Where would your association be without member engagement? Active, engaged members renew their memberships and help to bring even more members into the fold.
But getting members more involved isn’t always simple to achieve.
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the daily operations of your association. The next thing you know, your role as a champion for members might move to the back burner.
Here are four effective ways to get member more engaged and keep them around for years to come:
1. Make New Members Feel Welcome
The first interactions with your association set the tone for how your new members perceive your organization. Make sure your members love their membership right away, and you’ll get them engaged and keep them around for the long haul.
Welcome emails are an effective way to kick off your relationship with new members. Consider sending an onboarding email series that:
- Thanks members for joining
- Reminds them of the benefits they now receive as a member of your association
- Provides links to key member resources, such as online content and your online store
- Notifies them of important dates, such as your annual conference
- Lets them know what communications you’ll be sending them
Use your association management software (AMS) system to build and track these new member email campaigns.
2. Deliver fresh and relevant content.
Use your AMS system to gather useful data and send targeted, relevant messages to members based on their interests and needs throughout the member journey. For example, use data about your members’ career stages, interests, and behaviors to provide them with recommendations for new industry reports or new services offered by your organization to help them in their specific career stage.
The key is to continue providing fresh, meaningful, timely information for members in all stages of their membership. For example, if your organization is a professional association, you might offer a tool on your website that allows members to calculate how much an advanced degree would help them in terms of lifetime earnings. If your organization is a trade association, you could provide a series of instructional videos or how-to guides.
Just keep delivering relevant content to help your members get value from their membership, and you’ll see member engagement increase.
3. Build an Active Community
One thing that really bolsters member engagement is to get members communicating with each other. Help your members achieve this bond through an active local or online community.
For local groups, this has often been accomplished through regular in-person meetings. But in national or international associations with members strewn the world over (and during a pandemic), this type of face time isn’t as easy. For these reasons, building an active online community is crucial for keeping members engaged year-round.
4. Add new virtual offerings.
Association industry research from Community Brands also shows that most members have been engaging virtually and expect to continue in the past year. The research suggests that members who have become more involved have done so because their organization is offering more online resources. Even members who used to engage more or entirely in person now say they will be moving toward a balance of in-person and virtual engagement.
Consider that while you might have moved your annual conference to a virtual conference in 2020, it’s still important to engage members in a variety of year-round learning opportunities to address members’ budgets, schedules, educational and certification needs, and learning preferences.
For example, take time to review your training and certification programs to see what new virtual offerings you might provide. Also, make sure your online career center goes beyond just job postings to offer a wealth of career advancement opportunities and resources for your members.