If you're an association leader, you know one thing for sure: membership is everything. What it takes increase memberships can be a challenge, yet it's still the engine that pushes communities to be engaged and impactful. Membership dues are what pay your employees, keep the lights on, and allow you to carry out your mission.
With associations popping up left and right, niche organizations are quickly snapping up influencers and industry leaders into their ranks, and with that in mind, it's not only important to grow your membership for ROI reasons, but also to help retain the memberships you have.
There are many ways to increase membership in your association, whether through traditional marketing strategies or digital outreach methods like blogging and social media engagement.
Through our clients, their successes, and their feedback, we've been able to digitize a lot of the traditional processes as well. In this blog, we'll walk through ideas and increasing membership strategies that can help boost your association's membership numbers. Take a look and find the ones that work for best for your association, or all of them! .
- Top Ways to Increase Membership for Your Organization
- Drive New Members from Your Website
- Attract New Members at Your Events
- Digital Marketing Strategies to Recruit New Members
- Improve your Association’s Membership with Traditional Marketing
- Effective Networking Ideas to Boost Memberships
- Strategies to Grow Memberships for Your Organization
- Successful Examples of Increasing Memberships Using Glue Up Membership Management Software
How to Create a Membership Recruitment Strategy?
To create an effective membership recruitment strategy, you need to understand who is already in your association and what they want.
- Take note of your current members' demographics, interests, and goals. Knowing this information will help you target better audiences for new memberships and give members something to be excited about when first joining.
- Next, think through the mission statement and values of your organization. If this is unclear or there’s no clear relationship between mission statements/values, now would be a good time to revisit those documents. This way, everyone can start working from the same page to attract new memberships.
- Also, consider what resources are available within existing departments at both local chapters/branches level and nationally where relevant—including staff time available for outreach; money budgeted annually toward marketing initiatives; space open on-premises (office lobby area); access points online, etc.
Understanding Your Members
Your membership is your association's lifeblood. It's who you are, what you do, and the foundation for everything else. Understanding your potential members can create an association that appeals to their needs and desires. It, in turn, will help you attract and retain more members resulting in growing membership.
The best way to do this? Ask them! But don't just ask them questions about their favorite color or celebrity crush. So how do you go about understanding your potential members? Here are a few tips:
- Use surveys and polls: You can use surveys and polls to collect data directly from potential members. It can be a great way to get detailed information about what they are looking for in an association.
- Talk to current members: Current members can be a valuable source of information about what potential members are looking for. Talk to them about why they joined the association and what they think would attract more.
Understanding Your Mission
The next step in driving membership is understanding your organization's mission. What does your organization do? Why is it important? If you are a member-based organization, the second question is: what does membership mean for your members?
Organizational missions should be shared across all levels of an association, including staff, board members, and volunteers. They should be clearly defined and communicated so everyone understands their role in promoting the mission.
The best way to accomplish this goal is through regular training sessions where staff can share their knowledge of organizational goals with others who may not be familiar with them or have forgotten some details over time.
Understanding Your Value
Another vital thing to understand when trying to grow membership is what value you provide. From an individual level, this could include things like the opportunities of networking with other members and interacting with the industry leaders in your field. At an organizational level, it may mean providing access to resources or training opportunities to help people advance in their careers.
There are many different ways you can use this information as motivation for encouraging new memberships:
- Offer free or discounted admission tickets or passes in exchange for joining as a member of your organization (or just encourage people who have already purchased tickets/passes).
- Create social events where non-members can attend free but must sign up on-site before entering (this encourages them to join without pressure).
Understanding Your Resources
Any organization looking to increase membership should first understand its available resources. These resources fall into two categories: human and financial.
- Human resources are the people within the organization who can help with membership recruitment and retention. It includes staff, volunteers, and even members themselves. Be sure to utilize all the available people power within your organization.
- Financial resources are the money and assets used to support membership activities. It might include funding for membership marketing or educational materials for new members. Regardless of your financial resources, use them wisely to help your membership goals.
By understanding your available resources, you can more effectively plan and execute activities to increase association membership.
Planning Your Process
Before you start a process, it’s essential to define the problem.
The first step in planning your process is to think about what you want. Next, think about your goals, benchmarks, and success metrics. Lastly, how do all of these things fit into the larger vision for your association and its members?
You have to ensure that whatever metrics or measures of success you set come from an honest place—don’t let other people tell you your goals. Instead, motivate yourself by focusing on what matters most, not trying to beat someone else at their own game or because “everybody else does this!”
Know Where Your Members are (and Promote there)
It's important to know where your members hang out, congregate or otherwise cross paths with other potential members. This also doesn't mean just physical locations, but online circles as well. LinkedIn is a great place to get started in discovering where your potential members are lying. It's encouraged that you partake in regular discussions, commenting, and sharing your insights as well.
Being a part of the community within an industry is priority number one when it comes to building your audience. If you don't have the patience, you could always leverage these platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn by advertising your association in their feeds, but by all means, do not sacrifice your engagement with them.
Top Ways to Increase Membership for Your Association
From increasing social interactions to holding regular events, there are many simple ways to make your organization more inviting. Let’s explore 50 proven ways to increase your organization's appeal to potential members.
1. Get Help from Current Members
If you want the most out of your association membership, contact current members for help and advice. By doing so, you will be tapping into a wealth of knowledge.
Current members can help you understand the value of the association and can offer advice on how to get the most out of your membership. Additionally, existing members can be an excellent resource for networking and can introduce you to other members who may be able to help you in your career.
2. Include Members' Testimonial on Your Website
Using the testimonials of your members is a simple way to show the value of membership. These can be an effective way to attract new members and keep current members engaged. For example, you can use testimonials on your website to show why people should join your association.
Suppose you're running a campaign or trying to attract new members, including a visual representation of some of the benefits of being part of your association. You may also add past member stories in social media posts or newsletters so people can see how valuable it was to them.
3. Ask Members for Recruitment Ideas
To come up with membership recruitment ideas, ask existing members what they like about your club and what they would like to see more or less of. Take note of feedback and use it to improve the association’s services, programs, and events for all members in the future.
4. Invite Members' Families to Events
The best way to show that your association is a welcoming community of professionals is by inviting the spouses, children, and significant others of members to events. It can be as simple as a happy hour after meetings or an annual golf tournament.
If you want something more elaborate, consider planning a special event for the entire family at which they can meet each other's kids or play games together. You'll want to ensure that all attendees feel welcome, included in the activity, and appreciated by those around them to reinforce your message that membership brings value not just for yourself but also for your family.
5. Give Members More Opportunities to Participate in Your Advocacy Campaigns
Members can help you get the word out about your cause. But many associations don't take full advantage of the power of advocacy by failing to give members enough opportunities to participate. There are many ways to give members more opportunities to participate in your advocacy campaigns.
You can create action alerts that make it easy for members to take action on the issues they care about. You can also hold webinars or in-person events to educate members about the problems and engage them in the discussion. Additionally, you can create opportunities for members to write letters, make phone calls, or meet with their elected officials to advocate for the issues that matter to your association.
There are a few things to keep in mind before doing this:
- Make sure the campaign is relevant to their interests.
- Keep the campaign simple and easy to understand.
- Provide clear instructions on how they can take part.
- Thank them for their involvement.
Increase participation of members in your campaigns to show them the importance of the issue at hand and how their involvement can make a difference. It can be a great way to build loyalty and enthusiasm for your association.
6. Ensure Existing Members are Satisfied
Retaining your members are just as important as adding new ones to the association. You'll never reach your membership goals if you keep losing members. The core reason members leave is that they are unhappy with something.
There are ways to keep members happy with a blanket-engagement strategy that we'll list out for you, but most importantly, you should look inward to how your association is organized and try to pinpoint what makes your members upset. If that doesn't work, what are other associations closer to your industry doing that's working for them, and can you apply it to yours?
There are some great ways to keep members happy, and the primary way is through constant high-quality engagement. Pumping out Events, Meet & Greets, Reward Programs, Implementing member feedback, social media engagement and more are great ways to keep everyone happy.
However, it's equally important to make sure that this engagement is tailored to each member. A little bit of personalization goes a long way, and that's why it's important to use association management software to your advantage when it comes to making content that's personalised in a way that doesn't take hours to do.
7. Solicit Feedback from Existing Members
The easiest way to get new members on board is to use an effective strategy to ask for feedback from existing members. Set up a system of regular, monthly is ideal, surveys to send out to your members, and get actionable feedback from the members themselves. This will always keep you in the loop for what changes your association needs to take in order to please members and improve your associations. The mere fact that you're making an attempt to listen to your members is enough to make you stand out as an association that care about it's members, and it makes members feel that they're valued.
8. Provide Incentives for Referrals
Referral programs are a great way to engage your current member base while also adding on fresh members. By offering rewards, discounts, extensions, and more, you'll be able to encourage current members into being part-time recruiters basically.
By being a part of your association's industry, it's likely they'll bring in engaged leads who are highly likely to convert into your new members. passing on this same referral program to new members then spreads the effectiveness to others, and it ends up becoming a great viral referral effect.
9. Create a Recruitment Committee
When recruiting new members to your association, it's crucial to have a recruitment strategy in place. One way to do this is to create a recruitment committee. This committee can be responsible for planning, executing recruitment campaigns, and evaluating potential new members.
Having a recruitment committee in place can help you increase your association membership and improve the quality of your membership. If you're looking to create a recruitment committee, here are a few tips to get you started.
- Make sure to include all stakeholders, including the executive director and president of the organization.
- Give the committee a clear mission and goals that tie back to your association's strategic plan.
- Ensure they have time, resources, and authority to do their job.
- Give them an understanding of what they want their member experience to be like so they can set shared expectations for how members will feel when interacting with your association—and make sure it aligns with your overall brand identity.
Drive New Members from Your Website
There are many ways you can use your website to recruit new members to your association. Below are some ideas to get you started:
10. Optimize your website to drive new memberships
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. More than half of internet users are now mobile-only, and that number will only increase. So, make your site easy to navigate from any device, including smartphones, tablets, and computers.
- Use CTAs on your website. Create compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) so visitors know what action you want them to take when they visit your site. There are many ways: Try using clever headlines or sub-headlines in posts; add an email sign-up form at the bottom of blog posts; use images that speak directly to visitors; provide clear instructions for first-time visitors; have a straightforward navigation menu that points people toward what they need quickly (like membership forms).
- Use a membership form that is easy to fill out and understand. It means having a simple sign-up form that asks for minimal information like name, email address, phone number (optional), gender (optional), and maybe some additional details like occupation if relevant for memberships like student or professional). Don't ask too many questions because it will discourage new members from joining!
- Use offline advertising techniques such as flyers/posters & mailers.
11. Use CTAs on Your Non-profit Websites
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are a key part of your website. They're where you tell users what you want them to do, and they're an essential part of any conversion process.
A CTA should be clear, concise, and actionable. It should also be placed in a prominent position on the page so that it's easy for visitors to see it and click it—and don't forget to make sure that your call-to-action buttons are easy for people to understand and click!
Read more: Top 12 Membership Website Design Tips For Associations
12. Provide Targeted and Valuable Content
Every association publishes information that is relevant to its members. Of course, some post more than others, but the point is that there are always content items on your website or other communications that are useful to your members. The question is whether you provide enough of this information and market your content in a way that makes it easy for members to use.
To optimize both quantity and quality of member engagement with your content, create a comprehensive list of resources available from your organization - from those made by staff members or partners to those shared by industry experts or guest bloggers (if you have them).
This list should include all forms of media, including articles, webinars, podcasts/videos/podcasts, infographics/charts/graphs, and other formats like case studies (don't forget about white papers).
13. Set up Google Analytics or Link Tracking Using Bit.ly
Suppose you're looking to dive deeper into your website's analytics. In that case, we recommend setting up Google Analytics or linking your web pages through a link shortener such as Bitly. These tools enable you to track how many people click on links in the emails you send out and what pages they're landing on when they click through. This information can help guide decisions about where to send future communication efforts and which content resonates most with your audience.
14. Make Online Registrations As Easy As Possible
Registering for events should be simple and offer various payment options, including electronic checks and credit cards. You should also provide the option of paying in person at the event venue, which is convenient for those who are running late or only need to register right before an event begins.
You can save people time by ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, so it's easy to navigate on smartphones and tablets. If you're selling physical products (such as magazines), you can also provide an app allowing members to purchase subscriptions directly through your site.
15. Create a Members-only Section on Your Website
You can create a members-only section on your website by publishing content only available to those logged in. It is done through the website area that requires a login or by putting up password-protected pages.
It's important to remember that the purpose of this section is to provide value to your members, so it should contain high-quality content and exclusive content not found anywhere else on your site.
16. Focus on Enhancing Your Site's SEO
Your website's SEO is crucial when attracting new members to your association. Optimizing your site for the right keywords ensures that your association comes up first in search results when potential members are looking for organizations like yours.
You can do a few key things to improve your site's SEO.
- Make sure that your site's content is relevant and informative.
- Improve your website's ranking in search engines
- Use keywords in your website's title and description
- Use keywords in your website's text
- Use keywords in your website's URL
- Use keywords in your website's image alt text
- Use keywords in your website's meta description
It will not only help potential members find your site, but it will also help you rank higher in search results. If you focus on enhancing your site's SEO, you will see a big difference in the number of new members you attract.
Attract New Members at Your Events
You can attract new members and get them involved in your association by hosting open public events. There are a few things to remember when planning your event recruitment strategy. First, you'll want to choose events relevant to your association's mission and goals.
It will help you attract members who are interested in what you do. You'll also want to ensure your events are well-publicized and easy to find. You can use social media, your website, and even traditional media to get the word out.
Finally, don't forget to follow up with your recruits after the event. Send them a welcome email, invite them to join your association, and keep them updated on your upcoming events.
17. Offer Exclusive Events for Members
Associations are not just known for hosting events. We dare say it's an obligation to host high quality and regular events for an association to even survive. Events are perfect ways to force paying members into getting their money's worth by engaging and interacting with other members, the public, and governments.
This is how associations the world-over impact social, political, and economic changes in their communities and industries. Without these events, you would never get your name out there in front of the eyes of curious would-be members.
18. Host Events That are Not Just for Members
Associations typically host events that are only accessible to members. While this can be a great way to connect with other like-minded individuals, it can also be limited to growing your association. One way to break out of this cycle and attract new members is to host open public events.
By hosting events open to everyone, you can reach a wider audience and show them what your association is all about. You can also use these events to generate leads and build relationships with potential members. So if you're looking for ways to grow your association, consider hosting events that are not just for members.
19. Sponsor a Local Event
Events are a great way to meet new members and encourage them to become more involved in the association. In addition, many states have laws governing non-profits that require them to spend a certain percentage of their budget on community outreach programs, so sponsoring an event is often easier than you might think.
While some events may be specifically geared toward your members, try also looking into other events for people who aren't already part of your organization—like a community festival or art show.
20. Host a Conference
Hosting a conference is one of the most effective ways to bring people together and help them learn from each other. A conference is an event that brings people together to share knowledge and ideas, whether it's at the academic level or for business purposes. Conferences are also great for getting your message out there, as attendees will be more likely to join after attending your event!
21. Host a Business Spotlight Event for Local Businesses
If you're looking for a way to increase membership and get local businesses involved, hosting a business spotlight event is a great option. During the event, each business will have a chance to give a short presentation about their company. It is an excellent opportunity for businesses to network and gets their names out there. At the end of the event, you can have a drawing for door prizes and give away some cool swag.
22. Host a Free Luncheon
Hosting a free luncheon is a great way to attract new members. Getting together with potential members in a casual setting allows you to build relationships and discuss the benefits of joining your association. Plus, you can offer these events as an incentive for membership, which will bring in more money for your organization.
Once your association has hosted a successful free luncheon event, ensure you continue providing these types of opportunities to attract new members!
23. Host a Philanthropy Event
Consider hosting a philanthropy event where you can donate money or goods to a community, local, or national project. If your budget allows it, think about donating to an international cause too.
Digital Marketing Strategies to Recruit New Members
By using versatile digital marketing techniques such as email marketing, social media, and search engine optimization, you can reach a larger audience and generate interest in your association.
If you're unsure where to start, plenty of resources are available online to help you get started with digital marketing recruitment. You can find some of them below. Once you have a plan in place, you'll be well on increasing your association membership.
24. Find Co-marketing Opportunities
- Find a company with a similar target audience - Your members are likely interested in the same things, so finding another association based on their shared interests is easy.
- Do a joint promotion - An excellent way to increase your membership is to do a partnership with another organization that offers something of value for free (like coupons or discounts) and let members know about it via email or social media posts. You can also provide special discounts on products and services related to what both groups offer if you find two companies that aren't competitors but complement each other nicely.
- Offer a free trial membership - Another great way to increase membership numbers quickly is by offering an extended trial period for new applicants. They'd like to see if being part of your group is right for them before committing fully—especially if there's no cost involved!
25. Brand Your Membership Program
Are you wondering how to brand your membership program across different channels? It's as simple as this:
- Keep it consistent across all communications and media, including print, online and social media.
- Make it easy to understand by using simple language that your members will understand (use as few words as possible).
- Make it easy to remember by using a slogan or phrase which is shareable with friends, family members, or other people who might be interested in joining the association (e.g., “Join the adventure!”).
- Make it easy for current members to communicate their affinity for the association when they’re not physically present at meetings or events. For example, give them resources such as stickers or buttons they can wear at work or school, so others will know they are part of the association community (e.g., “I am a member of [insert name here] Association”).
26. Use Digital Advertisements
As the internet continues to grow and evolve, so does the digital advertising landscape. By utilizing digital advertisements, you can increase your association membership by targeting potential members who may be interested in your organization.
There are many ways to go about this:
- Use social media - It helps you target individuals who fit your desired demographic. Facebook, for instance, allows you to target individuals based on interests, job titles, and location.
- Use email marketing - Email is still one of the most effective ways to get people to come back to your site or visit it for the first time.
- Consider Google AdWords - If you're looking for places where people are searching for associations specifically (and not just generic terms like “association”), check out what keywords are performing best for similar types of businesses—you may be surprised!
By targeting potential members with digital advertisements, you can increase your chances of growing your association.
27. Create a Complete Membership Funnel
When thinking about increasing your association membership, you must consider the complete membership funnel. An entire membership funnel or conversion process will help your members know what they need to do next.
A good membership funnel should have a clear call to action at every step. It should be easy for prospects to understand where they are in the process, who is responsible for communicating with them, and what actions they should take next. The flow of information should be crystal clear so prospects can easily find answers if they have questions or concerns.
28. Create Retargeting Ads
If you want more people to buy your products and services, retargeting is one of the best ways. Retargeting is when an ad appears on a website or app you've already visited.
These ads are based on your previous online activity. So, for example, if you visited our website for the first time a few weeks ago and then left without signing up for our newsletter, retargeted ads might show up later as reminders to sign up (and maybe even provide some incentive).
The same thing goes for other types of websites: if someone clicks on an article about cat food but never purchased anything from the store it came from, they'll see cat food ads while they're browsing other sites to encourage them to make that purchase at some point down the line!
The best part about retargeting ads is that it's inexpensive compared with other forms of digital marketing like Facebook advertising and Google AdWords. It is because there's no need for additional development costs since these platforms already have all of this functionality built-in—you just have access through your existing account (or pay per click if needed). Therefore, all associations should use retargeting as part of their digital marketing strategy!
29. Create an Email Marketing Campaign
Email marketing is one of the best ways to reach out to potential members, current members, and event attendees. You can use email marketing for a variety of purposes, such as:
- Reach out to new people who have never heard about your association before.
- Keep in touch with current members and promote events.
- Promote your membership drive or any other fundraising efforts you may be running at the moment.
30. Use Emotional Storytelling on Social Media
Using emotional storytelling in your content can help you connect with your audience and make it more memorable and engaging.
Here are some tips for using emotional storytelling:
- Use the power of emotions to create a sense of community around an association's mission or purpose. For example, if you're promoting a fundraiser for children with cancer, consider including stories about past patients who have overcome their illness after receiving treatment at the hospital where you work. These stories will give others hope that they can also overcome obstacles in life.
- Create an atmosphere of warmth and comfort by telling personal anecdotes about members' experiences with your organization or event (and don't forget to share photos!). It will help build rapport between members and encourage them to become lifelong supporters instead of just one-time donors who donate yearly due purely out of obligation rather than actual conviction.
31. Demonstrate Membership Value via Social Media
Social media is a great way to show members the benefits of membership and provide them with an opportunity to engage in your community.
People spend 2.5 hours on social media each day. That's a huge chunk of someone's day glued to a media feed that's ripe for your association to be on and in their face.
But why do you want to be on there? Who is going to see it?
Essentially social media is the best place to make it look like your association is alive, at least in the beginning. Even if no one reacts, comments, or shares your posts, it doesn't mean they're not unwanted in their feed.
You'll slowly grow an audience over time, maybe it could use some extra nudging from your physical in-person meets and events to ask people to follow you. But in doing so you'll spread your message to those both in and outside of your circle.
Being active on social media doesn't just mean posting regularly. That's half the battle. The other half is social listening. If you're not listening, you're not in the know.
By seeing who else is posting about related topics to your association, you'll be able to find opportunities for discussion, and you'll be able to put your association at the forefront of popular discussions and even some hot topics. By doing this, you'll attract followers and like-minded folks who may or may not be your members.
This is a great opportunity to slip in some subtle CTAs that get them interested in joining your organization. As well, it's a great way to promote events and keep members up to date!
Not sure where to start? Check out our guide on 16 Tips and Tricks to using Social Media for chambers of commerce, who's needs are probably similar to yours.
Improve your Association’s Membership with Traditional Marketing
The following traditional marketing recruitment ideas can help associations grow membership in various ways.
32. Put Up Flyers
Flyers are a great way to advertise. You can place flyers at the local library, community center, or other community organizations. You may also post them on the bulletin board at your local coffee shop and put them up in your town newspaper. People will see the flyers and instantly know about your association.
33. Try Cold Calling
It's not the most exciting way to start, but cold calling is a tried-and-true method of generating new memberships. It can feel overwhelming at first—especially if you're not sure what results are possible—but with some research and practice, cold calling can become another tool in your recruiting arsenal.
To get started, start by locating your target audience. A membership drive will be more successful if you know who you want to talk to and why people should join your organization. The best place to find this information is using tools like Google and LinkedIn; both platforms allow users to search for others based on location or industry sector.
Once you've identified a few prospects, call them up! Get them excited about joining with stories about how great your organization is doing these days or even mention something specific they might be interested in (such as an upcoming event).
34. Announce Club Meetings in Local Newsletters
A newsletter is a way for you to share recent club activities with members. You can include announcements about upcoming events, meetings, and photos from recent events in a monthly or quarterly newsletter. A good format for your bulletin should consist of:
- The date of the event
- The time and location of the event
- A brief description of what will happen during the event (ex: meeting with local government officials)
- Contact information for anyone interested in attending
35. Create an Informational Brochure About Your Club
Your club has been around for a while, but membership has been dwindling lately. You've been brainstorming to attract new members to the club or how to increase club membership, and you think creating an informational brochure about your club could be a great way to generate interest.
There is no better way to get the word out about your club and what it has to offer potential members. But what should you include in your brochure?
Here are a few ideas:
- A brief overview of your club and its history
- A description of your club's activities and how members can get involved
- A list of benefits that your club offers to its members
- Contact information for your club's officers and staff
Including this information in your brochure will give potential members a better idea of what your club is all about and what they can expect if they join.
36. Place an Advertisement in the Local Paper
The local paper is a great way to reach a large audience. The local paper is also an excellent choice if you want to target your message toward a specific demographic or geographic area. Finally, the local paper isn't just for reaching people in your city—you can even advertise to those who live in neighboring towns!
37. Place Ads in Local Media
We know you want to get the word out about your association, but where should you place ads? Many local media outlets offer advertising opportunities. Here’s a list of some of the most popular ones:
- Local newspapers
- Radio stations (local and online)
- TV networks (local and online)
- Trade publications for specific industries or groups of people
<h2 id="network"<>Effective Networking Ideas to Boost Memberships
Growing your association's membership can be a challenge. But one way to help increase membership is by utilizing networking recruitment ideas. Connecting with potential members and getting them involved in the association can help increase membership and grow the association.
You can use many networking recruitment ideas to help grow your association. Here are a few to get you started:
38. Host a Networking Event
Hosting a networking event is a great way to meet new members but can be time-consuming and challenging to execute. Instead, work with your association’s marketing team to set up an event that will attract people in your industry and community. If you don’t have the resources available, contact your local chamber of commerce for assistance with planning the event, promotion, and follow-up activities.
39. Use Existing Business Networks
Your network is your net worth and the most valuable resource you have.
- Use your network of friends and family. It is a great way to get new members, especially if they're not looking for an association and don't think they need one. But, of course, you can also use their networks as well!
- Use your business contacts. If someone has joined an association before, chances are they will join another if offered the opportunity (especially if it's free). They may even introduce you to others interested in joining too!
- Use your colleagues at work—they may be able to refer clients or customers who would be interested in joining an association like yours. And if they aren't interested themselves? They might know someone else who might be!
40. Host a Job Fair for the Community
A job fair is a great way to recruit new members, employees, volunteers, and board members. The same goes for recruiting committee members and partners.
But there are many other reasons why you should host a job fair in your association:
- First, you can use the opportunity to market your organization’s mission.
- You can use the opportunity to promote your upcoming event(s).
- You can utilize it as an educational event to teach people about local resources and services available in the community.
41. Visit a Chamber of Commerce Meeting
A chamber of commerce is a local, regional, or national business organization that serves as a platform for networking and professional development. Chamber members are often other business owners and professionals who share common interests in their local area.
If you're looking to increase membership in your association or grow existing memberships, it's essential to understand how networking can help achieve this goal. A visit to a chamber of commerce meeting may be just what you need!
Networking is an effective way to meet new people, establish connections with like-minded individuals, and build relationships with others who can add value to your business (e.g., new clients).
42. Connect with Colleges and Universities
Offer students an incentive to join, such as a discount on membership fees or free trial membership. You can also give them a membership card and access to online resources that make running events more efficient.
With these membership incentive ideas, your association will be more accessible to young professionals who want to develop their careers but don't have the time or money for traditional networking methods like joining organizations or meeting new people in person.
Strategies to Grow Memberships for Your Association
If people don’t know who you are and what benefits they will receive from joining your organization, they won’t be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to join it.
Here are some organizational ideas for increasing membership.
43. Enhance the Member Experience with Modern Membership Management Software
When running an association, it's essential to keep your members happy. An excellent way to do this is by providing them with modern membership management software. It will help you manage your memberships and track the status of each one. With the right tools in place, you'll know how many people are paying for memberships and which ones haven't renewed yet (and why).
44. Enhance Your Organization's Online Community
Use social media, blogs, and online forums to communicate with members and non-members, as well as encourage them to share feedback on the content they are reading. It gives you valuable insight into what they find interesting or useful and what they don't care about at all (which allows you to fine-tune the information presented).
45. Start a Mentorship Program
A mentorship program is an effective way of helping members get connected. A person new to a field can be overwhelmed by all the jargon, protocol, and general information they need to know to join the conversation. A mentor can help them understand what’s going on in your organization and give advice about career advancement or other professional development issues.
46. Offer a Valuable Continuing Education Program
If you provide a course to your members that addresses topics they need to know, they will be more likely to attend your event. Your association's continuing education program should offer courses relevant to your members' professional development, personal development, and both.
47. Offer a Free Trial Membership
Have you ever considered a free trial membership as a way to attract new members? The benefits of this type of promotion are apparent: It allows you to test the waters and see if your association is suitable for someone before they commit to paying dues.
Frequently, people are hesitant to join an organization because they don't want others looking over their shoulders or feeling pressured into making an important financial decision. Offering a free trial membership allows potential members to try out your community without any strings attached. It can help alleviate concerns and increase conversion rates without sacrificing your bottom line.
By encouraging those who sign up for free trials with no commitment or pressure from other members on how long they should stay, many will last longer than expected - especially if there's value in becoming a full member after experiencing all that your association has to offer!
48. Offer a Discount or Promotion
By offering a discount, you can make membership more affordable for potential members and entice them to join. You can also use the promotion to generate interest in your association. For example, you could offer a free trial membership or a gift for signing up.
Whatever discount or promotion you choose to offer, make sure it is relevant to your target audience and that it will encourage people to join your association. Otherwise, you could end up wasting your time and money.
49. Provide a Personalized Membership Card
A membership card is one of the first things people see when they join your association. These are a must-have for associations to help members feel they're truly a part of something special.
However physical cards are going the way of the do-do bird. It's far more commonplace, and green, to use digital membership cards, all based on the same system used to register, manage, and engage with members.
Membership management software, including Glue Up's, hosts a digital membership card feature that delivers membership cards immediately to new members with more benefits than a physical card will ever provide.
By leveraging the platform, membership cards are now finding homes in the phones of members these days. Every actionable stance a physical card has is now expanded by leveraging the phone's myriad of sensors and cameras allowing not only for normal use cases for physical membership cards, but also for allowing the ability to track that engagement in an actionable way.
It also saves us from chucking plastic away in the end.
Interested in moving to digital membership cards? Book a demo with us and we'll show you how it works.
50. Set a Membership Goal
Does your association have a membership goal? If not, now is the time to set one.
There are a few things to keep in mind when setting a membership goal.
- First, your goal should be specific. Saying you want to increase membership is not enough. You need to set a particular number that you would like to reach.
- Second, your goal should be realistic. Don't set a goal that is impossible to reach. You should have a plan in place to reach your goal.
If you follow these guidelines, you will be well on your way to increasing your association membership.
51. Track How New Members Join
It is vital to keep track of your member referrals. Use membership management software or a CRM (customer relationship manager) like Glue Up to track new member referrals. You can also use spreadsheets, email marketing software, and more.
52. Automate the Renewal Process
With members joining at different times, with potentially varying lengths of memberships, it can be tedious to keep up with their activities, their exit dates, and when the best time to remind them is. There's even a surprising amount of associations out there that are not automating this process. Even some sadly never remind members due to the sheer manual time-taking task that it is.
By leveraging a membership management software with a built-in CRM and Contact Database, you'll be able to set up a range of settings that automate the reminder emails and push notifications that get delivered to members to remind them when it's time to renew. This consistent and automated reminder system is key to not only growing your membership base but also easing the workload.
53. Create Urgency
Setting up time-based or limited count offers is a great way to push those potential members on the fence about joining your association to finally go through with the registration process. Making deals for holidays, or limited-time offers push members to take deals that they wouldn't find in other associations, and it's also a great way to push other offers to current members as well.
54. Create an Engaging Welcome Package
Welcome packages are a great way to engage new members, and while they're good for engaging members, the long-term effect of having engaged members can have an influence on how word-of-mouth spreads about your association. Association membership growth is based on a lot of factors, and while there are marketing ways to do so, word-of-mouth is always the winner.
Members beget new members, and welcome packages are a great way to do so. Deliver Polo shirts, informational pamphlets, do-dads, and discount codes or offers. These little things educate and delight new members immediately, and it keeps members from regretting the decision to join. Here's a great guide that will get you on track with starting your own welcome package.
55. Use a Membership Management Software
Membership software is the perfect solution for anyone who needs to run a membership association. If your organization has multiple locations, you can use membership management software to store member data in one place, regardless of where they are.
In this regard, Glue Up is your best bet. You can not go wrong with this engagement software that provides an easy way to manage memberships, giving you more time for other essential tasks.
It helps you automate your membership management processes, maximize retention, and pamper your existing members to their hearts' content which ultimately leads new customers into your business through the doorways!
Here are some of the built-in features of Glue Up that can help you generate accurate reports.
- Automate renewals with emails and push notifications.
- Manage invoices and payment receipts, and monitor online and offline financial transactions.
- Plan, execute, and manage events of any size easily, online or offline.
- Create branded email campaigns, newsletters, and invitations for events within your organization.
- With a drag-and-drop website, you can create a unique design that makes your organization stand out from the crowd.
- Using the all-in-one CRM feature, add contact information, check engagement history, monitor membership status or renewals in one place, analyze data and fulfill expectations to achieve organizational effectiveness.
- Build a strong community with a personalized platform for your members to connect with you and each other.
The bottom line is that recruiting new members can be a lot of work. And there are many different ways to do it. But as long as you have a solid plan and good communication skills, you should be able to find success!
If you feel the need to automate some of these tricks we listed here today, get in touch and book a demo with us and we'll show you how you could be automating your association membership engagement today.
Successful Examples of Increasing Memberships Using Glue Up Membership Management Software
As the demand for membership-based organizations continues to grow, these groups need to have a system in place to manage their members.
Several organizations have already increased their memberships using Glue Up membership management software. Here are some examples of how Glue Up has helped and continue to help organizations grow.
Italian Chamber of Commerce
The Italian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong & Macau used spreadsheets to manage members, then Salesforce, which was limited to managing contacts, not email engagement. Finally, they used a multi-tool approach to ease the pressure, which made managing it increasingly difficult.
They needed to move away from using tools that encourage the separation of databases, increase professionalism in the digital arena, and grow membership.’
They reduced their management needs after switching to Glue Up because all lists and associated tools are available in one place. It covers setting up event pages, email campaigns, membership renewal automation, push notifications via the Glue Up mobile app, and more.
The Italian Chamber has seen a near-30% hike in membership growth with the new platform.
Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI)
Founded on May 8th, 1916, the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry was established as an apex organization for Industry, Trade & Service sectors in Karnataka. FKCCI has a membership drawn from all sectors of Industry, Trade & Services.
FKCCI chose Glue Up as their solution to grow their membership network, automate members’ management engagement, and provide integrated email marketing capabilities to their personnel.
Before joining Glue Up, the membership grew by about 300 people for a year, according to FKCCI. But they doubled the growth and signed up 700 new members since using Glue Up's all-in-one solution and combining the best of CRM, Marketing, and Event Management methods.
How can the membership process be improved?
The membership process is improved by automating some steps and streamlining the overall process.
- Automate the initial sign-up process.
- Streamline the process of approving new members.
- Improve communication with new members.
What is a membership strategy?
A membership strategy is a plan for how an association acquires, retains, and engages its members. This strategy relies on the association's unique goals and the needs of its members. However, all membership strategies should have two main goals: to increase membership and to engage members.
How do you attract new members?
To attract new members, create a strong value proposition that resonates with potential members and showcases the benefits of joining the association. Also, create a welcoming and inclusive environment for potential members, who will be more likely to join the association.