How This Association Re-energized Itself and Its Membership with Online Connections
It's never too early to innovate
In the summer of 2019, The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) was in the process of identifying its strategic priorities. Member engagement emerged as a key theme. That fall, ATS turned to Higher Logic to launch an online community called Engage ATS for its members to network and engage in peer learning.
This move proved to be serendipitous—it enabled the association to be uniquely prepared when, just months later, the pandemic changed the world as we knew it. Engage ATS soon became essential for the organization and the 272 North American graduate theology schools comprising its membership. “The timing could not have been better,” said Lisa Kern, manager of member engagement at ATS.
“Our members were very appreciative that this community existed so that they could quickly and easily turn to one another to figure out a game plan in the middle of this unexpected crisis,” said Kern. “Theological education is a unique niche. You cannot currently participate in webinars or virtual business events to easily find other people who do the exact same thing that you do. Our members have said, ‘My gosh, I don’t have this anywhere else. It’s so great to connect with people who speak my language.’”
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