As an organisation, Tasmanian Women in Agriculture has a rich 25 year history of providing support and valuable resources to our members. Our vision to provide a dynamic, connected and relevant community that enriches women has never been more in focus than over the last 12 months. We finished 2019 with a wonderful celebration of our 25th anniversary with over 80 guests in attendance at Woolmers Majories, only to be faced with unprecedented challenges in 2020 with COVID-19 and the associated lockdown. Supporting our members during this time became our only focus.
We started the year with some key priorities for our membership base:
• review and establish a complete and accurate record of our membership database
• create a strategy to support and improve our Regional Groups
• introduce membership tiers and increase the value of our membership
• identify member stories to share via social media
As a result of COVID-19, many of our strategies took on a very different form to what we had originally planned.
We have undertaken a complete review of our membership database. This has included updating members details, reviewing membership expiry dates and allocating each member to a regional group. In addition, we have updated our systems and communications process so we can maintain these records and accurately communicate messages to various membership levels.
This has been a huge undertaking over many hours, however we are happy to report we are confident we have capacity to manage our membership communications successfully moving forward.
Our financial membership base, as at 30th June 2020 is 223.
Our Regional Group strategy has been put on hold over the last 6 months due to COVID-19 and our focus switched to supporting all members via online means. The challenges of not being able to connect face to face have been evident and we look forward to supporting our Regional Groups moving forward as restrictions are lifted. The success of ‘All Together in the Paddock' demonstrated our desire to reconnect face to face.
With this in mind, we have reviewed the Mini-Grant Application for Regional Groups to include capacity for catering and have revised our Application Form to simplify the process. We are encouraging Regional Groups to apply for a mini-grant to reconnect in a COVID-safe environment.
Our strategy to develop Membership Tiers looks a little different than anticipated. We did not increase annual membership fees over the last 12 months as planned. We have introduced the TWiA Network as a free introductory level to TWiA. This enables us to reach a broader audience and introduce them to the opportunity TWiA membership offers. Our overall network now includes close to 500 Tasmanian women in the agricultural space.
In addition, we have transitioned from a 5 year membership to a Paid Lifetime Membership. This enables members to pay once and be a member for life. It also reduces the workload for our executive managing membership renewals. Existing 5 year memberships will remain until expired and those members can then transition to an annual membership subscription or join as Lifetime Members. We will continue to maintain our Honorary Lifetime Memberships for members who have received the Outstanding Contribution Award. As we move forward into 2020, our focus will be on providing increased value for all levels of membership with TWiA.
You can join us as a TWiA member here - https://www.taswomeninag.org/membership-plans
We commenced this strategy at the end of 2019 by doing several member interviews and have introduced a blog to our website to publish our members stories and share them via social media. However, with the onset of COVID-19, our focus pivoted to the #BuyTasmanianFirst campaign and a broader strategy to support and promote all Tasmanian businesses during this challenging time. Over the next 12 months, we will revisit our Members Stories strategy and bring our focus back to our members.
Read about Beaupre Farm here
Overall, we have had a productive year supporting our members, albeit a little differently than anticipated. It has been a year of constant change, rethinking and reviewing how we can support our members in a very different climate.
We feel confident that we have the systems in place to provide even more value for our membership base, to increase the size of our network and our overall reach within the agricultural community in Tasmania. Regional Groups will continue to be a focus moving forward as now more than ever, the ability to support each other within our community groups is crucial.
We would like to acknowledge and thank our members for their loyalty, support and feedback. Without you, we could not continue to provide valued services and support for our regional communities.