50 Proven Member Engagement Ideas for Associations [ + Best Practices for Onboarding and Renewals]

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50 Proven Member Engagement Ideas for Associations [ + Best Practices for Onboarding and Renewals]

Content Strategist
21 minutes read
June 24, 2022

Last edited: October 13, 2023


Looking for the top member engagement ideas? We’ve got you covered!

Whether it's onboarding your new mates or increasing retention rates, we will guide you through the most effective steps for building a lasting connection with your members.

But before we dive deeper into the topic, let's explore why member engagements are so important to the associations and how can they contribute to their long-term success? (You can jump directly to the ideas by clicking on the links below).

Quick Reads

Why Member Engagement is Important for Associations?

importance of member engagement

Engagement is key to member retention.

It has the emotional power to keep your members hooked with your association. Thus, the more deeply connected a member feels with your mission, the longer they will stay with you.

All in all, member engagement can result in several core benefits, including:

  • Member retention
  • Referrals
  • Building community
  • Driving revenue

Engagement is therefore fundamental to the growth of your association, both in terms of community and finances.

Let's explore the different ways through which you can develop an emotional, long-term relationship with your people.

How to Create Tailored Engagement Strategies for Different Types of Members?

Understanding the diverse needs and preferences of your association's members is key to crafting effective engagement strategies. Each member type brings unique perspectives and challenges to the table.

Here are some tailored strategies to enhance engagement for each of these member types, ensuring they derive maximum value from their membership while contributing meaningfully to the association.

1. Catering to Introverted Members

As an introverted member, your members might prefer to stay on the sidelines, finding networking events and large conferences intimidating. Their primary reason for joining your association might be to access resources and education, rather than building connections.

However, engaging in ways that align with your comfort level can help you extract maximum value from your membership.

Engagement Strategies for Introverted Members
  • Consider asking them to volunteer for roles that limit direct interaction, such as moderating online forums, writing for a blog or newsletter, or assisting with administrative tasks.
  • Ask them to participate in smaller, topic-specific meetups rather than large conferences.
  • Arrange an informal one-on-one meeting with them to delve into their areas of interest.
  • Introduce more ice-breaking activities at the beginning of interactive events.

2. Guiding Super-Engaged Members

Super-engaged members take advantage of every opportunity to get involved. They’re regular at events, volunteer for committees, and are always looking for ways to maximize their membership value.

While their commitment is commendable, it's essential to avoid their burnout.

Engagement Strategies for Extroverted Members
  • Assess the sustainability of their involvement level.
  • Encourage them to take breaks and have outside interests.
  • Give them the support they need to continue being engaged.
  • Recruit others to share responsibilities and delegate tasks.
  • Ensure that they're receiving value in return - look for professional development and growth opportunities to complement their service.

3. Involving Younger Members

As a young professional, you might feel intimidated in an association filled with seasoned veterans. However, your fresh perspective is an asset. Don't hesitate to voice your opinions and ideas.

Engagement Strategies for Extroverted Members
  • Provide them with mentorship opportunities so they can learn from experienced members.
  • Involve them in committees where they can introduce new ideas.
  • Invite them to your networking events so they can make new acquaintances.
  • Help them connect with peers at a similar career stage through speed networking sessions.

4. Engaging Senior Members

Senior members bring immense value to your association, often serving as significant financial contributors. Their longstanding involvement and wealth of experience are assets that should not be overlooked.

Here are some strategies to ensure they remain engaged and feel valued, preventing them from slipping through the cracks.

Engagement Strategies for Older Members
  • Introduce new engagement methods that can help them maintain maximum membership value.
  • Consider mentoring roles for them so they can share knowledge with younger professionals.
  • Identify skills-based volunteer opportunities for them so that they can continue to leverage their expertise.
  • Invite them to intergenerational events to connect them with members at all career stages.
  • Ask them to attend a course or session outside their comfort zone can stimulate growth.

5. Involving Remote Members

Sometimes, your remote members might face unique challenges in feeling connected and maximizing their membership benefits. However, geographic distance shouldn't limit their association experience.

Here’s what you can do to maximize their involvement:

Engagement Strategies for Remote Members
  • Look for opportunities to connect with them virtually.
  • Ask them to join webinars and educational sessions online.
  • Create member forums and social media groups to engage them in discussions.
  • If possible, arrange local events for them.

Understanding and Engaging Members Based on Their Demographics and Interests

1. Age and Milestone-related Events

It's important to recognize your members are at various stages of life. An older member who has been with you for years has different needs than a new young member. Life events such as birthdays, retirements, and anniversaries offer excellent opportunities to make them feel appreciated.

Here are some strategies you can employ to engage members based on their age and milestones:

  • Personalized cards for these milestones.
  • Featuring member achievements in publications or social media.
  • Developing special interest groups around life stages.

2. Organizing Local Events

Given the geographical spread of your members, fostering a sense of connection can be challenging. Hosting local events provides an opportunity for them to interact with their peers within their community, thereby building stronger relationships.

Organize regional conferences, networking events, and webinars and recruit local volunteers. If possible, offer discounts to boost attendance at these local events.

3. Leveraging Interests Based on Surveys

Understanding your members' interests is key to tailoring engagement strategies and providing relevant, valuable content. Conduct surveys periodically to understand what members value and expect from your association.

Once you analyze the results, make sure to utilize them to:

  • Capture your interests and goals.
  • Create targeted content and resources around your interests.
  • Segment communications and programs accordingly.

Member Engagement During Onboarding

member engagement during ></p>
  <p><a  data-cke-saved-href=Successful onboarding of your members leads to a lasting connection with them. Be sure to assure them that they made the right decision and that their time and money will not be wasted.

Here are a few tips you can try during their onboarding phase to build a meaningful relationship with them.

1. Send Them a Cool Welcome Kit

welcome kit

When it comes to enticing members from day one, a welcome kit can go a long way.

Not only does this help them become familiar with your company, but it also makes them feel valued from the very beginning.

Regardless of the type of welcome kit you have, make sure you include the basic items such as:

  • A personalized welcome letter.
  • Calendar of upcoming events and webinars.
  • Welcome brochure with some goodies.
  • A membership card with their name and role.
  • A reference sheet with contact information.
  • Membership perks include discounts, promo deals, and offers.
  • Login credentials to your website and community app.
  • A membership invoice with dues information and due dates.

To make their onboarding experience worthwhile, you can offer other swags such as wireless speakers, a travel mug, a t-shirt, and a portable charger with your brand labels on it.

2. Establish a Personal Contact Point

Despite overall satisfaction rates of 84%, 55% of association members felt a connection with their professional organization. This emphasizes the importance of adding a personal touch to the memberships.

Assign one of your key members as a single point of contact for the new joiners and send out all the communications through his/ her number and email address. It will convey a sense of personal connection to your members, which will ultimately increase their loyalty.

3. Make a Commitment

Hubspot reveals that 50% of US consumers switch to competitors who better meet their needs. If you don’t want to be one of them, make a commitment with the new joiners to make consistent enhancements.

Know what they expect from the memberships (you can include an expectation section in the application form) and draft an agreement to provide them with what they are looking for. Take it as a way to structure your annual objectives. Include them in your improvement plan, if possible.

This will greatly increase their chances of renewing their memberships, knowing that their expectations have been met (and hopefully exceeded).

4. Encourage Them to Use Their Member Benefits

Despite introducing benefits to your members during onboarding, most of them do not utilize them to their full capacity. In many cases, it's because the company does not communicate clearly about the benefits and versatility of these perks.

Make it super easy for them to use your membership package by introducing visual messaging, putting them on the sales hat, and consistently reminding them through posts and newsletters.

Some of the daily perks (like discounts and promo codes) will not only allow them to save big at the local shops but will also encourage their frequent usage.

5. Engage Them Through Social Media

social media

Engaging customers from the very early stages is key to building a long-lasting relationship with them.

While 31% of the associations invite their new members to like social media pages, only 16% use them effectively to engage with their audience. This could be your #1 chance to stand out from your competitors but communicating with them through social channels.

Post trendy content that is worth engaging, reply to every comment and encourage members to comment, like, and share. You can also create groups regarding a special event, introduced benefits, or new features introduced.

With the My Glue app, you can create a personal and secure social experience for your customers. Being a personal community designed exclusively for your club members, it offers all the features of social media, but with a high degree of security and control.

6. Enroll Them in the Online Community

Online communities are essential for member-based organizations to thrive. They help to develop deep emotional connections (both with the company and other members) through virtual networking and personal interaction. Consider signing them up for the online question/ answer forum, slack groups, or the private community app like My Glue. The My Glue app also allows 1:1 chat between members with the option of creating and sharing their digital business cards. As a result, they can network with relevant people in their community and gain new opportunities.

7. Setup Welcome Challenges With Checkpoints

This is another great idea to engage association members.

You can make a list of welcome challenges that every new joiner has to solve. It could be a simple game like remote work bingo or a team-building exercise like a scavenger hunt.

Make sure to include checkpoints to build competition and interest among the members.

Member Engagement During Renewals

member engagement during renewals

Renewal is a critical time for memberships. Despite your best efforts, some of your association members always churn away. However, you can increase your renewal rates by following one or a combination of the following engagement tactics.

8. Send Renewal Reminders Through Push Notifications

According to the 2021 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, one of the common reasons members lapse is that they forget to renew their memberships.

One way to combat this problem is to send renewal reminders to them a month before the end of the term.

If you are using Glue Up’s membership management software, you can find outstanding payments and send your reminders through automated emails and push notifications.

If they still decide to cancel, you can take the following steps to retain them.

9. Contact Your Canceled Memberships

If your members decide to end their contract with you, contact and ask them the reason for leaving. Knowing the reason may not bring them back straight away, but it will help you identify your areas for improvement.

Also, your members would know that you cared, making them a target for a return membership.

10. Make Them Feel Valued

Another common reason why people leave associations is they dont feel valued by them. Make them feel appreciated by showing how important they are to your organization. Create a storytelling session, write a personal thank you letter, or introduce an award ceremony.

Giving them a shoutout on your online community or social pages can also be a great idea to acknowledge them.

11. Create a Free Membership Program

Some association memberships are sponsored by the employers and once they stop paying, your members will ultimately lapse.

Creating a free membership program can help you retain your loyal members who cannot afford to pay the fee. They contribute to your organization, interact in the community, and share their love for it.

Although it won't pay off immediately, it will show your people how much you appreciate them, which will help your organization grow.

12. Provide Scholarship Opportunities

Providing scholarships is an excellent way to keep members who don't renew for financial reasons.

You can also pay them in exchange for their services like writing their membership story for your annual magazines, volunteering for events, or getting your new members on board.

Perhaps they can pay 50% of the rate for the next year in exchange for completing certain tasks, like writing a blog post about their membership experience or volunteering.

Even though this obviously cannot be offered to every member, it has great benefits for the organization when is offered to the right members.

13. Offer Discounts on Renewals

renewal discounts
Offering discounts on renewals is another great way to retain memberships. A discount program like this might be a good idea:

30% if renewed three months in advance
20% if renewed two months in advance
10% if renewed one month in advance

Another way to increase renewal rates is to offer members the option to lock in their annual rates if they continue to pay in advance.

14. Add Incentives on Referrals

referral discounts

The most effective member engagement strategies include referral programs.

Identify who engages with your club the most and ask them for referrals. Offer them a referral bonus, which may include a free (or super-discounted renewal fee).

Another way to proceed with this step is to ask your churning members for recommendations. This is especially helpful when members leave because of a career change. In such instances, they may refer some of the best candidates for your association.

15. Offer Giveaways


Though it's an old technique, it still works great for engaging customers.

Create contests with rewards. You can include branded giveaways that promote your association as well. It can be a t-shirt, a mug, or even some cupcakes with your logo on them.

Online Member Engagement

According to the CEO and Co-Founder of Stackla, customers need a more authentic and personalized experience to build meaningful connections with a company. This demonstrates how important online member engagements are.

Let's explore some of the best ways to engage your association members virtually.

16. Conduct an Online Hangout

Online hangouts are simpler than they sound, yet they are a fun way to build relations with your peers.

It can simply be a virtual lunch, a hi-tea, a gym session, or enjoying nature together. You can use an online forum, a community management app, or a slack group for hangouts.

At the end of the day, what matters is that they have opportunities to interact with each other while they are a part of your association.

17. Create Interactive Content

Your members are your most valuable source of content.

Discover who's doing amazing things in their personal lives or their organization by speaking with them. Make a video or write an article about it and share it with your members.

18. Create a Storytelling Session

You don’t need high achievements to add to your storytelling session. Instead, just ask your members to share their journey with your community.

Start by exploring who they are, what their values are, and why they joined your association. Include random stories that humanize the conversation as well as enable meaningful connections with them.

19. Go Live With Celebrities

Arrange a live session with celebrities with your members. It can be a fun hour where they can ask anything from the stars. Stream it via Facebook live or have it hosted on your forum.

You can also invite a topic expert to answer a trending question or solve a pain point.

20. Job Board

An online job board is a professional platform to connect recruiters and applicants and can be a great channel to engage your members (both recruiters and job searchers).

While it can enable your members to find relevant jobs, recruiters can post jobs, review applications, and find a perfect fit for their positions from the resume bank.

21. Personal Invitations

Providing answers to questions on your forum or assistance regarding a specific issue can increase engagement online. For example, if a member of the community asks a question about your annual event, those who have been to past events can provide useful insight.

Ask around five members each day to contribute to your online community which may include providing event information, help regarding a membership feature, or any other important query.

22. Use Digitalization Tools

Digitalization technologies can go a long way in improving members’ experience online. For example, gamification technology can help make ice-breaking conversations by introducing interactive challenges. Once they get the rewards, they can cash them out in the form of gift cards or other club benefits.

Similarly, you can use augmented reality to create a real-world experience for members joining the event. Through virtual augmentation technology, everyone can feel like they are in the same room regardless of their location.

23. Create Exclusive Social Media Pages for Members

Most social media pages that you create target both your members and non-members. This is because you want to attract new customers while engaging the current ones.

However, you should create a platform solely dedicated to members with the latest news, features, and stories regarding your organization.

Again, a great way to create an exclusive channel is to build a personal community for your members. That being said, Glue Up community management software helps a great deal as it provides both social media and online community features, exclusively for your association members.

24. Let Your Members Talk

The best strategy to engage members online is to let them take over your social media accounts and share their content.

For this, you might need to find a person with more networks on social media and let them make their contribution to it.

It can be extremely helpful when you are organizing events. These members can cover the entire event with a live vlog. Remember - the more crowd they attract, the more memberships you will have.

25. Form a Book/ Movie Club

Give your members an online conversation topic to engage with each other.

Create a club with the title, Book of The Month, or Series of The Month. Setup weekly agendas and let your members discuss them on the online groups you created or the community app.

Depending on your members’ preferences, you can go with sporting events, TV shows, or podcast series as well. The discussion club enables strong relationships among your people, which makes it very hard to walk away from.

Personal Member Engagement

personal member connection

As we all know that building emotional connections is better than any other marketing strategy. People can churn away from a brand, but not from a personality.

Try to add value to their membership experience by building meaningful connections with your members, employee, and purpose.

26. Make Them Your Advocates

vip members

Just like every other business, member-based organizations also have an 80/20 customer distribution. That is, 20% of your members are highly loyal and act as your advocate and offer valuable actions without charging you a dime.

Make sure you recognize and reward them for their efforts by establishing an advocate program with the incentives like:

  • Access to exclusive content
  • VIP reservations to your events
  • 50% discounts (or free) on membership renewals
  • Product offerings
  • Shoutouts on social platforms
  • Advocate awards
  • Monthly prizes

In addition, 75% of B2B buyers consult three or more advocacy sources before they make a decision, so the program can also help you gain new members.

27. Ensure the Best Employee Experience Possible

Employees are essential to business success, and we all know this. In fact, according to the Employee Engagement Benchmark Report by Demand Metric, 86% of the organizations with higher engagement levels agree that an engaged workforce is a key factor in creating loyal customers.

Hence if you want to achieve members’ engagement in its full sense, increase your employees' morale by providing them the best working experience. Empower each one of them with a sense of ownership and make them feel valued, no matter what their position is.

28. Celebrate Every Member

Each day, pick a member to make their day. Send them a thank you cake, a relaxing spa package, or a chocolate treat. Dont forget to send them a personal note that shows them how important they are.

29. Personalize Interactions

Emails may seem less of an effort these days. Try sending your personalized letters (handwritten if you can) and calls to ask what you can do to improve their experience.

Your members will be surprised that you reach out for not promoting yourself but expressing gratitude and asking about their satisfaction.

30. Gather Consistent Feedback From Members Through Surveys

Your members want to feel heard. They want to participate in the organization in a meaningful way. Thus, valuing their suggestions through feedback, surveys, and open forums is essential to keep them on board.

Find out how they are doing with their membership. How do they wish to improve it? Do they have any suggestions to improve the experience? You can also take their recommendations for upcoming conferences and events.

With Glue Up, you can create surveys, quizzes, and interactive polls to analyze your members’ opinions and preferences. Your survey responses are automatically synchronized with other data from the respondents, so you can see the bigger picture.

31. Use AI For Engagement

AI can be a powerful resource for improving engagements. It can be your assistant to set up automatic meetings or answering messages during your off-hours.

Moreover, advanced AI offers a lifelike experience to your members through personalized replies via chatbots.

32. Arrange Volunteer Activities

Many members join an association to support a cause such as organizing a fundraising campaign, raising awareness regarding a social issue, or planting more trees in your city.

Bring your people together as a group by organizing regular volunteer activities for them. Spending time together doing good results in meaningful relationships between members which ultimately leads to a stronger commitment towards your association.

33. Organize Speed Networking Events

Speed networking is a great way to boost personal engagements among your members.

Glue Up’s speed networking platform connects people virtually on 1:1 call. You can pair attendees for a short face-to-face online call, so they can meet as many people as possible within a short time.

They can then take their networking to the next level by sharing their business cards and communicating on the My Glue community app.

Other Useful Membership Engagement Ideas

Engaging member is a continuous process. Here are some other great strategies that you can use anytime during your membership journey to ensure your members are taken care of.

34. Offer Tangible Resources

Offer tangible resources to your members that can be accessed every day. You may offer them turn-key discount programs like BOGO free, free educational and skill courses as well as third-party aggregation offers.

35. Compile and Distribute Benchmark Surveys

Compile benchmarking surveys to uncover trends among a particular industry or demographic, then distribute them to all your members.

As a result, your audience will gain value from seeing where they stand in comparison with your competitors, and you'll gain credibility and authority within your niche.

36. Send Them on Vacations

Partner up with a travel association to give your members discounts on flight tickets, hotel bookings, or complete travel packages. You can either hold contests or give random giveaways to your most engaged members as a token of appreciation.

37. Create Constant Touchpoints

Keep touch-basing with your members through consistent communications. Share regular content with news, stories, and tips to keep your members up-to-date with your platform.

Make sure your content is not promotional i.e. it has quality content that is providing value to your customers.

38. Share Their Stories with Media

We all love publicity. Use it to boost your members’ interest by sharing their stories on relevant media channels. Find all the wonderful things they are doing and create a PR for them on different media platforms.

39. Offer Partner Discounts

partner discounts

Partner discounts are a win-win solution for all. While your members avail your discounts and free offerings, you and your associates will enjoy increased customer engagement from these brand partnerships.

40. Become a Nonprofit Sponsor

nonprofit sponsor

Support what your members care about and collaborate with a nonprofit working for the same cause. This will benefit you by both a) providing your members with valuable experience and b) supporting a good cause.

41. Create a Mission Dashboard on Your Platform

Make sure your members see what difference you are making by creating a mission dashboard on your member engagement platform. This gives you credibility by allowing you to show your progress to your members.

42. Don’t Forget Their Big Day

Make your people feel special on their big day. If possible, send a gift basket to their address. If not, write a personal letter expressing your best wishes.

43. Add Customization to Your Memberships

Give your members as much freedom as possible when it comes to membership customization.

Whether it's choosing the number of emails they receive, the groups they are enrolled in, or the opportunities they’d like to attend, providing options gives them a sense of control to them.

44. Use Robust Marketing Efforts

In most cases, your marketing operation focuses largely on attracting new members. But what if they also emphasized engaging current members?

Create segments of your members and personalize content for each segment. Engage them by developing content that educates and inspires them to take action like making referrals, participating in a campaign, or volunteering for your nonprofit partner.

45. Respond to Every Comment, Question, and Complain

Review and answer every question and complain with diligence. It might seem like a lot of work, but it's the key factor in showing your loyalty to your members.

46. Offer A Trial Membership

Providing a trial membership is a great lead magnet to engage potential customers who are still deciding whether to join your organization or not. With the free version, you allow them to experience your exclusive features and increase their likelihood to book a paid version with you.

47. Organize an Awareness Week for Them

Organize a week of awareness activities every year. Bringing each of them on one platform will help them understand their contributions in a broader context.

48. Create an Engagement Scoring Dashboard

Use engagement scoring to point members to programs, products, and services that will help them develop their careers.

49. Select Association Leaders From Your Members

Engage people who are enthusiastic and ready to step into leadership roles by using the engagement scores mentioned above. Participating in your organization's affairs would boost their morale and make them more loyal to your cause.

50. Host a Health Week

A health week is something your members would never miss. Arrange health speakers for seminars, organize yoga sessions, and provide healthy meals during the week. Adding this feature to your application brochures will certainly drive more memberships to your association.

With the top ideas on your list, you will be able to create meaningful connections within no time. Want to know how Glue Up can further help you in seamless member engagement? Book a demo now and discover new engagement opportunities with our platform.

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