Associations may become complacent over time. They lose the motivation to innovate with their memberships, especially if everything seems to be going well. It’s always wise to consider how innovation benefits you. As times change, new technologies arrive and disruptions occur. Your members will have different wants and needs. How you innovate and respond may be the difference between thriving as an association and struggling to survive.
Here is how to foster innovation in association membership.
Prioritizing innovation is the first step to achieving success. Commit to it by knowing the latest trends and technologies. Search for ways to do more with less. Find innovations you can incorporate into existing processes to further your organization’s goals.
The way you traditionally do things may not be suitable for the present and future. It’s essential to adapt and remain flexible. Also, be open to trying out new ideas. Experimentation determines the ultimate effectiveness of your organization’s structural framework.
AI has been in the news frequently over the past year. AI for an association can alleviate staff stress, improve recruitment, and more. Use this powerful technology to automate tasks, like sending reminders to members nearing the end of their membership. Membership software automates many tasks effortlessly.
Membership software automates data generation for your association. Member software can track a new member or renewal, an interaction, an incoming message or query, or a campaign that needs monitoring. With this data, you can better serve your members’ needs and identify possible growth opportunities.
Find a platform where your members and staff can sign up, exchange messages, or collaborate. There are many apps available that do this. Members can join and use their phones to work together. Doing so improves efficiency, communication, and engagement metrics.
Encourage staff and the community.
Ask staff for suggestions on innovation within an association. They know better than anyone how effective existing policies and processes are. They may have insightful ideas about how to improve and innovate.
Furthermore, don’t limit brainstorming to your staff. Ask your members for feedback. Consider making the conversation public by posting it in a group chat, social media private group, or an online forum.
Encourage failure and reward innovation.
When no one is afraid to feel stupid or fail, caution is thrown to the wind. You can exchange some brilliantly innovative ideas without any judgment. Encourage idea-sharing by reminding everyone that failure is valuable. When an idea does not work, there is no reason to shame it. Every idea is important.
When an innovation works, acknowledge the member who brought it forth. Reward success publicly. Make sure innovators are celebrated. This encourages others to bring up their ideas and innovations without feeling like no one is listening.
Identify the problems.
Everyone experiences challenges and ordeals. True innovation emerges more frequently while seeking a path with less resistance. There could be issues you can address or dilemmas to resolve through innovation, either self-created or borrowed from another source. Consider these aspects when nurturing innovation within association memberships.
Look for new resources and delivery methods.
As time progresses, new books, documentaries, and courses become available that may interest your members. Review what’s available once a year. Ensure you optimize your offerings for new and existing members.
In the past, certifications and credentials were obtained in person. Post-pandemic, more associations move resources online. Consider utilizing digitized resources and delivery to make access easier. Popular delivery methods include webcasts, podcast series, on-demand video webinars, and self-paced education courses.
Invite innovators to share their knowledge with your association members. It could be a breakthrough invention, another company or product, an innovative service, or a new training seminar. Bring in innovators to explain and speak about innovation. There is no telling what it might stoke or inspire in your member base.
Check how other associations self-manage and manage their memberships. Learn how associations onboard new members, retain existing members and increase association membership engagement. You’ll discover effective, efficient ways of managing memberships.
Look for career-driven innovation.
Individuals often join associations for career reasons. These include acquiring certifications, exploring job opportunities, or enhancing their skills through training. They may also fulfill mandatory requirements, expand their professional network, and promote career growth.
When considering future advancements, think about what innovative approaches will attract professionals. Ideas like networking events or mentorship opportunities are valuable assets that give your association a competitive advantage. These perks will help attract and retain top talent.
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