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The 3 Ps of Storytelling for Associations

MemberClicks Blog Avatar MemberClicks Blog June 11, 2014
Table of Contents
2 min read

Brands are the beginning of a story. If you’ve ever passed on a purchase because of reputation, not features, you’ve bought into a story; like refusing to test drive a Hyundai because it’s “an economical car” and you want luxury, you’re still hearing a story from years ago, when it was framed as a budget-friendly car. Your potential members could be doing the same thing by seeing your association as a group of homogenous, middle-aged people. Whether this is true or not, people outside of your association are already telling themselves a story about you and it’s influencing their decision making. Stories are how we make sense of the world; how we remember moments in time or people; how we process decisions and influence others. Stories are our filter.

How to Tell Your Association’s Story

Associations aren’t Coca-Cola. A million dollar story campaign is out of the question. That’s okay because for a memorable story, you only need three things: People All effective storytelling is about people. Some stories star inanimate objects or concepts but those are still personified. (If you can think of a moving story not about people or personified concepts, animals, or such, please leave it in the comments on this post.) Focus on the people powering your association -- the folks who get things done or inspire the action. They could be:
  • Founders
  • Staff
  • Executive Director/Leadership
  • Board Member(s)
  • Members
  • Volunteers
  • People behind your community mission or a volunteer project
  • Young Professionals or future members/leaders
  • Scholarship or award recipients
  • Your community
Passion Tell your story passionately and use media that fits your story and your audience. Better yet, use several forms of media to tell your story. If you use video, find someone who feels comfortable speaking from the heart. A connection is what’s needed here not a zombie reading a script. The content should appeal to the emotions and be something your target audience can identify with. Purpose Decide on why you are telling your story. What do you hope people will get out of it? Do you want people to join your association? Do you want members to feel passionate about your work and have a renewed sense of commitment? Do you want them to recruit others for you? Telling your association’s story is not hard, nor does it have to be expensive. It can be told in a blog post, in a series of pictures, or in a video you shoot with your phone. All it takes is rediscovering the people, passion and purpose that brought you here in the first place, and giving it back to your audience in a memorable way. Take a look at this amazing piece from the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce and then start telling your story. Because… Whether you get involved or not, it’s already being told.
Free Member Retention Guide

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