What a year it’s been for associations! As if keeping up with member interests and expectations weren’t challenging enough, 2020 came along and it was like the ground shifted.
Nearly every aspect of members’ lives have been disrupted in some way. Meanwhile, associations have scrambled to move to a work-from-home setting while continuing to provide member value in a virtual environment.
There’s a bright spot in all of this, though. (A few bright spots, actually.)
Moving from disruption to opportunity
A recent association industry study by Community Brands shows that:
- Member loyalty has remained strong.
- Many members have become more engaged with their associations.
- Some member priorities have shifted, and many member benefits have become more important in today’s environment.
These findings suggest that associations have multiple opportunities to deliver new and increased value at a time when members need it most.
For example, a majority of members in the study (across all generations and career stages) have been engaging virtually and expect to continue. Members who have become more involved with their association have done so because the organization is offering more online resources. Even members who used to engage more or entirely in person now say they will be moving toward a balance of in-person and virtual engagement.
Based on these findings, a great way to take advantage of this unique time for your organization is to embrace virtual engagement for the long haul. Evaluate your programs and benefits and determine what new virtual offerings you might provide.
Here are a few ideas:
Provide an online member community. It’s a great way to become part of your members’ daily social networking habits because it offers members a convenient place to find industry information, network with your organization and each other, and share ideas.
Invest in your training and certification programs. You might have moved your annual conference to a virtual conference in 2020, but it’s still important to engage members in a variety of year-round virtual learning opportunities to address members’ budgets, schedules, educational and certification needs, and learning preferences.
Take your online career center to the next level. The study’s findings also suggest that organizations undervalue career advancement and job opportunities as member benefits. Your online career center can (and should) be more than simply a place to post jobs. Take advantage of the opportunity to engage more with members and give them more of the value they seek by adding career advancement opportunities and resources to your online career center.
These are just some of the ways you can deliver member value and continue to grow your organization in today’s environment. Join Community Brands for a free CAE credit webinar, Preparing for 2021 and Beyond, and learn how to derive more opportunity from the disruption of 2020. You’ll discover how to meet today’s member needs, actively engage new audiences, and uncover new revenue opportunities.