Rules of Engagement: Engagement Within Reach

How to make member engagement easy, fast, and effective.

Instead of overwhelming new members with a long list of benefits in a traditional printed brochure, the International Society of Arboriculture uses email to give them a handful of easy first steps to get involved.

ISA restructured its new-member communications and went from a printed brochure and membership card to an emailed piece. The message offers opportunities for new members to begin to engage with ISA in bite-size ways through its website, online community, social media, publications, certifications, and products.

“A lot of folks didn’t realize we had a Facebook page, and they’ve been members for 20 years,” says Tip Tucker Kendall, ISA’s director of member services.

Here are three ways to make engagement accessible:

1. Keep it simple. Instead of making the communication a sales pitch with a list of 40 benefits, the goal is to get members to focus on what they can do in five minutes to get deeper into their profession and become more invested in the community, Tucker Kendall says.

2. Pave a two-way street. By outlining a few ways to show up and get a return on membership, ISA sets up a dynamic where both the association and the member have a role to play. “It is an opportunity to engage in a relationship with the association,” she says. “And part of that onus is on the member.”

3. Deliver the right message. New members are usually one of the most at-risk groups for not renewing, Tucker Kendall says. So, it’s been more effective to push the bite-size engagement pieces upfront rather than taking a sales approach. Membership “is not a service or product that you’re buying,” she says. “It’s important to give members information they can manage in their day-to-day lives.” The strategy has paid off. “Overall, new member engagement is up,” Tucker Kendall says.

(pgraphis/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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