APA members will now be able to keep up better with the latest APA news--and cross items such as "register for convention" off their to-do lists--as they check e-mail while sipping their morning coffee. That's because APA is sending e-mail notices about such issues as dues, subscriptions, convention registration deadlines and new electronic products to deliver key information faster and more effectively.
"We want to take advantage of the technology available today and give our members tailored, timely, up-to-date information they can use," says Rhea K. Farberman, APA's executive director for public and member communications. "This is also the most cost-effective way for us to communicate with members."
Messages will be brief, easy to read and include Web links to further information: For example, a convention registration reminder will include a link to the convention Web site, where members can register online. The notes will also include e-mail links to the APA offices that can best handle members' various questions or comments, adds Farberman. What's more, some members will receive e-mails that gather--through short, quick polls--their input on topics such as preferred future convention sites and programming formats.
For the most part, e-mail won't replace other forms of communication from APA, Farberman points out. "This actually supplements our ongoing communication and allows us to do even more for members," she explains.
Still, there is a trend within the association to expand online communications: In November 2003, the Science Directorate's newsletter, Psychological Science Agenda (PSA), converted from a print version mailed to members to an electronic format sent to subscribers via e-mail and available online--a move that has proved popular with readers so far, say Science Directorate staff. To subscribe, send an e-mail to email@example.com. Hard copies of PSA will still be available via fax for members who request them.
In addition, the Practice Organization launched an e-newsletter, Practice Update, earlier this year that is available online and sent via e-mail to APA members who pay the practice special assessment.
A user-friendly message
While APA's new e-mail plan is meant to serve members, its designers also realize that members already get a multitude of e-mail messages--some they want and others they don't. To help them distinguish the APA messages from spam, APA will use a recognizable logo and masthead to clearly identify its e-mails, says Jerry McGlaughlin, APA's Management Information Systems director.
Messages will also meet industry standards and conform with legislation that governs electronic communication, he adds. Each message will specify how APA got the e-mail address and whether the message is a one-time mailing, McGlaughlin explains. For the most part, members will receive the messages at the addresses they've submitted to the APA membership directory or at addresses from which they requested information on a topic.
Each message will also include non-Internet contact information--a mailing address and telephone number--and clear instructions on how members can stop future e-mails from APA if they wish to, says McGlaughlin. He adds that APA screens all e-mails for viruses before sending them and doesn't include electronic attachments.
At first, members will receive no more than a few messages a week from APA, says Farberman. "We want to provide well-targeted information, but at the same time we don't want to overwhelm our members," she notes.
However, members who have particular interests or roles, such as those who are presenting at convention or have paid the Practice Organization special assessment, may receive additional messages that are targeted to those specific audiences. APA may increase e-mail frequency if e-communication proves popular, or if it becomes clear that more e-mailing is needed in the future, says Farberman.