In response to the recent Janus decision, Unions have had to examine the way they approach both maintaining their current members and adding new ones. Many unions are looking to tech as a way to make this process more efficient and effective. As new members keep getting younger, and smartphone ownership and social media involvement continue to rise, union members are starting to expect a way to organize online with the click of a button. Although this is a big change from what unions looked like even a decade ago, it seems like this shift might be for the better.
Engagement and member activity is now online and people are becoming more invested in their voices being heard through these new channels. But this puts unions in a difficult position. You’re now forced to balance two worlds: the new online world of social media and click-to-sign engagement, and the real world, where members attend meetings and show up to rally and canvass when necessary. How does a union make sure that the tech they invest in can grow its online efforts without replacing those efforts’ real life counterpart?
In order to answer this question, it’s important to remember that these two worlds need to support each other. Online tools are only useful if they help engage your members in person, and face to face engagement can only reach its full potential if you grow and maintain it using your tech. It’s a difficult balance that unions are forced to confront, but it’s not impossible if you have the right tools. What unions increasingly need is a platform that connects the in person and the online seamlessly.
While it’s exciting to invest in new online engagement tools, it’s important to remember that what happens online, stays online, unless you have a window to the real world. Mobile technology will offer that window. Unions have started to use mobile tools that are preloaded with their entire online database. This allows them to renew memberships and collect dues in person (with or without internet connection) at any meeting or worksite. Some mobile tools will even allow you to register new members, instantly updating your database and sending follow-up information and links to online resources via email and SMS. Bringing the online to the in person, and the in person to the online.
If you’re interested in the Grassroots Unwired platform, where we supply you with a tablet preloaded with a customized app that allows you to connect with workers on the ground in all the ways listed above, contact Chris D’Silva at Chris@grassrootsunwired.com.