Whether virtual or in-person, meetings are an important part of our lives. The question is—are they always memorable, or valuable?
When done correctly, you’ll find that your association meetings can be enjoyable, informative, and a great way to boost retention and engagement within your association. After all, meetings allow you to communicate with your members and relay important information to further your mission.
With that said, people will only come to your meetings if you make them valuable. So what constitutes a worthwhile meeting?
Studies have shown that time and time again, your members want to know, “What’s in it for me?”. Meetings should highlight important information, exclusive perks, and other benefits designed to show your members how important they are to your association.
Not sure where to start? Check out these seven takeaways your members should have after leaving every single meeting:
- Status updates on the topics they care about
- Introductions to new members
- How to get involved
- How to stay in touch
- An understanding of a new concept or idea
- Answers to their questions
- The date/time of your next meeting or event
1. Status updates on the topics they care about
Members come to meetings expecting to get something out of it. Often, that “something” is simply information your members truly care about.
Your meeting could offer updates on any of the following topics such as:
- Your next event (such as an upcoming conference or workshop)
- Volunteer opportunities
- Advocacy efforts
- Fundraising progress
- Important membership-related updates (dues deadlines, opportunities to upgrade membership, etc)
- New member recruitment efforts
Remember that including all of these updates isn’t a surefire way to achieve success. Personalization is key. While one member may be invested in fundraising progress, another may be waiting to hear about the hottest volunteer opportunities.
Survey your members to find out just how valuable they’re finding your current meetings and what topics they care most about. After all, you’ll never know what they’re thinking if you never ask!
Surveying is just one of the keys to providing a seamless member experience. Check out ten more ways to deliver a better member experience. The more you pay attention to your members’ needs, the better engagement and retention your association will see.
2. Introductions to new members
Retention begins the moment a new member joins your association. Use your meetings to make new members feel welcomed and involved. Introduce the newbies to existing members; especially those who are willing to show your new members the ropes. Consider some sort of mentorship program where the new members can link up with some of your tenured members to ensure a smooth transition into the association.
Make sure your new members’ contact information and business details are available to everyone at your association, so that they can stay in contact and network. Encourage your members to bring their business cards to meetings. Or, better yet—give all of your members business cards associated with your membership organization!
Your meeting is just the start of welcoming new members. Check out these ways you can welcome new members to give them the best experience possible when they join your association. When they feel like they’re a part of your organization from the start, they’re much more likely to stick around for the long haul.
3. How to get involved
Chances are, if a member is attending one of your meetings, they’re looking to get more involved (or at least stay up-to-date on the happenings of your association). Take advantage of that opportunity. Let your members know how they can get involved with activities ranging from anything like:
- Board member elections
- Committee positions
- Volunteer sign-ups
- Online webinar attendance
You may have members who need time to process the openings and others who are ready to jump up right away and raise their hand. Offer follow up opportunities and additional information for those who are in a hurry or aren’t yet sure how they’d like to get involved.
Next time you’re aiming to ramp up volunteers for a big initiative or event, make sure to follow these 12 volunteer recruitment ideas to get your members both excited and involved.
4. How to stay in touch
Members may not want to commit to something while they’re at your meeting, but they could be willing to commit afterward. Make it easy for them to do so by providing them with contact information or follow up instructions.
It’s important to remember that the more detailed you can make that contact information, the better. For example, if your members want to get in touch with someone regarding your next event, let them know who is the best person to contact. And if the person is at that particular meeting, have them identify themselves so members can put a face to the name.
There are so many ways for your members to stay in touch outside of just a phone number. Encourage them to sign up for your email newsletter. Promote your social media handles and ask that members follow for updates. Or, refer members to your website’s blog or calendar. Wherever you’re most active and however you share updates, make sure your members know the proper channels to keep up with your association.
Want to make it easier to stay in touch with your members? Reach out to learn more about our membership management software options today!
5. An understanding of a new concept or idea
Good meetings mean good ideas — ideas members can take back with them to work. Your meetings don’t have to be super long, but make sure they at least have some educational value.
When thinking of the educational value you want to provide, make sure to look into any updates or wider trends within your industry or area of interest. For instance, discuss a recent industry report or the release of new technology that’s changing the game. Or bring in a speaker to deliver a short presentation on a relevant industry topic. Involve topics or speakers that will pique the interest of your members and give them information they can take back to their work.
The meeting topic doesn’t necessarily need to be related to your exact industry. There are a multitude of topics that can apply to both life and business. Consider topics that have widespread application, such as leadership, marketing, networking or even communication.
6. Answers to their questions
To make sure everyone gets the updates they’re looking for, schedule a few minutes during every meeting to open up the floor for questions. The more your members get out of your meetings, the more likely they are to return.
Remember that some members may not feel comfortable sharing in front of the group. Make it easy to gather questions in other anonymous ways, as well. This could be a submission form that maintains anonymity, or even a physical box with pen and paper where those in-person can submit their questions.
Understanding your members and what they want is just one touchpoint that can help improve your member experience. Check out more tips to make sure you’re giving your members the best experience possible.
7. The date/time of your next meeting or event
Last but not least, don’t forget to mention the date and time of your next meeting or event. You’ll definitely need to send out a reminder as the meeting/event gets closer, but the earlier you can get it on people’s radars, the better.
Meeting leaders should also highlight any upcoming special events, whether virtual or in-person. The closing of the meeting is the perfect time to plug what’s upcoming and to provide details on when your members can meet again. Make sure to talk about the benefits of the next meetings and to tease the “can’t-miss” takeaways! The more value you can provide to members, the more likely they’ll keep coming back.
Creating Valuable Meetings
Meetings are a great way to engage your members on an ongoing basis. Truly listening to your members is the first key to giving them the types of meetings they will love. Make sure to answer your members’ questions and offer a welcoming environment where people will feel compelled to speak up and engage in conversation. With these tips, you’re on your way to a productive and engaging meeting!
Want more ideas for keeping your members engaged and providing them with ongoing value? Check out our free guide, Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations below!