PINs Workshop: Knowing your members

On December 3, 2014, Ben Hum of the North American Association of Asian Professionals (NAAAP) spoke to our PINs leaders and partners about membership management and best practices. The event was hosted by the Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) and attended by 13 PINs association leaders and 2 partners, who came together to learn about effective membership management. Members are the core component of any association, and it is essential for all associations to serve their members’ needs effectively. This workshop helped participants understand the importance of membership management and also guide them on different methods they could use to maximize the members’ experience within their organizations.

Guest Speaker: 

Ben HumNorth American Association of Asian Professionals (NAAAP), Toronto Chapter

To begin, Ben spoke about the top challenges for any association in helping their members, identifying communications and dissemination of information as the most pressing. To address these obstacles, Ben provided tools used at NAAAP Toronto which include:

  • Focus Groups, which improves the communication channels between NAAAP Toronto and its members
  • Surveying new members to gain feedback on their initial impression
  • Peer focus groups with existing members to continue improving as an association

NAAAP encourages its members to fill out its surveys by providing incentives such as gift cards, etc.

Ben emphasized the importance of asking the right questions when reaching out for member opinions/feedback when aiming to improve the membership experience. Some of the areas that should be focused on are:

  • Have you performed a gap analysis of your membership operations? If a gap exists between the projected membership and the actual membership, what can you do to meet our expectations?
  • What are the points of engagements with your members and where do you fall short?
  • Is the membership experience an extension of your brand? Do members gain valuable skills and resources that help them in their careers (e.g. leadership development, workforce integration, etc.)?
  • Does the membership experience in your organization meet your brand expectations?

Ben stressed the importance of integrating members into their organizational committees to maximize the potential of their membership and to add to the overall experience for their members. For instance, having a member with a Communications background will be a good fit to help the association’s community and media relations efforts.

In the NAAAP Toronto experience, Ben shared that NAAAP has been consistently trying to create a WOW Membership Experience for its members. Some of the activities they have conducted include:

  • A member showcase table at every event to highlight the success of their members such as an outstanding professional achievement
  • NAAAP Success moments that highlight positive stories of members on social media and other channels.
  • Integrating them into its activities by giving them responsibilities and opportunities. E.g. having members host an event, this helps build their leadership and organizational skills and gives them a chance to interact with other members.

Important Tips:

  • Find different ways to keep your members engaged at all times
  • Knowledge of your members can be leveraged when negotiating for sponsorships
  • Make membership experience an integral part of your association’s overall brand