The International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG) is the leading international society for experts in ultrasound for obstetrics and gynecology, with thousands of members in 140 countries. Its mission is to improve women's health by providing high-quality education, raising standards and sharing research information about ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology.

Liam Mandeville, Membership Manager at ISUOG, explained how Guild has helped them to build vibrant professional communities that support professional development and boost engagement.

Results in brief:

*Vibrant community of 600 professionals from one event
*Improved connection with global and early-career members
*Community helps newcomers to the profession to raise their profile and build connections
*Members challenge ideas and exchange insights, leading to raised professional standards

Why was creating online communities important for ISUOG?

"The nature of our members' work means they're constantly learning from each other - collaboration is key to getting things right, keeping up to date and challenging ideas.

In 2023 our annual membership survey showed that members would like easier access to networking opportunities.

An online community makes it much easier for members to exhange knowledge and share research and best practices.

Our members, from students to clinicians and researchers, are spread across many countries.

A community fills the engagement gap between our annual conferences and workshops and our journal, and it helps build a sense of belonging and professional growth among our members."

Why did you choose Guild as your community platform?

"We needed an intuitive, secure platform that felt right for professional conversation.

As a professional body in the medical sector, GDPR and clarity around advice is extremely important to us.

We make it clear to members that their discussions in the community are a starting point, not formal advice – they're more like an informal chat among colleagues rather than a consultation. We can put this into each community's guidelines and highlight them again within the groups by using Guild's featured conversations and resources.

Guild stood out for its ease of use, privacy features, and mobile-first approach. It suits our members who are often on the move.

The ad-free environment and the focus on professional networking were key factors in our decision, ensuring that our members could connect easily, listen, and learn from meaningful, focused conversations with peers.

Guild's flexibility meant that we could experiment and measure results, which helped with momentum at the start.

You can research and plan, but the real proof is how members perceive the community."

How has your Guild community helped with ISUOG's work?

"It's been transformative. We began with a trial group during the summer of 2023 and were surprised at how successful it was – it really flew, honestly. We saw a real appetite for community - over 600 members worldwide joined as a result of a single event.

We've started creating specialist groups for specific topics of interest, career stages, and geographical regions. These let people who need to go deeper into a topic can do so, but we can still offer something for all our members.

Building the community led to collaborative research projects and real professional development opportunities.

For doctors and trainers, recognition and visibility are important for their career, so being seen to take part in conversations, support colleagues and exchange ideas is a great way to do that – as well as to make connections who might help you to find new opportunities in the future.

Members love being able to have thoughtful and in-depth conversations on important issues. Guild is very easy to use and they can dip in and out and manage notifications to suit themselves.

Outside the community, we've been able to use the analytics provided by Guild to understand our members' needs so that we can tailor activities, events and resources even more effectively."

What are the next steps for ISUOG's community on Guild?

"We plan to introduce more interactive features like live Q&A and drop-in sessions. We've also got a roadmap for more groups. We've just launched three of these - one to share expertise on fetal growth; one on fetal heart, CHD and cardiac functions and another on pregnancy complications.

During our trial phase our members had the opportunity to tell us what groups would help them and to vote on the priorities. So, in the pipeline, we've got three further gynecology topic groups, plus communities for trainees and for members in lower-resourced countries.

Some will be application-only, but others will be on an index page behind our member firewall so that members can self-select relevant groups and discover new opportunities.

We'll also work with our events department to support webinars, courses and conferences with pop-up communities. We've seen how that can improve uptake and satisfaction from delegates.

We've learned from our trial the importance of getting the experts and speakers into the community. They can be busy people, so we plan to run AMAs with speakers so that members get value without making too many demands on our speakers.

Guild is a powerful platform; we can see that if we use it right, we can do great things.

There's a lot of excitement in the office about the potential for new communities, so we'll keep experimenting and responding to what our members tell us they need. "

What would you advise other professional associations who are thinking about building a membership community?

"An online community lets you be more inclusive and offers more value to more members – not everyone can make it to conferences and networking sessions, especially if you have international members.

Making connections is a key benefit for people joining a society, and an online community increases that opportunity.

Associations also tend to have plenty of brilliant, useful content that members may not have discovered or have forgotten about. Building a community lets you signpost that content when relevant, for example, in response to questions or when something comes up in the news.

Don't be afraid to mix up the content you post – it doesn't all have to be deep and meaningful conversation starters. We've found polls and quizzes to be particularly effective – every member is different, so we offer lots of different ways to benefit from the community.

And encourage people to introduce themselves – that first step to posting in a community is really important. Make it easy and ask people about themselves – it helps members find they have something in common, and it's an easy first post to make!"

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Are you a membership organisation or association looking for a better way to engage with your members?

See for yourself how the Guild experience is different to WhatsApp, Slack, LinkedIn or Facebook Groups.

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Join us on a platform that is purpose-built for creating groups, communities and networks on mobile.

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