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Super members: Put them to work for your association.

Like thousands of others who parent young boys, I recently spent a couple hours in a darkened movie theater watching Lego’s “Ninjago” movie, immersed in the adventures of good guy Lloyd and his secret ninja squad of friends as they attempted to defeat the evil warlord Garmadon (who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad).

Heroes have taken different shapes throughout history. In the Middle Ages, knights were the superheroes. During war times, the superheroes are the soldiers. In the 1930s, cowboys became the new superhero, and were soon followed by the comic book favorites many of us have come to know and love.

Superheroes—Lloyd from “Ninjago” included—are having a moment. While always an essential thread in the rich pop-cultural tapestry, they’re now an even bigger part of the picture. Year to date, three of the top five grossing films have been superhero-driven movies, earning more than $1 billion at the box office.

Why? In times of trouble, superheroes help people; they do the right thing. Oxford Dictionary defines a superhero as a “benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers.” The definition for hero is broader, but more reflective of what makes these characters so admired by so many: “A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.”

As you know, heroes aren’t reserved for the big screen, but exist everywhere—even in your own organization. Your hero members, or Super Members, are the ones who attend every event, participate in your community, open and respond to emails, and are the first raising their hand to volunteer.

Community Brands’ recently-published Member Loyalty Study sought to understand the member experience from the vantage point of loyalty, and grouped survey responses based on member satisfaction, likelihood to renew, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and feeling of connectedness.

And the result? Super Members were front and center. Per the study, Super Members reported:

  • Feeling most connected to an organization
  • Valuing what their organization does for the profession over personal benefits
  • Wanting a high degree of communication
  • Having a deep appreciation for targeted content
  • Being more likely to be involved locally, for longer, and in leadership roles

Much like their cinematic counterparts, your Super Members are the helpers—the ones doing the right thing. They’re admired by the broader membership for their courage, outstanding achievements and noble qualities. Your general membership looks to them in times of uncertainty and looks up to them as shining examples of what’s possible.

How can organizations capture lightening in the bottle?

These are the influencers; these are the people other members should be hearing from. Many associations are already showcasing Super Members as leaders during events and trusting them to lead conversations within a community or social media channel. Here are three specific programs we’re seeing:

  • I’m the best I am at what I do.Profiling Super Members in member success stories illustrates how being involved with your organization has helped them advance in their careers. Perhaps their volunteer work with your association or the education offerings they’ve received from you have helped give them their “superpowers.” It’s worth noting, video can be especially powerful here. Respondents to the Member Loyalty Study told us video was one of the most powerful content types for telling an organization’s story. It was also among the most engaging for Rank and File members, the large contingent in the middle who reported being satisfied, but without the strong bonds that make them a loyalty lock.
  • With great power comes great responsibility. Trust your Super Members to participate on an advisory board or focus group, or serve as beta testers. You can get valuable feedback on a new initiative, and they will appreciate you asking their opinion.
  • Wonder Twin powers activate. Give new members the option to participate in a mentoring program and assign each a Super Member mentor. The mentor can help keep these new members engaged and demonstrate ways they can participate within the association.

To learn more about Super Members, access the Community Brands Member Loyalty Study. Up, up and away!

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