The Membership Recruitment Plan Every Association Should Implement

By |Published On: October 11, 2022|
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

For any association, it’s essential to manage, recruit and retain memberships. That’s how associations achieve their membership growth goals. 

Follow this guide for the membership recruitment portion of your association’s marketing plan. We’ll help you gain new members by offering an effective membership recruitment strategy and providing membership growth ideas. With the help of an experienced association management company (AMC), your membership recruitment, retention, growth, strategy and plans are more likely to succeed. 

The most effective way to reach your membership recruitment growth goals is by choosing an AMC like CM Services to manage your association’s membership recruitment and retention. 

Membership Recruitment Rewards

Recruiting new members is as rewarding as retaining existing members regarding an association’s membership growth. Consider this — if you continuously lose members as you gain new ones, you won’t achieve your growth goals. AMCs understand the importance of membership recruitment and have the expertise to lead your association to success. 

Advantages of Association Membership Recruitment and Retention

Membership recruitment and retention are essential to an association’s success. 

To manage your association’s members effectively, learn how to run engaging meetings, provide members with quality benefits and offer informative resources. When you do, you encourage members to join and renew their memberships.

Members look for valuable engagement with their associations. One member engagement study found that 42% of members were interested in access to job opportunities, social networking, and certification programs.

Positive notes on board for membership growth

Establish Manageable Membership Growth Goals 

Are you wondering what membership growth is? To achieve your membership goals, enlist an AMC to manage your association’s membership recruitment. Membership recruitment and retention add value to your association by keeping your members engaged and your finances strong.

One of the main reasons that existing members don’t renew memberships is a lack of engagement, quality benefits and resources

Conversely, members are happy and choose to stay with their associations for specific reasons: 

  • Valuable incentives and membership benefits
  • Quality educational resources
  • Entertaining networking opportunities
  • Virtual and In-person meetings 
  • Opportunities to engage and contribute to the mission of the organization

In addition, the most effective time to search for potential members is early in their career stage. As you decide who to recruit for your association, consider future members who are still students or who are employees in the first five years of their careers. 

Establish a Marketing Plan for Membership Growth

Marketing is a trial-and-error process. Most associations don’t get their marketing strategy right the first time around, so be prepared to adapt and evolve. 

Member feedback is an invaluable resource — it helps you understand how your association should interact with its members. If you listen to and act on what they ask for, you’ll find a successful membership growth strategy. 

You should know who you’re communicating with before you begin creating your strategy. Who is your target audience? Are they millennials, GenXers, boomers or matures? When you understand them, you can identify how to communicate with them in style and tone.

Ensure your membership growth strategy

Consider taking the following actions to ensure you succeed:

  • Create an automated email campaign to welcome new members and share the advantages of being a member of your association. 
  • Share a monthly newsletter with valuable resources for members. 
  • Use social media to communicate with existing members and potential members regularly. 
  • Highlight the features and benefits new members get with their memberships.
  • Provide members with quality content and helpful information about membership services, resources and engagement opportunities. 
  • Plan interactive events, such as virtual whiskey tastings, virtual murder mystery games, online cooking classes and annual social gatherings. 

Technological advancements have made virtual engagement simple, so communicate with your members often! Reach out to them with personalized emails, host virtual meetings or casually chat on social media. 

If you include an email marketing campaign with your membership recruitment plan (and we highly suggest you do so), consider the email campaign’s cadence. No one likes spam emails. 

Pro Tip: A best-practice option for email marketing is to send only one email per week. Another is to offer the recipient something beneficial, like a discount or another incentive. 

[Related: How a New Strategic Plan Will Expand Mission and Membership]

Foundations of a Good Membership Growth Plan 

You build a good membership growth plan upon the foundation of what members want and need from their memberships. 

man looking at blackboard with growth diagram

Association Membership Recruitment Strategies With Proven Success 

Most people want a good reason to join an association. A return on their investment makes their membership worthwhile. 

AMCs create quality membership offers with valuable incentives that attract new members and retain existing ones. 

Furthermore, think about what your association will provide. What are the perks? Will the association offer incentives, such as certifications and educational opportunities? 

An effective membership strategy for any association begins with taking five essential steps: 

  1. Understand who your members are. 
  2. Revise your membership benefits.
  3. Explain why your association is the best.
  4. Define, restructure and consistently evolve your plan.
  5. Refine your strategy per the results you see, and modify your membership recruitment plan accordingly. 

Attract New Members With Membership Growth Ideas 

To find out exactly what your members want, all you have to do is ask. AMCs use recruitment surveys to learn what members want from their memberships. 

A recruitment survey shares invaluable insights with AMCs. For example, when your association gains new members, send a welcome email and a simple survey to discover what matters most to them. 

What makes them feel engaged with and involved in the association? What are they interested in when choosing an association? How can an AMC improve communication and engagement within your association? 

Try incorporating these membership recruitment ideas into your growth plan: 

  • Establish honest relationships between members and leaders.
  • Provide redeemable membership benefits and incentives.
  • Show your members appreciation, care and consideration. 
  • Create a collaborative workspace with a positive culture and a valuable team.
  • Hold engaging virtual meetings and in-person events. 
  • Offer quality resources. 

Choose CM Services for Your Membership Growth Consultant

CM Services is a second-generation AMC with 45 years of experience. Our clients and partners have noted we’re an excellent choice for a membership growth consultant since 1977. 

We know it’s smart to give your members what they want. And we know that when you choose an AMC to manage your association’s membership recruitment and retention, your efforts are more likely to succeed.

At CM Services, we’re experienced in helping associations and nonprofit organizations, and we demonstrate extraordinary leadership.

Most importantly, we provide associations with professional management services and helpful resources: 

  • Networking events 
  • Community engagement
  • Volunteer training 
  • Continued education 
  • Informative learning opportunities
  • Industry incentives and resources
  • Conferences, virtual events and workshops 
  • Mentorships and job boards
  • Membership directories 

For information about our AMC Institute accreditation and core values, visit You can also contact President and Head Coach Rick Church at or (630) 858-7337 to learn more. 

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