As an association leader, you know that building a sustainable organization requires overcoming a variety of hurdles. In this article, we’ll explore the top five challenges facing associations today, as identified in MGI’s latest benchmarking report.
From attracting younger members, growing non-dues revenue to reducing member churn, we’ll offer proven solutions to help your organization thrive. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to association management, you won’t want to miss these insights. Get on board for a successful 2023!
1. Adding Value for Association Members
As associations compete for members’ attention and engagement, providing ongoing and meaningful value to members has become one of the top challenges they face. Retaining member loyalty and commitment to the organization is essential, and this requires associations to constantly strive to improve the value they offer.
In today’s world, an online community is not just a nice-to-have for association members, but it’s become an essential tool for connection, especially in the wake of the pandemic. The first step in showcasing member value is by building strong connections and relationships with your members.
Did you know that connecting with members is the first stage of showing member value?
So to communicate your value and benefits effectively, your membership page is the perfect place to start. It’s the first thing prospective members see when they visit your website, and it’s your opportunity to make a lasting impression. Use vibrant graphics and clear descriptions to engage and attract potential members.
Consider adding eye-catching graphics to your membership page, like Engineers Australia, to further enhance the engagement process for potential members.
Now that you have made contact, your in-person and hybrid events, webinars, workshops and learning programs add value by offering opportunities for personal growth and member networking.
For larger associations with members spread across multiple states or even countries, a centralized, searchable, and personalized content hub can be a game-changer. A video or content hub like webcastcloud is a centralized platform that provides all members with access to a range of resources, including videos, webinars, conference recordings, and documents. By consolidating content in one place, you can provide a unified and seamless experience for members, regardless of where they’re located.
Having a content hub also means that members can access the information they need when they need it. Instead of searching through multiple websites and platforms, they can find everything in one place, saving them time and effort. Additionally, a content hub allows for personalization, meaning members can receive content tailored to their interests and needs. This level of customization not only provides more value to members but also increases engagement and retention rates.
Educational programs is another way to keep your members up-to-date with the latest industry skills and knowledge. These programs are a popular member benefit and can also be a great source of non-dues revenue for your association.
To keep your content fresh and varied, consider hosting pop-up events, inviting non-profit experts to speak on industry topics, or featuring sponsor or partner talks on industry trends. Another great way to showcase your association’s value is by featuring long-term members who can inspire others with their industry journey is also a great way to showcase your association’s value.
Conducting member satisfaction surveys can help you understand how your members perceive the value of your association’s products and services. Regular engagement and participation from members are key drivers of membership value and success, so adapt your offering to meet their needs whenever possible.
2. How to Showcase Value to Association Members
Difficulty in communicating value or benefits remains one of the top challenges for Associations in the 2022 Membership Marketing Benchmark report.
As an association, it’s crucial to ensure that your members are aware of the full extent of your offering. However, with so much content available online, it can be a challenge to stand out and effectively communicate your value proposition.
Here are some tips to help you showcase your association member benefits:
- Emphasize Your Brand Story and Hero Products
Make sure to highlight and promote your brand story and hero products consistently across all your communication channels. Use compelling visuals and messaging to make a strong impression and build a lasting connection with your members.
- Provide a Variety of Digital Content
Offer a variety of digital content, including podcasts, webinars, and on-demand videos, to engage and educate your members. By providing a range of content types and topics, you can appeal to different learning styles and interests, and keep members coming back for more.
- Streamline Member Processes with Integrated Digital Platforms
Make it easy for members to access your content and resources by using a centralized platform that is integrated with single sign-on (SSO). This can help to reduce friction and frustration for members and keep them engaged and satisfied with your association. Particularly when you have all your content, pay-per-view, education programs, industry news and more located on the one site.
- Grow Non-Dues Revenue Streams with Pay-Per-View
Don’t overlook the potential of non-dues revenue streams. By developing new pay-per-view products, you can offer additional value to members and create new revenue streams for your organization.
Get creative and consider repurposing existing content into new packages or offering expert presenters to give deep dives into specific topics. This can be a great way to showcase the knowledge and expertise of your association’s members, while also generating revenue.
Another option is to offer regular industry updates and member interviews. This not only highlights additional sources of value for both members and non-members, but it also helps to keep your association top of mind for your target audience.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of member discounts. By offering paid content with discounts for members, you can demonstrate the value of membership while generating revenue at the same time. Get creative with your pay-per-view offerings and see how they can benefit your association’s bottom line.
Learn more about the many more ways to grow non-dues revenue.
- Increase Member Professional Development Opportunities
Offer member-only and free-to-members professional development opportunities through webinars and workshops, which are a popular reason why people join associations. This can not only increase member engagement but also demonstrate your association’s commitment to the professional growth of your members.
- “Get Social” with More Frequency
Use social media to connect with your members regularly and cost-effectively. Post a variety of content types, such as news, successes within your community, current newsworthy information, human interest stories, and of course, your association’s offerings. By keeping your members active and interacting on your social media platforms, you can maintain and strengthen your relationship with them.
3. Successful Ways to Communicate with Association Members
Do you know what’s important to your members at any given time?
Staying in touch with your members and understanding their interests is crucial for keeping them engaged. To keep members engaged, it’s important to understand their interests and priorities at any given time. Regularly monitor online community and social discussions and analyse the level of member engagement with blog posts and social media. This presents opportunities to update or create content related to current hot topics, demonstrating your association’s commitment to providing valuable and relevant information to members.
The 3 most successful methods of communication are:
- Email communication is a widely used and effective method, with more than 85% of associations utilizing this channel. Ensure that your email updates are personalized, informative, and concise, offering short and digestible chunks of content, focused on recent or informative news will help drive conversations amongst your community. Use email to direct members to your online content, upcoming events, courses, and industry news.
- Association-sponsored events and meetings (58%) provide excellent opportunities to bring your community together, both in-person and online. These events offer opportunities for networking, learning, and collaboration that strengthen the bond between members and the association.
- Organic social media (62%) can also be a powerful tool to encourage member referrals and promote events, learning programs, and member experiences. Use eye-catching visuals and content grabs to generate interest and build anticipation for upcoming events. Encourage member referrals to further amplify your association’s reach and impact.
4. Member Churn
Ensuring that your new members stay with your association in the long term is crucial. To achieve this, focus on nurturing them throughout their engagement journey and helping them become active members of your community. Maintaining frequent communication and providing mentorship can also help to foster this engagement.
However, the onboarding process should not stop at the welcome email or kit. Creating a member profile is an opportunity to personalize their experience with automated suggestions for online content and upcoming programs of interest.
While discounts and payment options like conference or event discounts, dues instalments, or first-year dues discounts can be effective in attracting new members, they may not be enough to keep them engaged in the long run. It’s essential to have a strong online community, valuable resources, and engaging programs to retain members and avoid high churn rates.
Providing opportunities for members to connect with industry experts that are active members, through one-on-one sessions can be a valuable perk for both new and existing members. Consider offering special deals and value-adds for attendees, such as discounted rates for consultations or exclusive access to expert resources. Social opportunities for members to share their experiences and insights can also help foster a sense of community and belonging. By prioritizing these types of member benefits, you can help to keep your association’s offerings fresh and engaging.
Consider expanding your member groups to include entire companies or schools and offering tiered membership structures that acknowledge and support differences in wealth. This approach can add a new membership branch to your association while also increasing its reach and inclusivity.
Utilizing member testimonials and referrals, creating renewal campaigns that offer prizes or mentorships, and customized content series can also add variety and unexpected offers for your members.
And don’t be afraid to implement auto credit card renewals can also help to avoid losing busy members who may miss time-sensitive requests.
5. Attracting Younger Members – Offering new ways to connect
If you’re looking to attract younger members to your association, it’s essential to understand their priorities. Gen Z and Millennials have unique values and preferences, and acknowledging these on your membership page can help support your membership drive for younger members. By highlighting the following priorities, you can create an association that speaks to the needs and aspirations of these younger generations:
- Work/life Balance: To attract younger members, it’s important to understand that a good work-life balance is a top priority for Gen Z and Millennials. They are particularly interested in hybrid working, as a way of creating that balance. According to the Deloitte 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, this desire for flexible working arrangements is a key consideration for this demographic.
- Learning and development opportunities: During the earlier years of your career journey, workplace relationships and finding a mentor inhouse are as valuable as learning resources in the of shaping your future. Providing mentorship opportunities for younger members is invaluable to them.
- Personal ethics and sustainability: Purpose and values are paramount for many individuals, particularly for GenZ and Millennials. Protecting the environment and making sustainable choices are high on their list of priorities, and they are known for turning down jobs that don’t align with their personal ethics. As such, it is important to acknowledge and showcase your organization’s stance on ethics, inclusiveness, and environmental responsibility on your membership page. This can greatly support your efforts to attract and retain younger members who are passionate about these issues.
- Workplace mental health: Both Gen Z and Millennials face significant stressors in the workplace, including long-term financial futures, day-to-day finances, and burnout due to intensive workload pressures and demands. Workplace mental health remains a challenge for both generations, and to combat these issues, hybrid working takes preference over remote work as it allows younger workers to be a part of a team environment and build meaningful relationships while reducing the possibility of loneliness commonly experienced by remote workers.
- Empowerment and sense of belonging: To drive loyalty among members, it is important to empower them to drive change within your organization. When members feel that their voices are heard and their opinions matter, they tend to feel more connected and loyal to your organization. This sense of belonging is important for all generations, including Gen Z and Millennials. Therefore, it is crucial to consider whether you are giving back value to your members, who add value to your organization.
Your members add value to your organization, are you giving back value to them?
In 2023, associations are facing several challenges when it comes to retaining members and attracting new ones. From adding value to effectively communicating and showcasing that value, these challenges can seem daunting. However, by focusing on these areas and implementing new strategies, associations can conquer these challenges and secure their sustainability for years to come. And with a growing emphasis on attracting younger members, offering new ways to connect and acknowledging their priorities is key. By taking action now, associations can set themselves up for success and make 2023 a year of growth and progress.
Looking for a solution to tackle the top 5 association challenges in 2023?
webcastcloud’s video and content monetization platform can help you create a centralized library of digital resources that will add value, showcase your organization’s value, educate, and communicate with members, and drive non-dues revenue. It’s time to conquer these challenges and attract the younger generation of members. Let our platform empower your association to thrive in the digital age.
Contact us today to learn more.