What if association staffers had to swap lives with their respective memberships?
by Shannon OttoWould you still think members complain too much or would their complaints seem more valid if you had to walk in their shoes?
This question stuck out to me for a few reasons. When I first began learning about associations, I for some reason thought association staffers had previously worked in their memberships fields, or had some sort of interest in the industry. I didnt realize there was an industry comprised of association staffers.
It makes sense, though. Someone has to plan the events, do the administrative work and take care of all the behind-the-scenes things required to make an association run smoothly.
So what if you had to work as an engineer, or a photographer, or an accountant? What if you belonged to your association and you just wanted to be able to take advantage of the great things it had to offer and meet other professionals in your field? Wouldnt members complaints (requests) seem a little more valid?
Lets even take it a step further and imagine if members had to work in their association for a few weeks, too. I think everyone would appreciate his or her own job, and also gain a lot of perspective.
Imagine how improved communication and understanding between staffers and members could be. (Sure, communication still might be not be perfect, but it would improve a little at least. Right?)
I think this idea is a great one, despite how unfeasible it is. It just makes sense that staffers who support their members common interests should be aware of their perspectives. Im sure some association staffers belong to other organizations, but I think to truly understand where their members are coming from, staffers should walk a mile in their shoes (so to speak).
Maybe this is all a little idealistic of me (improved communication! more perspective!), but in all seriousness, I think we too often get caught up in how our own jobs are so difficult, not thinking how our roles play into the big picture.Do you think your members would appreciate the hard work staffers do if they had to do it themselves? Would you have a better understanding of your members wants and needs if you had to work in their industries?