Do You Have What it Takes to Run a Club in 2021
Looking at 2020 from a membership perspective the forced changes made so many membership organisations adapt quickly. Adapting to change almost became a weekly requirement, with everything evolving so fast you had little choice but to keep up, it meant the difference between thriving or failing in hard times.
I often talk to committees who want to move online and the decision can take months and sometimes years. The change to move away from the face to face, paper-based membership approach is sometimes really daunting for some organisations. Accompanied with the fear of change, the concern that members will reject their decision and the perceived enormity of the task the decision often gets put into the “too hard basket”.
In 2020 COVID forced many committees to adapt and change very quickly, some changes worked out for the better and others filled short-term requirements. Shutdowns, daily updates, fast and ever-evolving changes to legal requirements and number restrictions made it an interesting year.
Here are the five things that I took out of last year...
Membership Organisations are Vital to our Community
We all know that this is the case, but for me it was really highlighted last year, the excitement from my daughter when she was back at dance lessons, then when my son went back to playing rugby league and the relief from my elderly stepfather was allowed back to the club to see his friends. These were just a few examples but I think in times of uncertainty and turmoil, membership organisations play an even more vital role in the community, sometimes being the advocate for the latest industry information, and other times just being there to support their members.
For so many people, their community group, local club or membership organisation is their outlet and plays an important role in their day to day lives, that sometimes might be overlooked.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
When you suddenly couldn’t catch-up in person, the need to communicate in different ways , website updates, online events, email newsletters and even member chat rooms all became crucial to membership organisations. Many people were struggling in lockdown without their normal human interactions, so the need to communicate and help keep your members engaged and constantly updated was more crucial than ever for many organisations.
Speaking to some of our customers initially in the medical industry and then later those based in Victoria, members have relied on their organisations and demanded more communication than ever before.
Online Payments and Using Your Phone is the New Way
People are now more willing than ever to pay online, catch-up via Zoom and are capable of using their phones to check-in and out of places. This gives some organisations a sense of security in moving towards taking online payments for membership renewals. It also shows a willingness for people to use a mobile app for their membership organisation as well.
Generally this willingness is across most demographics. One of our customers with the highest percentage of their members using the mobile app is a womens bowling club! Often people’s initial assumption is that older members won’t use the app, however more and more we are finding, whilst some may need help initially, they are often the most engaged users from then on.
Zoom Works for Committee Meetings too!
As a committee member of my local soccer club, I often struggle to attend our monthly general meetings with kids school and dancing commitments. Being able to attend meetings online was a huge bonus for me, sometimes listening from the dance carpark or in the comfort of my house. I was able to help the committee out more this year than previously, which with all the extra COVID requirements helped burden the load.
I know many membership organisations have committees and teams scattered around the country who have already had to embrace online meetings for years. Yet even I hadn’t considered that there are definitely opportunities for smaller local clubs to allow people to attend virtually. People are often willing to help out but simply can’t attend 2 hour meetings at night but can get involved and help share the load.
There are Other Ways to Make Money
For some membership organisations, event and number restrictions caused one of the hardest financial blows in 2020, with so many clubs not being able to hold any of their major conferences, shows and some venues couldn't even open their doors. Across all of our clubs for the whole of 2020, event ticket sales on average per organisation through Member Jungle were down a massive 38%.
In a time where some associations needed to find new ways and also to lead the way in communication and keeping their members up to date many adapted very quickly by;
Offering online webinars and meetings,
Moving to online courses
Recording and uploading videos as member resources
Looking Forward to 2021
I think 2021 has shown many committees that everything can change really fast, that people can adapt and they can use their mobiles. I am not really sure what lies ahead this year, but from Member Jungle’s perspective I am excited - we are ready for what comes next!
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