I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with a vibrant healthcare IT executive who serves on the Board of Trustees for her Professional Healthcare Association. I thought we were going to generally focus on the pressure and challenges Association leaders face with membership recruiting, engagement and retention. I was WRONG.
Do you know what actually keeps Association leaders up at night? Not the election. Not the election results. But the uncertainty of what comes NEXT post-election! (insert scary music here)
Historically, healthcare industry Associations have developed firm strategies around election years. During our conversation, however, I learned this year has been even more stressful than most when it came to response strategy because there was and still is so much that is “unknown.” Leading up to elections, association “All-Star” teams of staff, lobbyists, key members and leaders, and other stakeholders have:
After all, for many members, their Association is their lifeline for staying current with the latest public policy changes. Associations are undisputedly powerful forces in both driving and responding to change on local, state, and federal levels.
Having learned from the impact of the many changes as a result of the ACA, thriving healthcare organizations do NOT want to (and can’t afford to) sit idle as they await the ripples and waves that will continue in force post-election.
As this leader continued to share her perspective, she only reconfirmed how powerful ENGAGEMENT can be. MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENT to be exact. No matter which candidate or party was elected to office, she (and the industry) knew change was inevitable. In this mindset, it is vital that Associations prioritize robust communication portals to ensure effective collaboration as those changes occur. They also need to ensure that these communication loops are “open.”
So many Association communication efforts centered around public policy are one-way. The organization is sharing GREAT content, but how and when does the member have the opportunity to engage back with the Association? Over the next year, the Associations who will sustain membership and remain successful will have ensured that their membership has:
1. Invite Lobbyists or Other Key Decision Makers to Participate in a Private Community
2. Create Advocacy Debriefs & Community Posts
3. Crowd-Source Policy Excerpts in Communities
Ready to start the conversation?
If your Association needs an online community – a safe, accessible place for you and your members to engage and talk about hot topics – contact Next Wave Connect today. We can help you set up your branded community, advise you on engagement best practices, and follow through on execution.