As a marketer, I’m always on the hunt for new ideas. And I have my go-to sources to stay inspired — marketing blogs, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.

But every once in a while, the well runs dry, and I’m fresh out of ideas. Surely, that’s happened to you too.

Frustrating, isn’t it? Well rather than just waiting for inspiration to strike (who knows how long that could take?), you may want to take matters into your own hands and explore a few new sources. These four are often overlooked, yet highly valuable: 

An industry-related online forum 

While you may work for a professional organization, are you a member of a professional organization, yourself? For example, if you’re an association professional, are you a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)? Or if you’re a chamber professional, are you a member of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE)?

If so, you likely have access to members-only forums. But how active are you on those forums? You may sometimes forget that’s a resource, but trust me, it’s a HIGHLY valuable one. When you’re at a loss for ideas, ask around. There’s nothing more powerful than the minds around you, combined.

Interns 

People often look at interns as students (or young professionals, even) who need to learn and gain experience. And though that’s true, don’t forget that you can also learn a thing or two from interns. They come with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

If you have an intern (or interns), include them in brainstorming sessions. Or ask them what they think of certain ideas or plans. Even if they haven’t done something themselves, they may have seen something another company or organization has done that could work for your association or chamber.

Your members

Members are SUCH a good resource for your association or chamber because they’re the ones you’re trying to please! If you’re trying to come up with a new type of event they’ll love or an item of swag they’ll actually want (and use), ask them!

This doesn’t have to be done via a formal survey (though you could do it that way, if you wanted to). Rather, keep it casual. Ask a few members at random — while you’re chatting with them on the phone or at an event. Or, post a question or poll on social media. Even if some of the ideas they toss out aren’t practical, they could still spark some new, more feasible ones.

Non-industry-related websites and social media accounts

When you’re looking for new ideas, it makes sense to look at resources within your industry first. But how often do you explore resources outside of your industry — B2C websites and/or social media accounts, for example?

Let’s say you’re trying to come up with content ideas for social media. Well, your association or chamber may not have much in common with a Fortune 1000 company like Barnes and Noble, but what if an Instagram post like this inspired the messaging for your next event promo email?

Barnes and Noble Instagram Example

For example…

“If you our webinar about Topic ABC, then you’ll ❤️ our upcoming workshop about Topic XYZ.”

You could even make a corresponding graphic like that. (Try Canva if you’re in need of a design tool. It’s free!)

That’s just an example, but the point is, there’s inspiration everywhere. Don’t limit yourself to just what’s happening in your particular industry or community.

What sources do you turn to for new ideas and inspiration? Like I mentioned, I’m always looking for new ones, so if you have any good go-tos, please share them in the comments below!

And for some new ideas regarding membership management in general — membership recruitment, onboarding, engagement, retention, and more — check out our free guide below!