Tuesday Buzz: Maximizing Associate Member Relationships

Supplier members offer more than just revenue. Here are a few ways to get the most from your associate member relationships. Also: Strategies to engage new board members.

How do you think about your associate members? Whether you keep them at a distance or view them as strategic partners, chances are, there is a lot more your organization could be doing to maximize that relationship.

In a recent post from Rigsbee Research, Ed Rigsbee suggests thinking of this relationship as a two-way street—as they supply value to you, so should your organization provide value to your supplier members. Among the ways Rigsbee suggests you can build a stronger relationship with suppliers:

One is to consider giving supplier members a position on your board. Another option is to expand sponsorship opportunities beyond the annual meeting. “Offer yearlong strategic sponsorship opportunities, perhaps at various investment levels so all suppliers have the opportunity to play,” he says.

Along with other ideas, Rigsbee reminds you to keep one issue in sight: “When considering the value your sponsors seek, keep in mind the number-one rule. Understand that their greatest desire is to increase their sales volume.”

Better Board

As an association leader, it’s incumbent upon you to help strengthen your board. That includes making it easy for new members to onboard and get involved so you can work together to achieve the goals of your organization.

Help facilitate this by assigning a new board member a mentor. “Perhaps they can have coffee with them sometime during their first few months on the board to see what questions they have, or tell them about an upcoming initiative and provide historical context or speak to the culture of the organization they may not be aware of,” writes Cindi Phallen in a recent post for the CSAE blog.

Phallen also suggests providing opportunities for new members to get involved with a project or a campaign right away. And she recommends checking in with them after their first six months on the board to gain fresh insights.

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Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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