At the beginning of this year, the AWA Board set out to define the
direction for AWA. One of the key directives we agreed upon was to build a
foundation to meet the needs of our current membership demographics. We
decided to build a platform that will help us further our strategic goals
of not only growing our member base, but also engaging with our members
To achieve this we realized that our digital hub needed to improve
significantly. Previous AWA Boards have done a great job to get us on the
web, but more was needed. Our members do engage via social media but also
interact more personally at our various activities and events. Our
digital home needed to reflect all of these better. Some of the back-end
functionalities of our website were outdated and were causing a
tremendous amount of unnecessary work for our time-poor volunteers.
Our Board decided to bite the bullet and create a new website. As you can
imagine, this is a daunting task for a volunteer based organization. We
obviously had a very limited budget to take on this work, so some of the
functionalities that would have been nice to have were sacrificed for the
ones that we had to have. The must-haves include:
- A mobile friendly web site: We could not function in
the Google ruled world without a web site that complied with their rules.
The old website did not comply and if we want to increase our membership
numbers, people need to be able to find us.
- Integration of the social media platforms: We wanted
to have a comprehensive interlinked hub. The conversation takes place on
social media, but it does not have to be only out there. We bring some of
those conversation into the web site through our 'What's New' section.
- Membership profile: We don't have a physical address
to bring all of our members together but you can put a face to a name in
the directory through our membership profile tool. It makes connecting
easier and you get to recognize your fellow AWA members on the street. We
are cognizant of your need for privacy, so we have made this tool
voluntary and ensured there is limited access to the information by the
general public. Only members that log in have access to contact
- Clear Event and Activity sections: These sections are
self explanatory. We will be adding on to these segments as we continue
with our improvements to AWA. Keep an eye out for further additions that
aim to enhance your user experience.
There will be more initiatives to come that will build on this start. In
the coming months, we will work on developing partnership programs to
help with our members that are looking to settle in Australia, even for a
brief period, to find professional and volunteer work.
Please keep in mind all this work is done by volunteers, most of whom
have full time jobs and families. Be generous with your feedback, and let
us know how we can improve AWA, and how you can help us to do it better.