Numerous media reports, supplemented with research published by the American Society of Association Executives and the ASAE Foundation, identified that declining trust in institutions – including government, media, science, etc. – is impacting many areas of American life.
As industry leaders, it is important that the associations and companies we serve consider opportunities to maintain (and build!) the organizational trust that we’ve established and that lies at the foundation of our respective missions. The team at AOE has developed a list of nine recommendations that you can start using today to build trust with your members, customers, and partners, including:
Demonstrate depth of knowledge – identify opportunities to demonstrate your organization’s depth of knowledge. This could be answering technical questions promptly and publicly, sharing expertise through articles in industry publications, participating in discussions on social media, speaking at industry events, etc.
Highlight credentials – share employee credentials, industry affiliations, advanced degrees, etc., on public directories to highlight specialized expertise and credibility
Foster real, personal connections – publish employee names on your website and make contact information readily accessible. For greater impact, add professional photos where appropriate to build connections and reinforce that your employees are real people
Be transparent – document and make available the process for electing volunteer leadership, selecting award winners, identifying/funding research, etc. Through transparency, members will have greater trust in the process, the results, and your association
State your objectives – when CEOs, elected leaders and key employees plan to meet with partners or governmental groups, share objectives and goals in advance; perhaps even share a regular summary of anticipated meetings and objectives for the upcoming month or quarter
Be unbiased – respond to issues unemotionally and using legitimate sources
Strengthen community – organize face-to-face gatherings to nurture strong professional networks, facilitate one-on-one connections, encourage social interaction and build trust
Be a good partner – team up with other organizations and form coalitions to build trust with other like-minded companies and associations; and
Do not ignore mistakes, negative events, or concerning trends – instead, use them as opportunities to highlight growth strategies, share a positive outlook for the future and encourage a culture of learning and adaptation.
Have other ideas? I’d love to hear your thoughts about what your organization is doing to maintain and build trust. The team at AOE has the capacity and experience to help you build trust with your members, customers, and partners – reach out to us for help implementing the recommendations above or developing a custom solution for your company or association.