Associations Now Crowdsourcing – Idea for Chapters Too

Associations Now is offering an opportunity and a case study with its latest crowdsourcing option. By logging in you can submit content ideas, vote on others, add comments and throw your name in as a contributor. At least check it out as a sample of how you can engage members even if you don’t allow yourself to be drawn in and engage.

(Scratching your head over what is crowdsourcing? Check out David Knowles post Is Crowdsourcing Content Just an Excuse for Laziness which offers some good examples or ASAE’s Associapedia’s entry.)

Why the suggestion? I am preparing several presentations for chapter leaders and executives from a variety of associations and the common question is “how do I engage members.” It’s tough at the national level, but in many ways more so at the local level. There’s the issue of competition (with national as well as other local organizations and work). There’s the issue of limited resources – both dollars and technology.

Very often we tell our local groups to put up a LinkedIn Group or start tweeting. While I don’t necessarily disagree wholeheartedly, those are very labor-intensive suggestions. And they take time to build.

I see simple requests, like the act of asking members to submit ideas, vote and comment on a conference agenda or speaker series or magazine issue, as a more viable option for many. There are many polling options and less glamorous ways to crowdsource (think the old listserv). The goal is engagement – giving members a say in the organization. When we do, they will also have a stake in the organization.

Is this true for a smaller, local group? I believe so! In fact in many ways crowdsourcing is happening more readily in chapters and small groups which rely on volunteer muscle. It just that we don’t enable it beyond the small group who are willing to take on the mantle of committee.

Last year, the Washington Post shared a story about one budding restaurateur to crowd-sourced a new restaurant. She tapped the power of (which offers free group sites as well as add-on paid options) for build an online community Elements. This case offers a look at tools and process that local groups can use. It also offers a look at how crowdsourcing works for local groups too.

It does take effort to leverage crowdsourcing – I’m not suggesting that it’s way easier then lauching a community, but look back again at the Associations Now example. They are tapping members to make a quick comment. To engage, vote, go back to work. When the renewal comes, every member who did that quick touch, is closer to paying than those who never touched.

PS when you visit the Associations Now crowdsourcing portal, if think the magazine should explore more local options, vote for Social Media Collaborations: Working with your Local Groups. I did!