A strong membership base is essential for the success of every member-based association. But how do you grow AND maintain it?
Set targets – make time for membership issues on your monthly board meeting agendas. Review your membership reports on a monthly basis and set realistic targets. Implement action plans to reach your targets. Assign realistic tasks to the membership committee and review the results at your next board meeting. Repeat every month.
Communicate personally – No matter if you lose an old member or win a new one, make sure to connect with them on a personal level either to welcome them or to find out why they chose to leave the organization. Learning why people do not renew their memberships is useful information.
Promote your membership benefits – There is no need to join an organization, if there aren’t any relevant benefits. For example, offer discounted member rates at events, access to a ‘members-only portal’ where it is easy to connect with other members and access relevant industry information that is only available to active members.
Recognize your members – Feature members in your monthly newsletter, or have them write guest articles for it. Recognize recently joined members at events, mention membership anniversaries and any extraordinary professional achievements by your members.
Be relevant – Make sure your events, seminars, workshops or conferences, are relevant to the field and unique. Focus on current and newsworthy topics and trends. Choose your guest speakers accordingly and brief them well.
Every now and then, put on special ‘members-only’ events. Advertise them to your entire database, to encourage people to join in order to attend those events.
Listen to your members’ needs – Send out a short survey right after an event or take the time to connect at the event: Find out how the event was received and what other programs and topics people would like to see in the future.
Offer membership deals – Who does not like to save a few dollars? Have membership drives every now and then: offer savings by providing a discount code, a two-for one deal, reduced rates for student memberships or special deals on company/group memberships.
By Patricia Tait