Product Review of ASAE’s webinar, “Are your Members Ready for Web 2.0”
(As a part of a new series for this blog, I am going to focus on product reviews of interest to managers of trade associations, non-profits, and other groups. I am welcoming not only suggestions for review materials, but also your reviews as guest writers on this blog. Email me for further information and suggestions about how to write a product review for Circle Dance.)
An email came to day from ASAE: ‘Here’s a free gift for you,” it said. “We’re offering this in appreciation for your continuing membership.” (It goes without saying, of course, that the annual membership solicitation arrived last week).
Not being one to reject the price point, I decided to accept the offer. That part was simple: I kept clicking on links, expecting to receive a PDF file or some such, but intrigued by the title. So often I hear association managers saying things like “Members can’t read”, that I thought perhaps there’d be a rather difficult dance around the question of whether or not they were ready for something as mysterious as Web 2.0.
What I discovered when I unwrapped my free ASAE gift was a really worthwhile and down-to-earth presentation for managers of any association, practical advice in how to introduce technology into an association environment with a goal in mind of increasing member awareness of the association and participation in it.
The presenter of the webinar is Bob Wolfe, training director for the Solid Waste Association of North America. The presentation itself was made at an ASAE Conference on Feb.1, 2008. I applaud ASAE for selecting this presentation to highlight as its ‘gift’: it is on a topic which is timely, the presentation is filled with association-focused content. Further, Bob’s membership (“That’s GARBAGE HAULERS to you”, he says) makes his approach to the topic relevant to all of us.
Here’s a digest of some of Wolfe’s points:
• Point: don’t worry about the technology, worry about perceived member value. Choose the technology that’s accessible to members (hardware, software, and learning curve).
• Recommends: blogs, YouTube, FaceBook. Avoid Second Life as graphic intensive, and with a high learning curve.
• Remember that members don’t care about the delivery, they care about the conversation.
• Avoid the technology hype. Ask, will the technology provide value to members. How will THEY use it? If you fall for the hype your efforts will result negative word of mouth, you’ll lose your return on whatever investment you might have made, and the members will lose confidence in you.
Wolfe’s central point about introducing Web 2.0 to associations is, begin where the members are and build from there. He includes useful tips about building like have an official conference blogger for your convention, and capture the members’ conversation.
I can’t think of too many reasons not to spend some personal development time with this ASAE presentation. “Are your Members Ready for Web 2.0?” is available for free to ASAE members by simply clicking on the link and checking out, and if you’re not an ASAE member the price for the presentation is $19.95, a minimal investment.
“Oh,” you may groan, “I haven’t GOT an hour and a half to spend on this stuff. I gotta get the annual budget report done.”
Fear not. Once you access the content, you have 120 days that your purchase will be available to you to work through, and NO budget report is going to take that long.
But even if you don’t really care about the content, get this product to learn what a masterful online presentation looks like! The program is re-issue, as I said, of a live presentation, edited to make a very smooth online resource by the producing company, Content Management Corporation.
All I can say about their presentation is “WOW”! The slides are excellent, and coordinate flawlessly with Wolfe’s audio component. In addition, there’s a tracking window on the screen so you can follow the outline, and skip ahead or repeat certain topic areas. I don’t know the cost of producing a presentation like this, but I think that any association with a goal of having more members accessing valuable information ought to pay close attention to this company and its many services.
Thanks, ASAE, for the gift.
I’m going to go write my dues renewal check now.