ACEVO chief executive Vicky Browning writes about our digital journey and how members can get involved.
Since the beginning of the lockdown in the UK, the ACEVO team has moved all our events and services online. Not only did our face to face CEO forums and special interest meetings became Zoom webinars and digital member meetings, but we also created new ways of encouraging members to connect with each other and get in touch with the ACEVO member support team.
Our own digital journey has been happening for a while. We already had great plans for improving ACEVO’s digital offer in 2020. This, of course, ended up happening much faster than we expected. Still, we were able to implement changes while adapting to working from our own homes and finding new platforms to keep our internal communications going as smoothly as possible.
However, although the ACEVO team has been doing really well as a remote team, everyone is looking forward to the day we will meet again. The casual office conversations and the simple issues that can be sorted without the need for sending an email or finding space in people’s busy calendars for a video call are the things we miss the most.
We know that we are not going back to the same way of doing things. In fact, we have decided that we will continue to be a remote team that meets a few days every week (when this is possible) rather than an office-based team that works from home every now and then. It won’t be an overnight transition – and some people might take longer to adapt than others – but I believe, after consulting with the whole team, that it’s the right thing to do.
Now, I want to hear from you, our fantastic community of ACEVO members. You have been taking part in the webinars and interacting in the ACEVO Community – for me, our increased engagement with you as members has been one of the most positive things about this crisis. I want to assure you that our digital offer won’t fade away as we get to the other side of the pandemic.
But, as with ACEVO internally, I don’t just want things to go back precisely to what they were before. So what kind of digital product and service are you most likely to keep using once lockdown measures are lifted? And in which context would you like to meet face to face again? Expert talks, training sessions, regional gatherings? Or more informal networking? Do you prefer pre-recorded online courses that you can access any time, or do you feel more challenged or can concentrate better in a room with a trainer and other peers?
There is also the issue of accessibility. I know digital brings lots of benefits for people with certain disabilities, but if not done correctly, it can become yet another exclusionary tool. This awareness unfortunately doesn’t come with a unique solution, and at ACEVO we understand that we cannot look at this issue as a general thing – we need to consider all disabilities and how we can adjust our offer to include every one of our members.
I know this is a time when we are all being asked to fill surveys, read articles and watch webinars – but I would really appreciate your feedback, so we can construct the post-COVID-19 ACEVO together. You can send me an email, leave a comment here or even send me a tweet. I’m looking forward to knowing your thoughts!
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