Membership Development

Growing Your Section’s Membership  

Research1 in the association field tells us that the decision to join is more accurately a decision to affiliate. This means that our members are driven to join because they see a shared identity. 

Research also tells us that members are looking for a balance of personal benefits and good-for-the-order benefits. This means that our members are driven to join because the association benefits the profession and the field as it provides training, education, and networking. 

To capitalize on these facts, create an ongoing strategy that shares how your Section meets the needs of the profession and the professional and how joining lets professionals connect with others like themselves. A few examples to build on:

  • If a non-member attends your Clinical Nutrition Week session, be sure to follow up after with a personal note, email, or call to nonmembers to thank them for attending and to ask if they have any questions about the Section and membership.
  • It may also be possible to meet people through your involvement with another organization. When you do, take time to explain why they should belong to ASPEN as well and be sure to follow up after the meeting with a personal call, note, or email.
  • If your Section has an e-newsletter, consider distributing it to prospects as well as members. This strategy has worked well for other Sections who find that getting information about the Section in front of prospects encourages them to join.
  • Host a “getting to know us” networking event at Clinical Nutrition Week. Networking events can be successful even if, instead of hosting, you simply identify a place to meet, send out an invite, and ask everyone to pay on their own. 

Membership development does not have to entail phone drives or huge marketing campaigns; it can be as simple as having a friendly discussion with a colleague over lunch or during rounds.  

Engage Current Members   

Association research1 confirms that perception of member value rises with involvement and the lack of involvement is one of the top reasons for leaving. Involvement might be thought of as the life blood of an association.  As a bonus, involved members are your best recruiters of new members.

Overall, for a Section to be successful in its mission, it is important to have members who are active and engaged in the Section’s activities. Activities can include:

  • Developing content (such as topical brochures, newsletters or special websites)
  • Communicating with members via social media
  • Participating in polls and surveys
  • Mentoring other members
  • Speaking, presenting at, or hosting events 

For more ideas, check out Mobilizing Volunteers.

1Note: The Decision To Join and Decision To Volunteer is based on research conducted by the ASAE Foundation for Advancing Association and Nonprofit Leadership.