The Latest … in the membership world (2020 round-up)

Dec 31, 2020 | BMA, CIPR, EIGCA, ICE, Inspiration Exchange News, IoIC, NMC, PAGB, RIA, RICS, RSSB, The Law Society

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

A round-up of My Top 10 for 2020 – a review of what is good in the membership sector

I started The Latest … in May 2020 as a monthly round-up of what membership organisations do to support their members.  Every month I curate a list of what I have found on my travels around the membership sector as not only a record of what we are all working hard to achieve, but also to help fellow practitioners.

Learning from others is the basis on which Inspiration Exchange is built, so this series of monthly round-ups aims to inspire you to achieve more for your members.

COVID obviously dominated our time during 2020, but the day jobs have continued with key themes jumping out in governance, diversity, engagement and technology.

Looking back at past issues of The Latest …, I have pulled out my Top 10 in terms of what I was impressed with. This is more than the bread-and-butter activity we all do to keep the wheels in motion.  What is featured in the top 10 are those activities which stood out as understanding our members or the feel and mood of the community, either within our membership or amongst society in general.

1 – British Medical Association (BMA)

“What I wish I had known …” – these personal accounts by students at each stage of their training put a human face on what it is like to become a doctor.  From ‘breaking into medicine’ through to qualification, these first-hand accounts give tips and insights unto what it is really like to study and train to be a doctor.  Whether these would encourage – or discourage – anyone already on this path or thought-track, I am not convinced, but I really like this warts-and-all approach. Nothing beats human experience. Read them yourself: breaking into medicine, 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year and the final year.

2 – Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

RICS has a new operating model – this is an excellent example of openness and candour which is why it features at No.2 in this Top 10.  RICS announced it will be leaner and that there were going to be job losses as a result of a review prom[ted by the pandemic. It is heartening to see this level of honesty and transparency, especially from such a membership giant (circa 125,000 members). There is no whitewashing of what could be considered bad news, which in my mind, deserves respect and praise. If I was a RICS member, this lack of smoke and mirrors on the future of the Institution would be give me confidence in the management of the organisation.

3 – Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)

As a member of three professional bodies, CIPR stands out to me for the way it communicated with members and the support it made available.  The team understood what members needed – and were feeling – and provided this in spades.  CIPR’s Director of Marketing Communication, Sarah Ion, wrote this – Showing empathy in coronavirus comms – to explain how CIPR’s sole focus was on supporting the PR community, and extending some of that support more widely than the membership. For its empathy with members, CIPR gets this well-deserved third place.

4 – The Law Society

I hold my hand up to being a ‘woman-of-a-certain-age’, i.e. the menopause is quietly knocking on the door, so my ears pricked up when I heard about The Law Society’s guidance on menopause. I not only applaud The Law Society for raising awareness of what many consider a taboo subject, but I also praise them for supporting female members on this personal issue as an organisation which is perceived (more likely by those not in the profession) as representing a profession which is quite-frankly stuffy, old-fashioned, perhaps behind the times … and male-dominated.  For being brave, I have put The Law Society at No.4.

5 – Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

I find it refreshing for a membership organisation to be transparent about what is discussed at Council meetings, rather than have them hidden under a veil of secrecy with confidential minutes and members not aware of what is discussed, let alone decided, nor how the governance process works..  Understandably, there will be elements of discussions which cannot be made public, but I applaud this level of accountability by informing members of progress, decisions and actions. I have been involved with organisations where Council members have leaked details which have only served to damage the reputation of the organisation so what ICE does could be considered a bold move.  For their bravery and transparency, I have put ICE at No.5.

6 – Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC)

It is easy to fall into the trap of operating within your bubble and only engaging with members and immediate stakeholders. With creating echo-chambers like this there is a huge risk of not knowing what you don’t know. The NMC started a newsletter which reaches and engages with members of the public to help understand their experiences, needs and views which will then help shape the work of the NMC.

7 – Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB)

Never more important this year has been the need for everyone everywhere to take care of themselves – mentally and physically. PAGB made a lovely video of tips for #SelfCareWeek, which they pushed out on their social channels. I love the ‘less-is-more’ approach which allows the messages to come through loud-and-clear. This video makes it into my Top 10 for its simplicity in terms of production and messaging and is an excellent of less is more.

8 – European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA)

Having an international audience can be a challenge with the need to localise advice given. EIGCA used its membership to crowdsource Pan-European business support advice given by their own governments during the first wave of the pandemic and curated links which was made freely available to members, their commercial partners and the wider golfing industry. This approach to harnessing the knowledge of the membership to benefit the wider community is why EIGCA makes it to the Top 10.

9 – CIPR and Institute of Internal Communication (CIPR & IOIC)

On the basis of two heads are better than one, or stronger together, I like that two professional bodies joined forces to provide resources for the overlap in their memberships.  The two organisations partnered to support internal comms practitioners through the next phase of the pandemic with resources including webinars, skills guides and factsheets which counted towards CPD for both organisations.

10 – Railway Industry Association & Rail Safety Standards Board (RIA & RSSB)

This is the second partnership activity to make the Top 10. The RIA and RSSB online event was a series of free webinars open to all members of both organisations. I am a fan of organisations collaborating for a number of reasons, not least because this can aid mutual understanding of opposing perspectives, but it can also identify similarities between members which can be built on to benefit members of both organisations.


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