As 2017 begins, respondents to our latest reader poll have told us they plan to focus more on membership than on other areas of association operations.
Forty-three percent of respondents said they will turn their attention to increasing membership numbers by reaching out to certain segments more and providing more benefits. With membership as the backbone of associations, it’s not surprising that this area remains in focus at the start of a new year. Want to increase your membership? Start by reviewing this article from Associations Now about planning for smart membership growth. It’s a bit older, but the process it outlines for researching the size of an association’s potential universe and strategizing how to reach the most likely members to join of that universe still holds true.
Is your association more interested in improving your member benefits? As demographics and technology change, many associations are re-examining the perks of membership to ensure they’re still relevant in 2017. And if certain benefits have lost their luster, associations are not hesitating to replace them with more useful benefits. Some more recent examples of innovative benefits we’ve seen include:
- Complimentary cruise ship inspections (tours) during the Cruise Lines International Association’s annual conference. These tours allow travel planner members to see new ships and innovations in cruising first-hand so they can better communicate the benefits of cruising to potential clients.
- Free continuing education classes (most are online) for members of the Emergency Nurses Association. Non-members can join these classes for a fee.
- Board toolkits that teach your staff and board of directors how to conduct more efficient board orientations and meetings, made available for a discount through a partnership between the California Society of Association Executives and DeLizia Consulting Services.
Other areas that poll respondents said they would be focusing on this year include technology, management and marketing. Technology is a perennially high priority for associations as they seek to improve efficiencies and communications among and between members and staff. Same for management and marketing — based on past interviews we’ve conducted, these two areas deserve constant attention so that associations can continue to improve their offerings while maximizing their budget.
Did we miss an area that your association is planning to give special attention this year? Let us know in the comments below.