Being an association representative isn't easy. You can talk yourself blue about all the great things the organization does - lobbying, insurance, collective bargaining - and inevitably, the potential member's eyes start wandering off, or they pull out their phone to catch up on the latest Facebook has to offer.
This is why someone invented member benefits. No matter what the core function of the association is, members are always going to need something a little bit more tangible. More often than not, these benefits are what make the difference in convincing someone to join, then convincing them to stay on as the years go by.
Discount programs are extremely popular for this reason. They make the "why you should join" conversation very simple.
Example: Access works with dozens of education associations - today we just announced a partnership with Virginia on a new member discount benefit. These groups look to discount programs as a simple way to help a group of professionals who are very familiar with making every dollar count. Even better, the program removes the most common objection to joining - costs.
"I do a quick comparison of the (potential) money saved to the money spent each month on association dues," says Jessica Dunn, Director at Utah's Jordan UniServ. "For some people, joining the association really isn’t a possibility, but for others that just use finances as a cop out, I have taken away their excuse. It is easy to then discuss other benefits of the association and provide them with a membership form."
And it works. Educators are among the highest users of Access programs, so they save enough money to cover their dues. That frequent interaction also leads to higher engagement with the association, and the result is members who are open to communication and ready to get involved.
As a local president, I have been able to show new teachers the potential savings through Access that can essentially pay for their dues. Many young teachers appreciate the mobile app that helps them save no matter where they are.
Jennifer Boehme, Jordan Education Association President
The bottom line is grassroots efforts work best when ARs can show in very clear terms how joining cam improve a member's life in everyday, relevant ways. Few member benefits do this as well as discount programs.
Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter