ODA’s AGM, and a look at where we are going next

We were delighted to welcome members and associates from the UK, Europe and USA to our virtual AGM held on 3 March 2022.

Board elections formed part of the agenda and we announced the appointment of Markus Baehr from Spark Networks and Norman Petty of The Meet Group who had been voted for by the membership.

Morgan Cauvin, ODA Chair, thanked members and supporters for their contribution to ensuring the ODA continued to carry out its important work and supporting the ODA as the ‘voice of the sector’. He illustrated how member support has never been more important, particularly with significant focus globally on online safety and emerging digital regulation legislation.

Dr Hannah Shimko, attending her first AGM as ODA’s Communications and Policy Director gave a presentation to the meeting – “The Online Dating Association: Where are we going next”.

She illustrated the 5 areas of focus for the ODA:

  1. Membership
  2. Communications
  3. Government Affairs (Advocacy)
  4. Public Relations, Media & Public Engagement
  5. Research

Some areas she discussed in more detail were:

  • A clear new membership engagement strategy and a membership retention plan.
  • Understanding the audiences with whom the ODA engages, and how ODA engage with them.
  • Clarifying the ODA’s brand identity both in the dating sector and with wider stakeholders.
  • The ODA’s approach to Government Affairs, and which areas the ODA will focus on in the next 12 months, as well as 5 years.
  • Some key legislative and regulatory issues for 2022 include online safety, pro-competition legislation, fraud and economic crime, digital ID and verification, Artificial Intelligence, data protection and use, among others.
  • The ODA’s approach to public relations and key opportunities for the organisation. She also discussed the relationship between PR and Government engagement. Romance fraud is still of the most interest to media outlets.
  • The need for the ODA to develop strong research options and a quality evidence base that will underpin PR, Government Affairs and comms.

In summary, ODA will continue to create and deliver strong campaigns and quality advocacy on behalf of the sector, with a focus on the importance of trust, safety and good business practices. ODA Members will have more opportunities to be involved in the work of the ODA from research to media, government dialogue to campaigns. We know members value up-to-date and relevant communications through industry news and updates, and the provision of opportunities to learn, share and develop best practices with peers.

2022 and beyond will present challenges to our sector that require the ODA to engage, educate and influence. This is a position made stronger by increasing membership and demonstrating a mature and responsible sector.

A full version of Hannah’s presentation can be viewed here:

Online Dating Association: Where are we going next