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Why Your Association?

Got members? Good. Now how do you keep them? How do you serve them? Your association's ability to create a one-of-a-kind experience and exceed expectations is the key.

Members join for a reason. They say yes to being a part of your association because they cannot find what you offer them anywhere else. It is the role of the association to unequivocally understand that reason.

Of course, reasons vary. Why one member joins your association may not necessarily be why another does. However, you can identify the top motivators for membership. There's no doubt you already know this, but this next point is critical enough to emphasize and reinforce.

They have said "yes" to your association community, and it is at this junction of the journey that you want to know why. Right there on the membership application should be a place for collecting this data. Allow the member to share their insights while it is fresh and top of mind. Hopefully, your association provides an orientation or onboarding avenue for new members. You help your members become acclimated with the association and, in turn, spend time getting to know them (don't forget to orientate yourself with your members while you overload them with information about the association). This ice breaker setting has offered you another opportunity to dig into the reasons for saying yes to membership. Basically, where you can, gather this insight for it will make your homework go a whole lot easier.

You have hundreds and maybe even thousands of responses to this nail-bitter. Begin to identify the overarching theme each answer provides. What consistently comes up? What message repeats over and over? You may find three to six, and that's ok. They are all valid, and honestly, should provide a spec of similarity connecting and aligning each reason.

All this means is that you now have a way forward to begin segmenting the association's membership journey. You are now armed and dangerous. You have the insights needed to launch into the relationship landmark phase—relating to and with your members. You provide an experience seeped in meeting your members' "why" throughout their entire lifecycle (this requires continually asking, "Why are you here?").

As you offer events, professional development, resources and tools, content, volunteer opportunities, and so forth, always include a dialogue method. Make sure that you are listening just as much as you are talking. Take what you heard, craft that into the membership journey, and just like that, you have a relationship with your members.

Seems too easy to be true, right? On paper, in less than 500 words, it absolutely does. But, taking your members on a customized journey can be done, and it is not a step you can afford to skip. Tune in to this Association Transformation podcast episode, The (not so new) Need to Know Your Audience, and learn more about the importance of knowing your members and their "why."


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