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6 things savvy associations are doing to grow membership and drive revenue

Read on to learn how savvy associations are growing their membership and driving revenue.    

Here at YourMembership, we work with small-to-mid size associations every day. And our parent company, Community Brands, conducts studies each year to uncover association trends. 

This experience and research give us insight into what’s working when it comes to growing association membership and driving revenue.  

Let’s look at six things that savvy associations are doing to attract and engage members and generate revenue: 


1. Optimizing association events.

Events and conferences are a big source of non-dues revenue for associations. They also provide a great opportunity to connect with members and deliver benefits that members seek, such as networking and learning opportunities. With all that events offer, it makes sense to do all you can to make them easier to manage and to get the most out of them.

Using all-in-one association management software (AMS) like YourMembership AMS by Community Brands, which has modern event technology built in, can help your small association do big things with your events. For example, you can:

  • Use workflow automation features from your AMS to automate manual event-related tasks, freeing time that staff can use to deliver a top-notch event.
  • Put an automated wait list to work, making it easier for potential attendees to add themselves to a waitlist and for your staff to manage the wait list – ultimately helping you fill every seat for your events.
  • Improve event attendee engagement and the attendee experience by doing things like allowing attendees to quickly check in online, using a mobile event app to put everything attendees need in the palm of their hands, and easily tracking and awarding continuing education credits for attendees.
  • Drive more sponsorships by offering attractive benefits like mobile event app ads and making it easy for sponsors to pay for their sponsorships through your online store.

2. Putting an online member community to work.

Your association might be small, but your online member community holds big potential. By creating an online member community, you can inspire and enable members to access and share relevant content, connect with each other, and make your association a part of your members’ daily social networking habits.

Using an AMS system like YourMembership AMS, which includes online community functionality, helps you increase social and community collaboration. It connects members to personalized dynamic content, career and learning opportunities, and member benefits. For example, you can: 

  • Encourage member engagement by setting up discussion groups for new members, allowing them to get to know each other and allowing your organization to share information and participate in discussions with them – making them feel more welcome and inspired to participate more.
  • Use your online community to better understand what members want. You can pay attention to what members are talking about in your online community. You can also set up online surveys and polls, and promote them in posts to your online community to gather member feedback.
  • Post important content – such as membership publications, the latest reports on industry best practices, and new insights from industry thought leaders. Giving your members access to this type of valuable content makes your community the go-to place for information while providing an environment in which to create dialog around your content, get feedback, and keep members coming back for more.  
  • Highlight your association’s educational program as well as job opportunities from your career center in your online member community. This approach helps to remind members of valuable benefits your association provides. 

3. Offering an online career center.

An online career center is a one-stop place for your members and prospective members to search for and find jobs and resources to move their careers forward. Offering an online career center is an effective and convenient way to provide the career opportunities and resources your members seek – making it easier for you to continually attract, engage, and retain members.

Using YM Careers job board software by Community Brands, which is built for associations and integrates with YourMembership AMS, you can build a robust online career center that helps you stay relevant with your association’s members. For example, with YM Careers, you can:

  • Offer an online job board that allows job seekers in your industry to easily search and apply for relevant job opportunities online.
  • Provide career planning resources, including career content, career coaching, career insights, a career pathing tool, and a mentor board.  
  • Sell job board postings to employers to drive non-dues revenue. Employers will also often pay for additional ways to get their job openings in front of your members, such as through job alert emails.     

3. Providing great continuing education opportunities.

Your association’s learning program provides your members with everything from continuing education to certifications. These are valuable benefits that help your members keep their careers moving forward. That’s why it’s important to do all you can to optimize your learning program.

You can use Freestone learning management system (LMS) by Community Brands to deliver great educational content more efficiently. It integrates with YourMembership AMS to help small associations organize content and deliver a modern online continuing education experience. For example, with Freestone and YourMembership, you can: 

  • Offer content from your in-person learning events through an online experience, allowing you to stretch your investment in on-site content further while extending the reach of your content to more members.
  • Provide learning content in multiple ways, with various pricing options. For example, you might offer one price for access to an unlimited number of courses over a specified period. You could also offer different on-demand options for learners who can’t attend live events and courses. 
  • Make it easy for members to purchase your educational products through your online store – giving your education options more exposure to members and potential members as well as allowing you to promote your learning program as a valuable member benefit to drive member acquisition and engagement. 

Ease your workload and request a demo now!  

4. Taking sponsorships to the next level.

Selling sponsorships is a great way to bring in non-dues revenue. Taking your sponsorship program to the next level is an ideal way to grow your non-dues revenue even more.

Using YourMembership AMS, you can step up your sponsorship program in multiple ways. For example, you can:

  • Use built-in survey functionality to easily create and send surveys to sponsors to better understand their needs. 
  • Use email campaign functionality in YourMembership to easily create email lists and send targeted emails to sponsors that promote your sponsorship opportunities.
  • Offer multiple event sponsorship opportunities, including adding sponsor logos and ads to your mobile event app.
  • Offer sponsors paid advertisements and sponsor logos on your online community.
  • Make it easy for sponsors to pay for their sponsorships through your online store.

5. Becoming more data-driven.

Making data-driven decisions means moving beyond hunches and guesses to regularly using insights from your association’s data to inform your business decisions. Having the right technology in place makes it easier to gather and use your member data to grow your association.

For example, YourMembership AMS includes dashboard and reporting functionality, plus advanced data analytics capabilities, to help you track and analyze your data. Using this functionality, you can:

  • Create a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you track progress toward your association’s goals. Then, set up dashboards in YourMembership to give you a quick overview of your association’s health each day.
  • Set up more detailed reports for each key function in your association. For example, set up a membership report that includes overall membership trends (such as new members, lapsed members, etc.) and a breakdown of membership demographics. You could also set up a marketing report that tracks website visits, email click-through rates, and online member community engagement.
  • Use advanced data analytics tools for data visualizations that make your data come alive, giving you additional insights into various functions across your organization.   

Looking for more tips, tools, and techniques for growing your association’s membership and driving revenue? Check out our Resource Center.


Kyela Bishop at YourMembership AMSBy Kyela Bishop, YourMembership Marketing Coordinator, Community Brands

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