Most associations, like businesses, strive to attract new members but neglect them once they are on board. They do not work as hard to ensure that the members stay in the association for as long as possible. Member engagement and member retention are intertwined. Engaged members are more likely to remain in your association for longer than unengaged members, hence increasing retention rates. Also, they act as brand ambassadors who spread the word about your association and its benefits.
However, currently, many associations struggle with member engagement and do not know how to engage their diverse members. This article comes in handy to offer ten member engagement ideas that every association should try.
1. Support a Cause
You can engage members in your association by supporting a cause such as a charity or a public campaign. As members help others as a group, they forge strong relationships with each other.
You can start by identifying the things that your members are passionate about or asking them the causes they would like to support. If a majority of members love charity, you can organize activities around charity. The activity can be as simple as volunteering at an assisted living facility or giving cash donations to a local charity.
2. Reach out on social media
Nowadays, almost everyone is on social media–including your association members. You can utilize the social media platforms that your members actively use to connect with them. If most of your members use Facebook, you can create a Facebook page for your association.
Engage members on social media by hosting online conversations on your association, responding to their inquiries, and handling members’ concern. You can also request members to tell stories about how they joined your association and the benefits they have gathered. You can update them on the latest trends and technologies in your industry as well. The possibilities are unlimited.
3. Brand partnership
Has your association tried a brand partnership before? If not, it’s time to collaborate with a brand to increase member engagement. A brand partnership helps your association grow, and members become active.
One way of partnering with a brand is forming an alliance with a reputable brand so that members of your association get a special discount on the brand’s products and services. For example, if your association is a research-related one, you can partner with a bookstore where members get discounts for book hires and purchases.
4. Welcome new members in style
How do you welcome new members in your association? Do you have a stipulated process for doing so, or do members feel lost when they join your association? Most associations send a welcome email to the new member to usher them and tell them more about the organization. Your organization can go a step further to create a sweet welcome kit.
In addition to the welcome email, give the new member a gift; it may be a branded t-shirt, dairy, or stationary. This will make the member feel good and valued. It is also best practice to ask the member why they joined the association and what they aim to achieve. Then, you should support them in their endeavor.
5. Create a referral program
Referral programs work well in associations. You can devise incentives for members who refer others to your association. The good thing with referrals is that the members who are referred by a friend or family member will be engaged and stay longer.
The referral program should not be just for active members; even members who are leaving the association can offer referrals. They can recommend someone who would benefit from your association.
6. Personal calls
Although it is easy for someone to walk away from an association, it is not easy to walk away from a person. Therefore, it is important for an association to develop a personal interaction with its members. One way of establishing a personal interaction with members is by calling them.
Members will be surprised and delighted that you called them with no sales mission but just to thank them for being a member and enquire if there is anything you can do to improve their experience at the association. You can even give a member a call just to wish him a happy birthday. They will feel special and appreciated.
7. Conduct surveys
You can increase member engagement in your association by conducting regular surveys. You don’t have to guess what members want from your organization; it is best practice to ask them. Using surveys you get first-hand data from members on the association and areas that require improvement.
You get loads of suggestions and unearth complaints that you can use to better the association. After surveying members, it is important to tell them what you’ve done in response to their feedback. For example, if many members want more member interaction opportunities in the association, the management can tell them what they intend to do.
8. Contests and giveaways
One of the purposes of an association is bringing people with shared interests together to network. Once in a while, you can bring members together in a contest that includes giveaways. Reward members who participate in a specified activity with a branded sweatshirt or any other gift.
9. Content marketing
Content marketing is the next big thing in the marketing world. An association can take advantage of this trend to engage its members. It can offer them relevant and insightful information on their area of specialization.
When you establish yourself as an authoritative source of information, members reward you with loyalty and engagement. They are more likely to comment in your articles, posts, and some may even volunteer to write articles for your association.
10. Keep in touch
Some people exit from an association because of communication issues. They feel that the association does not keep them in touch with what is happening and hence, do not see the purpose of being in the group.
To prevent such members from defecting, an association should always update members on the happenings of the association. It can use numerous channels ranging from email to text messages and e-newsletters to communicate with its members.
Whether there is an upcoming event or an annual meeting, the members should be notified promptly. Engagifii helps associations engage members by using websites and apps to deliver vital information to members. Its integrated website, for example, assists an association to deliver real-time updates on associational occurrences to members.
Member engagement is the lifeblood of an association because it increases the member lifetime value, decreases churn rate, and increases member retention. The bottom line in member engagement is creating value for members to stimulate association’s growth and member loyalty.
Apart from the traditional strategies for keeping members engaged, today’s digital environment calls for new strategies that leverage new technologies. Engagifii can help you improve member engagement while increasing the efficiency of your association.