Use Member Profiles to Create Connections

One of the most popular sections in a college alumni magazine is the update on alumni achievements, faculty accomplishments and classmates’ personal news. Fifty-six percent of Dickinson College alumni place news about classmates and faculty at the top of their list. Furman University alumni demonstrate the effect that reading about others who shared their experience can have with 87% of respondents in a 2019 readership survey reporting that the magazine strengthens their connection to the school.

Strengthening members’ connection to the organization is another tactic to improve membership renewal rates. Although “member news” sections that include news briefs are used in many magazines, longer, more detailed member profiles are remarkably effective.

Three associations – Oregon Health Care Association, American Concrete Pavement Association, and Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association – have all adopted the “getting to know each other” approach in their magazines.

  • OHCA features members who are faced with multiple challenges as they work to provide care and protect their long-term-care residents, resident family members, and employees from COVID-19 as well as the fear and isolation that results from visiting restrictions.
  • ACPA focuses on feature articles that highlight major construction projects and the contractor and supplier members that are instrumental in their completion. The articles, found here and here, not only profile the expertise of the members, but also the technical challenges and their solutions that make it possible to stay on schedule.
  • CNGA takes a more informal, personal Q&A approach to introduce members to each other. The brief member profiles highlight an aspect of the member’s business history, personal journey, and reasons for joining and remaining a member of the association.

Elimination of the informal “chit-chat” that occurred before and after in-person meetings and events have made it more difficult to share some of these stories that help members learn more about each other. Featuring members in an association publication provides a forum to introduce members, share their “stories,” and promote networking among members – strengthening the connection that can lead to ongoing membership and engagement.