Brian Haney, CAE
Brian Haney, CLTC, CFBS, CFS, CIS, LACP, CAE, is vice president at the Haney Company in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The coronavirus crisis has created hazards, risks, and potential risks for members that could be mitigated with the proper insurance. Associations should consider affinity programs to help support members and generate modest nondues revenue during this time.
As the association community grapples with event cancellation and virtual nimbleness amid the COVID-19 crisis, it is critical to also recognize the risks faced by your members. They may be wrestling with myriad financial and insurance-related issues and would welcome your guidance and help. This crisis may present an opportunity to become a better partner to your members in supporting their vital business needs.
As I scan the industry landscape and observe what forward-thinking corporations are doing, I see a common theme in those that are leading well during this pandemic. They have focused almost entirely on caring for people and placed the rest of their agenda and deliverables secondary to that. How can associations do the same for their members? Engage in two-way conversations and collaborate with members to improve your association’s value proposition.
Association member companies are struggling with virtualizing their workforce, cutting costs, covering payroll, and navigating sales and revenues to online models. Many are examining the various insurance coverages to find any form of relief. As an association leader, you might be able to help members and generate modest revenue through affinity programs. Affinity programs are benefit programs designed strategically to meet the needs of the members, often addressing important business needs, such as insurance protection. In many affinity programs, the Association receives a percentage of the sale as a referral commission. To be successful, there must be a true price advantage and value for the member.
As I scan the industry landscape and observe what forward-thinking corporations are doing, I see a common theme in those that are leading well during this pandemic. They have focused almost entirely on caring for people and placed the rest of their agenda and deliverables secondary to that.
Here are three areas to consider with affinity programs:
Develop a listening ear and use this time to engage with your members in meaningful ways. A survey does not hurt, but consider hosting a series of member-driven townhalls where your members set the agenda. The associations that will grow through this crisis will be the ones that set aside agendas and sit next to their members, place their arms around their shoulders, and say, “Hey, how are you doing? Is there anything I can do to help?”
The power of that kind of messaging and engagement will not only lead to the right affinity programs, but will build considerable relational value that will last long after this pandemic is over.