Belonging to something bigger than yourself is powerful. Membership organizations that tap into our intrinsic need to belong and share knowledge, are building thriving, loyal membership bases. It’s a dynamic that Abraham Zaleznik, a leading scholar in organizational psychodynamics once recognized, when he stated, “Innovation grows out of membership and a sure sense of responsibility people feel for their work and the organizations that employ them.”
Increasingly, membership organizations and knowledge brands are turning to online communities to build lasting relationships with their members, increase their trust and brand authority, and take advantage of the network effect. That’s just some of the themes we explore in our new ebook, Members for Life: Online communities for membership organizations.
Now, more than ever, membership organizations need to innovate to retain their members. In the past year, almost half of associations reported a decline in membership. Online communities ensure that a knowledge brand can share its expertise, and therefore value, 24/7/365 — making it part of a member’s everyday working life. When renewal time comes around, the case for continuing membership is much easier to make.
Plus, online communities can become a central hub for the membership organization. There’s usually a lot on for members to do, but getting them to regularly check in and engage is a lot more challenging when events, content, learning and networking are kept in separate places. Putting everything into a single, signposted place will boost engagement and make it more manageable for membership engagement teams.
Network of contacts
Networking matters a lot to the people who join membership organizations. In fact, 57% join an association specifically to network with their peers. Creating opportunities to do this in our current hybrid world (when IRL interactions are more challenging) can help your membership organization stand out from the competition. Creating a network within your membership base will generate more value from your content and events, as conversations and ideas are sparked by them. Plus, it can boost referrals, which is proven to be up to four times more effective than other marketing and advertising efforts.
Creating lifelong members
Any worthwhile relationship needs to be nurtured regularly for it to stand the test of time. Your members are asking for the same thing. To create lifelong members, your organization needs a seamless member journey where everything they need and want is in a central place. A community where it is clear what members can engage with, who they can meet, what they can learn, and ultimately, what value your brand brings to their lives.
To find out more about the role of communities in membership organizations, download our Members for Life ebook now.