Membership Pro Tip: A Deeper Networking Opportunity

Looking for ways to better engage and retain members? One association took networking to a new and more intentional level, giving members a chance to connect based on affinities that are more personal and meaningful.

The Association of Consultants to Nonprofits’ Membership Engagement Committee was looking for new ways to increase the value of membership. They heard frequently from members that networking was one of the main reasons they joined ACN, so the committee sought opportunities to create more intentional networking. A member survey quickly revealed a strong interest in the idea.

The committee came up with EMPOWER Groups, which bring together like-minded professionals to “empower” one another with shared experience, perspective, support, business development, and inspiration, said David Dow, an ACN board member and Membership Engagement Committee chair.

How Does It Work?

ACN’s EMPOWER Groups, a members-only benefit, recently launched with three groups.

  • EMPOWER Working Parents gives members a place to share strategies for navigating life and work with children at home during the pandemic and other related challenges.
  • EMPOWER LGTBQ+ provides collective visibility and promotes ACN members who are LGTBQ+ to foster relationships with other members that will lead to revenue-generating referrals, partnerships, and collaborations.
  • EMPOWER Professional Services builds relationships with members who work in similar capacities to help them find new clients and share advice.

In addition, a new group, EMPOWER Grief & Loss, is in the works to help remove the stigma of grief in the workplace and support consultants who are processing grief and loss while maintaining their businesses.

Each EMPOWER Group is self-managed and self-directed, and it’s up to each group to determine the frequency, platform, duration, and objectives of the group. The committee assists groups with their launches and ongoing success, and any member who wants to create a new group can submit an online form to the committee for review and approval.

Why Is It Effective?

Members’ quick and enthusiastic survey responses about the program showed there was a need to find connection and community because of the pandemic and an all-virtual world. “This is an opportunity to connect all of the members of the association who are like-minded in their objective to serve nonprofits,” Dow said. “It’s creating a platform for these affinity groups to come together to empower each other.”

What’s the Benefit?

“We hope that it helps us continue to build our membership and make it more meaningful for new memberships and also renewals,” Dow said.

Do you have a membership pro tip? Please share in the comments or send me an email.

(farakos/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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