Halloween is right around the corner, and as you know, things can get a little spooky. Haunted houses, scary costumes, suspenseful thrillers – yikes!

But you know what’s really scary? The horrors that don’t go away! Yup, we’re talking about the horrors of association management.

What are those horrors, exactly? And more importantly, how can you overcome them? Read on for a few tips and tricks…

Horror #1: The data disaster

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed with your association’s member database? The information is everywhere (spread out across multiple systems), out of date, inconsistent in formatting – the list goes on and on. If so, that’s a scary place to be.

But here’s a solution: Start off by carving out some time (yes, quite a bit of time) to clean up your association’s database. This may seem overwhelming, but believe it or not, there is a step-by-step process you can take to make that project much more manageable.

Once that’s done, you may want to consider seeking out an association management system. While there are multiple benefits of using an AMS, one in particular is that your data will be housed in one system. And not only that, but everything you need to manage your organization’s membership – your website, email marketing, event registrations, etc. – will be housed there as well. It’s an integrated system, so the nightmare of jumping from system to system – and staring at inconsistent data – can finally be over.

Horror #2: The vanished volunteer

We’ve all been here: in need of volunteers, but coming up short (way short). It’s like staring into an empty field. Where ARE they?

Volunteer recruitment can definitely be a nightmare (especially when you have to do it time and time again), but here are a few tips. First, be specific about the job at hand. You’ll always be more successful in recruiting volunteers if you tell people exactly what they’ll be doing. Next, describe the desired outcome. Volunteers want to know that they’re contributing to a greater cause – not just wasting precious hours. Last, provide your members with a variety of opportunities. Not all volunteer opportunities will appeal to everyone, so to garner maximum interest, play around with variety.

Horror #3: The missing member

Let’s say it’s not volunteers you’re having an issue with, it’s your members. They’re simply not engaged. You send them emails, invite them to events, encourage them to network with others, but…nothing. They’re completely MIA.

That’s scary because retention is on the line. And the thought of high member turnover…terrifying.

If this scenario sounds a little too familiar, take heart. There are several things you can do to boost member engagement.

One idea: Provide your members with something time sensitive. It’s easy for your members to push things off (emails, events, etc.) because they’re just too busy. But if you offer them something time sensitive (for example, a coupon for a webinar that expires in 30 days), that’ll kind of push them to get involved quicker.

Another idea: Pair them with a more seasoned member (someone who’s been with your organization for a while). Have that member reach out and explain how they got involved in your organization and how it’s benefited them. Hearing from another peer can often be more compelling than hearing from a staff member.

(For more member engagement tips, check out our free guide, Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations.)

Horror #4: The email error

This is perhaps the scariest of them all: when you send out an email, only to find out THERE WAS AN ERROR! You got the date wrong or the links aren’t working.

If and when this happens, take a deep breath. We all make mistakes – and your members understand that.

What should your next course of action be? Send a follow-up email explaining the error, and add a little humor/personality if you can. For example, if the flawed email went out on a Monday, send a follow-up email that says, “Mondays are hard, aren’t they?” Your members will understand – and it makes your organization seem a little more “human.”

But note: To keep those email errors to a minimum, check out our post, Your Email Marketing Checklist: What to Review Before You Hit Send.

Association management is tough, and often, scary. But there are resources around to help you. Whether you’re struggling with member engagement, retention, email marketing, or something else entirely, we’ve got tips to help you out. Check them out in our Ultimate Guide to Membership Management below!