6 ideas to show member appreciation at your association

Everyone likes to be appreciated, and your members are no exception. Your association wouldn’t be the same without its members.  

What better time than the present to make your members feel more appreciated? Taking time to say “thank you” shows that you appreciate your members, and it will go a long way toward delivering a great member experience and boosting member retention.  

Remember that sending members an automated “thank you” message for renewing their dues or registering for an online event is a common courtesy and a kind gesture. Showing you care about your members will help your association significantly impact the member experience.   

Read our blog for more member appreciation ideas to help you say, ‘thank you’ and show you care about your members.

Why is member appreciation important for associations?

Your organization relies on its members. Whether they are hosting presentations, attending events, or sharing key information, they carry out essential operations daily. Member appreciation and recognition show your members that you see their actions and efforts and are grateful for everything they can offer.   

While appreciation makes individuals feel good, it can also impact your association and how your member community looks. When members feel appreciated, they are more likely to get involved and continue partnering with your organization. Especially if you show your gratitude for specific involvement, you can encourage higher engagement rates. This system can help you reach more goals with your involved members as resources you can depend on.   

Involved and appreciated members are also more likely to remain with your organization. Members also know they are the cornerstone of your organization. If you recognize their impact, you increase the likelihood of them renewing their memberships. Additionally, more involved members can more easily find their place at your association, helping them become community members. When they are more connected to other members and associates, they will likely stay a member, as well.  

Here are five ideas to increase member appreciation at your association: 

1. Develop a member engagement strategy

One of the key factors in increasing association membership retention rates and engagement is a strategic approach. A comprehensive plan for everything from outreach to onboarding and ongoing engagement can keep your members interested and involved in your organization. Developing a membership retention strategy can also give you the tools to achieve positive outcomes in multiple areas and ensure you give your members support and recognition for their contributions.

2. Leverage member testimonials

Excited and engaged members are your organization’s most powerful asset. Word-of-mouth recommendations and testimonials offer powerful personal accounts that can appeal to potential members. Give your members benefits they’ll want to tell their friends about, and you may receive organic interest to grow your membership base.

3. Implement marketing strategies

When you have a personal strategy for association membership engagement and appreciation, you can make members feel more enthusiastic and involved in your organization. Have a plan for marketing strategies to specific segments of your member base and offer personalized benefits to get them excited about being a part of your organization. Strategically reaching your membership and offering them exclusive, customized benefits can help build strong and lasting relationships.

4. Leverage AI

It costs less to keep existing members than to attract new ones. Member retention is arguably as important if not more important than acquiring a new member. Consider leveraging AI and predictive analytics to help your association boost member retention. With point-and-click AI and predictive analytics tools, the Marine Corps Association & Foundation worked to renew 25% of its members who were at high risk of lapsing.

5. Keep your member process simple

Ensure your onboarding and renewal processes are navigable and simple. It’s essential to guarantee that joining and continuing involvement in your association is convenient for all members. With a welcoming, straightforward process for becoming a member and renewing, people can stay engaged and grow in your organization. Create a system that draws members in and makes continued membership easy. 

5 ideas to boost member engagement by showing member appreciation

Discover the compass to your association’s member engagement

One of the most effective ways to continually provide an experience that lives up to (and exceeds!) your members’ expectations is to score their engagement activities. Watch Community Brands’ on-demand webinar to start traveling in the right direction.

Several powerful strategies can enhance association membership engagement with your organization. Follow these effective approaches: 

1. Reach out to new members

Send new members a thank you email from your executive director. You could also handwrite and send an association member appreciation letter or give them a call. The personal touch shows that you truly value their membership and gives your relationship a strong start. Whatever you decide to do, ensure that your communication sets the tone for a welcoming and accommodating interaction. Make joining your association simple and enjoyable by creating a member-centered experience.

Establishing a positive start to your relationship with members can encourage them to get involved and remind them why they joined your organization. Even the smallest gestures show that their choice to engage as a member impacts your internal operations. They will more likely start to seek out other engagement opportunities when you support their step from nonmember to member.

2. Ask their opinion and listen to their feedback

Your members have unique perspectives that can lend important insights into your membership process, operations, and mission. Let your members share their opinions and consider their feedback.

Whether it’s through surveys, emails, or other mediums, give your members an easy way to offer their ideas and opinions on their experience with the organization. Giving your members a voice in your association can help them feel like a part of the community and more valued in the organization. You can also use this data to help create a strong membership retention plan or template.

When you implement membership-driven improvements, your members will see how their actions and feedback influence changes. They will feel more connected to your organization and decisions, regardless of whether they want to take on leadership responsibilities.

3.Deliver targeted, personalized content

The latest Community Brands research underscores the importance of personalization, which reports that the fifth most important member benefit is targeted, valuable content.

Consider leveraging an online community platform, like innovative Nimble Communities, to deliver a personalized content feed for all members. With Nimble Communities, your association can shape individual member journeys with customized content digests based on member interests and activities. Drive member engagement and retention with a trailblazing online community platform like Nimble Communities.  

4. Simplify membership onboarding

Present your members with information and next steps that address their needs. Let them know what communications they can expect to receive from you. The more you can welcome them and show immediate value, the more likely they will begin to feel appreciated.

Ensure your members know what to expect and have a clear understanding of the next steps — keep the process straightforward and accessible. To help them feel comfortable and at home, express your support and offer convenient ways for them to communicate with you, get answers to questions, or learn more information on topics related to your organization.

5. Offer a great tech experience

Technology plays an important role in showing members they matter to your organization. Members won’t feel appreciated if they have an outdated or frustrating online experience with your association. Further, your members might face challenges getting involved if your interfaces and tools are hard to use and navigate. 

Community Brands research highlights technology’s vital role in your organization. Members who view their organization as early adopters of technology are more satisfied, more connected, more likely to renew, and more likely to promote their organization.

Send out a member survey to gauge your members’ digital behavior and their interaction preferences. Tell them why you’re surveying to help meet their expectations and improve member experience. They will see you care about their feedback and online experiences. 

6 association member appreciation ideas

Why is it important to thank members? Showing gratitude can be invaluable to fostering lasting relationships with your membership base.  

Thanking your members can be a powerful way to make them feel welcome and appreciated. It also sets the tone for a great member experience. It tells them they are a valued part of your organization and motivates them to continue their engagement. When you assure members that they matter to your association and care about their contributions, you naturally build a warmer, stronger relationship.  

Showing appreciation can also remind members of what you do and encourage them to continue to support you. In many ways, thanking your members can have a reverberating effect that benefits them and you. Keep in mind that sincere thanks can go a long way, so put time, thought, and effort into your demonstrations of gratitude. Also, improve membership in your association by giving people personalized attention with some membership appreciation ideas.  

Try these member appreciation ideas: 

1. Make communication personal  

When you interact with your members, personalize messages and details. Leverage automated tools to add names to emails, letters, and other communication efforts. Even though it’s a small detail, it helps your members feel more connected to your organization. 

You can also include personal details and interests, especially when they just join. If you send out a welcome message, be sure to address their reason for joining.

2. Share a welcome gift

Consider sending new members a welcome gift. Something customized with a unique touch from your organization gives them a small memento of your appreciation and welcomes them into the group. Consider putting together a welcome package to guide them through the beginning of their membership, including your thoughtful gift.

Celebrate new members by listing them in your email newsletter, making them feel recognized and welcomed by everyone in the organization. Ensuring your members know you care about their connection with the group and allowing them to feel part of your community can help them get more involved. Create an environment that truly feels like a community, which offers ways to get visible recognition for joining and participating.

3. Acknowledge membership renewals

Membership renewals can be a great way to highlight your appreciation. Anything you can do to thank returning members goes a long way to show your gratitude. For increased effect, add a personal touch, such as acknowledging how they’ve been involved with your organization in the past or thanking them for their participation and ongoing membership.

If you have a solid budget, you can send your members gifts on annual milestones. For example, you might make it a tradition to celebrate the first, fifth, and tenth year as members. These prizes can show your appreciation and serve as a physical reminder of their time with your organization.

4. Highlight the success of members

Make sure members know you have noticed their contributions and engagement and that it matters to the organization. Another great way to celebrate all members and efforts is with a member appreciation month or another special recognition.

Share about how others have enjoyed membership benefits and be sure to celebrate member successes. Help them discover the value of engaging with your association and give them ideas to achieve success when they get involved with your organization.

You can use social media and your online community to highlight membership involvement and appreciation. Share pictures of events, highlight members in spotlights, and track goal progress. Members can share your posts on their feeds, showing their accomplishments and engagement with their loved ones. They might even recruit new members this way.

5. Give members the benefits they want

Another way to thank your members is by delivering the benefits that matter most to them. After all, that’s why they joined in the first place.

Assess how well your organization is delivering on the most important member benefits. The Community Brands research study found the top three reasons members join an association are networking prospects, job opportunities, and certifications and credentials. However, member priorities will shift throughout one’s member journey and career. 

Be sure to consider your members’ needs and expectations today as well as how they change through the member journey. Learn as much as you can about your members by asking them for feedback via surveys. Remind members of their benefits and point out benefits they haven’t used yet. This gesture shows members your organization cares enough to make sure they get the most out of their memberships.

Incorporate changes to benefits based on your self-assessment and member feedback. Share the changes with members to let them know you’re listening and understand their needs. And, don’t make it a one-time thing. Plan to continually gather information about their interests and needs, and then use it to inform your services and programs.

6. Increase involvement opportunities

Nothing says thank you like letting your members know you want to see more of them. Get your members more involved by inviting new members to join an online forum or virtual meetup event for new members.

Ask more seasoned members to serve as a mentor or hold a leadership position. The more involved they are, the more engaged and appreciated they’ll feel, and the more likely they’ll be to stick around. 

Learn how Nimble AMS can help show member appreciation and boost engagement

Are you looking for more ways to boost member engagement? Showing members you understand their expectations and that your association can keep up with their needs is a great way to let them know you appreciate them.  
Nimble AMS helps you manage membership operations, from implementing member portals and automating personalized content to offering predictive analytics and managing finances.   

Discover more member appreciation ideas

Looking for even more tips to show member appreciation and enhance your member engagement strategy? Read our free whitepaper: Seven tips to strengthen your member engagement strategy.

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