Association Growth Strategy: 6 Tech Tools to Drive Member Recruitment + Retention

Associations, Retention, Revenue Growth // These add-on tech tools will support a sustainable association growth strategy by ensuring your tech stack is packaged for ample recruitment and retention.

Gabrielle Wathen
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For associations focusing on strategically attracting new members (and keeping them engaged for the long haul), it’s important to package your tech stack for ample growth and retention.

Association membership in the modern age is all about providing people with real value on their terms, and strategically leveraging technology is an effective way to attract and retain those members who you’ll transform into your trusty advocates. Give people indisputable reasons to renew.

The six add-on tech tools we’ll cover today will help you support a sustainable association growth strategy by showcasing membership value so that your current members and prospects have a strong understanding of the value of their dollar within your community.

1. Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs encourage professional development and networking, giving your association the power to connect the experienced with the ambitious so both can share resources and work together towards mutual career goals.

Here’s a tip if you’re getting started: 

“Find a good core group of mentors first (more than you think you’re going to need). If you’re estimating 50 people who want to be mentees, make sure you have at least 50 mentors available, and make sure those mentors are in place before your program launches. We did that by asking our mentors to register first before launching with our mentees.”

-Barb Boggs, Events & Volunteer Relations Manager, Grant Professionals Association

To learn more about mentoring programs, download our tip sheet: 11 Steps to Start a Successful Mentoring Program

2. Learning Management System (LMS) / eLearning

Whether it’s through continuing education, certification courses, or gamified interactions, extending online learning components to your community members and prospects showcases value by supporting their professional growth. When you invest in this tech tool, you’re investing in the professional growth of your members. Brainpower, commence!

Take a look at our Education + Learning Success Kit to learn how to strengthen your programs.

3. Data Collection / Automation Tools

Your Association Management Software (AMS) houses data that can be leveraged to provide a better, more personalized member experience. Collecting data supports your growth strategy by allowing your association to create and track automated recruitment campaigns, as well as activity within specific online communities dedicated to your chapters, committees, and councils.

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) was experiencing a steady decrease in membership renewals. To address their stalled membership, they created an automated marketing campaign leveraging data in their AMS and feedback information.

AARC was able to bring back 800 lapsed members in just 45 days with an automated win-back campaign.

Read the full case study for more details on their strategy and results.

4. Volunteering Programs

There’s a good chance you have members who are seeking volunteer opportunities to support a cause, gain professional development, and/or yield the positive health benefits of volunteering.

Volunteering programs can allow you to tap into that member base and personalize every member’s volunteer journey, accelerating their levels of engagement.

Volunteer management tools help you provide volunteers with practical knowledge on new and interesting opportunities, keeping you on the pulse of your soon-to-be advocates.

Here’s a tip from the American Academy of Audiology, who uses Higher Logic’s volunteer portal in tandem with their online community. Lauren Reimer, AAA’s volunteer coordinator, says:

“Having everything in one place makes it easy for members to peruse what each opportunity involves. Members want to understand the time commitment for an opportunity before they sign up, so having details available with each opportunity is effective.”

Read: 3 Creative Ways Associations and Nonprofits Can Use Volunteer Management Tools

5. Online Community Mobile App

With an online community mobile app, you can engage your members while they’re on the go from any device with a mobile-friendly app, featuring options for members to easily search contacts, participate in discussions, stay up-to-date with association news and more.

Empowering your members with the freedom to access their membership benefits at any time, on their terms, helps improve engagement and demonstrate value. Mobile apps aid in attracting younger members who will be onboarding with different technological expectations and renewing (or not renewing) with their standards in mind.

Offer your members a compelling reason to download your online community app. Update content frequently to provide a seamless user experience, one that will keep them coming back. Develop a comprehensive marketing plan to raise awareness about your app, helping to effectively drive more traffic to your marketing materials and other relevant content.

Read: How to Get Members to Download and Use Your Community’s Mobile App  

6. Group Management

Group management tools allow you to give leaders access to real-time data on specific group members that syncs with your AMS and online communities (including leaderboards, bulk and segmented email lists, performance snapshots, customized automation rules, and more).

This empowers the leaders of your association’s community groups – formed around common interests, geographies or events – to target, engage with, and track the success of their particular groups. This can help guide strategy and lead to game-changing insights that help you interact with your membership at a much deeper level to drive growth and retention.

Read: 6 Ways Associations Can Improve Chapter Performance 

Support Your Association’s Future with the Right Tech Tools

The effectiveness of your association’s growth strategy depends on your organization’s willingness to adapt, innovate, and implement data-backed solutions that produce maximum member value. Building a quality tech stack can help your association stay relevant while keeping member satisfaction at the core of your solutions.

That being said, do your research and choose the tech tools that align with your association’s specific community objectives. You know your members. But you could know them better.

Download the Community Roundtable's State of Community Management Report

Gabrielle Wathen

Content Marketing Manager, Flockjay

Gabrielle is the Content Marketing Manager at Flockjay. She has a background in journalism, film, and marketing. When she’s not writing, you can find her cuddling her cats Harvey and Wilbur, traveling the world, or storytelling in any way she can. Favorite food: All things cheese. Favorite place: Black Rock City, NV.

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