Do you have a rewards card in your wallet? How about a mileage plus credit card for your favorite airline? A points system at the local grocery store? The world is full of rewards programs, and everyone is part of at least one of them. Association memberships are similar in that they provide members with exclusive benefits and connections to their industry or profession.
Receiving member benefits are a key reason for joining an association. An association’s value proposition is built around the ways in which holding a membership can be beneficial for its members. To fully grasp the attention of members, acquire and introduce new benefits the the association’s member base. This process will contain many moving parts and steps.
Establishing New Benefits
Creating new member benefits is not easy. How do you know what will be relevant and valuable to your members? Will that value increase or decrease over time? With proper planning, you can create benefits that your members can’t live without. What benefits do you think members would like to see? What benefits might be missing from your association? Ask these questions when determining the benefits that your association should investigate. Utilize tools such as e-blasts, surveys, and personal phone calls to figure out what association members are looking for as a member. Receiving feedback reassures members that the association is listening and encouraging trust and loyalty to the organization. On top of that, rolling out new member benefits could be the driving force behind winning back any lost interest in the association over the years.
Communication is Key
Once new member benefits have been solidified, communicating these positive changes to members in the most efficient and effective way will be key to ensuring that they see the full value of holding a membership with the association. It will be important to communicate with the organizations providing the benefits to collect appropriate wording and explanations of their offerings. That way you are communicating to your members using terminology and wording that the benefit provider approves of and uses consistently. In order to get the message across, work with their team to establish a clear marketing and communication plan to rollout the new benefit.
If your association is rolling out multiple member benefits, ensure to rollout the benefits both individually and as group. This will allow members to see an overview of all the benefits and detailed communication about each individual benefit. All benefits should be explained in detail through email, posted as reminders on social media and a webpage on the association’s website should be created for members to reference. Follow up with members to inform them of the new benefits and make sure they have had all their questions answered and that they are happy with their new opportunity.
Re-engaging the Members
When your association launches new member benefits, consider those who have recently let their membership lapse. Think about why they may have stopped renewing their membership. Would they be interested in rejoining because of the new benefits? Members may leave an association for many reasons: the dues have increased, they were not receiving the expected value to justify the cost, they may not have had enough time to utilize the benefits or simply because they are retiring. These lapsed members should be alerted to what they are missing and should be invited to be part of the organization again.
Members sometimes do not renew because they cannot see the return value on their association membership dues. Sometimes the members want to see the dollar value of the new benefit. Your association’s new benefits are worth much more than the monetary value. If you can convey that worth to lapsed members by evaluating each benefit, it could bump up membership numbers.
Your association should also be utilizing leaders within the association to engage active members in a re-engagement campaign. This allows existing members to pass along the new value they find in membership to any lapsed or expired members. Create a unique way to win them back and to give the association a second chance.
There will never be a perfect solution to engage or re-engage your members even with a new benefit, but if you follow the guidelines above it’s a great starting point. Build your benefits, get to know your members, and continue to guide your members to a bigger and better association.