During our latest webinar, Meeting Expectations’ team of association leaders shared the lessons they’ve learned during a year affected by the global pandemic: its impact on changing membership models, tips to increase membership, how associations can future-proof their organizations through virtual opportunities, and more. Here are some top takeaways for building membership momentum:
Meeting Today’s Members Needs
COVID-19 accelerated the need for associations to address key communication areas with current and prospective members:
- Communicate with Speed: Members expect information delivered – and updated – more quickly than ever before. The digital age precipitated this expectation, and even after the pandemic crisis has passed, this expectation will remain.
- Convey Your Value: COVID has caused economic and professional challenges for many. Now more than ever, associations should focus on creating and communicating the exceptional value proposition to members and prospects. Highlight the resources, education, networking, and professional development opportunities that are a unique and invaluable assets of association membership.
Attracting and Retaining Members
Even as many things changed this year, many best practices of membership growth remain the same, both today and into 2021:
- Be a Go-To Resource: Associations have a huge number of resources to enhance members’ skillsets and marketability. Make sure you are proactively putting those in front of your members at every opportunity and on every channel. Make it easy for them to access.
- Leverage the Digital Experience: Because virtual events can make it easier for people to join, ask or incentivize members to bring someone to in a networking event or education session. Online education is more approachable, which can help to get more people to participate.
Strategies for Member Engagement
- Create Memorable Online Experiences: Go beyond the typical presentation-driven event, which can lack opportunities to participate. Consider mixing work with pleasure through a mixologist-hosted happy hour; or something as simple as a breakout discussion where everyone can connect. Virtual conferences can be interactive, educational, and engaging.
- Take Advantage of Work from Home: Without a commute, many members may be more able to use that time to join a committee, or even chair one. It’s a new opportunity to foster leadership
Forecasting for 2021
Now’s the time to set yourself up for success in 2021.
- Survey Your Members: Financial situations have changed, meaning your priorities may need to also. Survey members to find out what is in their budgets for 2021: are they planning for dues, conference and travel costs? If you do face event cancellation, encourage the application of fees toward future dues instead of providing refunds.
- Conduct a Risk Assessment: Be honest about the threats – and opportunities – for the coming year.