Component relations professionals (CRPs) are the Leonardo da Vinci’s of the association world. As modern day Renaissance men and women, you need to help chapters with membership, volunteer management, leadership, governance, marketing, events, finance, and so much more. If only you had da Vinci’s artistic talents because you also have to produce all kinds of visual content too.
But with the help of tech tools, you can pass as an amateur artist or graphic designer. At the Association Component Exchange (CEX) hosted by Mariner Management & Marketing and Billhighway, 16 component relations professionals (CRPs) shared stories about the tech tools they use for their work with chapters.
In this series of posts, we’re covering three categories of chapter tech tools:
- Collecting chapter information and data
- Providing resources to chapter leaders
- Creating visual content for chapters and chapter leaders
In this post, we hear how five CRPs use tech tools to create visual content for chapters and chapter leaders.
Animated presentations and videos: PowToon
Beth Humphrey, membership manager at the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), introduced us to PowToon, an online platform for creating animated presentations and explainer videos. She uses PowToon to create volunteer leader toolkit videos.
Even though their volunteer leader toolkit is full of resources, members were still calling the office with questions about where to find something. Using PowToon, Beth created short (less than three minutes) videos to highlight what’s available in the toolkit. She also did videos on Financials 101 and chapter bylaws since those topics generate many questions too.
Her team wrote the script for each video, chose images and animation from PowToon, and then did voiceovers. Each video took about eight hours to create.
Since the videos were created, the number of calls and questions from chapter leaders have decreased. Chapters are even using the videos for their board orientations. An ASAE Collaborate user said they used PowToon “to create [a] promotional video for an event… It’s really user-friendly and kind of works similarly to PowerPoint. Also, they offer a great discount for nonprofits.”
Live and recorded videos: Periscope
Tanya Russick, director of member and chapter relations and national secretary at the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), said her chapters use Periscope to share videos of live and recorded events. The only equipment you need to use Periscope is an iPhone, microphone, and stand.
Members and non-members can view live streaming of chapter events for free. After the event, she shares links to the recorded videos in emails and on the chapter’s website. Because Periscope counts live and replay views in the viewer metrics, Tanya can measure the interest in different event topics.
Graphic design made easy: Canva
Samantha Herman, senior chapter relations manager at the Association for Talent Development (ATD), and Leisl Moriarty, CMP, director of affiliate relations at the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), are both fans of Canva.
Canva is a graphic design tool that’s perfect for chapters (or associations) with limited budgets. Samantha and Leisl use Canva to create event marketing materials, tools, and resources for their chapters. Their chapters use Canva for:
- Calls for volunteers
- Award winner announcements
- Save the date notices
- Product promos
ATD set up branding guidelines so chapter designs align with National’s. Canva offers all kinds of templates on which to base designs. You can customize photos, text, and layouts, then download, share, and/or order prints.
A Collaborate user said, “I just found a jackpot for making visuals… fun, colorful graphics. Just wanted to share this goldmine with my colleagues.” Another person said,
“It’s shockingly easy, free, and a great tool for on-the-fly graphic design work—things like social media posts, presentations, agendas, etc.”
Samantha said they’re seeing much more social media engagement since they started using Canva for images on their social posts. TechSoup can help you apply for Canva’s 501(c)3 nonprofit discount.
Creative marketplace: Envato
Charlotte Muylaert, marketing leader here at Billhighway, told the CEX crowd about Envato, an online marketplace and community for creative assets and creative people. We use three Envato products: Market (digital assets), Elements (creative assets), and Studio (hire designers and developers).
Like many associations, we only have one designer on staff (hi Paige!) who has a heavy project load. Envato helps us templatize projects for quick turnaround and quality work—and it allows Paige to focus on larger projects, like CEX.
We’ve to create templates for PowerPoint presentations, white papers, flyers, and posters. We had a WordPress website theme designed. And, we hired a freelance animator for an explainer video.
Bonus: Game-based learning platform: Kahoot
Lindsay Currie, director of stakeholder engagement at the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS), uses Kahoot, a game-based learning and trivia platform as an icebreaking tool. Participants go to the Kahoot website and enter the game PIN you give them. They can play individually or as a team.
Collaborate users said they use Kahoot to:
- Give quizzes during educational sessions.
- Get attendees focused after a break with a fun trivia game and a prize (Starbucks card).
- Add gamification activities to a presentation, for example, a quick pre-assessment of attendee knowledge of the topic.
- Deliver microlearning.
Where to find more tech tools
We can’t talk about tech tools and apps without mentioning Your Nerdy Best Friend aka Beth Ziesenis. You might have heard her speak at an ASAE, SAE, or other association event. Her website and newsletter are full of tech tool recommendations from Beth and her association audience.
Check out these posts too:
- Tech Tools for Chapters (Mariner Management)
- 199+ Amazing Free or Cheap Online Tools for Nonprofits (Wild Apricot)
Guiding questions for selecting chapter technology
Before you get too far into the tool selection process, take some time to review these questions with your team:
- What current pain or challenge are you trying to solve with this tool?
- What tools are you already using to address this challenge? Are they working?
- What existing systems must integrate/play nicely with this tool?
- How will you evaluate potential tool vendors? Do you have a list of key questions and requirements?
- How will you roll out this tool and encourage chapters to adopt and leverage it?
- Who ultimately owns this project/implementation? Do you have a champion for it?
- How will you receive member and chapter feedback?
- Will you consider having a small diverse sampling of chapters to pilot the tool?
- What does success with this tool look like?
Corey Strausman, associate director of chapter development at the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), kept us grounded at CEX with this advice about technology: “Any tech tool is a solution, not the solution.”
Sometimes a tool can make a huge difference as our CEX presenters demonstrated. But sometimes people expect technology to solve problems it can’t really solve. Take a look at the people, practices, and processes around a problem. Make sure you fix those too or your new tool may not bring you the results you expected.