Strategy for Digitalisation
While many of us have been reacting to the development of all the technology in the past year, it is now time to take a step back and look at the big picture. What should be your strategy for digitalisation? What tools would best suit your organisation’s needs? Where should you start?
Let’s focus on four aspects of association life: education, day-to-day tasks, board meetings, and online communities.
- Education is an area that has seen a radical transformation since the start of the pandemic. If you are not doing it already, you should look at adapting all your educational offerings to an online environment. It is now possible to offer simulations, game-based trainings, blended e-learning courses, and so much more. Kajabi or Teachable are ready-to-use platforms that include e-commerce and marketing options too. If you need more advanced education features, you will have to pick the right Learning Management System (LMS) or if you do not need such a complex solution, explore the LMS plugins, with the ability to track progress, create assignments, tests, and games.
- Coordinating the day-to-day has also changed due to many more association employees working remotely. Fortunately, many tools exist to increase productivity and online collaboration. Just to name a few tools, Microsoft Teams and Slack both offer excellent features to stay in touch with your colleagues, share documents, organise discussions around projects, and create groups for each committee with the ability to assign tasks and timelines. Monday.com is another useful tool to allocate tasks and plan daily activities.
- Many associations have seen a huge change in board and committee meetings. In the past, board meetings would take place in-person, so most of the effort went into the logistics. Nowadays, they are taking place online, more regularly, and the focus needs to be on their effectiveness. You will need to define the goals in advance, design the structure and the tools needed to reach the objectives. Software such as Diligent or iBabs allow you to share documents in advance, send updates and follow-up messages. Miro, Mural, or Synthetron enable online brainstorming and crowdsourcing sessions. Automation is another hot area – for example, did you know that there are tools to automate the recording of the meeting minutes? (check out Reason8, Otter, or Voicera) You will surely not miss that part of the job!
- Finally, you have probably heard about online communities and are wondering if they would help you increase the engagement of members with your association. You need to understand their needs and habits first – how to encourage them to interact and ask questions? Are they looking for more opportunities to connect with other members? How can you help them to stay on top of what’s happening in your field? Then, maybe setting up an online member community is the right step to take. An inspiring example from the World Stroke Organisation: they have set up an online community called Future Leaders Programme to train stroke leaders of the future, and another one called Stroke Connector, which is a meeting place for both clinicians and stroke patients.
There is no doubt that we are in an era of digitalisation where everything is online. It is now time to pause, reflect on what is working and what is not, and review the tools to adopt, to make your work more effective.