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Link Love Friday: Member Engagement, Loyalty Programs, Visionary Bosses & More

Lori Halley 16 May 2014 0 comments

Are you stymied by a visionary boss?  Or wondering what the secret is to member engagement?  Are you ready to manage skilled volunteers?  Maybe you’re considering starting a member loyalty program or want to make networking easier for your event participants. 

This week’s link round-up offers insight into all of these topics and more. Have a look at 5 of the top posts we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam this week! 

The Secret to Member Engagement is...Developing Brand Ambassadors

In a post on the Membership Engagement Blog, Callie Cady (Multiview) admits: 

As an employee/team member of a company who works directly with over 2,000 trade associations every single day, I have seen many ways our successful association partners have worked to actively engage their members. But when it came time for me to write this post on “The Secret of Member Engagement,” I initially drew a blank. After all, what IS the secret to member engagement I really want to convey to my readers? Is there really one secret to success? No, of course there isn’t! But for the sake of my sanity (as well as the sanity of my readers), I’m giving you the one secret to member engagement I think is incredibly important: Developing Brand Ambassadors. 

Brand Ambassadors are members who are loyal, true champions of an association’s overall brand and mission. Their main purpose is to embody the values, character and overall image of an organizations brand. They are the members who will attend every conference and networking event possible; and they will go above and beyond to help ensure member retention and growth. 

Cady offers some great tips for developing brand ambassadors. 

Five Steps to Building a Membership Loyalty Program 

Tony Rossell (Membership Marketing Blog) notes that: 

For decades loyalty programs have been growing in the for profit world as a major component for engaging and retaining customers. 

... However, it is rare that I come across an association that has overlaid a loyalty program onto its membership. Many organizations do not recognize the diversity in their members and treat their best members in very much the same way as everyone else without regard to the value they bring to the organization. In a diverse membership, a loyalty program helps define who these most valuable members are and encourages behaviors that lead to greater value from those less engaged.

Rossell outlines five recommended steps to follow in building a membership loyalty program. 

Help! My Boss is a Visionary and Makes My Job Impossible

Kivi Leroux Miller (Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog) tells us: 

I’ve talked to more than a few communications directors who are stymied in their work by their “visionary” bosses. These communications directors are often in awe of the visionary’s big ideas, creativity, and insights. They really do admire them, and often wish they themselves could be so bold. 

But that’s where the love stops, and the day-to-day frustration begins. Working for a visionary director can create some trying situations for the communications director. 

For those who work for visionary leaders, Kivi offers up 5 ideas that might help. 

Making Conference Connections

Elsbeth Russell (Association Adviser) suggests: 

Networking and education.

If you were to ask your members why they attend your association events—and possibly why they are members of your association in the first place—those benefits would likely be the top two.

While most associations have the educational component down-pat, the networking aspect is a little less tangible.

How intentional are you about facilitating the connections your members want? Apparently the answer for most associations is not very. According to a survey of ASAE Great Ideas Conference attendees, more than 50 percent of respondents say they have no formal on-boarding program for first-time attendees. 

And according to Naylor’s annual Association Communications Benchmarking Report, an association’s newest members are only one-third as likely as longstanding members (5+ years) to say they are “Highly Engaged” with an association’s communication efforts.

Getting ready for the skilled volunteer

In an article on Charity Village, Andy Telfer suggests: 

A new kind of volunteer is emerging. More today than ever before, people with high-level skills are offering their services to respected nonprofits. The “skilled volunteer” is someone who has specialized professional skills to offer, skills that do not fall within the scope of typical day-to-day volunteer tasks. These people may accept the day-to-day work that is necessary for volunteer-run programs to function or they may not, but regardless, they definitely have a specific expertise they wish to contribute. 

Telfer offers 8 tips to help you “get ready to make the most of skilled volunteers”.

Want more non-profit and membership links?

This is just a taste of some of the membership and non-profit posts and articles we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam lately. For more, you can check out the latest posts on topics such as: Membership, Volunteers, Communications, Events, Social Media, Leadership and Fundraising. 

We hope you'll visit Apricot Jam often to see what’s new or subscribe to our RSS feed. 

You can also find additional articles and guides on non-profit and membership topics in our Membership Knowledge Hub.


Image source:  Bicycle chain heart - courtesy BigStockPhoto.com

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 16 May 2014 at 8:30 AM
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