Three Overlooked Tactics
for Growing Association
embership recruitment is a never-ending
project. Every year, members leave your
association—they retire, change jobs or pro-
fessions, go out of business, lose their profes-
sional development budget or just vanish for
unknown reasons. As members go out the back door, you have
to keep new ones coming in the front.
What strategies will guide your plan for recruiting
these new members? What tactics will you use to
achieve your recruitment goals?
The easy way out is recycling membership
recruitment tactics of the past, but the most successful associations do it differently. They encourage staff and volunteers to bring their creativity to
the planning table. They’re willing to try out new
ideas and experiment with new tactics. The world
is changing, people are changing and your membership tactics must change.
Provide Targeted, Valuable Content That Increases
Instead of relying on membership promotions, provide content that helps you develop relationships
with membership prospects. What’s the first thing
to do in any relationship? Get to know the other
Identify and research the different segments
of your target membership market; for example:
Students, early-career, mid-career, executives and
professionals in transition.
Here’s what to ask to identify their content
• What do they need to know to advance their
career or do their job better?
• What do they need to know to improve their
• What issues trouble them? What challenges do
If you provide valuable content for prospects,
they’ll keep coming back to you for more.
Maximize Growth With Technology
Make sure you have the technology in place to
support the membership growth you’re looking
for. Some association management software products only support a few membership features and
options, leaving you out of luck if you want to
expand your membership offerings. Some software
doesn’t handle automated membership type progression effectively, requiring significant manual
data entry if you decide to offer someone an introductory membership (i.e., student), and then roll
his or her membership into a full-fledged membership later.
Good association management software allows
you to easily leverage your new and creative ideas.
If you want to attract new members through a new
discounted introductory membership package, don’t
let the limitations of your technology burden your
membership growth. The less time staff has to
By Megan Van Petten