For many years I’ve been studying websites and other digital communication tools used by Junior Chamber International (JCI) chambers around the world. When chambers tell me about their successes I can see a connection between using technology in an intelligent way and membership engagement. The most outstanding chambers have changed their processes and have a person on the board who is a digital leader. They are also more externally focused when compared with chambers that are not growing or keeping their members.
The leading JCI chambers around the world understand the importance of technology and they use it in a strategic way to communicate with their members and partners. JCI chambers that do not do this are not adapting to the changing world around them, and are probably not listening to their members’ feedback either. This tends to show up as low membership engagement.
Technology, when used in the right way, can strengthen all the relationships you have in life, be it with your friends, in business and in JCI. Not using the technology available might make your JCI chamber irrelevant to the world around you.
JCI UK goes digital
A few years ago, JCI UK was a brand with an old website system that was very difficult to update and manage. The website looked old-fashioned which was most likely scaring away its visitors. The discussion about setting up a new website had been going on for years without any progress. In 2009, when I became JCI UK Marketing Director, we started work on the specifications of what we wanted the new website and database to do for us and one year later, in October 2010, we went live. Every one of the local chambers of JCI UK has adopted the new website and this makes the brand look professional and consistent. You can have a look at the website here: www.jciuk.org.uk.
JCI UK has one principle website that is connected to the local chambers’ websites. Some of the content is the same on all websites, and all major events are fed into all local websites from the JCI UK website. This is very clever as you only need to update these events once, which makes life much easier for local chambers.
When you have a website solution that is manageable on both a national and a local level, that looks and feels the same for all chambers, you have rolled out the red carpet for each chamber to become visible digital leaders.
All JCI UK chambers and members can influence others by sharing their thoughts and ideas online. They can write blog posts about their causes, ideas and projects. They can promote events from the website and get others to share and promote them online. It is much easier to promote something if you have a website that looks and feels good and it gives you credibility when you use the JCI brand.
Tips on how to become a digital leader in JCI or elsewhere:
- Social media and digital technology are here to stay. Learn how to use the tools.
- Use your inspiring words to empower others. Learn how to write in a way that engages others online.
- All individuals can use digital solutions to help and empower others. This means that YOU can do it too.
- You have seen the change happen, look at yourself and your organisation. Are you taking up all the opportunities available to you?
- Always, always be a student and gain new insights about the digital world. Things have a tendency to change quickly.
Using digital technology to succeed in JCI’s mission
The digital world is democratic: it is open for anyone to start making an impact. To be able to do this, all you need to do is learn how the digital world works and dare to be creative.
Relationships and processes are now global and not confined to your town or city. You can work with people on the other side of the world with the help of technology. I often work with designers who are based in Asia and the US. This is possible thanks to Skype and email.
JCI’s mission is to empower young people to create positive change. That is in itself a big task. By having a good simple and solid digital solution set up, JCI UK can help its members to make an impact in the world by using digital tools in an intelligent way.
Sofie Sandell senator #70055, is the author of the book ‘Digital Leadership – How Creativity in Business Can Propel Your Brand and Boost Your Results’. Read more here: www.sofiesandell.com/book . Or, contact Sofie via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Junior Chamber International (JCI) is a worldwide organisation of young leaders and entrepreneurs. They have over 200,000 active members in over 100 countries. JCI provides young people with the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, social responsibility, entrepreneurship and networking opportunities necessary to create positive change.
Junior Chamber members throughout the world have made a positive contribution to their local communities. Many have gone on to become business leaders and testify that their time spent in JCI was invaluable to their personal and professional development.