By Ashley Reid | August 21, 2023
Your members stay members because they find value in what your association offers. That’s not to suggest you send them a check every month, however. There are other offerings—that have nothing to do with money—your association brings to the table that professionals simply can’t get elsewhere. And that is where the true value lies.
Yancey Strickler, former CEO of Kickstarter, suggests we should think about value in the following terms: community, knowledge, purpose, security, and tradition. How can associations leverage these ideas and ensure they’re providing—and effectively communicating—these alternative forms of value?
Arguably, one of the biggest perks of being an association member is the built-in sense of community. As soon as members pay those dues, they suddenly have access to myriad resources and people who have professional experiences extremely similar to their own. Whether that means networking or socializing at conferences, attending fly-ins, posting on message boards or social media for feedback/insights, or joining subgroups (e.g., young professionals, professionals of color, women in leadership, etc.), associations provide a singular experience for those seeking a sense of belonging.
As an association, you offer numerous resources to enhance the knowledge and know-how of your members: webinars, podcasts and videos, magazines, research and reports, enewsletters and blogs, ebooks—the list goes on. The inherent value in sharing thought leadership from industry experts and disseminating that knowledge to forge a stronger future cannot be overstated.
Most folks feel it at one time or another—that sense of aimlessness in their careers. What is the next step? Where do I go from here? What are my options for professional growth? Associations are poised to provide pointed answers to those questions. By offering continuing education, professional certifications, and insights from diverse industry professionals who have “walked the walk,” the paths forward are laid out before members in clear and exciting ways.
It’s said there is safety in numbers, and associations are no exception. Change in employment status? Members can check the association job board or attend networking events to glean new opportunities. Run into legal trouble? Members can comb through association content archives for answers or reach out to other industry experts who have faced similar situations. When the unthinkable happens, the bottom line is that associations have members’ backs.
There is something to be said about the comfort provided by precedence. Frameworks and established protocols can provide direction and organization to any industry. But that’s not to say tradition is a static thing—its forms and content should shift and change constantly. Members will value the flexibility and nimbleness of your association as your priorities shift alongside theirs.
Get the Word Out
Chances are your association is already providing some, if not all, of these valuable offerings. However, members can’t take advantage if they don’t know about them! That’s why it is absolutely pivotal to have a solid member communications strategy. Spread the word through multiple content vehicles—publications, websites, podcasts, newsletters, and more—so members can appreciate the full scope of the value your association brings. Unsure of where to start? Let us help.