The lifeblood of a club is its membership. Clubs would cease to exist without his membership. One of the most important functions of an association is communication, both up and down the organizational structure. The national headquarters must communicate with its national and local chapters and its members, and the members must communicate with the local chapters and the national headquarters. One of the best forms of communication is teleconferencing, including audio, web, and video conferencing. Over the past decade, several dedicated apps have been developed that use conferencing services to achieve associations’ goals of improving the quality of communication with their members, generating new revenue and reducing costs. Here are six specialized conferencing apps associations can use right now.
administrative meetings. Associations can use plain old audio conferencing to hold administrative meetings up and down the association hierarchy. National headquarters may hold conference calls with national and local chapters, and all organizational levels may hold conference calls with members. These calls can be recorded and recorded and stored for later playback by conference participants who missed the call or by participants who only wish to playback the call for specific reference. A new feature with the saved recordings is that a link to the recording can be sent in the post-conference report email to the moderator of each call. When the link is clicked, the audio recording will play automatically, either on a desktop or mobile device. The moderator can share the email with the link to all conference participants on the call, so everyone can listen to an instant replay of the meeting at any time. These administrative conference calls may also employ conferencing service operators to implement question-and-answer sessions and polls.
Individual billing. Conferencing service providers typically send a monthly bill for all conference calls to the moderator or accountant who pays the bills for the association. However, some of these conference calls, such as lobbying calls, may include conference participants who are from different associations, which may cause a problem for the moderator who set up the conference call. This moderator would get the one bill for the call and would then have to either pay the cost of the whole call or split the cost from every other participating association and collect from each of them. This is time-consuming and a real pain in the ass. A new app for clubs and other non-profit organizations is called individual billing. With this new app, the service provider can split the bill based on the total minutes spent on the conference call by each organization. Then the service provider can send and collect the specific individual invoices from each organization. The time-consuming splitting, invoicing and collection of invoices is no longer necessary for association employees.
sub-conferences. Sub-conferences are an operator-assisted feature that allows the operator to split the main call into sub-groups that can be split into separate conference calls. After the subgroups have done their specific business, they can call the operator, who can then put them all back into the main conference. An example would be a national association starting the large conference call with participants from across the United States. When the call’s moderator was ready, the operator was called, and then the call was divided into four subgroups, one subgroup for each part of the country. After the subgroups finished their regional deals, the operator would reunite the subgroups into one big call. Sub-conferences are a feature or app that must be pre-planned with the service provider in order for an operator to be available and knowledgeable to handle the call.
Continuing education. Many professional organizations have a commitment to continuing education in the profession they represent. Additionally, many of these professionals must take as many continuing education courses each year to achieve their continuous certification in the industries they work in. Initially, these courses were held in person, which required time and travel. Next, these classes began providing help via conference calls. With the development of conferencing technology, these classes have now moved to the internet, utilizing web and video conferencing. Typically, associations need to develop the curriculum content, do all the marketing and promotions, take all the registrations, hold the webinar, send out the invoices, collect the funds for the courses, and then send out the certificates proving course completion. One of the new conferencing apps developed by conferencing service providers allows the association to focus entirely on the content of the course and who will be leading the class, allowing the service provider to handle all registrations, marketing and shipping of the supporting materials, run the webinar with professional operators supervising the course, collect all funds and send out the course certificates. At the end of the webinar, the service provider would provide the association with a billing summary along with a check for the difference between the total earnings for the class minus the service provider’s costs. Every webinar should be a source of revenue for the club.
market research. Another app that has been developed by service providers over the last decade is focus group interviews conducted via audio or video conferencing. Historically, focus groups have been conducted in person and have involved the rental of a facility and the necessary travel expenses to and from both the facilitators and possibly the research subjects. With the advent of conferencing technology, these focus groups can now be conducted through the use of audio or video conferencing services, significantly reducing facility rentals and eliminating travel expenses. These sessions can be recorded and taped for later playback by researchers.
affinity programs. Affinity programs are intended to open up an additional source of income for certain associations. Many associations generate additional income by offering and selling products and services to their members. Some conferencing providers have established affinity programs that allow the service provider to market conferencing services to members of the association. In principle, the Association grants the service provider permission to market its services to the members and assists in the promotion of the services through the Association’s publications and communications to the members. The service provider then develops the program materials, markets its services to members at a discount, and then remits a monthly license fee to the association’s headquarters based on the revenue generated by the program. An affinity program can provide an association with a significant influx of new revenue, provided the membership is an appropriate user of conferencing services.
There you have it, six apps designed for clubs to help them achieve their goals, generate new revenue and reduce their costs.