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Is Your Association’s Personality Shining Through?

Lori Halley 28 July 2014 0 comments

Is your association or club struggling to get the younger generation or Millennials to join or participate?  In a post last week, we offered some Key Insights on Inspiring and Engaging Millennials. But a while back we also suggested that one way to get the “Selfie Generation’s” attention was through photos and other images. Yet while visuals may capture their attention, you also need to tell your story. So you need to show AND tell.

Key ingredients: emotion, empathy and authenticity

To effectively tell your association’s, club’s or non-profit’s story and really connect with potential and existing members, you need to appeal to folks one-on-one and add emotion, empathy and humanity into your messaging. In other words, authenticity. After all, when you are asking folks to become members of your association or club, it IS personal! You’re asking them to join up to network and share in a community or to join you in meeting your mission and moving your cause forward. And you only have a limited window of opportunity to make an impact once you have their attention. Whether it is on your website, or via email, you need to make a powerful first impression because you may only have a few seconds to get folks interested so they will engage with your content.

6 Ways To Show More Personality Worksheet

Kivi Leroux Miller (Nonprofitmarketingguide.com) suggests the secret is to add more personality to your communications. To help, Kivi offers "6  ways to show more personality" in a helpful worksheet. These include:

    1. Write in the first and second person as much as possible.
    2. Let us know who’s doing the writing.
    3. Express an opinion.
    4. Share some of the downs along with the ups.
    5. Make us laugh (or at least smile).
    6. Tell more stories.

You can download Kivi's worksheet here: Six Ways to Show More Personality.

Does this advice apply to associations?

While Kivi’s advice focuses on non-profit communications, if your association or club is reaching out to potential or existing individual members (e.g., not corporate organizations), this advice still applies. You need to add some personality and tell your organization’s story.

Remember - it’s not about you

But while it’s important to let your organization’s personality shine through, the messaging can’t be about you – it needs to be about them (the member). It’s very easy to get caught up in talking about what your organization has to offer, but you need to flip that around and talk about the benefits of joining or participating. I remember reading an article by Jeff Ernst (Forrester) who suggested, “consumers no longer buy our products and services, they buy into our approach to solving their problems.”  While he’s talking about consumer products, the concept also applies to the members of an association or club. Your members or potential members are looking for solutions to their problems, help with their careers, information and insight.

As we found through our Small Membership Survey, the number one reason individuals join an association or club was networking. Members want to connect with and learn best practices from their peers. 

Who is telling your story?

In your efforts to offer up authentic, member-benefits-focused content, consider telling your organization’s story through your members. Along with the usual Chairman’s or President’s letters or newsletter columns, why not have your board members, or other key volunteers communicate your message in their own words?  Better still, if you’re trying to reach Millennials, have one of your youngest board members or volunteers explain how they get value from participating in your organization? And let their personality shine through too!

Has your organization had success in recruiting younger members? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Image source:  Personality road sign – courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

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

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 28 July 2014 at 10:30 AM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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