People join Associations for many reasons, including learning, knowledge, community, and the all-important benefits. Associations are then tasked with providing cutting-edge information, providing value to their members in more than one way. To be better equipped to serve your members, here are the top three tools you should be using to get ahead in the Association world.

#1 Membership Management Software

Data is the backbone of understanding and growing your Association membership. Gathering group data is more than verifying members’ addresses and job titles; thorough data retention enables Associations to learn their members’ interests. Anything that makes it easier to serve them and sell to them more effectively is a tool worth investing in. With so many resources available for data retention, we have narrowed in on a few software suggestions. If you are using another data management tool you like, leave the information in the comments!

Silkstart is software for helping Associations better grow their membership and promote their causes. They have a platform that helps organizations accept payments online for dues, events, and a host of other things. They are SaaS and are free up to 50 dues-paying members. They charge $250/month when you get up to 1,000 members.

GroupSpaces provides technology to manage membership, activities, and promotion online through a free group website. Their main customers are mostly student groups, social groups, and small organizations. They are free up to 50 members, and they begin charging $7.99/month when you get to 200 members.

MemberPlanet is web-based software that provides everything for you to manage your group in one place. It’s used by a wide variety of groups and is completely free up to 200 members. They begin charging $4.99/month when you get over 200 members.

#2 Affinity Programs

Members want to save money. Who doesn’t? Utilizing affinity programs can provide additional savings not just for your members, but for your Association as a whole. By collecting the buying power of thousands of other companies’ orders, you are ensuring savings for your members. But it’s not just the members that save. Some GPOs, such as UNA Purchasing, can return a portion of its administrative fees paid by the contracted vendors back to the Association. Your Association will enjoy an additional source of revenue that can be applied back to your operations – or you can return it directly to your members based on their participation volume.

An affinity program can have a substantial impact on your efforts to expand enrollments, with or without dues requirements. The annual savings generated by the discount programs consistently balance your Association membership dues, resulting in added benefits to your membership offering.

Beyond cost efficiencies, an affinity program can help grow and retain membership through positive relationships. And as we’ve surmised, people want to save money. The cost benefits yielded by the programs you’re offering can build trust and good experience amongst members, which can translate to word-of-mouth. This can increase retention. By providing a competitive edge for your members, you can foster loyalty to your Association, and the suppliers and cost savings you’re bringing to the relationship can help to keep members longer.

#3 Buyer’s guide or provider directory

Your Association is a focal point for your industry. Chances are, many participants turn to you as a resource for information as well as for recommendations on providers. Make yourself as accessible as possible by setting up a buyer’s guide on your website. Setting up a provider directory doesn’t have to be complicated. You can raise money by charging providers to be listed in this directory, and you can even set up different listing levels and charge different fees depending on the visibility and information displayed for each provider. Providing this additional resource can prove a value add to your members and another source of revenue for you.

Let us know which tools your team is using to keep your members engaged and happy by leaving suggestions in the comments below. We have experts at UNA Purchasing that can implement an affinity program for your Association, as well as see to your needs with our staff’s experience working with Associations spanning many industries. Let’s work together to make your membership experience the best it can be.


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