Associations thrive when their members are not only engaged but also satisfied with the benefits they receive as part of their membership. As 2024 approaches, it is important to prioritize member needs in your planning to ensure the continued success of your organization. Consider incorporating the following strategies into your planning and give your members space to offer input about their experience.
Conduct surveys and be open to feedback
One of the simplest and most effective ways to understand and adapt to your members’ needs is by creating a culture and environment that welcomes feedback. To help gain insight into member satisfaction or needs, consider sending out brief surveys (less than five questions) throughout the year to ask specific questions about what members feel is working well within the association and where there is a need for improvement. You don’t need to ask about everything; choose a specific area or topic to focus on during each survey. Encourage your members to share their thoughts on multiple aspects of the association, such as the membership sign-up process, creating new products or services to meet a gap, or anything else that directly impacts their experience.
Be an active listener
It is important for association leaders to set a positive example by actively listening to members. Working to create and foster a culture where leadership values and welcomes member feedback has the potential to both improve your organization by meeting member needs and may also attract new members. Let member feedback guide your decision-making (but not dictate it) and you will reaffirm the importance that members bring to your organization. Also, don’t forget to tell your members the changes you’ve made or plan to make as a result of their feedback.
Prioritize accessibility for all members
An additional component of fostering a culture where members feel valued is also making sure your organization’s experience and resources are accessible to all members. Ensure that your website experience and the resources you offer as a member benefit are easy to navigate for all by following accessibility best practices. Make it a routine practice to regularly test for accessibility issues and then address them properly.
Stay committed to improvement
It is one thing to receive feedback, but it is another to apply it. Consider all feedback and thoughts from your members and make a clear and continuous effort to make improvements throughout your organization. Change does not happen overnight, but as association leaders, you can be the continuous driving force that is committed to applying changes that will elevate membership and the organization for years to come.
As you plan for the upcoming year, remember your members are the lifeblood of your organization. By being flexible, open to feedback, and committed to continuous improvement, you can adjust to meet member needs effectively and create a positive experience for all.
Gina Brennan is in Corporate Marketing at Smithbucklin.