Meanwhile, Marcel Ewals, director, associations and marketing, MCI Group, pointed out member engagement was the “priority in 2021”, and the answer was to transform traditional top-down committees to be more diverse by including younger members and “outsiders” in building project groups and content.
Ewals said MCI was championing a “self-driven, project-driven and technology-driven strategy to help clients transition to become more interactive and creative to give members value with no face-to-face events”.
Over in India, to prevent Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) members from “incurring huge losses” if they could not transition from offline to online when the country went into lockdown on February 25, the 56-year-old entity took its case to the Supreme Court to prevent the industry from collapsing.
FADA CEO Saharsh Damani described its legal undertaking as a “learning phase” and the biggest challenge was how to make others learn.
By taking a more focused approach and increasing its branding initiatives through social media, Damani said FADA increased webinar attendance 10-fold, and key points discussed were documented in its daily newswire and fleshed out in its newsletter.
Apart from educating members on upcoming trends and government regulations, FADA created an academy, currently offering online courses and is looking at organising one- or two-day physical classroom sessions.
The federation, which has 2,600 Life Members, has tasked itself to speak to 10 members a day and to reach its entire membership at least once, on the telephone or via Zoom.
Calling India’s January 16 vaccination rollout good news and kickstarting 2021 on a good note, Damani “thinks the worse is behind us now”. He forecasts growth starting in April and is optimistic about demand in September/October, the country’s next festive season.
As for Melbourne-based Nick Koerbin, executive director, Association Executive Services, he urged associations to develop and put in place policies on data collection, data security and data privacy.
The 20-year association management veteran foresees the rationalisation and merger of associations as some of those which have been around for a long time will not survive if they do not adapt quickly, accelerate their technology know-how and are not able to manage change.
Koerbin opined future face-to-face events would be smaller and for associations to avoid online event fatigue by setting a very clear agenda and limiting sessions to no more than 45 minutes.