7 steps to help convince your committee
CHANGE!! It's a big scary word that can often stall your committee in making a decision to adopt club membership software.
Many Member Jungle clients tell me that while most committee members recognise digital transformation is vital for their club’s survival, one of their biggest battles is convincing the board to take the step to go online. So don’t worry - you’re not alone!
Most committee members will be ready to adopt new technology when they see the potential benefits, such as: saving time, saving money or helping with member retention. In every group though, there will always be those that are harder to convince. Some might be frightened of new technology. Some might like things to stay the same way. Some might feel uncertain about how it will affect their position at the club.
So how do you move through these barriers with your committee? In this article we will cover off on the seven major steps I’ve seen that can help get your committee on-board. By the end of this article you should be well-equipped and ready to help your committee adopt a new membership system.
1. Dig deeper into understanding your organisation and your committee
Each club and person’s needs are different. The first stage is understanding your organisation and committee’s needs, fears and attitudes to moving membership online.
For your organisation: does your club need to save time? Save money? Stop losing members?
For the people who run your club: what do they need? What are the potential barriers for your committee in adopting online membership software? Do you predict that some will be hesitant to try new technology or some may have concern over security? Or do you have a hunch that a committee member might feel their position is threatened by the changes?
It’s important to consider these assumptions and to consider what their underlying emotion might be, so you can address it early on. Addressing these issues early on is a key driver of successfully adopting change.
Think about which members of your committee might be affected by change, who might be the early adopters and who might need help in engaging with new technology.
Member Jungle has prepared a FREE ‘How-to Guide’ to help in these early stages of research and understanding your client, organisation and committee’s needs. To download, click here.
2. It begins with a chat
You’ve now been digging deep into the research. If you’re not sure what the barriers might be for your committee - and even if you think you are sure - nothing beats having a casual chat with your committee members one-on-one.
Committee members can be a bit more relaxed when not having to speak up in a meeting. See what the different viewpoints are, really listen and let them speak freely. While sometimes it can feel frustrating if others don’t initially see the benefits, the friction points in change are often clues. It might alert you to blatant and latent needs and help pinpoint problems in your workflow and the pain points for members too.
Often a barrier to change is the feeling like it is being forced. Making your committee a part of the change process is integral to its success. Involving the committee can help set the tone to search for solutions together. Once each committee member reaches a point of buy-in, things will progress well.
3. Address the committee's concerns
Now you have an idea of what the committee’s needs are and the potential barriers to adoption, think about how club membership software can help address this.
If your committee member fears that the software will mean their position is no longer relevant or that it will be more work for them, perhaps it is worth pointing out that time saved means more time to do what your club enjoys or more time to create value for the members in other ways. This could also open up opportunities for them to work on projects they have been wanting to do but haven't had time.
If the concern is cost, filling out the Membership Calculator might help you showcase just how much can be saved in postage, printing and more. These savings are often overlooked and are typically quite large. Realising significant savings by investing in a new system is a great way to get committee buy-in.
If they’re worried about learning new technology, alleviate the concern by getting a free Demo for the committee or produce a timeline for adopting the new technology that outlines training at a speed they're comfortable with.
4. Find the common purpose with your club
The best way to mobilise change is to identify the common purpose in the committee and the organisation. Reminding people of what that purpose is and uniting together can help get momentum going.
If your common purpose is to ‘Find Your Freedom’ like some of our H.O.G. chapters that have come onboard, then maybe it is about finding freedom from the paperwork for the membership officer. Or if it is about connecting like-minded people, then you can highlight how the App and emails can help you connect and communicate better with your members.
List out the benefits that moving membership online could hold, like: saving time, going mobile, giving more benefits to members, members only areas, online stores, events calendar, member directories and more.
5. Show how membership software has helped others
A good case study can help show your committee in a real and tangible way how membership software has helped other clubs.
Two years ago, Member Jungle moved one organisation online that had 3,500 members. 800 of these members didn’t even have email addresses. Now, picture being on their committee every January…
Printing out 3,500 letters and folding them to post.
Then receiving back 3,000 printed renewal slips, with cheque or cash payments.
Banking and reconciling the payments.
Updating their database with all the renewals and changes.
Then posting out the member welcome letter to the 3,000 members who renewed.
Then finally chasing up the 500 who hadn’t renewed on time.
Did I mention that the committee were all volunteers? A few months ago I checked in to see how their renewal went not long after the automated emails had been sent. More than 2,200 of their membership database had already renewed online, paid and received their member card by email - that is with NO work from the committee. Change can be scary, but gee the results can really pay off.
For more case studies, see how Dave from Broadmeadow H.O.G. is now saving 100 hours per month since going online.
6. Build Momentum
Sometimes people might not be aware that change is possible. Or they are too deep in the structures of an organisation to see the potential for change. Keep your committee engaged by gaining a quick win straight away - by rolling out your digital membership card or launching the club app and getting conversation going.
7. Embrace change and celebrate the wins
Change is one of the few guarantees in life. The narrative around change is that it is hard. But engaging for change is also incredibly insightful and can be very beneficial for you and your club in identifying pain points, addressing concerns and creating an amazing experience for everyone. It can be a rewarding process if you view each friction point as a lesson or an insight. Embrace it. And don’t forget to celebrate the wins and progress too!
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