WE Week: Ann K. Emery on Transforming your Affiliate or TIG into a Well-Oiled Machine

Welcome! I’m Ann K. Emery, longtime fan of AEA affiliates and proud Secretary of the Washington Evaluators.

WE has transformed from an informal organization into a lean, mean fighting machine. We’ve standardized our procedures for planning events and tracking members; transferred institutional knowledge from our brains into documents; and improved how we share information with our members.

These strategies have proven effective in our transformation process:

  • What’s your affiliate all about? We’ve developed one-pagers to describe our community of practice and updated every section of our website, like washingtonevaluators.org/about.
  • Who are your affiliate’s leaders? We shared our board members’ names, photos, and bios at washingtonevaluators.org/board. Our bylaws give us plenty of wiggle-room, so we spent a few meetings discussing board roles and responsibilities and matching each leader’s interests with the organization’s needs.
  • Who are your affiliate’s members? Contact information for 220+ members is available in a members-only directory. Our Membership Committee also provides monthly membership statistics.
  • How can your affiliate easily plan events? To streamline our event planning process, we started posting events and collecting RSVPs through washingtonevaluators.org/events, a calendar that’s available through our Wild Apricot software. Our event calendar also allows us to systematically track attendance so we know which topics and speakers are most popular with our members.
  • How can you transform your affiliate’s members into leaders? We documented our process for planning brown bags (e.g., how to reserve a room, liaise with the speaker, etc.) Transferring these procedures from our brains into a step-by-step guide has made it easy for WE members to take on leadership roles by planning events.
  • How can members interact with each other online? WE’s now on Twitter (@WashEval), LinkedIn, and Slideshare. Our flagship online resource is our listserv, where we post job announcements and RFPs specifically for evaluators in the DC area.
  • How can your affiliate communicate with members? We developed a comprehensive communications strategy that explains how, why, and when we communicate with various audiences (e.g., when we’d send a listserv announcement vs. tweet vs. LinkedIn posting vs. other communications modes).
  • Where’s information stored? We share meeting agendas and minutes through Google Drive, which means WE’s history will be documented for future generations of affiliate leaders (not lost in our inboxes).
  • What’s your affiliate doing next? Our board discusses day-to-day issues at monthly meetings. A couple times a year, our president Brian Yoder prepares a delicious dinner in his home and we spend the evening discussing long-range organizational goals.

What a friendly group! Won’t you join us?

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Washington Evaluators (WE) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from WE Affiliate members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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