Membership Hack: Milestone Moments

The Agriculture Future of America Alliance recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a promotion designed to boost renewals and bring in new and lapsed members.

How to hack it? The Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Alliance aims to attract talented young professionals and put them on a path to leadership in the food and agricultural industries. Last year, the group celebrated its 20th anniversary. “We’re a young organization, and we were excited to celebrate that second decade, so we decided to try a promo with our members and people who are new to us,” says Annie Storey, CAE, director of programs.

For two days, AFA Alliance discounted its annual membership rate from $50 to $20. The payoff from the one-time-only offer was immediate and big. In two days, 68 members renewed or joined. “That was pretty substantial for us,” Storey says, noting that the alliance previously had about 300 members. And the growth was evenly distributed among new, renewed, and returning members.

Why does it work? Storey says the promotion was successful for two reasons. First, the campaign felt special because it coincided with the group’s 20th anniversary. And second, it was delivered through a coordinated email and social media campaign, which included Facebook and Twitter posts. “We saw these membership blitzes happening elsewhere, so we decided to try it,” Storey says. Using a small staff-and-volunteer committee, the AFA Alliance was able to move quickly to capitalize on the moment.

What’s the bonus? The campaign led to a bigger turnout at the AFA Alliance annual conference, held just a few months later. “Our annual attendance increased by 20 members, which for us is pretty big,” Storey says. For other associations looking ahead to a major milestone, this type of blitz could be just the answer for membership growth.

The Agriculture Future of America Alliance just hit its 20th anniversary. (iStock/Thinkstock)

Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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