Membership Development Works to Unify Industry

By Doug Whitehead | June 14, 2011

Impacting the future direction of the biodiesel industry is an important goal for the National Biodiesel Board. The direction of the industry is best driven by one collective voice. Cultivating that voice takes time and members, not just dues and membership, but true member engagement and interaction. This is why the NBB has made it a priority to increase engagement among members.

Why is an engaged member so important?
To achieve the goals of the NBB, we need the input of all our members. Because we’re a member organization, we ask that our members contribute their time, talent and treasure for the betterment of the biodiesel industry. True member engagement supports the entire industry and helps members see the value of their investment.

What steps have been taken to increase member engagement?
Over the past two years, NBB has taken a new approach to member interaction with more personal and face-to-face contact. We’ve also streamlined both verbal and written communication with our members. By traveling to meet with groups of our members face-to-face at our Member Briefing & Industry Updates, we’ve gotten an “on-the-ground” look at things from their perspective. Sitting in person with a member ensures clearer communication and proves very beneficial as we strive to engage all of our members.

What steps are planned in the near future to increase member engagement?
NBB will continue efforts to achieve more face time with our membership. But, we also know that it is not feasible to meet with every member in person, so those who aren’t available to attend regional and national meetings will be invited to attend program specific webinars. This will ensure that we are capturing the views of all our members so that the organization’s voice is true to the issues facing the industry.

What is the feedback from members?
Members are, now more than ever, seeing the value of their membership in NBB. For a long time, some segments of the industry thought they were “required” to be a part of this organization. I have seen that perception changing as members become more engaged and learn the value of the core programs and what NBB does for them. Now, membership stems from a desire to be part of the collective voice, rather than something they may have felt required to do. This is a positive step for our organization.

What aspects of membership development have you most enjoyed?
Overall, the goal of membership development is to inform our members how NBB is investing their dollars for the betterment of the biodiesel industry. When I see a member’s eyes light up as they hear about one of our accomplishments, it is rewarding. Whether it’s getting biodiesel defined in a state’s statute or RFS2 Regional Training, there’s no better feeling than sharing our industry’s successes with our membership.

What is the main focus of member engagement?
I think that overall, this initiative will be successful if we hold onto the idea that NBB should be one, collective voice working towards the best interests of the biodiesel industry. That one voice is the NBB, and we want to do everything we can to engage the biodiesel industry so that we can represent our members to the best of our abilities. We are only able to achieve our goals as an industry if we all work together.

Doug Whitehead,  Director of Operations, National Biodiesel Board

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