So, where is your association standing in terms of diversity and inclusion?
Discrimination is something that associations never want to endorse, but sometimes the sense of exclusion is produced without even realising it. While they turn to marketing to solve membership problems, their membership troubles are often a symptom of fundamental flaws that need to – and can – be fixed.
Accepting dissimilarities within the association community helps members feel included and valued. And that can drive a significant increase in membership.
So, what are the steps for moving forward?
Strengthen the sense of community
With a booming number of younger professionals moving up in the workforce, associations must start appealing to younger generations to stay relevant. It is this relevancy that drives future growth after all.
One thing that millennials value the most in this time and age, is a strong sense of inclusion. Simple as it may sound, a specialised networking app works wonders with this target audience. Young generations live and breath connection, therefore associations need to be able to offer them a platform that informs, educates and inspires them.
Differing from social media, customised networking apps create a member-exclusive community that is great for attracting new and diverse association members.
Adjust marketing efforts
Too often, associations repurpose the same marketing materials to talk to all prospective member personas. Even if an association’s benefits may appeal to the majority of members, not all members and prospects value those benefits in the same way.
Think about prospective young professionals. As they start their careers, they are seeking networking opportunities, mentoring programmes and experience. Going up the experience ladder, more senior-level prospects likely won’t find those benefits relevant.
On the contrary, they would be more interested in benefits like credentialing and training. Therefore, marketing materials need to be designed based on the diversity of prospective members. The more target the communications, the more effective they will be.
Infuse diverse members into the board
Board diversity is a central issue in the association community as well as in the greater non-profit industry. In most cases, the diversity requirements on board seats are mainly focused on membership status and geography. However, diversity is more than that. The next step towards a more diverse board likely means transforming the on-boarding and selection process.
The injection of new and diverse association members into the board might disrupt the culture of an association that is reluctant to change, but it is important for establishing a future-proof association.
Did these tips struck a chord? It may be time to investigate the level of diversity in your association and enjoy the benefits of community building. Visit our website or contact us here to discuss how your association can attract new and diverse association members.
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