December 7, 2016

Be Authentic with Your Members

Be Authentic with Your Members

Last month, Joe Rominiecki from Associations Now wrote a post outlining the things he has learned while writing about association membership. In his post, he stated this:

Recruitment requires creativity, but retention demands authenticity.

Rominiecki goes on to explain that incentives, offers, and discounts aid many an association in recruitment, but those same tactics aren’t best used for retention. So what does it mean to be authentic? It’s an intangible quality, but one we look for in many places, and it’s something your members likely expect out of your organization. Here’s a few ideas we came up with to help your association become more credible and reliable.

1. Engage with your members from the beginning, not just at the time of renewal.

How often do your members hear from you? In this relationship-based world, it’s important that you meaningfully communicate with your members, not just when you're asking for their money. While there is certainly a fear among many associations of being overly communicative - cluttering inboxes and sending pointless emails - it’s still a good idea to create a communication strategy that is customized to your members’ preferences. What is not a good idea is waiting until the time of renewal to reach out to your members.

2. Promote member feedback for continuous improvement.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of member feedback is that it gives your organization a strategic direction to deliver an exceptional member experience. More importantly, however, it shows your members that you are giving them a forum to voice their opinions and effectively listening to their needs. Show them that the member experience is just as important to you as it is to them.

3. Design processes and policies with your members in mind.

Are any of your processes difficult on your members? Membership registration and renewal, purchasing products, signing up for continuing education courses, and updating profile information should all be easy tasks for your members. When designing processes and policies, consider how they affect your members and streamline them as much as possible, giving your members the power when possible.

4. Become member-centric leaders.

The senior leadership team of any association must shift their thinking and get into the minds of their members. As demands evolve and change over time, association leadership has to be adaptable in order to deliver on new member needs. The saying "this is the way we've always done things" will become a relic of the past.

5. Measure what matters to members.

Thanks to modern technology, association management software that is fully integrated with your other systems makes it easier than ever before to collect and analyze member data.Data tells you all of the things that your members aren't. What programs are valuable, preferred communication methods, desired session topics, and what courses to develop are just a few examples.

Incentive marketing and a hard push to renew probably aren’t going to inspire your members to stay in your organization. It’s going to be their entire member experience that determines whether or not they renew. Be authentic throughout their membership to deliver more value.

To learn how MemberSuite can help your organization deliver an exceptional member experience, check out our online demo by clicking here.