Practice the fine art of membership engagement with opportunities and platforms that enhance member experience

Members do not join an organization to get to know the staff and administration; they join to make a personal connection with their cohorts. The role of the association headquarters office, then, is to help facilitate connections between members.

While this high-touch, concierge-level service is laudable, it’s not always feasible given staffing and budgets. So how do you stimulate opportunities and experiences that organically lead to human connection?

Get the Membership Committee Involved

Give the Membership Committee more power and let them do their job to set the direction for member engagement. Committee members are often highly motivated volunteers who want to be strategically involved in the daily life of your association – as well as in its future. Task the committee with far more than merely “greeting” or “welcoming” members. Challenge them to reach out personally to members, articulate new ways to add value to the price of membership, and to create meaningful opportunities to turn members into advocates for the profession and your organization.

Use Powerful Storytelling

Demonstrate the diversity of your association’s membership by highlighting members and their stories whenever possible. Your newsletter should always feature a Q&A, interview, or profile of at least one member, not to mention regular “member news” about people at all levels of the profession. Solicit suggestions or submissions to find new voices and their hidden narratives that will inspire.

Leverage Social Media

Online social communities and forums, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Twitter, and other networking platforms allow for “self-service” connections that you do not have to personally facilitate. Appoint a few key leaders or committee chairs to be administrators (in addition to a staff liaison) of these platforms. State clearly your professional rules of engagement and watch the tribe form and expand naturally.

Membership is both the heart and soul of your organization. Harness the power that comes through the human connection by creating ongoing points of entry for individuals to engage and feel part of your association’s community.