The Delaware Society of CPAS represents over 900 Delaware CPAs and accounting professionals; their mission is to enhance the CPA profession and serve their members. Dana Rubenstein has served as President and CEO of DSPCA since 1997. Being in her position, Dana has seen many advancements across the profession over the last 20 years. Previously, the DSCPA did not have an online community, email list or anything comparable.
According to Dana, the closest thing to member communication and engagement was their in-person committee meetings; this was of course before the pandemic. Dana and the Board of Directors at DSCPA were aware that the organization needed to upgrade their communication solutions to engage all their members. Talking to Dana, she told me the DCSPA had been approached by a few community providers but they weren’t in the price range. Dana admits “I didn’t think this was something we would be able to do.”
She changed her mind when Dana met Nick at a conference. Sengii’s pricing is very transparent and there is a flat fee for integration. After watching a demo of the online community, Dana became convinced that Sengii had all the features her association needed and a price tag that her small association could afford.
Sengii did a custom deep integration with their AMS CDS AM.NET. Committees, Meetings, Chapters, Companies, Interest groups, Members and more was pulled in from the AMS
“Nick ramped us really, really fast because Covid had just hit, and we wanted to get live very quickly.” Dana tells me she wished she had more time to learn about the platform and really dig into the set up. Looking back she thinks she would probably have done a better job of offering members step by step instructions on how to adjust settings, explaining what they are going to be getting and even planning the initial outreach to members about the community.
“So we just kinda threw it up one day. That’s basically how it went. I think that made it a little bit clunky, but at the same time there were many important issues that people just kind of figured it out.” Dana continues “They had to figure it out, and now that they have, they are more comfortable with it. “
DSCPA Connect has set a record in Sengii’s history with the most engaged (and fastest response) welcome message:
Welcome to DSCPA’s online community! For many of you, this will be the first time you’ve interacted on a forum like this. It’s easier than it looks! If you haven’t yet had a chance. please review the email that we sent earlier today.
Have you had a chance to log in and update your profile? If not, just log in (using your DSCPA login credentials) and go to My Account. You can find your Groups under My Group Pages. All posts will appear in the Open Forum.
To post a new discussion in the Open Forum, click Discussions in My Groups. All posts are sent via email to your inbox. From the email, you can post a new discussion or reply to a post. You can also reply to a post in Connect. You have the ability to adjust the frequency of emails to your preference.
So let’s give it a try! We’ll start with an easy question – what is your favorite color?
About 27 members unsubscribed due to the massive amount of response during that welcome email. It was an easy fix going from immediate emails to daily digest and each member has the option to set their own email settings. It has proven to work since there haven’t been more complaints or unsubscribes.
When asked what has stood out during the last 12 months, Dana tells me the most unexpected is having a variety of ages participating and helping each other out. “People that are participating are not always the people that I would have expected. It is a broad range in age and it is also people who aren’t typically involved with the society.”
DSCPA Connect has been pushing news and updates regarding Covid and all of the surrounding legislation and tax issues that have come up. “My members are really using it to inform each other and help each other.” Dana has some strategies to keep the engagement going. “There are a few people that seem to really like to use it and anytime anything gets posted, they respond.” Dana has volunteers lined up to start a discussion if there isn’t a lot going on. “It doesn’t always generate a lot of responses but we can see that people are looking at emails and opening them.” Dana believes it is important to keep the community fresh in people’s minds.
Before going live, Dana toyed with the idea of whether or not they would set moderator approval, where any discussion that gets posted has to be approved by an admin. With everything going on, Dana decided she didn’t have the time and she trusted her members but she admits that she has not had to do much or manage anything. “We haven’t had any problems in terms of people posting inappropriately. This may be because we are a small association and know each other. I am not surprised, my members are friendly and polite, I didn’t think there would be any problems. I just didn’t have the time and I thought let’s just see how it goes and it has been going great.”
Despite the little issues at the beginning, DSCPA members have taken to the community very quickly. Approximately 90 percent have interacted with the community in some way, whether it is just reading the emails or posting discussions.
The Delaware Society of Certified Public Accountants is a well-established and well-respected organization representing approximately 900 CPAs, their staff and students. Learn more at DSCPA.org
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