Membership Hack: “Look Book” for Members

A small-staff association distributes a simple directory, complete with photos, to onboard, orient, and engage its members.

How to hack it? Personal touches are at the heart of member engagement. So when a new member joins the National Association of State Foresters, step one is to provide a copy of NASF’s “look book”—a directory of members, designed to deepen the roots and expand the connections of members’ networks.

“For some of our members, it’s their first time in an executive position in state government, so right away they have a lot on their plate, and the last thing to think about is an association,” says Jay Farrell, NASF’s executive director. “So right away, we want to be useful and connect them to other leaders to let them know they’re not alone.”

Why does it work? The look book is a simple concept: a Word document that details names, faces, contacts, and committee assignments of all NASF members. “Our members are scattered around the country and by definition are in every state,” Farrell says. “It has become a really powerful tool that helps to humanize our association.”

What’s the bonus? The look book helps new and veteran members alike. NASF updates it twice annually, and members refer to the book to connect between meetings, form mentorships, and develop strategic partnerships on regional issues.

(CathyKaplan/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

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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