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MOAACC’s Gone Virtual!
MOAACC’s Gone Virtual!
by COL Steve Bond, USA-Retired
Like many adapting to COVID-19 challenges, MOAACC made the leap into the “virtual” world over the past month. Fortunately, we were moving in that direction already. For example: Have you checked out our new website (www.MOAACC.org)? It is first class and full of information! Have you used our new on-line membership system to update your membership information with your current e-mail or home address; made reservations or paid for our events; or looked up information on another member? Are you receiving Campaign e-mails from the chapter with announcements, and receiving the bi-weekly electronic newsletter MOAACC Five Things? Did you know The Intercom is e-mailed out over a week before it is received through the mail? Are you a member of our Facebook page (MOAA Cape Canaveral Chapter)? If you answered “NO” to any of these questions, you are being left behind, but we’re here to help and the past month drove home the point of needing to move into the “virtual world”.
In the past, we relied on The Intercom and our weekly business meeting—TMBC—as our primary means to keep members informed. However, the information in The Intercom was often 4-6 weeks old when it hit mailboxes, and only about 5% of our members attend TMBC. With the fast-breaking events of March, TMBC and other events were cancelled, and the April Intercom was already at the printer. Getting timely information out was a challenge, but we had started the transition to web-based tools. Examples:
- Last year we stressed all our members needed to have an e-mail address, but we still don’t have valid emails for 165 members.
- In 2015, we started a Facebook page to post information of interest and activities, but only 100 members have joined.
- We implemented a bi-weekly e-Newsletter, MOAACC Five Things, just over a year ago to push timely information to our members. By the way, recent editions have been full of information from CDC and Public Health Authorities, Base operating changes, MOAA’s Legislative Advocacy Actions, and health care information from DoD, Medicare, Tricare, and the VA. We received rave reviews (Thank You!), but less than half our members are opening it.
- With our new website and membership management system, we have a mass campaign e-mailer to send focused e-mail information ‘blasts’ to members--it came in handy over the past several weeks, but again, less than half of those receiving the emails are opening them. The email address is MOAACapeCanaveral@gmail.com and it can sometimes go into your “spam” or “promotions” folder. Our website also hosts the “MOAACC Press Room” where we post information about the chapter, veteran-related local news, and support and service organizations (DFAS, DoD/Services, MOAA, VA, etc.).
Through March and into April, our work went on remotely. In April, our Financial Literacy team produced an outstanding on-line “webinar”. Scholarship Corporation went about selecting 2020 recipients. We worked out the logistics of delivering MOAA awards to ROTC cadets with school out of session. We submitted our yearly MOAA Level of Excellence award package on-line. As we will likely be dealing with coronavirus effects for the foreseeable future, we were fortunate to have tools to work remotely available. But we still needed other tools as well. We obtained teleconferencing capabilities, and purchased a video-teleconferencing (VTC) capability (Zoom) to hold “virtual” meetings as well. Our recent Board of Directors meeting in March was conducted via teleconference, and the April Board was conducted via Zoom. We re-started our TMBC meetings via Zoom VTC on 23 April. Be looking for future chapter meetings and events to be conducted virtually and on-line.
As we think about the future, one thing is certain—the post-COVID-19 world will be different. Face-to-face meetings may not be possible or preferred. Our investment in digital and virtual technology was timely. It will be key to reaching out to our members and conducting business in the future. Don’t be left behind. If you need help using it, please tell us--Contact any Chapter Officer (phone #s on page 2) or send us an email at email@example.com.
We’ve gone virtual!
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