The survival of any association obviously depends on the satisfaction of members. Engaged, passionate and active participants will regularly renew their membership, which not only retains current members but encourages growth. Busy routines of scheduling, filing, and daily activities of the leadership can be easily distracting, resulting in negligence of consistently attending to members needs.
A good portions of our communities at Zenvoy are associations seeing the benefits of providing a networking solution for their members. Moving through the discovery process, when creating each custom platform, we listen to our clients – their expertise and best practices – and how we can implement them. Outlined are some things we’ve learned from successful associations on how to increase membership engagement.
Have a “Welcome” plan of action
This key aspect is often overlooked in large associations with many members and can lead to lots of questions and requests. Be especially welcoming towards new members, as initially they are unfamiliar to the routines of the association. A good start is to create a welcome program/plan. This might include a formal handout, email or voicemail, welcoming and providing them with instructions on how to go about or seek out information. Visual engagement, for instance, a Demo video, is a great approach in getting members to explaining their roles and significance in the association, as people would prefer seeing through a video to reading a long newsletter. Also, courtesy towards their questions and queries, trying to solve their issues patiently, and aiding them in getting the hang of things, shows that you care about them and will try your best to cater to their needs. Pinpoint some of your more experienced members that are willing to guide and help newer ones, and get them connected.
Keep members updated, but also listen
To encourage members to consistently engage in your association, you have to be consistent as well. Help them out at every stage of the membership with regular updates. Schedule and communicate new features or services you will be offering to your members, and do so with a fair amount of time in advance, so they have time to prepare as well. A monthly newsletter is a great start, but don’t just give information – start a conversation. Canva has some pretty quick tools to help get your newsletter off the ground. Create a way for members to regularly provide their feedback to find out if they like the updates or if they would like to see some changes. Following up on each request, even if it’s just an explanation of why something is not feasible, makes your members feel like their opinions matter, and encourages continuing participation. You want to create a sense of belonging? Help them achieve that by maintaining a two-way communication so that your members feel heard.
Deliver what you promise
Keeping your word improves members satisfaction and happiness. Clearly communicate goals and set a hard deadline, even if it’s far in the future, to make sure they have something to look forward to and you have a date to aim for, for completion. Don’t be vague. “We’ll get that done by March 15th” comes off much better than “We’ll look into it in a couple of months.” Membership engagements have shown to increase if the members know that they will be getting exactly what you are offering, and this builds trust. Don’t wait to only communicate the final result, regularly update your members on progress. Not only does this help keep you in tasks, but you may be surprised at how many members will provide insight or advice that will get you there faster!
Customize and adapt
Increase membership engagements through understanding what motivates and interests them, rather than focusing on their demographics and offering services accordingly. A custom membership program is a great start and is more likely to make members feel comfortable, rather than a bundle offer, or a ‘one-size-fits-all’ membership package. Each person should feel that their individual needs and/or investments are being catered for, and an easy way to do this is to provide them with at least three levels of membership so that they feel like they’re making a choice and have some control over their participation. Changes in innovation are often preeminent, especially in the digital landscape, as such; you need to keep up with new methods being constantly invented to keep your members satisfied and engaged. Keep an eye open for modern benefits that could improve your portfolio. And don’t stick to only what worked in the past, as someone else might implement new technology or best practices that could pull at your membership. Listening to our clients, and their expertise, has helped us improve each custom networking community that we build. We make sure that the Zenvoy platform provides year-round value to current and new members through consistent interaction, idea sharing, and team bonding. We’ve added resources for sharing information and events and receiving feedback from members. Best of all, it’s all completely hands-off! We provide maintenance and bug-fixing so that associations have more time to focus on their own agenda. We’re always looking for ways to improve, feel free to share your best practices with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.