Daily Buzz: Why Members Join Associations

Yes, your organization comes with benefits—but that’s probably not why members join. Also: the importance of language in online communities.

Why do members join associations? Is it for the benefits or because they got an awesome deal on membership? Probably not, says Amanda Kaiser on Association Success.

“These may be the reasons some members join sometimes, but overwhelmingly members do not join for the value,” she says. “Do not get me wrong; value is critically important. While members do not join for the value, they stay for the value.”

So, why do members decide to join? Kaiser says it’s because someone in their community—peers, managers, or other industry professionals—prompted them to.

“Someone they respect is a member of the association, so they figured if that person thought the association was worth the time and money, they would find membership worthwhile, too,” she says. “This means the most important thing you can do is delight current members and make sure they know the reason the association is thriving is because members like them recruit more members.”

The Language of Community

Many factors contribute to a successful online community, and language is a big one.

“Any sociologist could tell you shared language often forms the basis of a community,” says Ben Rossell on the Higher Logic blog. “When everyone uses the same vocabulary, the community becomes more close-knit and there is a greater sense of camaraderie. You can shape community behavior with positive language.”

Rossell recommends looking at how different roles and activities are referenced on your site. For instance, are users called “users,” or are they called something else? Do they “share,” or do they “post”? Whatever terms you settle on, this type of branded language can help add a layer of consistency while also bringing members closer together.

Other Links of Note

Busy at work? Harvard Business Review shares how to stay productive and get through times when you feel overworked.

An ongoing leader development program can ease future transitions, says Nonprofit Hub.

Building a YouTube channel? The HubSpot blog offers five tips for growing subscribers.

(MicroStockHub/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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