Individuals involved in an association are usually heavily invested in their profession. As organizations, do we really know our members? Do we know what they stand for, what their values are or what causes they support?
As professional institutions, we must provide guidance for establishing, improving or sustaining meaningful community engagement. It requires great effort to begin to understand others and gain their trust, but there are several ways to strengthen interpersonal connections in your industry.
To advance their mission and help others in the process, many organizations use advocacy. Advocacy is speaking out on behalf of others to protect and promote their rights and interests and to address the needs of individuals or communities.
This method is not just to shake things up, rather we should use advocacy to engage the community, build stronger relationships, and empower our own people. Our role is to elevate and involve the community so they want to participate and play part in something bigger. By making your advocacy strategy relevant, accessible, exciting or inspiring, people end up bonding over a common mission.
So how do we know what are the causes our members support or what are they comfortable doing? Ask them. Let them tell you what ways they want to get involved. We need to use the power and voice we have as a unit to give support for those resources, policies, or changes necessary.
Have a set of defined guidelines that express your expectations and provide transparency. These guidelines should encourage and motivate your members to participate. Seek constant feedback and regularly remind them of the overall objective.
We are not to impose ideas, the goal is to work together with our community; By seeking common ground, everyone can feel part of the community and make a change.