A survey found that 69% of association executives identified “network with others in their field” as the primary reason people join their associations. As organizations resume in-person educational sessions, conferences, and committee meetings, networking will become easier to promote to current and potential members as a benefit.
Effective association magazines balance the many goals that association leaders and members expect the publication to achieve. While it is important to provide updated association news that includes training and event information as well as new services, don’t forget to incorporate some of the “softer” benefits of association membership.
Specifically, don’t forget to address “networking” in the magazine. Publishing articles that share the same type of peer-to-peer information shared over a meal at a conference or at a social hour following a meeting has a similar effect – letting members learn about people, processes, and tools that will help them improve their own businesses. The following five associations did just that in these articles:
- The Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association interviewed one member who has improved employee retention with a tool that helps ensure employees are placed in positions that suit them, which improves the likelihood of retention.
- The California Hotel & Lodging Association shared “10 Unique Amenities at Boutique Hotels and B&Bs” to help other members identify potential amenities that will set them apart in a competitive marketplace.
- The Virginia Asphalt Association explained a state recycling tax credit and other tax incentive programs that members can use to invest in equipment to process recyclable materials and other environmentally sound construction practices.
- The West Virginia Forestry Association shares information about new Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards with which members must comply.
- The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions provides insight into how different credit unions work with fintech tools to improve service to members, create additional revenue, and manage expenses.
An article does not offer the same “give and take” that an informal conversation does, but it can spark ideas or generate calls to the person interviewed. Associations can extend the networking process with sidebars to point readers to online community groups that provide more networking and conversation opportunities.