was, “Never judge your success by how many press releases you send, but by how many news outlets publish your press release.”
Clue in the staff.
I once sat in a meeting focused on a program that didn’t take off like the organization’s leadership thought it would. As the failure of the program was discussed, it became clear the staff didn’t fully understand the program. If your staff, the ones who talk to your members day in and day out, don’t understand your organization’s programs, they’ll never be able to help “sell” them.
Email is not the only communications channel.
In that same meeting, a senior leader shared that the organization’s members had received four emails about the new program; suggesting through his comment there was no way the members couldn’t have known about the program. His statement made me realize two things. First, the organization needs to branch out and utilize other communication channels. Second, the organization needs to reevaluate its email communications strategy. Perhaps the organization sends too many emails and people aren’t reading them?
If your organization’s membership participation in programs is lacking, gather your staff together and discuss what communication channels your organization successfully utilizes and what new avenues of communication could be explored. Taking the time to talk this through with your staff will generate new ideas, as well as teach them the importance of effective membership communication.