Member Communications

 

 

MBBPC Working Group / Project Outline Definition

Title

 

Member Communications

Drivers / background

  • Member communications are initiated by member groups, staff within the membership team, council and other areas. These are not co-ordinated or aligned at present.
  • Good communication is seen as an important factor in member retention.
  • Trustee Board and Council both see this as a high priority topic.
  • Trustee Board placed an action on Membership Board (1 page member engagement policy to report back at the August TB meeting), and communication is key to engagement.
  • There is a new rule that member groups must send welcome letters to their new members, and no easy way to do it at present.
  • There is a current initiative within the membership team relating to member communication and the member experience, not initiated by Membership Board, which needs to be aligned and connected.
  • We have feedback on this topic from the autumn convention 2011.

 

Lead

Member of Membership Board

 

Structure & Membership

Working Group reporting to Membership Board.

 

Members should include representatives from Membership Board, MBBPC, membership team, Council and member group committees. It would be helpful to have a member of DE's team - someone involved in the initiative which has already started. It would be helpful to involve (though not necessarily as part of the working group) one or more members who are not involved currently in boards or committees. There will need to be an 'owner' for any IT solution required from within DE team.

 

Purpose

  • To ensure that new members are welcomed, informed and receive good quality communications, which are co-ordinated and aligned whether they come from BCS staff or member group committees.
  • To ensure that ongoing regular communications are similarly co-ordinated, appropriate and relevant, informed and timely and encourage member engagement and member retention.
  • To ensure that the various channels of communication are clear for members and member group committees. Communications should be transparent so that all stakeholders are aware of the communications which take place.

 

Objectives / Deliverables

  • Identify the stakeholders involved in member communications, their current experience and the desired situation. (This could be done by direct consultation with stakeholders such as council and boards, and a survey for member group committees).
  • Document the current communications which take place and where these are initiated and owned.
  • Gain better understanding of the current member experience and the desired member experience. (This could be done using a survey and/or focus groups).
  • Gap analysis - identify areas for improvement.
  • Develop and implement an improved and effective communications plan for members, co-ordinated across the different parties who communicate with members - staff, member groups, councillors, etc. This should cover initial communication for new members and ongoing regular co-ordinated communication for all members.
  • Develop a mechanism by which member groups can welcome their new members - consistently, effectively, and as part of an overall plan of communication with members. (This may require an automated / IT solution and funding / gateway approval etc).
  • A review / repeat survey after a specified period (say 1 year) to check and refine the process.

Timescales

A survey / set of focus groups / investigation into the current situation could be achieved within 2-3 months, so that results could be shared, along with outline plans for improvements, at the Autumn 2012 conventions.

Timescales for the welcome letter mechanism will depend on funding and prioritization.

Timescales for introducing improvements will depend on the gaps identified, and whether any automation is required. (e.g. 6-12 months).

 

Approach

It is envisaged that the work which has already started within membership team may form much of the basis for part of this work. It needs to be directed from Membership Board, needs to have MB authority for key decisions, and may need to be extended to include the additional objectives described here.

There may be an opportunity to test out ideas and get feedback using the speed networking session planned for the autumn convention.

The volunteer portal should be used where appropriate to (1) publicise what is being done (2) find volunteers to be involved and (3) consult on plans and output.

 

Authority

Membership Board (in consultation with Council and Trustee Board)

 

 

Comments

Advice to HQ on communications with members

 

I would like to see that one of the outcomes is a mechanism whereby HQ will be advised by the WG in respect of the tone and relevance of its communications with members and officers. It seems to me that this is expressed in the second bullet under Purpose, but is not captured under Objectives / Deliverables.
 

Member communication

This is great as far as it goes, but I think communication must be a two way activity in order to be recognised as useful. I believe Council is asking MB to recommend how to build two way channels with Members, especially those who are not active in Member Groups. This means making it easier for Members to talk to volunteers and staff than it is at present (and I don't mean via web based discussions), as well as email.