In 2015, INFB surveyed member and non-member farmers. Results – which were later reinforced in the strategic planning process – showed that nearly half of member and non-member farmers are not familiar with INFB programs.
In Defining Our Future, INFB’s strategic plan, members realized that INFB programs and activities needed to be more strategically implemented to improve these numbers and identified six areas on which to focus:
- Create and promote a positive image of agriculture. “Tell our story.”
- Improve the awareness of Indiana Farm Bureau as a valuable resource.
- Continue successful advocacy efforts at all levels.
- Create a positive member experience.
- Develop an organizational structure that strengthens county Farm Bureaus.
- Grow membership in a consistent and sustainable way.
To achieve these goals, the board of directors approved activities for INFB and county Farm Bureaus. This led to the statewide County Recognition Program activity goals and 2017 state implementation goals in the following areas:
- Membership: Grow membership in a consistent and sustainable way.
- Member Experience: Improve the overall membership experience.
- Image Awareness: Improve the awareness of INFB and agriculture.
INFB started the year with a statewide membership campaign that included print, radio and digital marketing materials targeted specifically to young farmers. A template membership ad is available for county use.
County Farm Bureaus are working hard on membership campaigns. So far volunteers have written over 400 new members. INFB is offering statewide incentives for members who sign a new member in June, July and August, and seeing great results. More members were written in June and July than in the previous year.
INFB is conducting exit interviews to determine why members leave. And it’s collaborating more closely with Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance to improve membership awareness of INFB.
Every time a member interacts with INFB, an impression is made. All of these impressions come together to form the overall member experience.
Before INFB can focus on improving the member experience, it must first determine what the current member experience is. One way is by researching how people join and identifying new member touch points.
Staff also is evaluating current program evaluation tools and creating better ways to measure the member experience for major program areas.
This year INFB launched a new website to keep up-to-date ag content available to members.
One way that INFB can achieve its image awareness goals is through consistent branding. Consistency in the INFB brand ensures that farmers and agribusiness professionals recognize what the organization offers.
The marketing team continues to raise awareness of INFB and ag, and its efforts are paying off through more statewide and local media coverage.
Another way the marketing team is supporting these efforts is through webinars on media relations, social media and other topics. Additionally, to support the interest of our members to share a positive ag message, INFB staff members have put together several presentations for county and district meetings. The following topics are based around helping our members “tell their story”:
- The Importance of Engagement in Advocacy.
- How to Tell Your Story Through Photography.
- Social Media Best Practices.
- How to be a Good Ag Ambassador.
- Addressing the Threats to Agriculture.
- Volunteerism – Increasing member engagement.