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Strengthen Your Membership Momentum

During the pandemic, virtual exercise programs became immensely popular, and from time to time, I’ll throw on my sneakers and press play. The other day, I decided to do an at-home workout and opted to try something new, looking up a cardio program on YouTube. As I got started, I felt energized (and proud of myself!) to be practicing some fitness self-care, getting my day started on a positive note.

However, I noticed that the instructor was starting to pause, taking frequent breaks to catch their breath halfway through the class. Suddenly, they weren’t exercising anymore and instead were just directing me on what to do from the other side of the screen. I began to think to myself, aren’t you supposed to be motivating ME? Aren’t you the expert? Suddenly, I started second-guessing myself and whether I’d be able to complete the workout. If it was so hard for the instructor, it must be really challenging for me!

Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed this type of “give-up” mentality in many of the associations I consult with. Whether from a missed engagement opportunity or volunteer overload, these pull-back, pessimistic attitudes can be contagious and rapidly infiltrate your membership culture like a virus. If you have board members or other stakeholders who talk negatively about your association, it’s likely to ward off any prospects from approaching your organization. They’ll become hesitant about volunteering for your Board of Directors and committees and, eventually, even joining your community.

Negative energy within your association can lead to skepticism and membership decline.

Conversely, I’ve also seen that positivity can be just as contagious as negative attitudes. As an association executive, it is your job to conduct regular “temperature checks” – gauging how your members feel about your organization, its mission, and their role within the overall system. You are the ambassador of your community, and part of that job description entails exuding positivity. As a leader, the attitudes and beliefs you demonstrate are being reflected in your association, permeating throughout your membership.

I recently attended a conference where an association executive was speaking about organizational culture. He said, “I have one rule for my association: no energy vampires are allowed.” I laughed at first, but when I thought about it more, that is the attitude that every leader should adopt. By modeling the way of positivity, your teams and members will mirror your attitude, and it will yield a greater sense of connectivity within your member base, making your association look more attractive to prospective members.

So, is it time for that temperature check? Don’t let negativity hinder your momentum. Instead, look for ways to positively promote your association, its accolades, and its mission. Think about the types of attitudes and energy that will make your organization magnetic. You’ll be engaging, attracting, (and retaining!) members in no time.

Searching for more ways to grow your organization’s membership? Let’s talk about how to revamp your strategy.


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