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Can Associations Leverage Technology to add Value for Members? We’d Better! (guest blog)

How can Associations, like the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council, leverage technology to add value for our growing regional membership? Some of our challenges are like any small business. I am one of two full-time employees; and we have two part-time employees. We don’t have IT department.

Some challenges are specific to non-profit. The quest to do more with less; to make the most of limited funds; serving diverse members with specific expectations.

Then there’s the fact that we serve technology professionals; so there’s an expectation that our operation will stay current with the latest tech developments- social media functionality, to mobile applications to meaningful data analysis.

Over the last few years, in spite of the obvious market challenges, the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council has grown from roughly 200 member companies to more than 260 member companies. During this time we’ve been functioning in multiple disconnected systems- our CRM, our event registration tool, e-marketing tool and our website. Not only is it cumbersome to work in multiple systems, volumes of valuable member data are trapped between disconnected tools. Lost with this data are answers to how we can serve our members better; how we can add value to their membership investment. While our systems could potentially be connected to some degree, again we don’t have an IT department to figure that out while we keep the organization moving.

We are in the very early implementation stage of moving to a new membership platform that will roll all of these functions into one. We looked at lots of options however was the first and only that seemed to really get how to leverage technology to serve our community- social media enabled, fully customizable, highly intuitive and responsive to changes in how members want/need to connect. Add to that their flat fee all inclusive model with unlimited admin seats and unlimited support assistance and it was the clear leader for this small but growing technology association.

Talking to members about this new platform well in advance of our anticipated December 1st launch, I try not to make it sound like the greatest thing ever. We have a lot of work to do to get this platform ready for our member community; but we’re pretty excited!

Kris Valerio,
Executive Director
Chesapeake Regional Tech Council


September 14, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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