Thursday Buzz: Benefits of a Trial Program

No one wants to implement a program that is doomed to fail. To prevent an expensive mistake, use a trial program. Here’s how to get started. Also: If your volunteers aren’t as productive as you need them to be, the problem could lie with the timing of your request.

Associations are under constant pressure to provide new and better value to members. One way to experiment with new offerings without spending a ton of money is to run trials.

“When you offer a trial program to a group of participants, you can watch how they use the program and learn what they really value—instead of making assumptions about their needs and preferences,” writes Jared Loftus in new post for

You can open trial programs to a wide audience, but if you’re looking for deep feedback, you may want to keep participation limited. “If you decide to select participants, pick those who are representative of your overall target audience,” says Loftus. Make sure you pick companies, chapters, or individuals that reflect the majority of your members.

Trials are also a good way to repair a strained relationship. “You could also use the trial as an olive branch,” he writes. “Offer participation to a chapter with whom you’ve had a less than ideal relationship.”

When Volunteers Fall Short

Volunteers are an important part of many associations, so much so that when they don’t deliver it can be a real setback. So why do those who step forward to volunteer wind up letting you down?

Amanda Kaiser spoke to a bunch of volunteers to find out why they’re not engaging and she notes a common theme: timing. You may be asking for help during a busy time of year, or you ask for too much time. Worst of all, someone has volunteered previously and found it to be a waste of time.

“To get volunteers engaged, fix the issues that arise because of time and timing,” she says.

Other Links of Note

Journalism is currently reinventing itself in ways associations could learn from. The Membership Puzzle Project takes a look at the newsrooms that are putting a focus on membership education.

Are you posting the same message across all of our social channels? The Hootsuite blog shares a few tactics to try to instead.

Public speakers have a lot of the same bad habits. Here are tips for breaking them and becoming a better storyteller from Fast Company.

(iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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