Mission-based organizations like associations are in the business of taking care of the people they serve—members. And, inherent in the process of taking care of members, there are common challenges like how to recruit, engage, and retain them.
The current economic uncertainty makes corporations or individuals think twice about spending. This makes it even more critical for associations to rethink their old ways of dealing with member outreach and retention.
So, it becomes essential to delve into the inner works of how you can attract new members through your member outreach programs. Furthermore, the success of member retention efforts depend heavily on what existing members are experiencing during their relationship with you and how they are feeling about that relationship.
Not unlike personal relationships, this requires getting to know them, learn about their interests, likes, dislikes, and keeping them engaged in a meaningful way. We all know how difficult this can be even with one person.
But how can you then even start and foster relationships online by the thousands?
You achieve this by collecting meaningful information about your audience over time, then compile, analyze, and make sense of it, score by importance, until you have built a profile of each individual. Then you engage in person and guide the person to the end point you have in mind. This can be a membership registration, an event registration, or sign up for a mailing list. It depends on your objectives. This is easier said than done!
First, many associations do not have the means to collect the data needed. They miss the right tools. And if they do, the data often ends up in multiple disconnected spreadsheets on computers. This is due to data silos caused by legacy technology, older member management software, or different technologies put together without really being integrated.
Another reason may be disconnected teams within an organization, each of them with operating budgets that allow them to build their own systems without looking at the big picture. Yes, these are silos.
Then there are very few technology solutions available that allow you to collect data holistically across different touchpoints. Website data, web form data, CRM, member software are rarely synched. Most solutions serve one specific purpose but leave out others.
Only recently, IT research firms talk about limiting data silos and their disadvantages. The talk is about “data fabric”, a flexible, resilient integration of data sources across platforms and business users, making data available everywhere it’s needed regardless of where the data lives. With this in mind, data fabric architectures may play a pivotal role in helping associations manage memberships, operations, and analytics, ultimately enabling them to make data-driven decisions at an organization-wide level. Of course, this requires a big budget, not many organizations are willing to allocate these days.
This is opening up a new market for All-in-One Software solutions with a holistic mindset. All-in-One solutions centralize data from the start and allow for an end-to-end data gathering across all touch points with members. Data silos become a thing of the past. So is uncertainty!
WEEcommunicate is one example of an association management system that was built as an All-in-One solution. It serves associations, government agencies and corporations with one goal in mind – to empower you to build strong member relationships and reduce your economic uncertainty.