We’ve all been there. You leave your house without your cell phone and when you realize it’s gone you feel absolutely naked. In a culture that is dependent on technology we sometimes need to take a step back and disconnect. According to Harris Interactive research, 72 percent of smartphone owners are rarely more than five feet away from their devices.
- Postcards and fliers are tangible and something members are forced to look at before deciding to ignore or discard the message.
- Personalized conversations by phone or in person tell members they are important to the organization.
- Faxing important information is making a comeback because it draws more attention than email or direct mail.
While technology is an extremely valuable tool when communicating with members, here are a few ways to reach them without the Internet:
Phone trees – Calling members is a great way to remind members that you value their membership in the organization. Phone calls are more personal than a text or email and can help members make connections with board members. Naylor’s Kelly Donovan is a former board member of the Gainesville chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association. She said that each month board members split up the member list and call people to remind them about upcoming events. These personal conversations let members know their presence matters and their membership is important to the organization.
Direct mail – Who doesn’t enjoy receiving mail? Direct mail is a great way to reach members without relying on technology. Postcards and flyers are tangible and something members are forced to look at before deciding to ignore or discard the message. Kristen Hartman from the Professional Photographers of America shared that her association writes personalized notes to members when they hear about milestone events. She noted that the cards show members that the association cares about their members personal lives along with their professional careers.
Face-to-face communication – Live events are another great way to communicate with members without the use of technology. Do some research about members in attendance before the event to let them know you care about them as people.
Faxing – Association leaders tell us anecdotal stories about faxing being on the rise again because it is not used as much as email or direct mail. They are faxing members about dues renewals and upcoming conferences and getting good results. Their rationale? Nobody faxes much anymore, so if one comes through, it must be important.
Communicating with members off-line is a great way to reach those who may not be technology savvy. It also allows all parties involved to take a step away from the screen and un-plug for a bit.
My colleague Hank Berkowitz takes a 24-hour break from technology almost every weekend (generally noon Saturday to noon Sunday). No email, internet, video, tablet, gaming and answering mobile phone calls for emergencies and family members.
Do you have ideas for communicating with members sans-technology? Let us know in the comments below!
Hillary Levitz is an online marketing specialist for Naylor, LLC.