Member retention is very important for the long-term viability of every association (we discussed this in a previous article that can be found at: https://strauss.ca/introducing-association-members-new-membership-feature/ ).
Figuring out how to retain members can be daunting at times as it is always important to remember that you want quality members – not just any member you can find to fill up the room. Our experience has been that when your members are happy, have connections with other members in the association, and see their own business grow because of their connection to the association, they tend to remain members.
A Member, Is Not A Member, Is Not A Member
Members are not homogeneous interchangeable units. So what type of members do you have and how do you plan on keeping them happy? That is a question every association should be asking. The following are four types of members and how to deal with their personality types.
Members that keep to themselves
These are members that are there, but you don’t even know it. They always avoid engaging activities and don’t speak to anyone. These are also people that could get easily forgotten. This is not a good thing as even though they are intelligent people and probably have a lot to share they don’t open-up and communicate. This is the core reason they may not be benefitting from it as much as they think they should.
Icebreakers are good ways to get these people to open up and eventually become more productive members. Having small group activities is a good way to get the shy members to speak up. Having a designated member approach them and talk to them may help to address any questions or concerns they may have and put them at ease. This builds trust and encourages more dialogue.
Members that only like to communicate online
These are people that only exist via the internet. They never meet or see other members. Members would never know them as a person, and they are likely not able to participate in many activities. They are only available to provide feedback or ideas to the information they see online.
The key to keeping these members engaged is to create a way for them to be able to participate and interact with others as much as possible. Having forums, surveys, and newsletters are all ways to make sure that other members know who they are. Finding out why they don’t come to events and encouraging them to come in person and participate is also a good idea.
Members that are new and younger in age
Joining a new association is hard. New members are unsure of the customs and social norms of the group and the people within it. There is a lot to learn which can be overwhelming and terrifying but fun at the same time. All the other members look calm with all their well-formed connections and friendships. In a lot of ways, it can be as overwhelming as a childs first day at a new school.
Having a mentor, can be very helpful. They can assist in meeting new people and sharing ways to participate in the group. Once a new member feels part of the group, the more likely they are to stay.
Members that have been around a while and are older in age
These are members that are used to the old way of doing things. Often these are members that do not like change and may even fear it. They also are not open to online communication such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (and probably not doing much online banking as well).
These are members that stay because they find a lot of value in the group and have many friends. They enjoy socializing and expanding the circle of friend and business colleagues.
These are good people to be around as they do not have a problem with remaining as members. They are showing up to events and experiencing all the benefits the association has to offer. They are quite likely happy with the association and their business is benefitting from it.
Associations always want happy members as they are the ones that engage and stay. When you have an association with too many disengaged members things don’t flow and your association won’t thrive.
Keeping your member personality types in mind can help you engage them and show them the benefits of attendance and participation.
When they see the value in the organization members will stay.