In a past blog, I shared the following three helpful tools to connect with association members: Doodle to create polls, QuestionPro to create surveys, and Campaign Monitor to send bulk emails. Since the pandemic began, we’ve elevated our use of online resources to stay connected with members. I would like to share the latest tools I have adapted into my daily work routine: Zoom and BoardEffect. Zoom enables us to see one another during meetings (even more so than before the pandemic, when we were on the phone – which has been a great adaptation) and BoardEffect minimizes the number of emails in your inbox as most board tasks can be achieved in one place. When I say daily, I mean I can’t imagine not having either of these when interacting with members because I really do use them every day. Here is a closer look at both:
Zoom is probably the most obvious of online tools that has been used to communicate with association members lately, but it is not to be overlooked. Not only can you videoconference for meetings, which has been utilized to see each other “face-to-face” for years, I have learned to use it for so much more.
For example, since in-person events had to come to a complete halt, we have had to adapt how we accomplish some of the yearly, mandatory association meetings, such as the annual general meeting of members (AGM). The AGM is the gathering of members of an association to carry out such transactions as presenting financial statements and appointing new directors to the board. To learn more about the AGM, visit my blog Preparing for Meetings Held During an Association’s Annual Conference.
As you will read in the article, the AGM can be held conveniently while an association’s yearly conference takes place. But what if the ability to meet in-person is no longer an option? Thanks to the pandemic, this is exactly what we faced. Luckily, by using the webinar option in Zoom, you can successfully conduct the AGM virtually! That’s right, Zoom webinars give you the opportunity to vote in real time using polls, separate speakers from attendees by appointing panelists, and allow members to ask questions using the Q&A function. Moving forward, some associations have even decided to continue using Zoom to conduct their AGMs virtually as it allows members to focus solely on the conference and networking with their colleagues.
BoardEffect is an online platform that allows you to effectively work with the board of directors by providing the means to create meeting agendas, save important board documents, post polls and surveys, participate in board discussions, and more. Having everything in one platform reduces the number of emails between directors, which is a welcomed occurrence since email communication has only increased since 2020.
To give you a taste, I would like to share how I use BoardEffect to prepare for an association board meeting. First, I input the meeting details into a new event which will make it show up in a list of upcoming events. When the board receives notice of this meeting, they can RSVP so I can see who will be attending. Secondly, I create the agenda and meeting book. To learn more about creating an agenda, visit my blog The Board Meeting Menu: Tips on How to Create a Streamlined Agenda for a Successful Association Board Meeting. What is the meeting book, you ask? It’s simply the compilation of the agenda and accompanying meeting documents presented as a downloadable file. Finally, I save the meeting documents in the library section within a folder titled with the meeting’s date, so they are easy to find and access at any time before or following the event. And that’s it! As you can see, other than the initial email notifying the board that the agenda is ready, everything that is needed for the meeting is found within the platform. Gone are the days of searching through your inbox for the meeting details and attachments. BoardEffect provides a streamlined approach for preparing for a board meeting!
How do you incorporate online tools when communicating with your colleagues? I would be interested in learning even more ways to strengthen the connection between association members as we enter a revolutionary shift communicating with the world around us.