Launched as a national initiative in 1974, the not-for-profit Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) today provides support, resources and education for multiple birth families. AMBA currently maintains a membership of 4,000 families across a network of over 50 affiliated clubs Australia-wide.
As the leading support organisation for families with twins, triplets or more, AMBA is recognised for its hands-on experience and knowledge, with its volunteers providing much needed information on parenting, multiple birth studies and support.
Challenge: ineffecient, costly tele-meetings with long lead times and little rapport
For AMBA, staying in regular communication with its members is a vital and much needed positive support tool for the families of birth multiples across the country – in fact building strong relationships completely underpins the services they deliver. Each AMBA volunteer is themselves a multiple birth parent, making time away from a uniquely busy family for Board and club meetings a personal challenge.
Originally AMBA relied on traditional teleconferencing to connect the Board, its clubs and members, whether they were city or country based throughout Australia. However, it wasn’t efficient, cost-effective or easy to use. Speakers could not be easily identified during the regular three to four hour calls, making interactions awkward in meetings. Monthly meetings often exceeded allocated times and budgets, discouraging any further follow up communications.
According to Amelia Haddock, State Liaison Director: “We needed a people-focused tool that would allow us to be more interactive, efficient and cost-effective. It was important for us to maintain that personal connection amongst the board and with our members”.
Solution: more effective, clearer collaboration with GoToMeeting
AMBA selected GoToMeeting to enhance its productivity and personal interaction for all communications. Using this tool has meant not just greater collaboration at Board meetings, but more personal, individual support for families facing the unique daily challenges that come with multiple births.
“GoToMeeting is a great tool across our entire association – for the club, state and Board members. It’s been so much easier to keep parents informed, connected and has become core to our charter,” she said.
“Productivity levels have soared and it’s been much easier for everyone to make decisions and action items. What once took hours, now takes 15 minutes. What’s more, I can now easily attend meetings no matter where I am in the country without needing to be physically present,” continued Haddock.
For the State members, GoToMeeting solves challenges for busy parents. Challenges such as ill children and a lack of childcare are no longer a problem. Parents can now participate in meetings virtually from their own home – within an environment that encourages a much more dynamic and warm relationship with other members.
“We have seen amazing benefits with the introduction of GoToMeeting. No longer is technology a barrier for our members wherever they are located. It’s so easy to use, we can have effective meetings and with a much higher attendance. The benefits vastly outweigh the investment and for a not-for-profit that is an achievement,” says Haddock.
For the Board, the implementation of GoToMeeting means the delivery of better outcomes for its governance and accountability to members. Planning of its annual flagship promotion - Multiple Births Awareness Week – has shaved hours off multiple meetings to produce a streamlined 15-minute collaborative session. Even for Board meetings, the nine members located nationally can review documents online and make decisions in real-time in one single GoToMeeting.
“Using GoToMeeting supports our not-for-profit organisation goal to reduce overheads whilst we improve our performance outcomes for members. We are now more freed up at our Annual General Meeting, removing the administration burden catch-up of meetings gone by. Now we focus on strategic planning - adding greater value to our plans for the year ahead,” she said.
Additionally, the Annual General Meeting via GoToMeeting now has a new streamlined option for member clubs to submit motions, interactively view screens and communicate with the Board as part of the decision-making process. With up to 80 separate parties – clubs, members and Board Members – all online at once proves to be a cost-effective and much more personally focused boon for the organisation.
“GoToMeeting is a truly transformational tool for our organisation. It is really fit for purpose as we seek to connect multiple birth families and AMBA around the country – and often despite the challenges of being a multiple birth parent. We are even more active supporters of our unique community with a more effective communications tool,” concluded Haddock.
Benefits: Transforming interpersonal relationships and AMBA service outcomes
With the introduction of GoToMeeting AMBA has overcome the challenges of geography, budgets and poor engagement to produce a highly effective, personal communications tool. The organisation now can more easily connect personally with its members, to continue to build on its strategic vision and yet still maintain tight budgets. With significant improvements to AMBA’s bottom line - administration is now more streamlined, face-to-face relationships are easily facilitated and much more personal outcomes are delivered.