A successful way to engage members virtually has an early wake-up call, but it’s worth it.
How does it work?
Association of Consulting Foresters members are independent consultants who work with private landowners across the country—and they start work very early in the morning. In a survey, members revealed that the membership benefit they value most is networking, so ACF developed “Good Morning, Foresters: Coffee, Consultants & Conversation.”
The early-morning sessions are hosted on Zoom, which is more conducive to member engagement and interaction than some educational platforms the group uses for webinars, says Lucy Firebaugh, ACF’s communications and membership specialist.
ACF encourages members bring a cup of coffee or their favorite morning beverage, and the membership team opens the session to whatever members want to talk about. They limit the sessions to 20 people to allow for an easier flow of conversation.
Why is it effective?
ACF’s largest networking event is its annual national conference, which was cancelled because of the pandemic. “We wanted to create an alternative solution for members to still receive the networking opportunities they crave and look forward to every year,” Firebaugh says.
The feedback has been “wonderful” so far. Members enjoy the informal opportunities to talk with colleagues and “not have to stress or be prepared for an educational webinar,” she says.
What’s the benefit?
Although most members would prefer to network in person, some members aren’t able to travel to in-person events. “Virtual sessions like ‘Good Morning, Foresters’ have been a great solution for them to still receive those networking opportunities,” Firebaugh says. “Even once life gets back to ‘normal,’ we are planning to still provide these virtual sessions to hopefully increase the overall value of our members’ favored benefit.”
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