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 Tips to Improve Your Association’s Member Experience

Tips to Improve Your Association’s Member Experience

It is time to think about your association’s member experience if you are unhappy with your member acquisition or retention rates. Member experience encompasses their complete journey with your association, from the initial registration to the numerous interactions through their membership's lifespan.


Understanding a Positive Member Experience

A positive member experience is made up of three primary components:


  1. Member engagement. How much members enjoy using your product/service. How easy it is to use/access and how much unique value you offer to members.
  2. A Positive membership lifecycle. The lifecycle of becoming a member. Of being a member. Of renewing or exiting the organization. All are key parts of the member experience.
  3. Communication. How an association communicates with its members is a critical part of your member experience.


Improving Your Association's Member Experience

Here are four quick, effective ways to transform your association’s member experience.


1. Digitize Your Onboarding Experience

You can lower the entry barriers and get new members through the door by digitizing the onboarding experience. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be difficult. The goal should be to make the new member registration process completely self-driven.

If you’re accepting payments from new users, you need to do this online. You can use tools like Stripe, PayPal, or Shopify. All are viable options that can be installed quickly on most websites.

You’ll probably be collecting information about your members when they sign up. Using tools like Google Forms, Typeform, or even a marketing automation tool like Pardot means you can capture all the data you need in a user-friendly way. Linking these tools with something like Zapier means you can send the captured information to any number of other systems, where you need it.

Remember, the user flow doesn’t stop when you collect payments. Make sure new users know where to go, what they’re looking at, and where they can get more information and help. They also need to know what upcoming available events they might be interested in.


2. Leverage Digital Tools to Register Offline Events

Networking events, workshops, classes, lectures, and more are a big incentive for most members to join an association. However, members usually sign up with an association but may not take advantage of their events. This reduces the value they receive and eventually leads to member churn. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Digital tools can help promote, register, remind, and follow up with members. Doing so lets them (and you) get more out of events.

Use automated email campaigns to communicate with your members about what’s coming up. Automated email campaigns can be set up once and deployed over time. Doing so reduces the amount of work required for associations to tell their base what’s coming up.

Event software, like Eventbrite or EventMobi, makes it simple for members to register for events. The event platforms can automatically send reminder emails, push notifications, and more to increase attendance without you having to lift a finger.

Following up with both those who attend and those who didn’t is essential for member experience. Those who attended usually want some collateral or value-added piece that will help them remember and leverage their experience. Those who didn’t attend should know it was a valuable event they missed out on. Such a feeling will encourage their attendance next time.


3. Create Value-Add Content for Your Site

Create interactive quizzes, e-learning tools, competitions, polls, user-generated content, dynamic content, and more with many online tools. Move content beyond static PDFs and blog posts for a more engaging and ultimately better member experience.


4. Leverage Data

Use tools like Google Analytics to track when members stop engaging online. Combine these metrics with member surveys/questionnaire data to understand where you need more content on your site or more services at an association product level.

This data can also be used to inform higher-value activities like live events, new speakers, additional products, or even new services. You have a better chance of producing options that enhances rather than detracts from the member experience when you base your decisions on data.

You’ll be able to see if your changes make a difference as you continue to track your data. Doing so enables you to create a positive feedback loop for your association and members.



Jim Reid has over 20 years of professional experience in business development management and strategy. He helps organizations leverage technology to fuel growth and innovation. Prior to joining Enginess, Jim worked with organizations like Redishred Capital, Hubbub, and Drake International.



Improving your association's member experience begins with increasing member engagement. On November 1st, CSAE offers an interactive webinar, Association Research Reveals the Stickiest New Member Engagement Programs, with Amanda Kaiser. She will share research-based insights on how to create a member engagement program your members will love.



Jim Reid, Member Experience, Leadership


Membership, Guest Contributor, Governance / Leadership



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