Finding members for your association that will share and contribute to your values and goals can help establish your name and accelerate your movement forward. To succeed and become sustainable, associations need a strong membership base. We’ve put together some recommendations on attracting and engaging new members and building your community.
Profile and know your members
A good starting point is to identify exactly who your members are and what their needs, wants, and challenges are. Research your ecosystem and group potential members, for example, individuals, start-ups, established financial service providers (FSPs), and regulatory bodies. Create profiles on these groups based on their interests and ask the question ‘What’s in it for me’ (WIIFM) to understand why they would want to join the association and what they want to both gain and contribute. This will help you to better understand their needs and perspectives and to find areas of alignment that can provide a base for initialising engagement and discussion.
Demonstrate the value you offer
Using the profiles you developed, you can create a compelling value proposition, customised to the different groups of members you will have. Highlighting and simplifying the benefits of becoming a member and presenting it in simple and easy-to-understand ways could make your value proposition more engaging. We would recommend emphasising what potential members will gain by becoming a member and how they can contribute.
Build relationships and collaborate
You can expand your community, strengthen your presence, and make a bigger impact by collaborating and building relationships. We recommend developing your connections with relevant organisations and thought leaders both locally and globally. This can be done informally through coffee chats or more informally through meetings – different channels will be needed in different situations. Focus particularly on influential leaders, once they engage, others will follow. Also, leverage from your existing membership base to promote the association and open doors to potential collaborations.
You may find that organisations could be hesitant at first to become a member, so instead focus on relationship building and try to identify areas you can work together on, such as a webinar or working group. Collaborating with other trusted names in the industry will not only increase your credibility but also your reach, expanding the space in which you can make an impact.
Maintain a strong online presence
It is important to have a strong digital presence for credibility and awareness. Social media allows you to promote the association and its work and activities. You can become a trusted name for digital finance news, industry developments, and by keeping an active and robust social media timeline.
A strong online presence can help you gain positive attention and more easily connect with other organisations. A tip is to share and tag posts of potential members, this helps gain their attention and create more visibility for your association.
Be active and lead
Ensure the association and its key leaders are actively participating in online forums, webinars, and conferences, and are producing or contributing to blogs and papers. There is a spectrum from fully organising to simply sharing information when it comes to activities. Organising conferences and writing papers are time-consuming; utilise the resources you have to contribute to events and work others are doing, as well as leading your own. This active participation will further cement your role as a leader of the profession and attract more members and collaborations.
Simplify the joining and onboarding process
Now you have established a respected presence, you are likely to get more membership requests coming your way! It is important to make the onboarding process easy and enticing for new members. We recommend making the communication personable, friendly, and adaptive while ensuring a user-friendly, simple application process. Develop an onboarding guide for new members so they understand your vision and how they can participate.
Strategies to encourage people to join include offering a free trial or free resources so they can experience the value membership will bring. You can offer exclusive benefits such as discounts on participating in events and opportunities to showcase their skills and knowledge. Also, consider partnering with colleges and universities that offer finance programs to support students to join your association after they graduate.
Continually engage and review
As well as maintaining an active social media presence and sharing your activities, also share the benefits that members have gained and their stories of success. Sharing testimonials from happy members demonstrates the value of being a part of your association. Developing and distributing a regular newsletter is also a good way to keep your brand active and communicative. Keeping up with your members and getting in touch regularly to maintain their understanding and happiness with the association and its vision will encourage long-lasting connections and membership.
Finally, review the effectiveness of your recruitment strategies and engagement, and adjust where you engage and interact based on success and feedback.