What’s Your Association’s Value?

By posted Sep 09, 2014 10:40 AM


Do your current and prospective members have a good reason to join and stay with your association? Memory lane might yield a golden age when joining a professional association – but times have changed. Nowadays, there is competition from other associations, free information available online, and numerous other ways people might choose to spend their money instead of starting or renewing a membership with you. Members need to know what your association can do for them. Knowing your value proposition and communicating it has never been more important, so how do you get started?

Understand What Your Members Need

Your value proposition and your members’ needs are linked. If you don’t understand what your members need from your association, how can you be sure you can offer it to them? There are lots of ways you can find out:

  • Talking to them at meetings or conferences
  • Making a phone call
  • Sending a survey
  • Analyzing social media and website metrics
  • Listening to conversations online

Understanding what your members need is vital, because whether or not you can meet those needs is the difference between growing your membership or watching it shrink.

Ask What You Can Offer Your Members

Now you need to take a good look at what your association offers its members. It’s important to really dig deep here. Just saying “representation” isn’t enough. How do you represent them? Where and using what methods? Evaluate your association’s offerings form discounts to conferences to workplace support and ask yourself:

  • How will this improve our members’ lives?
  • What makes this worth spending money on?
  • Why are we a more attractive option than our competitors?

Your members want to know exactly how joining your association will make their lives better. If you find your value proposition isn’t as strong as you would like, go back to what you have learned about your members needs and start working out what you can offer to meet those needs.

Send the Message Loud and Clear

Your members and prospects are seeing a lot of messages every day. Make sure your message stands out with a clear statement of the benefits you can offer them. Whether you’re updating a Facebook status or writing a circular, take the time to polish it and make sure your message shines.

This isn’t about the hard sell – it’s about repeating your message in an engaging and interesting way that will inspire the recipient to take action. Make it clear that joining your association brings them strong benefits.

If you want to grow your membership and keep your existing members, it’s time to go get clear on what your association can do for them – how it can improve their lives, and make sure you tell them about it.

Are you looking for more tips on how to effectively market and grow your association? Visit for actionable marketing advice from industry professionals, and make sure you sign up for the weekly digest!