Must-Have Benefits You Need to Offer Association Members

assco-blog-benefits

May 19, 2016

“What’s in it for me?” The first question out of every prospective member’s mouth when contemplating association membership enrollment. While you may have an answer ready for that scenario, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will pique their interest.

There are many ways for prospects to obtain the current benefit offerings without a membership, i.e. car rental discounts, job boards, so it is imperative your add-ons do exclusively that – benefit them in some fashion. A benefit menu static in nature might get a few to hop on board out of loyalty, but it won’t do much to increase your base. In order for your group to grow, you need to make sure they are growing as professionals in return.

If you want to obtain and retain new membership, you can’t look past these benefits currently trending in the association space.

Access to exclusive resources

Since the dawn of the Internet, information has been made readily available. While there might be a plethora of it, digging out of it is a challenge, in of itself. That’s where associations step in. People join associations in the hopes of obtaining a fast pass to breaking news or latest developments in the industry, without all the clutter. From ground-breaking discoveries to the latest studies, you need to offer a one-stop shop, accessible exclusively by members only.

An online portal is key when providing these resources in order to ensure you are addressing the generational divide. Your newest membership recruits are not like their Generation X and Y counterparts. Millennials are the most familiar with the Web and spend way more time online than their predecessors. Offering an app might be the best course of action, considering the majority of their time is spent consuming media on their smartphone. According to an article on Entrepreneur, the average millennial checks his or her smartphone 43 times and spends 5.4 hours on social media per day.

Virtual education and training

The pace of the world has evolved. With technology, the expectation of being able to access something at any time throughout their day is commonplace. Being that professional development is one of the top reasons people join associations, it is of dire importance to offer education and training sessions in forms other than offsite lunches and annual meetings.

Live learning centers or monthly webinars are great places to start. Annual meetings are great opportunities to get away, but many can’t go due to cost or timing. Offer the sessions online post-convention, allowing members to obtain CE credit without even being present. There are also vendors available to host your conference live, letting non-attendees stream the action in real time in a remote setting.

Legislative mouthpiece and sounding board

With healthcare, employment and environmental issues all taking center stage this election year, it is imperative your members know you are active on the Hill – either on a state or national level. As a voice of the industry, the need to know you are in their court, keeping them on top of any new regulation or legislation that could impact their business directly.

Not only did they need your voice, but a place they can be heard. While the government affairs team is taking action, members need to know that it is action of relevance. Offering online discussion forums or town hall meetings can provide new or existing members a place to be heard and a place to voice their concerns.

Offering the right resources to association members benefits them, just as much as it benefits your organization. The key to any good course of offerings lies heavily in its value. To gain and retain members, your programs and benefits need to provide opportunities for your members to flourish in their respective fields.

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