For most members of a regional business aviation group, the ability to network with other members and engage readily with leadership, committees, training opportunities and the like is a key benefit. Yet, although most groups have had to cancel their in-person events and meetings this year, there are still ways to engage with members and maintain communication, and even increase member contact.
“There is an opportunity during this new reality to hone an association’s communications strategy,” said Brittany Davies, NBAA’s Northeast Region representative. “Projects that are often sidelined due to time or funding constraints are rising to the top of the priority list in order to engage with members, build trust and provide a direct link to the local network.”
To help regional groups and NBAA members navigate the challenges of networking and providing educational information during these times, Davies and Phil Derner, NBAA’s Western Region representative, developed a timely resource titled “Increasing Your Organization’s Digital Engagement.” The new pamphlet covers topics such as how to host online events, start and distribute email newsletters, use social media effectively, and hold webinars and produce podcasts.
“This new guide is ideal for assisting regional groups in getting in front of a broader community,” said Davies.
“One silver lining to the challenges of the pandemic is that we are being pushed to innovate in areas such as digital engagement.”
Phil Derner Western Region Representative, NBAA
“One silver lining to the challenges of the pandemic is that we are being pushed to innovate in areas such as digital engagement,” agreed Derner. “We’ve created this document to be the first step in enabling local and regional groups to decide what they want their virtual strategy to be moving forward. This will also bring tremendous value once we are past the COVID-19 environment.”
There’s no better time than now to learn about the many valuable tools and resources available to regional groups needing to increase their online engagement, according to the NBAA reps. The new pamphlet provides information on the various social media platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter – which are free and relatively easy to use.
Steve Hadley, NBAA’s senior director of regional programs and Southwest Central Region representative, noted that the publication will be updated as experience and new technologies are developed.
“This new resource is provided as a living document available to local and regional business aviation groups and NBAA members to use as a guide as they navigate the challenges of networking during these times,” he said.
WAMA Sets Course for Future
The Westchester Aircraft Maintenance Association (WAMA) has taken to heart the old saying “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” WAMA leadership has used the downtime during the COVID-19 hiatus to upgrade its website, add three committees and launch a quarterly newsletter. Even meetings have become more frequent. The WAMA board, which usually met monthly, is now meeting weekly on a virtual basis.
WAMA President Jody Kerton believes it’s especially important during these times to stay engaged with members and to help those members who have been furloughed or laid off.
“We are discounting or even waiving membership fees,” said Kerton. The group has a job board and has added an Education and Career Committee, which will be bringing in training providers and getting WAMA members involved with career development, mentorships and scholarships. A Communications Committee and Maintenance Committee are also in the works.
WAMA, which represents professionals primarily in the tri-state New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area and normally meets near New York’s Westchester County Airport, marks its 60th anniversary this year.
“We’ve been around a while, but it’s a new age right now,” said Kerton. “We want to meet the different needs that people have and change along with the industry.”