In this challenging year, you might think that networking is dead.

Findings from a recent association industry study say otherwise. Here’s more on the findings and what you can do to give members more of what they want.

Michelle Schweitz, YourMembership Marketing Manager

By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Manager, Community Brands

 

In a year filled with social distancing, you might think that networking is dead. But a recent association industry study from Community Brands paints a different picture.

Members of professional membership organizations who were surveyed in the study say that networking is one of the top 10 most important benefits that their organization provides. For those early in their career, networking ranked in the top five most important benefits.

Findings from the study also suggest that several benefits – including networking – have increased in importance this year. In fact, 47 percent of those surveyed for the study say that networking has grown in importance since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, how can you provide more of the networking opportunities that members are seeking? Even if your association is small, you can provide networking opportunities throughout the year via an online member community.

Year-round networking through an online member community
An online member community goes beyond a one-time networking event. It’s a place where members can network with your organization and other members, share ideas, and access relevant content year-round from the convenience of their home, office, or wherever they are.

Offering an online community is a great way to elevate and encourage networking among your association’s members. At the same time, it can make your association a part of your members’ daily social networking habits.

TECH TIP: YourMembership association management software (AMS) includes online community technology. It’s built in to help you increase social and community collaboration. It also allows you to connect members to personalized dynamic content, career and learning opportunities, and member benefits.

Here are three ways to engage members and help them stay connected through an online community:

  • Suggest connections.
    There are multiple ways to encourage networking among your members. Use your online community to promote one-on-one connections and opportunities to network, all based on details you collect through the platform. For example, suggest connections between members interested in a particular issue facing your industry today. They’ll feel more connected and more inclined to remain a part of your member community.
  • Give your members a place to problem-solve.
    Especially in rapidly changing times, your association’s online member community is a valuable resource for your members. Point your members to your online community as a place to:
    – Discuss their challenges and successes with each other
    – Find important content – such as the latest reports on industry best practices and new insights from industry thought leaders
    – Stay on top of breaking industry news
  • Use your online member community to attract non-members.
    What better way to connect prospective members with peers in their industry and offer up the industry resources they’re seeking than your online member community? Giving non-members access to your online community is a great way to demonstrate the value of becoming a member of your association. It can give prospective members the extra nudge they need to join your organization.

Now more than ever, your members are looking for networking opportunities. Offering an online member community is a great way to connect members with each other and with your organization every day.

Learn more about what members want.
Watch the webinar on-demand, The Big Reveal: 2020 Association Trends Report to learn more about the findings from our recent industry study.