Do you feel like you have more than enough time to do everything you need to do? Do you feel like you have just the right amount of time to do what you want to do? If you are shaking your head no, you feel like most busy professionals. Not only are we feeling stressed about our lack of time, our members are too. I know this because I’ve talked with over 400 association members about the challenges in their professional lives.
When I ask members what their biggest professional problem is, they almost always say “time.” There’s not enough time in a day, in a week, or in a year to do everything they need to do.
The scarcity of time among our members is causing a bit of a predicament for associations because we frequently are asking for their time. We want members to lend us their attention so we can deliver them valuable content and resources. We are delighted when members go one step further and donate their talent in the form of the presentations, white papers, and articles that we provide. Some members even go one step further and volunteer for the emotional labor inherent in assuming a leadership role. Because many of our members are now doing the jobs of two to three people, it takes a special kind of professional to donate the amount of time required for each of these engagement levels.
What if associations could give members back a chunk of their time? Imagine how valuable an association could be if one of the key benefits was providing members with a significant time-savings. The good news is that many associations do save members’ time, but we do not market this fact to members.
Benchmarking surveys are a huge time-saver. In professions and industries with associations who do not run a benchmarking study, some of their members try to get industry information themselves in a tedious and time-consuming process which is likely to yield biased results. Online communities save members time by offering them a forum where they can get their questions answered every day of the year. In associations without online communities, some of their members wait for the annual conference or another in-person event to get their questions answered. Many associations offer a mentor program which is another time-saving opportunity for members looking for a mentor.
Chances are your association provides members with benefits that save time, but do your members know this? Try incorporating the time-savings message into your member communications to see what impact this has on them.
If your members tend to be the very busy, time-starved type, you also might want to consider developing more time-savings benefits for them. Associations Now profiled some of my time-saving association benefit ideas in a recent article. Are you interested in saving your members time? Check out the article to find out how saving time can become your association’s best member benefit.
Amanda Kaiser writes a weekly blog about how to boost member engagement, value, and our members’ experience at SmoothThePath.net. She is a member engagement expert and consultant.