4 Tips for Maximizing Your Association’s Member Engagement

4 Tips for Maximizing Your Association’s Member Engagement

To grow your association, you’ll need new tools, dedicated staff, and a reliable membership base. This last element is especially important, as a key part of expanding your organization is maintaining and engaging the members you have. After all, new members are far more likely to be interested in joining and staying with associations that have a lively community they can participate in. 

Finding new ways to engage your members is part of maintaining your association’s long-term health. Providing new content and opportunities demonstrates your organization’s value, influencing members to renew their memberships and even recommend your association to friends, family, and colleagues. 

To help grow and maintain your association’s membership base, here are four tips for maximizing engagement. 

1. Create a new member welcome series. 

New members can get overwhelmed when first joining an association, especially if it’s a long-running organization with multiple archives of content created over the years. With so much to explore and engage with, new members might face choice paralysis or end up missing opportunities they would have been interested in. 

The first step in guiding new members’ experiences is keeping track of them. Use a membership management tool to create profiles for new members automatically. The content of these profiles will depend on your membership management system. For example, associations using a flexible platform like Salesforce will be able to create custom information fields and tags, letting them track members’ specific interests, engagement history, communication preferences, and other information. 

With a membership profile system set up, you can then use your membership tools to automatically send out your new member welcome materials. For many associations, this will be a series of emails that highlight various aspects of your association, such as networking opportunities and continuing education courses that might interest them. 

To boost engagement even further, you can take note of how members respond to your welcome series, such as which links they click on, to tailor your next messages. For example, if a new member has signed up for a meet-and-greet, you might send them a message highlighting your website’s member portal where they can chat with your community online. 

2. Build online experiences. 

Along with in-person opportunities, allow your members to engage with you online. Ensure your website is easy to navigate and has a variety of content that can engage members, such as blog posts, members-only forums, webinars, and more. Try to create new content at a routine pace to keep members engaged and create a backlog of valuable resources new members can explore when they first join. 

Additionally, membership management platforms can be used to create other online experiences. For example, Salesforce Experience Cloud enables associations to build self-service tools that allow members to manage their account information, such as their membership tier and payment information. 

Membership management tools can also be used to create more social online experiences, such as forums or groups. For instance, Experience Cloud even has AI that can analyze members’ data and recommend other members with shared interests for them to connect with. 

3. Host a variety of opportunities. 

Your association’s members likely have a wide range of goals, from improving their skills to networking and staying informed. As such, you should provide a variety of opportunities to keep as many members engaged as possible. 

While each association’s activities will vary, a few popular opportunities that many members will forward to include: 

  • Webinars and courses. Learning a new skill or improving a current skill can be a major draw for professional associations, especially if their course offerings have a certification or credential attached to them. You can also offer multiple types of courses to align with various members’ schedules and learning styles. For example, you might have an in-person class for members located in your community as well as an online microcredential program for those looking to earn a certification. 

  • Events. Offer a mix of both in-person and online events, giving members options for how they engage with your association. For example, you might host a hybrid lecture series, allowing local members to attend in person while those who live remotely or just prefer to attend from home can still have a similar experience. You can even dedicate time to answering questions from remote attendees so they can have a chance to meet your speakers similar to your in-person guests. 

  • Informal meet-ups. Structured workshops, galas, and other events are a core part of association membership, but members may also appreciate less structured, informal meetings. These gatherings can be organized by your association’s individual chapters for local members or you can invite members to arrange their own meet-ups. 

Consider integrating your website and membership management platform to provide a more dynamic activities page. For example, if you have an event with limited slots, you can update the number of remaining spaces in real time as your system processes sign-ups and automatically syncs that information to your website. 

4. Facilitate communication between members. 

Your current membership base is one of your association’s strongest benefits as many new members will join in order to connect with your community. Additionally, members who form connections with one another are more likely to stay with your association long-term and engage in social events more often. 

You can encourage members to get to know one another by:

  • Creating a member directory. Encourage members to create profiles when they join their association that list their name, profession, alma mater, interests, and any other information that may help them find other members they wish to connect with. Use this information to create a searchable membership directory that allows members to find and reach out to one another. 

  • Mentorship opportunities. New members may be hesitant or unsure how to get in touch with the rest of your community. Create a mentorship program to connect new and senior members. Doing so will demonstrate immediate value for members by building a new connection for them, while also introducing them to someone who can provide specific insight into how to get more involved with your organization.

  • Facilitating opportunities for conversation between members. While some members will be willing to take the initiative to reach out to others, providing opportunities for conversation can help members get to know each other naturally. You can jump start conversations by creating places where members are invited to comment or respond to questions, such as on your social media posts or forums hosted on your website. 

Empowering members to openly communicate with each other can also benefit your association in ways other than improving retention. For example, you might create an open-ended help forum in which new members can ask questions or troubleshoot technical issues they may be experiencing and receive answers from the rest of your community. This approach gets members talking to one another and saves your association staff’s time. 



High engagement means more members attending events, reading your content, building relationships, and promoting your association to friends and family. To improve your members’ engagement, offer them multiple ways to get involved, and leverage your software to build accessible online experiences. 

Share this post:

Comments on "4 Tips for Maximizing Your Association’s Member Engagement"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment