Here are three ways to improve the value of association membership using technology and strategies to keep members engaged and deliver greater member benefits.
Your members keep your association going strong. So, doesn’t it make sense to provide them with a member experience that delivers big value and helps them feel connected and loyal to your organization? Let’s look at three ways to improve the value of association membership by engaging members while providing more of the benefits members seek.
1. Deliver more career development opportunities.
Association trends research by Community Brands shows that job and career advancement opportunities continue to be top benefits that attract, engage, and retain members. That’s why it’s important to deliver a wide range of career development opportunities.
Offering a robust online career center is a great way to engage members because it gives them the career development resources they want.
So, what makes a robust online career center?
First, it should include an online job board that allows members to easily search for and apply for jobs in your industry. Second, it should offer resources to help members research, plan, and grow their careers.
YM Careers offers online job board software and career development solutions for associations, making it easy for your organization to build a valuable online career center. It helps you create a job board so that members can easily search and apply for opportunities. It also makes it easy for you to provide career advancement resources that help members grow their careers, including:
- Career advice, with relevant articles and other content that guide job seekers in their searches
- A career path tool that helps members map out their professional goals and see step-by-step plans to reach them
- Online career coaching that provides job strategies and tips for skills like résumé building and interviewing
- Career insights and placement services that help members move toward their dream jobs
YM Careers also offers job board sales and marketing services to help you drive job posting sales for added non-dues revenue and job seeker traffic to help you attract members. So, there’s no need to set aside time to build and manage your own career center.
Learn how to develop a robust online career center. Read the whitepaper, Becoming the Ultimate Career Development Destination for Your Members.
Here are more ideas for offering great career development opportunities for your association’s members:
- Host a listening tour. Rather than assuming you know what your members want in their career development, go straight to the source and ask. Send staff to member events, chapter meetings, and member gatherings across your association to ensure member voices are heard and you build greater awareness and engagement.
- Use surveys. To gain even more member feedback about your career advancement benefits, conduct routine member surveys. Use a mix of scaled and open-ended questions to get a sense of the career services that will help you drive deeper member connections.
- Stay top of mind. Send regular emails with tips and best practices about career advancement to members who are looking for work or who are part of your mentorship program. Offering helpful content will build engagement and encourage members to turn to your association for career help.
- Encourage networking opportunities. Keep discussions going after career fairs and networking events by using your online member community. Create unique discussion groups so that members can continue to meet, network, and boost professional ties.
2. Offer greater professional education opportunities.
Another top member benefit is professional education. Members look to your association to stay knowledgeable, sharpen their skills, and keep their certifications and credentials current.
Use a modern learning management system (LMS) to make it easier to provide a variety of learning opportunities and options for your members. For example, Crowd Wisdom, the award-winning LMS from Community Brands, helps you build highly personalized, social, and engaging online learning experiences. It also integrates with YM Careers to help you combine your online career center with your learning program. When used together, Crowd Wisdom and YM Careers allow you to showcase personalized learning paths alongside career development opportunities to help members get the education and certifications they need to be qualified candidates. Here are more ideas for offering valuable professional learning opportunities for your association’s members:
- Make learning accessible and convenient. Provide a variety of learning opportunities throughout the year to accommodate members’ schedules, learning preferences, and training and certification needs. For example, offer a variety of content formats like microlearning videos, webinars, and on-demand courses to appeal to all of your members.
- Host focus groups. To gain insights for your learning program, select a demographically diverse and representative focus group. After you’ve conducted the focus group, host a member town hall to share the feedback and next steps for your professional education program. Sharing feedback will boost member engagement and increase organizational transparency.
- Recruit more speakers and generate more interest. Develop the speaker base for your education program by creating a volunteer speaker form that you can share across your professional learning program. When you include the form with your continuing education materials, you’ll engage more interest in your learning program and grow your speaker base.
- Offer a passport for content. Grow your online library of content, build engagement, and boost non-dues revenue through a member content pass that gives members access to webinars, programming, and on-demand content. Then, watch as member engagement and loyalty grow.
3. Use your online member community.
Keeping members engaged with each other and your association throughout the year can be challenging. Providing members with a thriving online community gives them a place to go to network, discuss topics of interest, share information, and find answers to their questions.
Use online community functionality in your association management software (AMS) to build a vibrant online member community. Here are a few ideas for using your online community to engage members:
- Set up discussion groups. Boost member connections by creating discussion groups around topics like career stages or industry topics to encourage conversations.
- Repurpose content. To encourage even deeper member engagement, dedicate a group in your online community to continue the conversation following association webinars, annual conferences, or other programming. Ask questions to get the discussion flowing and post thought leadership content to encourage further dialogue.
- Host “ask me anything” sessions. Host these sessions in your online community to drive member engagement with your organization. Ask your association’s leaders, board members, or staff to provide answers to members during these sessions.
- Elevate association membership roles. Boost member engagement at your association by offering more ways for your members to connect in your online community. For example, empower members to become moderators or ambassadors within your online community platform, allowing them to monitor discussion groups or ensure that community guidelines are maintained.
Take your association membership to the next level.
The benefits of association membership vary from organization to organization. Make sure your members see the value of their membership with your association by using technology and strategies to keep them engaged and deliver more of the benefits they seek.