Membership Hack: New-Member Giveaway

Everyone loves a freebie—including your member prospects. The American Water Works Association offers new members two kinds of freebies: practical and fun.

How to hack it? At the American Water Works Association, the membership team occasionally offers time-limited giveaways to help nudge member prospects who are on the fence. AWWA is currently running two promotions, one for individual members and another for organizational members, says Membership Outreach Specialist Matt Hemmendinger.

Small utilities that join by May 31 receive free access to AWWA’s standards, including practical resources on how to operate and maintain a water system. But it’s not all serious stuff. Individual members who join by June 30 get a free “No Water, No Beer” t-shirt.

“That was something I’ve been pushing for hard,” Hemmendinger says. “It’s important for our members to be involved in both fun and practical ways.”

Why does it work? The giveaways are a discussion starter for new members. “Because we provide access to a helpful resource, the member can ask me about other resources that we might have,” Hemmendinger says. Meanwhile, the t-shirt is a point of membership pride. “It speaks to an essential part of the job and the value our members bring,” he says.

What’s the bonus? A giveaway has advantages over a first-year dues discount, Hemmendinger says: “With the first-year discount, our members got the renewal bill and saw an expensive price but offering a free good or resource engaged the member early and helped to ease the renewal process.”

(Handout photo)

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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