We’ve all heard that actions speak louder than words. That means your association must do more than just check off a list of benefits. Showing that you and your staff are sincerely passionate about your industry, your community, and your members’ is critical. And it will keep them coming back year after year.
1. Create a passionate, caring culture.
This doesn't happen over night, and is easier said than done. It starts at the top with great leadership and can be sustained by hiring the right staff, showing each employee that they are valuable, and sharing the vision for the organization. When staff understand the vision for the organization and feel as though they are being heard, a culture of happy, highly invested staff will emerge.
2. Dig Deeper.
Knowing your members goes beyond the name of their business, how long they’ve been a member or what events they attend.
Why are they a member? What are their business goals? What do they really care about?
Understand what really motivates them and why they are a member of your association. If you're not using your association management software to track and document your members' interests, their employees and their past interactions with your association, you're missing a fabulous opportunity to know them better and deliver more value. Your entire staff needs access to this information so they can better serve your members.
3. Use Your Data.
Each member is different. That means they like to be communicated with differently, they care about different topics, their businesses vary in size, etc. You should be collecting this data within your association management software – so use it! Send only communications that are targeted and relevant. There’s no worse feeling as a member than to feel like their interests and needs aren't understood.
4. Get Personal.
People like doing business with people. Don’t be afraid to get to know your members on a more personal level. If the situation is right, ask about their family, their vacation, or their latest golf game. Networking doesn't have to just be between members; forming more personal relationships between staff and members can help keep communication open, make your organization seem more approachable, and get members more engaged.
5. Check in.
Create a process for keeping in touch all year long, not just before renewal. After a member has dropped, it's usually too late to re-engage. Keep communication open all year long and create a process for checking in with all of your members. And nothing takes the place of a personalized phone call or visit.
6. Don’t Let Red Tape Get in the Way.
Having policies and processes is a part of running an effective organization. But don’t let it overtake common sense. If a member is unhappy or has a special request, be sure your staff is empowered to accommodate members when special needs arise.
7. Give Recognition.
Big or small, be sure you recognize your members. Their successes should feel like your successes. Social media can be a great way to share member updates on a daily basis while larger successes may be worth recognizing at an event. Other successes may be best recognized through a personalized note. Either way, thanking and congratulating members goes a long way.
Members look to you for advice and education. If the majority of your communications have to do with membership renewal, attending events, and other announcements, be sure you're proving valuable content as well. Give them tools that will help them grow professionally, and grow their businesses.
For more information about content marketing, read our blog post on Top Questions About Content Marketing for Associations.
Your industry, community, and your members' needs are always evolving. Be sure you are asking the right questions and truly listening to the answers - then adapt. Delivering based on members' needs rather than what you've always done is the best way to show you that are passionate.
10. Give Back.
Even nonprofits should give back. Invest your time and energy into causes that are important to your members. You'll demonstrate that you and your organization care about the same things your members care about.
Go the extra mile with your members and you'll see the rewards through organizational success and more successful relationships with your members for years to come.
How do you demonstrate your passion and commitment to your members?