Revitalize Your Association’s Membership Campaign PT 1
Alison Miller and Jessica Campbell
What is at the heart of an association? Its members!
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much”– Helen Keller
If you are like most associations, you employ an annual membership drive. These efforts can take many forms and be executed through various channels, while focusing on your association’s objectives and strategic development. As you look at your plan for the upcoming year, here are few ideas that may revitalize your campaign and increase its effectiveness.
Discover Your Motivation and Choose a Theme
As you develop a membership marketing campaign, dig deep to find the motivators for membership that will resonate across your diverse community. Go beyond “it’s time to renew your membership” or “join today” announcements. Ask yourself why they should renew or join. What’s in it for them? This is the perfect opportunity to call attention to your member benefits. Does your association offer educational resources, volunteer opportunities, leadership positions, mentorship, networking, professional development, etc. that could be highlighted? Focus on the key benefits throughout the campaign and if you can, emphasize what makes your association unique. If they can experience the same benefits elsewhere, why should they choose to join your association?
“Don’t settle for average. Bring your best to the moment. Then, whether it fails or succeeds, at least you know you gave all you had.”– Angela Bassett
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”– Coco Chanel
Do your members feel appreciated? Before you start asking them to renew their membership and pay their dues, make sure you show your appreciation for their continued support. One way to do this is to launch a member appreciation campaign prior to your membership campaign.
“Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated.”–Robert McNamara, Fmr. American Secretary of Defense
Need ideas to jump-start the process? Here are a few:
- Tie the Member Appreciation Campaign to your Membership Campaign theme for continuity of messaging.
- Create “#MemberMonday” social media posts, highlighting long-time or brand-new members (these can include professional goals, hobbies, favorite food, their contributions, etc.).
- Send an eblast “Thank You” from your association president.
- Encourage interaction between members through an online forum, such as social media or a members’ community. Ask your Board of Directors and committee members to help spearhead the effort.
- Offer a membership referral program; recruit a new member and win a prize (drawing to receive complimentary registration for an Annual Meeting, group membership renewal discounts, etc.).
Make it Personal
Who better to highlight the benefits of membership than active members? When creating your membership campaign, integrate member testimonials. This will help your association connect with like-minded individuals while providing credibility.
Easy and effective concepts:
- Create social media posts with quotes or video testimonials of members (include a representative cross-section of your membership). Tie the messaging to your campaign theme. (For instance, if you are highlighting educational opportunities, provide testimonials of members who have furthered their education due to your association.)
- Add member quotes and video testimonials to your association’s website.
- Host a showcase webinar for prospects with members presenting key benefits. (This can also act as a networking opportunity.)
- Send eblasts from the Board of Directors and committee chairs regarding their perspective on the importance of your association’s members, as well as what they have to offer.
Think of testimonials as mini-narratives that customers place themselves in to see if your product or service can work for them like it did for others.– Sigl Creative
Take a step back from your membership campaign process and contemplate how you can infuse a meaningful theme, membership appreciation, and a personal touch to revitalize your efforts. You will connect with current and prospective members, grow your membership base, and in turn, strengthen your association.
“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”– Vince Lombardi
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