Share this article on FacebookShare this article on TwitterShare this article on LinkedinShare this article on RedditShare this article on PinterestExpert Author Richard Brody
Successful organizations are those whose leadership realizes that they must prioritize their members and donors. Too many organizations are perceived as taking their members for granted, and without members, organizations fail! Organizations must put members and donors first! Membership and donor satisfaction are the highest priority.

Many organizations put too much of the communication with members in the hands of paid staffs. However, while staff contact is certainly important and relevant, most members and donors prefer contact with \volunteer leaders. President Clinton was famous for speaking to the public and indicating that he felt their pain. Most people want others to be empathetic, and have certain shared experiences. Since, in most organizations, members share certain common interests, either business, occupational, religious, social, or political, they only perceive this empathy when it comes from a “peer,” in this case a volunteer leader. Think of it as the “been there, done that” perception of reality, but it is far easier in most cases for volunteer leaders to effectively communicate than it is for paid staff!

Paid staff is an important part, however, in the overall member relations/ communication arena. It is essential that paid staff answer the organization’s telephones in a professional, helpful, caring and attentive manner, and is responsive to the needs of members. Staff must send out any item requested in a timely manner, and always keep its promises made to members. Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons, including economic, educational, social, training, etc., it is often difficult to have a consistently efficient and reliable staff. In today’s technological age, with the availability of personal data devices, such as Blackberry’s, etc., there is no excuse for staff not to reply to e-mails in a prompt, reliable manner, all the time. When staff is constantly making excuses, and not getting necessary items done, organizations must consider either formal training or changing staff.

Member relations should be far more than a mere cliche. Member relations means opening up lines of communication, engaging membership in dialogue, requesting feedback, offering member benefits, and most importantly, truly caring about the needs of members. Leaders must make every effort to assure that the organization continuously evolve, without losing its identity. Leaders must communicate clearly why the organization is both relevant and important to members, and why members are so important to the organization.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed far too many organizations that have “lost their way” over the past three decades of organizational and management consulting. Leaders must constantly revisit the idea, “Why should someone want to belong and be active in this organization?” Organizations whose leaders do this are invariably the strongest!

Richard Brody has over 30 years consultative sales, marketing, training, managerial, and operations experience. He has trained sales and marketing people in numerous industries, given hundreds of seminars, appeared as a company spokesperson on over 200 radio and television programs, and regularly blogs on real estate, politics, economics, management, leadership, negotiations, conferences and conventions, etc. Richard has negotiated, arranged and/ or organized hundreds of conferences and conventions. Richard is a Senior Consultant with RGB Consultation Services, an Ecobroker, a Licensed Buyers Agent (LBA) and Licensed Salesperson in NYS, in real estate.

By yanam49

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