association membership experience

10 Ways To Improve Your Association’s Membership Experience

Looking to improve membership experience within your association?

The hardest part of growing an association is gaining member sign-ups. This means if you manage to attract a new member then both time and effort should also be put into keeping this member.

In 2017 12% of Associations saw a decrease in subscriptions whilst 19% saw a decrease in renewals according to Growthzone’s 2018 annual survey. Don’t want to become part of the statistic? Unhappy with your current association membership renewal rate? it’s time to look at ways to improve your association’s membership experience.

Here’s 10 tips to improve your association’s membership experience and improve your membership renewal rates.

Quick Reads

Membership Journey
Membership Outreach
Improve Technology
Membership Experiences
Strengthen Communication
Include Personalization
Partner Up
Member EQ
Discover the Why

Create a Membership Experience Journey Map

member journey map to improve membership experience

Create a member journey map this will allow you to take a walk in your member’s shoes. It is a way to visualize your member’s needs, emotions and expectations of your association. This will create a great base to begin improving your membership experience. This mapping process is made up of 4 main goals which are:


You can gain an idea of your member’s needs and wants from the association. Think about what is it that made them sign up in the first place?

Issues and opportunities 

Discover what issues your members currently have, what is it that is stopping them from having a better experience? you can then directly address this and improve the experience.


Come up with new and unique ideas and experiences to resolve your member’s issues.


This is the results the changes had on your association, how they have benefited your members and how they have created a positive business impact?

Reaching Out to Your Members

association management software automation

Try reaching out to your association members when they first join the membership. When you reach out, tell them about all the different features and benefits which your membership offers. This is a way to decrease drop out rates. This is because a large reason people do not renew their association memberships is that they do not know how to fully use the benefits.

Begin by reaching out to members in the first 24 hours that they join the organization, you are able to do this in the format of a mass email. After the mass email tries using more personal communications when reaching out to members. Online communities, phone calls, emails, and letters are all different ways to contact your association members.

Build or Improve Your Technology Plan

building technology plan improve member experience

Using technology correctly is a way to create a ‘seamless’ user experience. Overall this leads to an increase in user satisfaction. However, putting this plan in place requires detailed planning. Think about the following:

Why are you doing it?

Is it to create another element to the membership? create more user engagement?

What will you need to do to deliver the user experience?

This is the features which you will put together in the technology strategy for a particular outcome.

How you are going to tell if the plan was successful?

This depends on your key objectives, for example, you may want to increase your membership renewals by 20% throughout the year.

What is the timeline?

If you set yourself a deadline to achieve your goals the success of your technology plan will be easier to measure.

Who will be creating and maintaining the plan?

This could be one person who is solely responsible or a group of your association team working together on the plan.

Include Webinars in Your Association Experience Benefits

improving customer experience benefits webinar

Webinars are a great way to engage association members with your organization along with being a great way to increase organizational learning.

When hosting a webinar it is important to ensure that it fits the context. Get thinking about what insights your members joined the association for. Next, pick a topic which is likely to cover the majority of these insights. In addition to educating members, webinars can also help boost the association’s community as webinars allow members to interact with each other by opening an online discussion and asking questions.

Try out sites like Any Meeting and GoToWebinar to host your webinars through.

Include Experiences in Your Association Membership

event networking rather than tools improving member experience

According to EventMarketer’s brand survey 67% of marketers believe that experiential marketing is a good strategy. This means even though career tools are beneficial it is possible to substitute some of these tools for experiences. Experiences can develop learning further than nonexperience learning. Experiences also remain in the memory longer, therefore, they can create better value benefit for your association members.

By creating career experiences you are forming an additional supplement to the career tools already offered by your association.

Strengthen Your Association’s Communication

Women communicating to association online improving member experience

Associations begin with the theory that a group of like-minded people with similar interests will join to have intellectual conversations with each other. However, it is surprising that often networking opportunities are not being offered by associations meaning members are often missing out on these interactions.

One way to incorporate communications between members is through a program called Line, members can use this as an online platform to message, voice and video call each other. Line can also be used to send messages directly to the association to answer any questions and engage with comments members may have.

This extra element of communication will enhance membership experience within the association.

Integrate Personalization in Your Membership Engagement

letter with personal information to improve membership experience

A way to interact in a more in-depth manner with your association members is by sending out personalized content which is relevant to them. This could include recommended courses, events and job opportunities where relevance can be included through data capture.

On top of this when communicating to members try not to send out mass communications, instead, try to add a personal feel. For example, this can be done through adding members names to messages or sending out event communications such as happy birthday messages and rewards.

This also is true for email campaigns. Using emails campaigns in combination with a CRM, you’re able to personalize each email using tags that personalize each email to the name, company, time zone, country, and more so that each recipient feels they’ve been sent something that’s hand-crafted, but in reality is just a single copy that you drafted.

Team Up with Partners

Team up partner to improve member experience

Two parties can create a partnership deal where members receive discounts from each other if signed up to the other party. This creates benefits both for the members by offering them additional benefits from their membership. But also for the association as a whole. The partnership will create a form of additional advertising thereby driving more potential members to your association.

Pay Attention to Your Members’ Emotions

light bulb emotions

Every time a new member joins your association they have emotions behind the action. This remains the case whether they have joined for self-development or through work. For example, is the new member happy and optimistic about their new membership and the value they will receive? Or is the new joiner apprehensive around what they will gain from the membership and if their time and money are worth it?

As there is a chance the new member is feeling the latter this is something that associations have to address. Try doing this through different methods like a smooth and informative onboarding process, a frequent steam of communications and by making sure the member has found value in the initial communications offered.

If you find members are still experiencing pain points the association must find the root cause and address the issues.  If the pain points can be solved members will remain happy with their membership. This means they will continue to be part of the association. For example, a member may be worrying that the materials sent are irrelevant. In this circumstance, you can send them more personalized communications tailored to their interests.

Discover Why Your Members Joined (and double up on it)

event website builder

Everyone in your association joined for a reason. Was it because they had a problem they believed the association would solve? to gain more education on the membership topic? or to gain a certification? Find out what their reason is. Once you know this you can keep addressing that reason with personalized communications, therefore, ensuring the member gains full potential from your association. If they feel the association is adding benefits to their lives they are sure to renew their membership.

In practice, by using some of the strategies above to improve membership experience it is possible to put your association in a much stronger position for membership renewal. It is important to keep both the organization’s purpose and members interests at heart. By combining these you can create a foolproof system for top association membership experience.

Interested in learning more about leveraging digital tools to improve your member’s experience? Book a Demo today and we’ll show you how the EventBank platform automates, personalizes, and eases the day-to-day engagement points for any given member.

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Written by Katherine Hambrier

Katherine is a digital marketeer based in the EventBank Shanghai team who loves advertising, branding and data management. She is an Undergraduate marketing student at Bournemouth University, UK. When not at work you will find her cooking, working out or travelling.

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