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How to Build Up Member Based Associations

Associations typically have two methods for financial and overall growth. One is through sponsorship and the other is via growth related to membership fees.

In order to support a focus on growing their membership, along with creating the most valuable sponsorship opportunities, associations would be smart to add in a robust communications strategy. Content focused on thought leadership will result in a more excited and engaged membership, an increase in new memberships and as well as more interested sponsors due to the exposure and expertise demonstrated through your digital activity and active communication channels. The content you are creating should provide; 

- Actionable insights into goals, achievements, and direct member benefits.

- Perspective and opinion on the sector or industry.

- Future planning and updates related to milestones and overall accomplishments

How do you become a thought leader?

Start focusing on providing greater member value through your content and digital actions. Survey the existing membership, learn more about their needs, and develop a clear understanding about where benefits are seen and felt. Turn your attention inward and start producing value for that member you already have. Organically this will allow your membership to grow.

The Role of Social Media

Next, lets start thinking about how you push the content out to your membership, with an eye on growth as well. Social media can play a valuable role in your communications strategy, with each platform playing a different role, being focused on different audience segment, featuring unique content.


Focus on sharing team building, fun events, and charity and community activity, demonstrating all the ways you give back to the community or connect members.


Focus on joining conversations and sharing your leadership content, connecting directly with influencers and potential members as well conferences and industry events, interacting with relevant hashtags, etc.


Share content with a strategic focus, celebrate milestones and achievements, be transparent about your goal and objectives and create op-ed pieces that will engage both exiting and prospective members.

How Your Website Can Help

Next, look at your website. Generally, the homepage of most association websites is focused on signing up new members. But by moving the focus away from this sales angle and toward the benefits provided to your existing members, you can clearly showcase the value your association offers. Consider a member portal as the central point of your website. Content personalization can help considerably here, allowing members to access what they need quickly and easily, tailored to their individual customer journey, whether they arrive on your site via email, social media or a google search. Milestones, goals and achievements need to be focal points, with consistently updated, fresh and valuable content supporting those efforts. Think member growth, rather than memberships, and how sponsors can partner with you to improve the experience for everybody involved.

These are just a few thoughts on how to look at your activities related to your communications to foster growth and encourage happy, active and engaged members. As we continue to dive into this sector we will talk transparency, strategic planning and soliciting feedback…

Author: Shane Davis

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