Posted on Dec 22, 2017
The bread and butter of any association are its members. While it is equally important to ensure your staff is set up for success, strong, positive feedback from your members is what ultimately dictates and drives success for your association.
 
This might include higher retention rates, a strong network for referrals, accolades, as well as advocates, among others.
 
Below are some considerations to think about surrounding your current strategies and determining if your association is member-centric focused.
 
The member journey
 
Devising creative strategies to recruit members is the beginning of the customer journey. What social channels are you currently present on, and are you reaching the right audience? Is the information you are sharing relevant to their interests? For current members, is it easy for them to communicate with one another? With software integration playing an increasingly common role with associations, how simple is it for potential members to inquire about or sign up with your association? Consider how accessible you are to your members so you can provide a more engaging and timely experience.
 
 
Data access
 
Understanding your members and their behaviours is another consideration for developing a stronger member-centric association. What type of information are you collecting from your members? What are their interests? What type of content do they engage with online? Are they engaged with other community members? How active or inactive are they? How long have they been a member for? Are there milestones or achievements you can highlight and celebrate? Knowing your audience can help you identify key players whom you can leverage that have influence within your association’s network.
 
Built-in social communities
 
More associations are offering customer management systems that allow staff to manage websites and social media platforms. How are you currently engaging with your members in the social space? Some association management system vendors integrate with third-party social media tools, while others have their own built-in social media channels, called “community” platforms, which offer chat rooms, blogs, wikis, and other social media tools. This integration allows for a more flexible and controlled space to engage with your members in a timely and more intimate way, without the potential mistake of missing a notification from one of your members.
 
 
Membership culture
 
Culture is another strong factor for member-centric associations. Define the approach for your staff to engage with your members: is there a motto that your association lives by? Does your culture have a more personal touch to its professionalism? What is the tone of voice that is encouraged: friendly or serious? Do you encourage your staff to ask for member feedback to create a more collaborative environment? How often are members able to be a part of the creative process within your association? Nurturing relationships with your members can help drive success for your association.
 
Access to opportunities
 
Offering incentives, such as free online courses or webinars, as well as access to conferences and events, can provide great opportunities for you to engage with your current members and entice potential new ones. What if you offered your members a guest pass to the next conference they attend? Providing positive experiences for your members (and in some cases, extending them to their own networks) may also increase positive sentiment for your association.