What steps are you taking to keep your association's membership from declining? Membership levels are a genuine concern for associations across the country. As your older association members retire, it's vital that you attract younger members. Times are changing - putting out a regular newsletter and a yearly conference isn't enough. If you want to keep attracting members who will engage with what you do, you need to look to your younger members and prospects as well as your established members, and connect with them in ways they respond to. It's time to think about:
- Listening to Your Members: To keep your members' interest and attract new ones, you need to understand then. What are their concerns? What are they talking about? What do they want from membership of your association? From talking to members at meetings to keeping an eye on conversations on social media, there are many ways you can find out what's on your members' and prospects' minds.
- Providing Peer-to-Peer Interaction: Information is plentiful online. Your up-and-coming association members want more than just being fed information about what you are doing. Promising "networking" or a "subscription to our newsletter" doesn't cut it any more. Your members want useful peer-to-peer interaction, from a strong online community to events that offer real value to them.
- Getting Mobile: The current generation is more mobile than ever before. The Pew Research Centre found that 63% of internet users get online using a mobile device. With your members using their mobile devices to check their social networks, read emails, and search for information, it's time you made sure your association provides mobile-friendly content.
- Giving Your Members a Voice: Don't talk at your members and prospects, talk to them and listen to what they have to say. Whether at a trade show or on social media, make sure your members feel respected and heard. Develop a plan to give your members a voice, from the chance to have a say within your association to making it easy to speak up on relevant matters.
- Going Social: Your members and prospects are on social media, talking about the topics that matter to them and looking for the information they want. If you're not there, your association is missing out on valuable opportunities to connect. A strong social media presence is a must for your association now and in the future, so get social.
Doing things the same way you always did isn't a viable option for associations these days. It's time to look at fresh, modern ways of engaging a generation who are mobile, social, and want to get their voice heard.