There are only so many in-person events your association can plan, manage and host in a calendar year. Conferences, meet-and-greets, lunch-and-learns, seminars, annual general meetings and all the other kinds of meet-ups your association can facilitate are not just initiatives that can be thrown together. They take considerable time and effort to be executed in a meaningful way.
However, in-person events are the best opportunities to continually build and improve positive, meaningful relationships with your members. You can put names to faces and showcase the human-side of your association. These interactions are significant in keeping members invested in your community and continually concluding there is value to be had from maintaining membership. So, if you can only reasonably facilitate a couple of these types of events each year, how can your association keep members in the game during the intervening periods of time (between events)?
The answer is implementing an association management system. With an AMS, you will be able to cultivate an online community and keep people hooked, without always having to be physically in front of them. Your association will be able to maintain a comprehensive presence in your members’ professional lives and bridge them to the next in-person event by providing them with value through your AMS. Below, we have highlighted some of the advantages your association will experience in keeping your members invested by implementing membership management software.
- Of all the features listed here that will allow your association to keep members keyed in, this one might take the cake. Direct interaction, whether with an association administrator or member colleague, will convince members that they are involved in a living, breathing community with purpose – instead of a hollow shell. Communication occurs in many different ways within an AMS ecosystem. At times, it can come in the form of a generic (but meaningful) mass send-out, targeted at all members or a particular (defined) group of members. This type of interaction is great for association updates, the sharing of valuable resources and any message that would benefit your entire (or a large cross-section of) membership. These mass send-outs can be prepackaged and scheduled for automatic release, when and how you so desire. Another method of interaction is a more specifically focused approach. This type of communication will need to be a bit more strategic to be effective, but if done right, they can be impactful. The content that makes up this email will be tailored specifically for the member it is being sent to. Since the crafting of these interactions requires more time and effort, they should only be executed when necessary and with key members. A more personal touch for particular members can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered when trying to encourage buy in. Lastly, there’s member-to-member interactions. If your AMS allows for a colleague forum environment, members can directly communicate with each other on a variety of topics related to their field or industry. This is an amazing way to keep your association active in the online space. Administrators can even stimulate conversation between members by starting forum threads on topics of interest that the membership can get involved in and contribute to. No matter what types of communication your association applies, there is serious value in keeping your members engaged through online interaction.
- Industry News
- In between events, the world keeps spinning and things keep evolving. Just because you aren’t in front of them, doesn’t mean you can’t be the resource that keeps them in the know. Since it is easy to issue send-outs to your entire membership, you can share industry intel and innovations when they are hot off the presses. This will allow your association to become the place to go for information and updates. Everyone appreciates quick hits of important info to keep them relevant around the water cooler. Sharing industry news is an easy way to provide something of value to members so they continue to rely on your community. If your AMS becomes their source for the latest and greatest, your association will become part of their routine – they’ll be hooked.
- Developmental Resources
- Professional development doesn’t need to come in the form of a full-fledged e-learning program (although, it can – read the following section). Your members can build on their repertoire through your AMS if you choose to offer brief, topical video seminars or content packed info sheets and white papers. Your association could establish an expectation within your membership that some form of abbreviated educational resource will be published and available every month (or at whatever interval you prefer). This will ensure members regularly return to check in on what valuable resource they can consume.
- Education is always considered valuable. And, with online learning through your AMS, members will see the benefit in sticking around. A comprehensive association management system will allow administrators to build or upload e-learning modules and publish assessment questions to gauge understanding. What’s more, upon successful completion of courses, members will receive a certificate that will be tracked by the AMS so the credentials represented on their profile are up to date. That members can gain professional development, on their own time, through your AMS is a fantastic value proposition that will not go unappreciated. The larger the suite of learning programs made available, the greater the attachment members will have to your online community.
- Career Opportunities
- If your association is not doing this – you should consider it. There is no better way to show your support for your membership and the well-being of the industry by drawing attention to career opportunities through your AMS. This feature will, of course, interest members who are looking to transition to a new opportunity and will also impress upon those who are content in their current position that your association looks out for its membership. The reason people sign up to your association (if it isn’t mandatory for their industry) is to connect with colleagues and mine resources for their professional benefit. One of the resources they will most likely be prioritizing when they are evaluating what your association has to offer is e-learning. If a member can add to their expertise through your AMS, that’s most likely reason enough to keep them coming back for more.
- Involving your membership in association decisions is a fantastic way to make them feel like part of something bigger. You’ll see greater buy-in and commitment if members feel they have the ability to steer the direction of the association. Giving members the capacity to vote on certain decisions will give the perception your association is a true community that cares about member input. The more a member can influence the makeup of the association, the more invested they will continue to be.
- Content Management
- Being able to house your own content, as a member, within the AMS you’re registered to allows you to make the ecosystem your own. It goes without saying that wherever you store your important information, that location is going to be a place you frequent. So, by virtue of your documents being available on the association’s member management system, you will remain connected to that community.
The only way to grow your association is to retain your existing membership. If you can’t hold onto those you already have, it will telegraph to prospects that your association isn’t worth their time. Word would get around that your association isn’t providing the value worthy of registration. The only way to prevent this and keep current members in the fold is to ensure they are continually engaged. And, the only way to accomplish that is to provide multi-faceted value. If the value propositions you offer are plentiful, there will continue to be a reason for members to come back and benefit from those offerings.
Guild provides AMS solutions that allow your association to offer the types of valuable resources that will keep current members invested and engage prospective members. To speak with a Guild representative or schedule a live demo of our system, please click here.