Adopting Education Strategy to Jump-Start Member Engagement
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Adopting Education Strategy to Jump-Start Member Engagement



Aaron delivered this presentation as part of The New World of Member Engagement Webinar Series sponsored by Young Association Professionals, Aggregage, Association Universe and Infinite Conferencing ...

Aaron delivered this presentation as part of The New World of Member Engagement Webinar Series sponsored by Young Association Professionals, Aggregage, Association Universe and Infinite Conferencing on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.



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  • A mission statement explains the company’s reason for existence. It describes the company, what it does and its overall intention. The mission statement supports the vision and serves to communicate purpose and direction to employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders. The mission can change to reflect a company's priorities and methods to accomplish its vision.
  • A vision statement describes the organization as it would appear in a future successful state. When developing a vision statement, try to answer this question: If the organization were to achieve all of its strategic goals, what would it look like 10 years from now? An effective vision statement is inspirational and aspirational. It creates a mental image of the future state that the organization wishes to achieve. A vision statement should challenge and inspire  employees.
  • A values statement describes what the organization believes in and how it will behave. Not all organizations create or are able to uphold a values statement. In a values-led company, the values create a moral compass for the company and its employees. This compass guides decision making and establishes a standard against which actions can be assessed. A values statement defines the deeply held beliefs and principles of the organizational culture. These core values are an internalized framework, shared and acted on by leadership.
  • Consider your organization’s mission, vision and values statements.How frequently is education, learning or professional development referenced?What’s the relative proportion of annual revenue attributed to this function?What other departments or projects are affected by education?
  • If yes, why and what does it contain? If no, why not and what would happen if you did?
  • If “education strategy” is included in the organization’s overall strategic plan, it’s likely this section is lighton language, specifics, targets, outcomes, etc.On the other hand, if a separate strategic education plan exists, it’s likely “beefed up.” In other words, it’s comprehensive, specific, cross-functional, experimental, etc.
  • Forrester Behavioral Categories (circa 2009)Forrester's Social Technographics data classifies consumers into seven overlapping levels of social technology participation. Based on our proprietary Consumer Technographics survey data, we can share with you how social participation varies among your consumers globally and help you plan a targeted social technology strategy. Use this tool to get a high-level snapshot of the social technology behaviors of consumers.Creators: People who upload videos to YouTube, blog regularly, etc.The minority –25 percent or less of the population.Many speakers will be creators.Conversationalists: Those who tweet and post status on walls regularly.Suppressed category – Wasn’t statistically significant in 2009, but represents a large population today.Critics: Comment on others’ blog posts.About a third larger than creators, but still a minority.Collectors: Those who make Web data more accessible to others through relinking, tagging, listing and ranking.Joiners: People who have presence on social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, but not yet broken down into multiple categories.Spectators: Those who consume online content put there by others.Inactives: Non-users.Similar categories could be assigned for participation in face-to-face meetings and events. Consider the attendees who sit in the first row of every breakout session and regularly ask questions. What about those who sit in the back row? Consider the differences between those who print out and review the handouts ahead of the conference vs. those who don’t. Consider the volunteer leaders who run for office, deliver speeches, present education sessions, serve on the planning committee, etc. vs. those who don’t. The same sort of difference exist in-person as they do online.
  • The point here is that loyalty has a significant impact on membership decisions. If people feel loyal to your organization, they are more likely to remain in membership throughout their careers. Also, they are more likely to refer new members to your organization. Depending on their level of engagement, they may even help with recruitment, onboarding and retention efforts. In studying for the CAE, we learn there’s tremendous power in these member-to-member communications. Finally, members are more likely than nonmembers to attend your association’s professional development offerings. This goes for purchasing your publications, services and other products, too.
  • Explore considerations for developing your association’s very own education strategy.
  • The results of this job analysis are then used to build out your association’s annual education calendar. Instead of shooting darts at a dart board to determine the types of programs you should offer each year (including topics of interest or importance to your members), this strategy roots those decisions in fact. If you take it a step further, you can assign relative percentages of importance to each resulting domain and offer the most programs for those domains identified as most important to member success. Certainly, there’s still room to program around urgent and emergent topics that spring up throughout the year (and, in fact, appropriate spacing in the annual education calendar should be held for such programs); however, the bulk of the content should be organized around these competencies. And, likely, this data should drive other aspects of your operation, including staff roles, volunteer committees, the strategic plan, etc.
  • Take a moment to consider how you might employ a job analysis in your organization. Would it make your education department even more successful? What impact might it have on member engagement?
  • Consider a monthly or quarterly editorial calendar to easily organize/disseminate content.
  • Take a moment to consider how you might introduce content curationin your organization. Would it make your education department even more successful? What impact might it have on member engagement?
  • Consider your most recent shopping experience. Whether you snagged a new pair of skinny jeans on clearance or picked up a jar of peanut butter from the grocery store, what role did a brand play in your purchasing decision? For many, brands matter.  Originally, branding was used to distinguish cattle. Today, the best brands strive to align customer expectations with extraordinary experiences. When executed successfully, these brands appear to have certain qualities that make them special or unique.  Ultimately, it’s this balance between expectations and experiences that promotes brand identity and trust. The rest, as they say, is history.  In a hyper-competitive market fraught with countless choices, trust produces sales. In much the same way, trust improves meeting attendance.  Select any signature program your organization plans annually. How would you describe this meeting’s brand? That is, what distinguishes this meeting from all others?
  • Plan quality education sessions. Marry the best and the brightest thought leaders in your industry with engaging instructional strategies. Develop intentional networking opportunities. During breaks, meal times, and receptions, encourage meaningful connections among attendees.Build an innovative brand. A clever name, logo and tagline are just the beginning. Think beyond the graphics, shapes and colors to meeting value and brand promise.Above all, the key is to create an exceptional experience. It starts with a well-planned and well-executed meeting. It’s then necessary to cultivate a brand that successfully represents your meeting’s goals and objectives. Finally, it’s important to communicate this brand and its value to your target audience.  But the organization’s education team and staff complement must also rely on meeting attendees. If their expectations are met, your brand identify improves. Not only do they make plans to attend future meetings, but they encourage their friends and colleagues to do the same.  Set aside some time this month to assess your organization’s brand identity, identify opportunities for improvement and develop a course of action. Additionally, be sure to engage meeting attendees throughout this process for optimal results.
  • Take a moment to consider how you might improve the brand identity of the meetings your organization plans. Would it make your education department even more successful? What impact might it have on member engagement?
  • Both senders and receivers of communication.
  • Take a moment to consider how you might tweak education marketing in your organization. Would it make your education department even more successful? What impact might it have on member engagement?
  • Take a moment to consider how you might support transference in your organization. Would it make your education department even more successful? What impact might it have on member engagement?
  • Take a look at your notes and reflect, for a moment, on each of these five education strategies. Which are doable? Which would have the most significant payoff? I’d like you to select one and commit to implementing it within the next 90 days. It can be on a small scale. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or insurmountable commitment. Don’t make it more than it has to be. Minor tweaks to your education strategy (particularly if there’s not much strategy driving current practice) will have a positive impact.

Adopting Education Strategy to Jump-Start Member Engagement Adopting Education Strategy to Jump-Start Member Engagement Presentation Transcript

  • Adopting Education Strategy toJump-start Member Engagement Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 2 – 3 p.m. ET
  • @AaronWolowiec
  • Poll Question• Which of the following best describes you? – CEO (association or AMC leader) – Professional staff (non-CEO staff) – Industry partner (association supplier) – Consultant (services the industry) – Young professional (30 and under) – Other
  • Learning Road Map• Strategic planning• Education equation• Q&A break• Education strategy• Community• Wrap-up• Discussion• Contact information
  • Strategic PlanningAccording to LinkedIn Skills & Expertise: Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. Resource:
  • Key Components
  • MissionDefinition Example: MSAE• Reason for existence MSAE exists to ensure a• Describes what the knowledgeable, professional company does and successful association• Communicates purpose to: community. – Employees – Customers – Vendors – StakeholdersResource: Resource:
  • VisionDefinition Example: MSAE• Future successful state Over the next three years,• Inspirational MSAE will evolve its services• Aspirational and refine its operations to achieve a high level of value• Mental image of the future for its members and its• Challenge and members’ members as inspire employees demonstrated by three pillars of success.Resource: Resource:
  • ValuesDefinition Example: MSAE• Organization’s belief system • Commitment• A moral compass for the • Integrity company and its employees • Diversity• Guides decision making • Community• Principles of the organization’s culture• Shared by leadershipResource: Resource:
  • Reflection
  • Process• Extensive interaction with key stakeholders• Present state of the industry• Role of the association within that environment• Implications for the future
  • Timeframe Short Term Long Term• 1-12 months • 3-5 years or more• Operational • Strategic
  • Elements• Government • Public relations relations • Meetings• Membership • Technology• Human resources • International
  • Poll Question• Does your organization have a separate strategic education plan? – Yes – No – I don’t know
  • Education EquationEducation Engagement Loyalty Membership Return
  • Education Association Membership• Digital learning • Blogging• Classroom learning • RSS feeds• Expositions • Social bookmarking• Meetings • Social networking• Events • File sharing• Certification • Communication tools• Field experience • Collaboration tools
  • Engagement • Creators • Conversationalists • Critics • Collectors • Joiners • Spectators • Inactives Resource:
  • LoyaltyPeople will: – Do business with someone they are familiar with and have learned to trust – Try to establish a long-term relationship with an organization after a positive experience – Become loyal to organizations with whom a relationship has been established – Base their membership decisions on past experiences, customer service and quality
  • Return• Member acquisitions• Retention numbers• Meetings attendance• Bottom line – Purchases – Sponsors – Exhibitors
  • 1. Jump-start member engagement2. Leverage/tweak current education programs/content3. Work smarter (Not harder!)
  • Strategy 1: Job Analysis • Task analysis • Role delineation • Identify – Knowledge – Skills – Successful performance – Competencies – DomainsResource: Certification Simplified: A Primer for Staff and Volunteer Leaders
  • Engagement Opportunities• Planning • Release questionnaire/• Draft questionnaire/ conduct interviews interview questions • Interpret findings• Communication • Recommendations• Incentivize participation • Implementation • Evaluation
  • Strategy 2: Content Curation• What is it? – Sorting through vast amounts of content – Presenting it in a meaningful way – Organizing it around a specific theme• Why is it valuable? – We live in an era of content abundance – Content curation offers high value – Maximizes resources and builds community
  • Engagement Opportunities• Guest bloggers • Curated:• Executive briefs – Slide decks• White papers – Resource materials – Discussions• Social media feeds – Chat transcripts• YouTube videos – Question/answer• Articles/columns summaries
  • Strategy 3: Branding• Brands matter• Align customer expectations with extraordinary experiences• Special/unique qualities• Promote brand identity• Trust improves meeting attendance
  • Engagement Opportunities• Plan quality • Innovative brand education sessions – Clever name, logo and – Thought leaders tagline – Instructional strategies – Consistent graphics, shapes and colors• Intentional networking – Meeting value and brand – Meaningful connections promise
  • Strategy 4: Communication • Communication channels • Comprehensive, multi- media marketing • Education benefits, outcomes, testimonials • Number of touch points • Release strategy • Shared calendar
  • Engagement Opportunities• Channels • Roles – Newsletter/magazine – Interviewers – Blog/website – Writers – Social media – Editors – Online community – Posters – Direct mail – Reviewers – Email
  • Strategy 5: Transference • Past experiences • Learning task • Bridge theory with practice • Transfer task • Modified behavior • Teach others
  • Engagement Opportunities• Follow through • Remove barriers – 90-day window – Clarification – Practice scenarios• Offer support – Additional training – Proactive – Community • Celebrate successes – Responsive – Recognition
  • Five Education Strategies1. Job analysis2. Content curation3. Branding4. Communication5. Transference
  • Next Steps• Refine ideas – Action items – Resources – Completion dates• Implement ideas• Accountability – Partner/team
  • Community• Board members • Speakers• Components • Sponsors• Facilitators • Staff• Legislators • Thought leaders• Members • Vendors/suppliers• Regulators • Volunteer leaders
  • Final Thoughts• Write a separate strategic education plan• Education  Engagement  Loyalty  Membership  Return• Leverage/tweak current education programs/content first• Work smarter (Not harder!)• The secret to your success is intentionality• Implement a new strategy within 90 days
  • Housekeeping• Consultation discount: – – Email within one week• Slide deck: – – Available tomorrow morning
  • Discussion• What’s the biggest takeaway you’re leaving with today?• What strategy will you implement first?• What engagement best practices do you employ within your organization?• What additional resources would you like to share with participants?• What lingering questions do you have?
  • Aaron D. WolowiecMSA, CAE, CMP, CTA (616) 710-1891