10 Tips to Increase Your Membership Levels

By JOHN FOLEY – June 8, 2017

Could your association membership use a boost? The landscape for associations is becoming increasingly competitive. Joining an association is no longer a given for professionals, and if someone is ready to sign up, there are more associations than yours ready to take their dues. Even if your association has a strong core of loyal members, the fact still remains that you need to recruit new and younger members. Are you ready to start boosting your association’s membership? Use these top 10 tips to grow your membership, starting today.

1. Define your USP

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the answer to the question, “why should I choose this association instead of another one?” In other words, what makes your association unique? Knowing your USP is the foundation on which you will build all of your marketing materials and campaigns.

2. Know your members and prospects

If you want to boost association membership, you need to seek out potential members and find out what it is that they need from an association. What are their concerns? What questions do they need to be answered? The combination of knowing your prospects and making sure your USP matches their needs is a vital part of boosting your membership.

3. Build up your new member services

Your new members want to know what exactly they will get by signing up with you, so it’s up to you to offer something valuable, accessible, and instantly useful.

4. Embrace “membership season”

By focusing your membership drives on a particular time period, you can offer time-limited discounts and offers to encourage your prospects to join now instead of waiting till later. The constant recruiting may become stale and need a refresher. So, emphasizing certain time periods and putting the extra effort in then, could be a positive change.

5. Get lobbying

If your association is seen to take action to support its members and lobby for the causes that matter to them, your name will get known and potential members will be impressed by your commitment. 

6. Make the most of your member-get-a-member program

You can’t beat a personal recommendation, and your member-get-a-member program is just that – your prospects getting a personal recommendation from your existing members. Make it simple and hassle-free for your members to recruit on your behalf by providing useful materials and an incentive such as a discount or free entry to an event.

7. Offer something useful in exchange for contact details

By offering a free paper or webinar to prospective members in return for them signing up to your mailing list, you’re showing them the value they can expect from you, and you have their permission to get in touch.

8. Reach out on social media

Social media is popular for all ages these days and is often the first area when researching a business or service. Therefore, make sure your association is there when potential members come looking, and reward them with interesting and shareable content.

9. Make recruiting new members a priority

It’s easy to brush membership drives aside in favor of the work you’re doing right now, but don’t fall into that trap. Make sure you commit enough time, resources, money, and staff to plan and run your membership drive.

10. Reach out in person

If there is a trade show or networking event that is going to have a good number of potential members in attendance, make sure you’re there too. Reach out to students in your professional area at your local college. There’s nothing quite like a friendly face and the chance for a face to face chat to really cement who you are and what you can offer them.

Boosting your membership is vital for the ongoing health and vitality of your association, so don’t let it end up on the back burner. Make it a priority and start planning how to increase your membership today.


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