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How to Increase Your School Association Membership: 5 Tips

School associations dedicate significant planning and resources to support educational excellence within their communities. Associations exist to serve their members, who are the top priority. Members rely on the association for support and resources, and associations rely on members for financial support.

Ultimately, a thriving school association depends upon a thriving member base, which can only be accomplished through active efforts to recruit members and engage existing ones.

As you nurture and increase school association members, you must enhance member involvement. Successful school associations strengthen their member network by providing more resources, expanding networking opportunities, and hosting events like conferences and continuing education opportunities. In this guide, we’ll discuss five tips to increase school association membership.

1. Optimize Your School Association’s Website

For school associations, their website is likely the first place prospective members go to learn more about the organization’s purpose and offerings. Members will turn to your association’s website regularly to access resources, learn about upcoming activities, network with other members, and take care of administrative tasks, like paying dues.

If your website is difficult to navigate, members will be less inclined to visit it often, and that includes following through with paying dues. Therefore, it’s essential to provide detailed information for schools interested in becoming members and prioritize the user experience on every page.

There are some key elements that school associations should feature on their website to create rewarding experiences for users.

  • Event Calendar: Provide easy access to scheduled membership activities that will appeal to members.
  • Member Benefits Page: Offer a clear summary of school association benefits with links for more details.
  • Membership FAQs: Identify questions members have on key topics, like dues, and offer concise answers.
  • Member Directory: Compile a list of members that others can access easily for networking opportunities.
  • Social Media Buttons: Post these prominently to allow easy sharing on social media sites and networks.
  • Calls to Action: Display these to encourage member engagement and contact with the association.

Some other ways to ensure that your school association website is effectively optimized include ensuring that it loads quickly. It’s also important to ensure that your branding on the website is consistent to eliminate any confusion and to check that your website is optimized for every device, including tablets, cell phones, and computers.

2. Offer a Variety of Professional Learning Opportunities

Many schools join associations to gain access to key tools and resources that allow them to create better learning experiences for their students. These school association benefits directly impact the growth of members and can attract new members who may not realize everything they get out of joining your association.

If you are not currently doing so, consider expanding your professional learning opportunities to include some of these engaging offerings:

  • Webinars: With less overhead costs, online webinars focusing on specific tools and resources that can benefit members are a popular way to provide professional learning opportunities. They can be offered in an interactive format for live discussion and as an on-demand feature that members can watch at their convenience.
  • Podcasts: Producing a regular podcast that features discussion of critical topics can help increase the engagement of existing members and attract new ones. The podcast can be uploaded to the school association website and added to popular podcast streaming services. It’s also a great forum to invite members to engage directly with hosts and guests, which can help maintain your existing membership base.
  • Workshops: When tackling a subject that works best with live member interaction, host workshops that offer an opportunity to give members hands-on experiences where they can dig deeper into a subject for intensive learning.
  • Annual Conference: A top way to offer training on the most critical challenges members face and greater networking opportunities is by hosting an annual conference. This is also an excellent opportunity to touch base with many members face-to-face to hear more about their experiences with your school association. Consider offering hybrid on-site and virtual options for members to attend your annual conference as a way to expand participation and engagement for as many as possible.
  • Research and Reports: Your expertise and commitment to serving the needs of members makes your school association a trusted source for research and reports. This is a great way to more widely distribute learning opportunities in a published format that also helps to raise awareness of your association. Look for ways to publicize some key points of your research and reports in mass and trade media as a way to increase exposure and attract new members curious about your work.

Prospective members considering joining your association will quickly realize that these opportunities are more than worth the expense of their membership dues.

3. Enhance Your Association’s Online Member Community

When your school association offers a thriving online community, it offers members a place to discuss topics, share information, and find answers to pressing questions. Your online member community can serve as a vibrant hub of activity that further helps to engage your members.

Some ways to transform your online community into an engaging hub include:

  • Create discussion groups: Members can connect more through discussion groups that focus on relevant topics about common challenges, fundraising ideas, trending concerns, and professional development.
  • Drive conversation: Dedicate a group in your online community to continue discussions about important topics covered in school association webinars, annual conferences, or other events. Offer compelling content related to the topics and pose questions that encourage members to engage.
  • Host “ask me anything” sessions: Give members a chance to interact with your association. Bring in association leaders and staff to answer member questions during these live sessions.

The more connected your members feel to one another, the more likely they’ll be to stay involved with your association and its offerings.

4. Strengthen Your Social Media Presence

strong social media presence allows school associations to expand their reach and get in front of more prospective members. Posting membership details and benefits can help increase membership, but many types of posts can be effective. For school associations seeking to boost their social media presence, consider posting:

  • Details about upcoming events
  • Compelling stories about school staff members
  • Recent facts and statistics relevant to schools
  • Testimonials from member schools
  • Association or member school achievements

Make regular social media posts a key element of your marketing strategy to secure more interest in potential members.

5. Survey Your School Association’s Members

One effective way for a school association to recruit more members is to determine what attracted existing members to join. By gathering their direct feedback, associations can focus their efforts and resources on what resonates most with member schools. An easy way to collect members’ opinions is to use association management tools to send out regular surveys.

These surveys also help to engage members and to identify potential problems to resolve that could impact retention. Communicate the results of surveys to show your listening to concerns and responding to members. This is a great way to show members they have a voice in making the school association more valuable to them.

A top priority for school associations is to ensure that members are highly engaged and easily able to network with each other. A clear strategy to recruit and retain members in your school association will help increase its membership and provide members with meaningful benefits and opportunities.

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