For associations, attracting, engaging, and retaining members is a continuous effort. Add to that members’ preferences for convenient digital communications and virtual networking, plus your need to engage with members virtually at a time when you can’t rely on face-to-face activities. It’s a challenge.
Offering an online member community is a great solution.
But, while you might know it’s time to provide an online community for your members, how do you convince your executive team and your board of directors?
Here are three ways to get buy-in for an online community for your association:
1. Align the benefits of a membership community with your strategic plan and goals
Let’s use the goals most common to associations as an example: Recruit more members, improve member engagement, and increase retention. Explain to your executive team and your board how an online member community can help you reach these goals.
Here’s how that might look:
Recruit more members – An online community can help you attract young careerists through a modern mobile experience in which they can connect immediately with industry knowledge, experts, and peers.
Improve member engagement – You can create groups for people with similar interests and attributes so they can network and discuss topics of interest in the online community. You can also promote engagement and recognize members by displaying badges on your most active members’ community profiles.
Increase retention – Build stronger, longer-term relationships by using your online community to bring your most active and loyal members into contact with those members who are less involved.
How to attract and engage members virtually
Learn the 5 steps to get started with an online community
2. Showcase how an online membership community can streamline marketing and engagement efforts
An online community can give you insights about your members that can inform and improve your marketing campaigns. It can also make your membership marketing and engagement efforts more efficient. For example, with an online community, you can:
Promote your association’s value in one place – An online community gives you a single, convenient place to highlight your association’s member programs and resources.
Easily deliver targeted, valuable content – An online community gives you the ability to provide personalized news feeds that serves content based on member interests and activities.
Gain insights into member needs – You can gain new insights from member conversations in your member community that can inform and improve your member programs, marketing, and engagement.
3. Highlight how an online community can improve the member experience
A successful member community can help you provide a better member experience. Make sure your leaders know that a community can help you do things like:
Offer a better onboarding experience – You can create a group in your online community for new members where new members can ask questions and start discussions comfortably. You can include an association staff member and even a highly engaged veteran member in the group to help answer questions and direct new members to helpful resources.
Provide a convenient, one-stop shop for information and answers – An online community offers a single, convenient place for your members to find information and stay connected with your organization and other members.
An online member community has the power to inspire and enable members to connect with each other and gain access to relevant content anytime from the convenience of their home, office, or wherever they are.
Offering an online community is an efficient way to elevate and encourage networking among your association’s members. At the same time, it can make your association a part of your members’ daily social networking habits.