Your members are more than a source of revenue for your association. Members who find value in your member community don’t keep their feelings a secret. They’re not shy about telling their friends and coworkers that they’re a member of your association. They share news about your association online and wear your branded merchandise with pride!
Engaged members become your association’s best ambassadors. No amount of advertising can equal the impact of testimony from a member who truly feels like they’ve found a place they belong.
That said, it’s important to think about boosting member engagement as the best way to set your recruitment strategy up for long-term success.¹
With an engaged member base, word about your association’s value will spread organically, supporting your greater recruitment efforts.
The next time you revisit your member recruitment strategy, consider these top four tips for maximizing member engagement as a long-term investment:
With these member engagement tips, you’ll be sure to retain the members you have and attract the new members you want!
And before you get started, make sure you have the right membership management software to help you put these strategies into place. Start with Fonteva’s ultimate buyer’s guide to association management software.²
The trick to achieving a sustainable, engaged member community is granting your members as much agency as possible. When you empower your members to take charge of their own level of engagement, they will focus on the elements of the community that are most rewarding to them.³
With the right association management software, it’s easy to set up opportunities for members to make the community their own. Namely, ensure that you’re using software that allows you to set up online member communities.
Communities hosted by your association management software create a virtual space for members to connect through their common interests, always finding new reasons to stick around and invite their colleagues.
When setting up online member communities, ensure that your members can:
These communities serve as spaces where members can connect when they can’t meet in person. As such, online member communities are especially important for large associations with members located around the country or the world.
Even if your association meets once or a few times each year for a conference or local networking events, an online community is essential. This virtual space keeps conversations and engagement at the forefront in the months between meetings.
Plus, these online communities give your members a reason to log onto your software.
Once there, they encounter other ways to engage with your association. Read on to discover how to foster and target these other opportunities!
Of course, providing the platform for member engagement is the most important first step to a strong member community.
But you can’t just rely on your members to drive engagement on their own. Instead, consider the opportunities your association has to provide value that your members can’t get from anywhere else.
For example, trade associations and professional societies, in particular, are uniquely situated to further their members’ education through eLearning!4
The educational resources you can provide to your members rely heavily on the amount of time your team has to put the program together. Even if your association doesn’t have an existing educational or certifying department, you can start small with one-off eLearning experiences and then work your way up to more sustainable programs.
If you want to provide opportunities for eLearning, consider:
The more well-known your online education program is, the more compelling it will be as a recruitment strategy. Be sure to display certifications, badges, or ribbons on your members’ public profiles, and advertise classes and webinars on your social media profiles.5
Online opportunities are great for bringing members together without requiring them to leave their homes or offices. But when it comes to a surefire method for boosting engagement, nothing comes close to an in-person membership event.
You might be considering a conference, a networking lunch, or even a lunch and learn series. Whatever you decide, make sure that your event management software solution can support the following essential features:
You don’t even have to take the lead on planning your events! If your association’s members are spread over a wide geographic area that’s already divided into chapters, give these local chapters the agency to organize their own events online.
When your association looks for ways to encourage engagement by providing value, take a second to look out of the box.
Educational opportunities and networking events provide a specific kind of motivation for your members to actively participate in your community. They want to boost their professional standing, and you’re providing an opportunity to do so.
But more altruistic motivations encourage engagement in the same way! Philanthropy brings a group together in amazing ways.8
When your members have a common philanthropic cause to work toward, they will feel like a part of something greater than the association itself.
If you haven’t already established a philanthropic arm of your association, it’s time to bring a team together to discuss the cause you’re going to support. Some common starting points are:
Especially for associations that haven’t delved into the word of philanthropy before, you’ll need to take some time to get familiar with the sector. Consider talking with other associations like yours to get an idea of how they organize their philanthropic efforts.
Philanthropy is a true team effort. Ask for volunteers from your member community to form a philanthropy board, along with members of your association’s administrative team.
When your members are truly engaged in your association, you’ll realize that they are the best recruitment strategy you could have!
If you want to learn more about member engagement or other topics discussed in this post, check out these helpful additional resources below:
About the Author
Jake Fabbri is the Vice President of Marketing at Fonteva with over 18 years of experience working in marketing management. He has experience with lead generation, content marketing, marketing automation, and events.