How to help new board members get to know your association’s members

The more your board understands your members, the more effective they’ll be.

Read on for three ideas for helping new board members learn more about your association’s members.


By Kyela Bishop, YourMembership Marketing Coordinator, Community Brands


When you have new board members joining your association’s board, it’s important to get them up and running quickly and effectively. After onboarding them with a board orientation meeting, it can be useful to help them get to know your members. Just think: The more they understand your members, the better equipped they’ll be to participate in board discussions, offer helpful suggestions, and make informed decisions. 

In the study, Leading with Intent: BoardSource Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, 67 percent of executives report that not enough time is spent by the board on building relationships within the community that help support and inform the organization’s work. For associations, this finding suggests a great opportunity to give new board members resources and encouragement to better understand the members that provide the foundation for their organization. 

Three ways to help new board members learn about your association’s members 

Your new board members will be better equipped to help your organization if they understand your members’ challenges and needs. Here are some effective ideas for helping your new board members get to know your association’s members better. These ideas have the added benefit of providing new insights for your board members who have already served on your board for a while: 

  • Host a “meet-and-greet”.
    Schedule a networking meeting with your board members and association members at your next big member event. Encourage board members to attend, introduce themselves to members, ask members questions about their needs and challenges, and listen to what members have to say. After the event, urge the board to share what they learned with each other so that they can incorporate member feedback in their discussions and decision-making. 

TIP: Encourage all of your board members to read the 2022 Association Trends Study by Community Brands so that they can gain additional insights into what’s new with today’s associations and members. 

  • Encourage listening.
    Invite your board members to “listen” to what association members are discussing in your online community. They can also interact with members in the online community by doing things like welcoming new members and directing members to resources.  

TIP: YourMembership association management software (AMS) by Community Brands includes online community functionality to help you increase engagement and networking as well as gain insights into what’s important to your members. 

  • Share member survey results.
    Help new board members understand member sentiments, challenges, and preferences by sharing responses from any member surveys you’ve recently completed. Highlight big takeaways from the survey responses, such as trends in member preferences or any data that you found surprising.    

TIP: YourMembership AMS has survey functionality built in, making it easy to build and send targeted surveys and collect feedback. 

Learn more about getting your new board on board with your association
Getting new board members up and running quickly and effectively is critical to their success. Learn more tips and techniques about onboarding your new board members: Read The Board Orientation Checklist for Associations.  

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