Your members are experts at what they do. They attend your annual meetings and other training events, pursue professional development and may even receive certifications from your association. In your community, you give them badges and ribbons to highlight their expertise and knowledge. How can you take it to the next level and provide value to your members? Start using an Expert Calling Network (ECN).
What is an ECN? Quite simply, an ECN is a group of subject matter experts paid to offer their opinions and share their knowledge. Your association’s ECN is a directory of experts that anyone (members and non-members) can search to get the help they are looking for. Higher Logic has partnered with a company called Brainsy that provides ECNs to associations.
Setting up an ECN has many benefits for an association:
- Showcase your association as a thought leader using this new and innovative platform
- Highlight your association as the place for experts in your industry/field
- Increase engagement with your membership by providing a useful service
- Bring in non-dues revenue to your association
But being listed in an ECN also helps your members:
- Raise an expert’s online profile
- Help experts’ business development and lead generation
- Calls through an ECN allow experts to easily make money on those calls
So how does it work? Your members pay to be listed in the ECN directory, which is open for anyone to search and find a thought leader of a particular expertise. Once an expert is found, the person seeking the expert schedules a call through the ECN platform (first they are required to enter credit card information to be charged a set amount when the call is completed). The seeker gets to easily find an expert and get answers to their questions, and the expert gets paid thought the ECN without having to worry about billing or credit card processing.
Also, your association makes a small percentage on each call. With a directory of hundreds or thousands of expert members sharing their knowledge, an ECN can add up to significant non-dues revenue. And in the future, Higher Logic will allow experts to have links from their community profile to their ECN listing, where the call can be set up.
An ECN is great member benefit and another way for an association to generate non-dues revenue. We will be implementing this in HUG with our CSS Squad, a listing of experts on CSS within the Higher Logic Platform that you can setup short calls with to get answers on your specific CSS questions.
To find out more and see a video of an ECN in action, visit http://www.higherlogic.com/brainsy