This question was asked of candidates for AOTA office:
Describe your ideas for engaging members and creating value in order to enhance and sustain growth of the AOTA member experience.
Here is my answer:
Thank you for this important question. Improving member engagement and creating value to enhance and sustain growth of AOTA members is longstanding challenge facing the AOTA Board of Directors and AOTA staff. Of the 65,206 AOTA members at the end of fiscal year 2020 only 56% were occupational therapy practitioners (49% OT and 7% OTA) and 44% were student members. After many years and many efforts to increase the perception of our "value proposition" to non-members we continue to struggle to convince occupational therapy practitioners in the US that $225 for an OT and $131 for an OTA is worth the value they receive. To date we have not been successful.
Listening to non-members concerns and perceptions about AOTA on social media, in person at conferences and other events and in other forums leads me to believe that we have not been successful in connecting with them to address their day to day practice concerns and needs. Many express frustrations that AOTA is not "doing something" about the problems they encounter including:
Engaging members in addressing these issues is critical, because low membership numbers create a self-propagating circle where we cannot create the resources and a critical mass to overcome problems leading to continued dissatisfaction and lower membership numbers.
Some ideas for engaging members to create value to enhance and sustain growth of the AOTA member experience include:
It should be recognized that this is not a new problem, nor one that is easily solved. Most professional associations face similar challenges and AOTA staff regularly participate in association meeting such as the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) to get new ideas about how to better meet member needs. We have long employed specialists in membership growth and member service. AOTA staff and Board members are to be commended for their efforts. And still, the significance of the problem only means that we need to re-double our efforts.
We are in a challenging time, but we have faced tough times before and continue to grow and to thrive. I look forward to the opportunity to join with other volunteer leaders to address these challenges head on as the next Vice-President of AOTA.
I would love to hear from AOTA members to hear your ideas about what AOTA can do better to engage you in the process and to meet your needs! Please contact me through CommunOT or at email@example.com , friend me on Facebook or visit my website at www.brentbraveman.com
The opinions expressed in my blog are personal and neither represent the views of my employer nor any organization.