Membership Advancement: Tips for Engaging Your Association’s Members

Association membership should be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Both the individual member and the association they are a part of should find value from the relationship. It is on both parties to maximize membership value, but how can your association best succeed when it comes to membership advancement? Here are some tips your association can use to bring new members to a position of involvement and engagement.

Task-Oriented Volunteering

Oftentimes the main method in turning members into engaged members is to get them involved in volunteering opportunities. However, it is easy to scare away potential volunteers with positions that are overly demanding or have complicated expectations. Make sure your members know what is expected of them as volunteers. Lay out their duties clearly and give task-based, achievable responsibilities and goals to ensure they are comfortable in their roles. Don’t throw too much at them from the start. Allow them to build up their confidence, experience, and comfort level in working with your association.

Networking Opportunities

Associations are uniquely positioned to connect people with one another. For the most part, the members of any given association are all part of the same larger industry, and given that they are already members of your association, they already have enough in common to get connected. Bringing members together as often as possible results in membership advancement. While it is more difficult in a virtual world, there are still ways to do this through virtual events, conferences, and networking opportunities. Give new members the chance to hear about opportunities from those who have been a part of your association for a longer time. Give young professionals time to interact with industry veterans. Not only will networking encourage people to get involved in new ways, but it will also advance diversity within your organization by allowing people to share, listen to, and learn from the experience of others.


Also a tip in our blog post on making your association worth joining, listening to your members is critical to everything membership related. They are the ones who are most tuned in to the greater industry and the needs of fellow members. Keep that fact in mind and make sure that you listen to the suggestions of members. Even if you don’t act on every thought, at least make time for a useful dialogue about their ideas. At the very least, this will show that you care enough to make their membership worthwhile. They will recognize that and be more obliged to participate actively in the future.

Follow Through

In the same vein as listening, your association’s members need to know that their participation is truly valued. If you work on a project with a member or volunteer (or volunteer committee), make sure you see it through to the end. Understand that membership advancement is a two-way street. If your members are taking the time to get involved and move your association forward, you have to take up an equal amount of responsibility and follow through on your work. Volunteering takes time – your members will appreciate if you give the same level of commitment that they do. When they see dedication on the behalf of their association, they will be encouraged to get involved even more.