When it comes to serving your growing list of members, there’s a lot for you and your staff to keep track of. From purely administrative duties like processing dues to actually engaging one-on-one with members, you know all too well the amount of time and effort that goes into every aspect of managing your membership.
Your members are the lifeblood of your organization—but how can you most effectively “manage” them? Here, we’ll examine all the crucial components of membership management, as well as outline how to choose the right tools to optimize your management tasks.
In this membership management guide, we’ll cover:
- Elements of Membership Management
- Membership Management Software Features and Benefits
- Our Top Membership Management System Recommendation
The Elements of Membership Management
“Membership management” is a weighty term that encompasses a wide breadth of activities all the way from bringing in new members to keeping them around for years to come. Let’s unpack all the activities that go into proper membership management.
The first pillar of membership management is the process of acquiring new members. Membership acquisition is any form of outreach or activity to connect with potential new members—whether that’s through emails, recruitment events, social media, or any other means.
But growing your member base is easier said than done. Research shows that more than two-thirds (68%) of organizations face challenges when trying to boost their membership numbers. Even though growth can be difficult, you can some key steps to optimize your acquisition efforts:
- Profile your ideal member. Build member personas to encapsulate the kinds of person you’re targeting—then tailor your communications and marketing to resonate with that audience.
- Meet prospective members where they are. Reaching out to prospective new members only via email or on social media isn't enough—you’ll need to spread your message far and wide. Outreach through multiple tactics—think email, social media, recruitment events, and more—is the way to grow, particularly since leading organizations use 16% more tactics than peers.
Design your site with current and prospective members in mind. Your organization website should be slick and easy to navigate for potential and seasoned members alike. Your site should clearly state your mission, and it should be simple for prospective members to find your membership levels and benefits, upcoming events, and your blog.
New Member Onboarding
Once you’ve successfully registered new members, you’ll need to ease them into the fold. Create a plan that will help prospects make the transition into being fully fledged members. Not only does such an onboarding plan make new members feel welcome, but it can empower them to use their membership benefits to their full potential.
As part of your onboarding plan, incorporate several key communications such as:
- A personalized welcome message. Reach out and welcome them as new members and thank them for their vote of confidence in your organization. Then, offer next steps on how they can maximize their membership benefits. Link to a couple of your upcoming events or networking opportunities with other members.
- Make formal introductions. Don’t leave it to new members to do all their own networking. Instead, take the time to introduce them to your other members via your online community. You can also give shout outs to new members on your organization’s social media channels to introduce them to your followers and fans.
- Make mentorship matches. Connect your new members with a mentor or onboarding buddy to make their transition smoother. Not only does this introduce them to another friendly face, but it also offers new members another avenue to ask questions and find ways to get involved.
- Bring new members together. Host a networking event, either in-person or online, to connect new members. Bringing together a cohort of new members can make them feel more connected and welcomed by your organization.
The job of member management isn’t done once you’ve got members registered and set up in your systems. The next important management pillar is keeping members engaged and involved with your organization.
Stay connected with members through regular communications and engagement campaigns, including:
- Keep your website up-to-date with the latest info on membership benefits, events, and upcoming opportunities for members to get involved.
- Send an email newsletter regularly to share news, any exciting events on your calendar, and links or content that is relevant to your members and industry.
- Help members get involved in multiple ways. Schedule ongoing education opportunities or webinars, volunteer opportunities, or events like networking mixers or conferences.
- Get member feedback via a post-event surveys or needs assessments so that you can tailor future events or offerings to better meet their needs.
The Solution: Membership Management Software
To ensure you can acquire, onboard, engage, and retain your own members, it makes sense to lean on a little technology. That’s where membership management software can help.
What is Membership Management Software?
Membership management software is a tool that helps associations, chambers of commerce, and other member-based organizations store member info and oversee a variety of membership benefits.
Membership management software can help you organize all your membership activities in one platform (don’t worry, we’ll get into that below).This kind of software can centralize and even automate some of the tedious tasks related to renewing memberships, collecting dues, and engaging with members.
Membership Management Software Features
Every member-based organization has unique needs when it comes to managing your members. That’s why it’s important to carefully vet any membership management software—they’re not all created equal.
A high-quality membership management platform should include a comprehensive list of features that will make acquiring, engaging, and growing your membership easier. Before you even begin shopping for software, create a checklist of “wants” and “needs,” so you know exactly what you’re looking for from the start.
Some of the must-have features membership management software should include:
- Membership database.This is where you’ll store and manage all your crucial member info, like their full names, contact details, and any other pertinent notes.
- Content management system (CMS). Because your website is a primary source of information on your organization for current members, you’ll need a CMS that allows you to make regular, real-time edits.
- Membership tier management. Not every level of membership is right for every member. But a robust platform will allow them to select the membership tier that suits their needs and collect payment on the spot.
- Event registration. You won’t need to lean on one tool to invite people to your upcoming recruitment event and yet another tool to promote it. A quality association management system (AMS) allows you to distribute tickets, register people for your event, set up event reminders, and promote it from one platform.
- Membership marketing. When you have your member data all in one place, your AMS should make it simple to leverage that contact info for marketing campaigns—particularly email marketing. Not only is email one of the top three tactics to grow your membership, but 76% of associations also say email works when re-engaging lapsed members.
- Reporting. Having access to detailed analytics and reports is crucial to help you understand the impact of your efforts. A robust AMS should offer customized reporting features to track how your membership is growing and attribute that growth to the appropriate recruitment activities.
- Financial management. When vetting membership management solutions, keep an eye out for platforms that allow you to keep your current systems in place while also making due collection and renewals easier. Ensure the AMS of your choosing integrates with your accounting software to streamline your bookkeeping.
Our Top Membership Management Software Recommendation
We’ve established that the right membership management software can simplify how you input, store, and communicate with your member base. The right tool should encompass the breadth of features and benefits outlined above for a smattering of types of chambers of commerce, associations, and other membership-based organizations. One tool that ticks all these boxes is MemberClicks.
MemberClicks is an all-in-one membership management solution that not only stores member info, but also engages with and grows their member base. To help organizations of various sizes and needs simplify their member management, MemberClicks offers AMS solutions: MC Professional and MC Trade. While MC Professional is tailor-made for mid-sized professional associations and chambers of commerce, MC Trade was created specifically for trade associations.
While each were created to meet the unique needs of their respective member organizations, both offer a wealth of features, including:
- Membership database. This is far more than just a place to store member information. The right membership database can help you and your staff keep member data up-to-date, input new member info, and make it easy to pull details for engagement and targeted communications.
- Event registration. Whether your organization hosts regular webinars or in-person panel discussions predicting industry trends, MemberClicks’ event management features make it easy to register and promote events of any size.
- Online payment system. MemberClicks makes collecting dues and membership renewals a breeze with our convenient digital payment processor. You can also automate away some collections and renewal tasks to shorten your never-ending to-do list.
- Website builder. A website is the cornerstone of communicating your mission to current and prospective members—which is why MemberClicks offers nine templates to help you build your own. Or, if you already have a site you love, it’s simple to integrate your existing site with a MemberClick database and portal.
- Analytics tools. With our reporting tools, it’s simple to monitor your organization’s growth and glean new insights to inform your decisionmaking. Track the success of your latest membership marketing campaign or pull data on how much your member base has grown this quarter.
Moving Forward With the Right Membership Management Solution
Now that you’ve unraveled the many facets of our membership management guide, you’re empowered to make clear choices based on your needs. While MemberClicks combines a plethora of features that can make managing members far easier, this is far from the only solution out there. A quick Google search will reveal that you have an endless array of options when it comes to membership management software—and picking a platform depends on your organization’s size and unique needs.
To assess your options, take a few key steps when creating your list of membership databases. And before any solution earns a permanent home in your technology stack, ensure you thoroughly vet any association management software with a critical eye.
Or, if you’re ready to learn more about MemberClicks’ all-in-one platform, book a demo today.