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Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Rumor has it, in some association circles, trade show attendance is struggling. This could spell trouble for how vendor members find value in belonging to your organization. While some industries may be feeling the pain more than others, it is never a bad time to think about the ways you are engaging your vendor/supplier members. Read on for a handful of ideas on engaging your vendor-side members in effective and successful ways.

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The Rise of the Solopreneur (And How Your Association Can Help)

Posted by Callie Walker

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You may have heard (or noticed) that more and more people are working independently. In fact, according to a recent survey from the Freelancers Union, “Freelancing in America: 2016,” freelancers now make up 35 percent of U.S. workers - and that number is on the rise.

So what does that mean for your association? How can you attract these solopreneurs to your organization and engage them in such a way that they’ll stay?

Here are a few tips:

1. Emphasize your association’s network (and the types of connections these solopreneurs will make)

For many independent workers, project-based jobs are the norm. That means when one project ends, it’s time for another - and it’s crucial those workers have a slew of valuable connections to ensure there is, in fact, another.

That’s where your association can help. Your membership is made up of industry professionals who work (or may want to work) with solopreneurs - and your association can connect the two. Let that be known! That type of network - for solopreneurs and others - is invaluable.

2. Showcase your association’s professional development opportunities

We all know how quickly things change, regardless of industry, and solopreneurs aren’t numb to that change. Now some companies provide in-house professional development opportunities, but freelancers don’t really have that luxury. If they want to stay up-to-date on trends and best practices, they have to go out and get that type of information - and that’s where your association comes in.

Your association is the perfect resource for solopreneurs. To attract these types of folks, emphasize your association’s professional development opportunities - classes, credentials, members’ only content with industry best practices, etc. This is a huge selling point for your association and a benefit that solopreneurs won’t mind paying for.

3. Position your association as a source of inspiration

This may be somewhat of an extension of point #2, but it’s still worth mentioning. If you’re a solopreneur, all of your ideas and tactics have to come from you. Let’s say you’re a web design freelancer. After a while, you might feel like a lot of your websites have a similar look and feel. You want something different - to make your personal brand stand out.

Enter an association. By joining the right professional organization, solopreneurs can soak up new ideas and mold them into their own. This helps them become better workers and gives them an edge over other companies and solopreneurs. (Can you say VALUE?)

Solopreneurs may be a little different than your other members, but they’re similar in the sense that if you can provide them with something they can’t do (or don’t want to do) on their own, they’ll join (and rejoin) your association year after year.

Want more tips for engaging not just solopreneurs, but everyone? Check out our free guide, Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations, below!

Membership Engagement

Topics: association management, member engagement, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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