Single-use plastics are used once and quickly thrown out. They can include plastic utensils, straws, water bottles, plastic bags and a lot of consumer product packaging. We produce 300 million tons of plastic every year. Half of it is disposable and only 10-15% is recyclable. The myriad of issues with these plastics range from annoying to detrimental. They should make consumers consider their choices and rally their communities to come together to make a positive change for our planet and future.
Ok, so let’s be clear - building your association’s app may not save the planet, but there are some interesting parallels to consider if you’re thinking of launching an event-only app instead of a year-round app.
Reliance on single-use plastics epitomizes a throw-away culture where excessive production and consumption of short-lived products is acceptable. Your event app is much like a single-use plastic fork - useful while eating your lunch, but not something you want to keep. Yes, it might remind you of your delicious pasta, but otherwise it’s taking up space in your pocket. It’s disposable. Aim to simulate a responsible consumer who pauses to consider forward-thinking, big-picture, sustainable solutions – think about a year-round, native app.
Worried about changing old habits?
Environmental organizations cite several factors that help people change their behavior. We think these factors could also apply to aggregating your members onto an app on an ongoing basis:
Convenience – Is it an easy, convenient behavior to adopt?
- Eliminating Single-Use Plastic: Buy or install a water filter system once to then utilize reusable bottles and you’re easily saving hundreds of single-use bottles. Simple and effective.
- Year-Round Apps: Invest in one continuous app containing everything members need from content and collaboration to events and dues payments and you’ll never have to waste time repurchasing single-use apps just to throw them out.
Prompts – Are there reminders to perform that behavior?
- Eliminating Single-Use Plastic: When people are repeatedly prompted to recycle with clearly marked containers, they are more likely to do so. A habit is being formed.
- Year-Round Apps: Deploying simple push notifications encourages users to open the app and read new content, renew their dues, register for an event or contribute to a forum. Your organization can also continually reinforce the use of the app through many different avenues such as newsletters and social media so that it becomes second-nature to your members and they look forward to engaging with it daily.
Goals – How will this behavior help you reach your short- and long-term goals?
- Eliminating Single-Use Plastic: Forgoing single-use plastic works directly towards the overall goal of decreasing the planet’s plastic waste and improving environments worldwide.
- Year-Round Apps: Members are mobile. When they can interact with your organization through mobile, overall engagement and involvement significantly increases. This increase then helps to push your mission and all organizational goals forward.
Community – Does this behavior make me feel part of a valuable community?
- Eliminating Single-Use Plastic: There are many people, groups and companies all around the world working to decrease single-use plastic – those making the effort are in good company!
- Year-Round Apps: Building and fostering a sense of community is the name of the game in the association space. Members need easy access to networking, collaborating and socializing beyond events. Your community is year-round and your app should be too. Stronger communities are formed when members are better connected.
While many associations have taken a first step towards a productive mobile strategy, there is much more to achieve when you commit to a sustainable, long-term solution. The native, year-round impact is endless. You’ll never look back and wish you were using a single-use, event-only app.