What's the best way to communicate with members?

Answer: 

The cheap answer is that there is no single "best" way to communicate to members. Each person has their own way preferred methods of receiving information these days which makes getting your message out there a real chore. The more tools you use, the better off you are.  Web sites, emails, Facebook, Twitter, text messages, discussion boards, videos, good old fashioned mailings and face-to-face communication all have their advantages and disadvantages.

Further complicating matters is that every union is different. What might work well for one union may not work for another union with members that have different literacy rates, demograhpics, income and education levels. Plus not every union has tons of money to throw into an effective communications program. Your union's communication program will look much different from another's.

At a minimum, though, every union should have an active system for collecting email addresses from members. I highly recommend forming a special committee for collecting email addresses for every single member that has one. And each union should have or train at least one person skilled at writing effective emails that grab people's attention. And a website that can be updated quickly and easily is also a must-have. People will identify your organization through your website so it's important to have one that looks good and is well-maintained. Many unions are also using Facebook as a way to build a two-way communication street with their members and the community.

The best piece of advice I can give is to experiment with the different avenues of communicating available to you. Talk with other unions and find out what tools are working for them and check in here at "Communicate or Die" often for great ideas and advice. When you find something that works, please share your tip with us so we can spread the word.