What’s Your Membership Resolution for 2019?

At the start of a new year, you’re probably making a resolution or two. We asked a few association professionals what their 2019 membership resolutions will be. Here's what they said.

Ah, the new year—if one thing’s true, you’re probably going to make a new year’s resolution.

Maybe it’s a personal goal—to work out more, eat better, or spend less time staring at a glowing screen. But let’s be real. If you’re like me, you’re likely to break those resolutions by the time February rolls around.

However, that’s not always the case for association membership professionals who are gearing up to tackle major membership issues in the year ahead. Before the clock struck midnight to close out 2018, we asked a few of them to share a membership resolution they’ve made or a goal they plan to reach for in 2019. Here’s what they said:

Nick Estrada

Director of Membership, Corporate Housing Providers Association, Indianapolis

“My goal for 2019 is to expand our membership categories in an effort to grow our membership to 340 member companies by the end of our membership year. This would be a 20 percent increase from where we currently are.”

I like this strategy because creating new member categories can be a great way to personalize the experience of your organization for segments of membership. While membership growth in associations generally remained strong in 2018, not everyone has seen gains. Plus, there are signs of economic uncertainty on the horizon. Thinking critically about your membership structure and how it can appeal to more people will be key to sustaining future growth. Start by asking whether it’s time to add new categories, like one for associate members or student members.

Leslie Whittet, CAE

Vice President of Chapter Operations, Association for Corporate Growth, Chicago

“After three years of flat [or] declining membership, we are determined to grow membership by 3 percent using strategic marketing tactics (new member email drip campaign, marketing automation) and process improvements.”

Leslie’s focus on digital marketing and automation is exactly the type of strategy more associations should take to welcome new members and keep existing ones active and engaged. Drip campaigns can spark engagement early on with new members, orienting them to key benefits and services. But avoid inundating your members with too much information—if they develop email fatigue, they’ll stop paying attention. Instead, with drip campaigns, take a slow and steady approach. You can also use them to target “fringe members” who sit on the sidelines and don’t ask for help when they need it. And don’t forget to A/B test your campaigns!

Karen Hansen

Director of Membership, Marketing, and Communication, Radio Television Digital News Association, Washington, DC

“Develop a stronger mechanism for continuous member feedback and engagement on industry issues and advocacy. We have regular satisfaction surveys (two times a year), but I would like to get a better sense of member views on issues that come up in industry news more regularly.”

I’ll be honest: This is a resolution that I will strive to keep in 2019. Traditional polling and surveys are always worthwhile, but there are quicker and easier ways—thanks to digital tools like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, and Doodle—to collect instant feedback from members and nonmembers alike. Many social media platforms—including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook—have built-in polling functions. Supplementing an annual or semiannual member satisfaction survey with incremental smaller surveys can take the temperature of how members are feeling in the moment.

Lindsay Currie

Director of Stakeholder Engagement, Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society, Rockville, Maryland

“Work across my organization to leverage the offerings of our education and publications teams, offering more … infographics, templates, microlearning, and special access to in-person mentoring. We are looking to increase the quality of [member] interactions while making them more personal.”

Lindsay’s resolution is one that almost any association professional would be wise to make. I encounter many organizations that have a deep archive of content, learning, and research, but so much of the useful information is buried too deep. In 2019, consider beefing up your repurposing power. You might just strike it rich, as the Society of Women Engineers did with an integrated marketing and advocacy campaign. Be sure to design your repurposing effort for busy five-minute members. Because these days, virtually everyone has a shortened attention span and feels pressed for time.

What membership resolutions are you setting for 2019? How do you plan to tackle your goals this year? Leave your comments below.

(phototechno/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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