Association Growth Strategies for Expanding and

Expanding and Diversifying Membership

Association Growth Strategies for Expanding and Diversifying Membership

Associations tend to thrive on the collective efforts of a robust membership base that brings new ideas to the forefront to drive innovation, creativity, and resilience.

Diverse perspectives are key to all of this. When members with different backgrounds, experiences, and expertise collaborate, they bring fresh ideas and approaches to problem-solving, leading to a brighter future for all stakeholders in their mission.

While success may originate from one individual’s vision, attaining it necessitates a combined effort from like-minded individuals sharing common goals. In 2024, the importance of broadening membership demographics could not be more crucial.

Survey Before Taking Action

Your first step should be to assess and analyze your current membership. You need to survey their motivations for joining and find out why they might let their membership lapse.

Through this research, you should gain insight into what makes your association unique and valuable to potential members, as well as why you are losing members. These insights will show you what you should invest in while diversifying your association’s membership.

The Four Strategies

The strategies are not set in stone. You may choose to alter them and pivot as your association sees fit, but they are a strong starting place to begin acting proactively.

Diversify Your Outreach

How are people finding you? The methods you use to reach your target members should be diverse. Traditional mail is making a comeback as an effective way to reach people, but it’s essential to utilize social media and targeted content marketing.

Social media (both organic and paid) must be a part of your efforts to build “top of funnel” awareness – which essentially means making sure people who have never heard of you become aware of your offerings.

Partnering with other associations can be fruitful. You may want to explore collaborating with associations that share your target audience to reach new members. You may also want to “pound the pavement” and attend industry conferences to showcase your association to potential members.

Leverage Your Existing Members

Your existing members can help you connect with new members via referral programs. Incentive-based referral programs can be a great way to bring in new members to the association.

“Member get a member” programs have been around for decades because they work.

You may also leverage positive feedback and testimonials from your current members to highlight how your association is valuable to attract new members.

Enhance Your Value Proposition

Your initial member-value proposition should be appealing enough for new members to join your association. Ensure your benefits cater to diverse needs and are demonstrably valuable.

The information you gain from your current members will help you tailor your new offers to different membership tiers. Create informative and engaging content that showcases your association’s offerings to attract potential new members.

You can make your proposition more appealing by offering exclusive access to paid tools relevant to your members’ interests.

Be Adaptable

These methods that work today may not be applicable tomorrow. Membership growth requires ongoing efforts. Experiment, track results, and refine your approach over time.

Offer digital resources and track key metrics like membership growth, engagement, and retention. It’s not just about bringing in new folks; it’s also about retaining members.

Additionally, focus on building genuine relationships with your members to reduce turnover rate. Exceeding their expectations builds a loyal community that encourages them to renew memberships without hesitation.

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