There’s a major shift happening in education right now – with courses and classes being held virtually or, in many cases, cancelled altogether. That leaves members of education-based associations turning to their organizations for support, answers and resources. The changing landscape has presented a key question for professional association leaders too:
How can we better support our members during these times of uncertainty?
There is no straightforward answer – education-based associations are inherently complex, with a combination of stakeholders and members with unique needs that constantly change with the climate.
There are, however, steps and initiatives executives can explore in order to create a better member-first experience – like leveraging technology and data to deliver relevant and meaningful digital experiences.
As a digital transformation partner for education associations, we’ve outlined 3 key ways leaders can use innovative technology and data to support their members during uncertain times (and here on after.
Reorganize Site Content with an Optimized Web Development Platform
Now more than ever, members are looking to their associations for additional resources and tools to help them navigate unprecedented times. A strong email marketing and communications strategy is a great way to keep members up to date on the latest news However, members are also depending on their associations to make timely and relevant content accessible. They are looking for a superior digital experience with better site mapping, smart search and a more modern look.
While most professional association websites serve as a massive hub of content across news, press and policies, members often find the content to be unorganized or lacking findability altogether. This create a user-experience that is less than ideal.
Prioritizing the User-Experience
The American Geophysical Union, for example, provides a highly curated and personalized experience for its membership base that consists of 12 entirely different personas. With a design-centric website, AGU consolidated and reorganized over 60,00 pages of content – improving on-site engagement and the overall user-experience.
Education associations looking to truly enhance their member experience, should focus on a web experience that prioritizes the users’ needs – content that’s easy to find, consume and speaks to their members’ specific interests.
Utilize Data Analytics and Consolidation to Better Understand Your Members
Not all members are created equal. Nationwide, education association members are experiencing school closures, at all grades and levels, but the impact is felt very differently across geographies and the socioeconomic statuses of the districts they represent.
A member from Nebraska, for example, may be well equipped to handle remote teaching because they work in a district accustomed to school closures from snow days. However, a member in South Florida may be ill-equipped to handle virtual learning and is seeking guidance and support from their association.
How can an education association understand their unique members better?
Making a Case for Data-Driven Decision Making
With the right database development solution, to better manage, store and make sense of data, associations can work towards understanding their members at a deeper level. Newfound insights can turn to more-informed decisions making – from the resources to share or the best tools to deploy.
Data-driven decision making helped Fordham University School of Law significantly improve their student experience across their entire lifecycle. From student enrollment to academic performance, their new analytics framework, which spanned 12 different departments, helped drive predictability and true transformation across the university.
Deliver Meaningful and Relevant Content Through Personalization
Combining member data and a thoughtfully crafted website will allow associations to truly personalize the member experience. Personalization is crucial to engaging members, by showing them the content that is most relevant to them – based on their geolocation or website engagement history.
Because each member is unique, personalization ensures that the members get an experience that completely aligns with their needs. A substitute teacher in an affluent community in Connecticut is likely to have a different agenda than a school principal in Georgia. The only way to meet members’ needs and exceed their expectations is through personalization.
Personalized experiences can:
- Increase membership engagement both offline and online
- Convert engaged members into loyal members
Right now, while members’ needs are evolving daily, it’s important that associations leaders do their part to provide the most valuable resources their members need.
Giving Your Members the Support They Need
It’s never too late to give your members the support they need during these times. From enhancing their web experiences to helping them find the content they want, to prioritizing their interests and needs, education associations looking to show up for them members, should consider the power of technology and data.
At Icreon, we bring 20+ years of solution-driven expertise working with associations across a variety of fields and disciplines. We understand the challenges associations and their members are facing and we are committed to finding innovative ways to support education-based associations during volatile times.