Road to RelevanceNot long ago, my co-author, Harrison Coerver, and I took our own advice. Since we believe embracing technology is essential for the future, we created an alliance with CommPartners to produce a live, online book launch in the form of a webinar and online learning modules designed to introduce the concepts in Road to Relevance: 5 Strategies for Competitive Associations. This was new territory for us but reinforces something we’ve been telling associations: technology is powerful and shouldn’t be ignored.

As you consider the technology imperative for your association, the following three tips may be helpful:

Find the expertise you need. Any time you enter new territory it’s a good idea to have a guide with you. Ours was CommPartners. We met at an ASAE meeting two years ago. When we began asking, “What if?” we decided to call someone who knew what they were doing. We learned much about what’s possible for a hybrid event (which combines a live audience with an online one) and are grateful to have had such knowledgeable guides.

Be willing to get out of your comfort zone — but stay with your strengths when you do so. I’ll admit it: though Harrison and I speak frequently, we’d never done something like this. Doing so meant getting out of our comfort zones. Now that we’ve done it, it feels good to know we have a new skill set as a result. Your association can benefit the same way when you take a risk as well. But remember: risks are smaller and the potential for a high return on investment is greatest when you operate within your strengths.

Walk before you run. Another way to ensure success is to work in phases. It can be overwhelming to tackle or introduce a large initiative all at once. Take a lesson from for-profit companies and do a limited roll out, test market or phased introduction. What you learn at each step will be helpful for the next.

Over 700 people registered for our live webinar and we had people watching from Japan, Belgium and France. That’s the power of technology! How can you adapt it for your association? (If you missed the webinar and are interested in watching it on-demand, click here. I suggest watching it just to observe the format. We had an emcee for a pre- and post-show, an idea that’s easily adaptable for your association’s online events!)