Event planning should always be done with membership recruitment top of mind. To attract potential members to your association’s event, you need to plan it to have value for existing and potential new members.

Here are three tips for planning an event that will help you to recruit new members.


1. Plan an Event with Value 

Value comes in the form of interesting speakers, education sessions such as discussion panels, networking opportunities, fun and interactive entertainment, or all the above. Make sure it is valuable and enticing enough that someone who is not yet a member of your association is excited to attend and wants to be part of your association.


2. Consider Bundling Event Registration and Membership

If a non-member is interested in registering for your event, what stops them or you from creating an effortless way to sign up for the membership and the event? They are getting ready to sit down and enter all their information, followed by payment information, which could make it seem like an efficient process without having to find more time to sit down and complete paperwork.

Bundling the membership and event registration at a discounted price is an incentive for people to join. If this is not an option, following up after an event with all non-members to thank them for attending and adding in some membership information will also help entice them to join.


3. Make the Process to Register for the Event/Membership Easier

Making sure that it is extremely easy for people to sign up and attend your event should be at the forefront of any planning. Your association membership and event software need to be user-friendly. When there is a lack of proper programming, inefficiencies can arise in the association, leading to many issues beyond the membership database and event registration. Finding the proper tools for associations can help solve this.

If your association membership is made up of principal organizations and individuals, also known as employees, you need to make it easy for both member types to join. Most programs allow contacts who are not members of an association to register and sign-up for events. The simpler the software is, the easier it is to grow your association’s membership.


Event Promotion – How to Target Non-Members

When executing an association event, it is essential to target non-members as well as current members to make the event successful. Promotion of the event takes time and resources, and it is crucial to understand the best way to market and target these two groups.

Targeting non-members is usually overlooked due to traditional ways of promoting an event, as promotions are usually included in association member portals such as member-only newsletters, emails, and posts on your website or social pages. The people you need to reach are likely not included in any of these internal communications.

Promoting your membership event to non-members can be done by utilizing some or all of the below:

  • Create a Referral Program with Incentives
  • Host a Free Event Open to Non-Members
  • Offer a Promotion
  • Offer a Trial Membership
  • Create a Free Membership Level or Let People Join by Donation.
  • Create a Word-of-Mouth Marketing Strategy – Encourage current members to share event announcement


Growing Your Association Membership Numbers

Events are a fantastic way to give potential members the ability to experience what it would be like to be a member of the association. Reading about it doesn’t infuse the same type of enticement as experiencing it first-hand at an association event. So, take advantage of the personal connection made at events to establish professional relationships and grow your association’s membership.

Once your event is planned, it is time to track your progress. Be sure to use event technology – It can help you capture information like:

  • The number of tickets/registrations sold.
  • Revenue from sales.
  • Social Media – this will help you determine the effectiveness of your campaigns and decide which social media platforms are bringing the best return to your association.
  • Event Surveys – the information you gather will help you better segment your audience and hopefully onboard more non-members to your association.

And let’s not forget, once you have those new members, it’s important to keep them. The importance of clear, concise, and timely communication is key to retaining members.