How Associations Maintain Connection Virtually

Although associations are united by a common interest or mission, active engagement and growth are needed for the group to thrive and grow. We know it’s not always easy to do though – an association needs a cutting-edge strategy, the latest technology, and budget in order to successfully retain members. Committed and happy members enable the organization to succeed and find new participants. But what is the key to gaining new members and retaining existing ones?

Easier said than done, providing an excellent membership experience incentivizes membership retention, organic growth through referrals, and attracts the attention of new prospects! In the age of mobile, thinking outside the box and moving away from traditional played-out methods is necessary. With an increasing reliance on digital, it’s time to utilize mobile technology!

Data from analytics firm, Flurry, found that U.S. users spend up to five hours on their smartphone — that’s a 69% increase year-over-year! Apps account for 89% of mobile device time and provide the perfect opportunity to reach people where they already spend time! A mobile app is conveniently accessible for users no matter where they are or what time it is during the day. Going mobile is also green-friendly, saving green from your wallet and green resources as the need for printing wasteful resources will be eliminated. The power of mobile can be limitless; here are a few examples of the best use cases for association apps today.

Engaging Virtual Events

Providing a mobile app for a virtual event gives attendees an invaluable, accessible resource. Many associations host small and large events, sometimes several times a year. Some of these events may include annual conferences, regional events, weekly meetups, and leadership or training workshops. As more of these events move to virtual platforms, mobile apps are playing an important role in delivering information and maintaining connections.

We scraped through hundreds of association apps on our Builder platform to compile a list of some of the top features they use to make their apps a success:

  • Speaker Information. Your speakers play an important role in drumming up interest and attendance. Share information on your speaker to introduce them ahead of your virtual event. Provide speaker information to create excitement and give the attendees an idea of what they’re in for.
  • Agenda. With numerous competing priorities, it’s important to create and share a valuable agenda with your attendees. Share information like expected takeaways to pique interest.
  • PDFs and Content. Make event materials accessible. Whether attendees would like to follow along during a session, missed a section, or are looking to revisit content of interest,  make sure to upload PDFs from speaker sessions, forms, or any other helpful materials so attendees have it on hand.
  • Surveys and Polls. It’s not always easy to solicit feedback from busy individuals, but a mobile app provides an easy way for attendees to give feedback and an easy way for organizers to receive feedback. Send surveys and polls straight to an attendee’s phone so they’ll fill it out. Gain beneficial feedback to improve future events.

Boost Year-Round Membership

Now that we’ve talked about events, let’s look into providing an app as a fixed year-round membership resource for your association! You can create a mobile guide, downloadable for iOS or Android, that members can reference at any time. You don’t need an IT team or coding experience; mobile app platforms like Guidebook enable you to easily build an app with your branding and content. Here are features to include in your membership guide:

  • Member Handbook. As with all groups, there’s probably a set of rules, regulations, or policies that hold everything together! Upload a digital version of your association’s handbook for easy access. You can make updates at any time.
  • Interact. Encourage members to engage and network with one another all year long with an interactive social feed. Keep the conversation going by moderating by posing questions and discussion prompts.
  • Regional Info. United under one purpose, passion, or goal, your association may span over the world! List your different regional sections and show some pride.
  • Calendar. When’s the next meeting? Provide a calendar of all those meetings and events that groups worked so hard to organize.
  • Push Notifications. Sudden news? Updates? A friendly reminder? You can send push notifications to a user’s phone, even if the app isn’t open.
  • Contact. No one likes a wild goose chase when they’re looking for a real human to talk to. Provide relevant contact information for your association’s chapters.
  • Inbox. Efficiently reach your members with the app’s messaging feature! Members can message and communicate with each other via inboxes or post on a social-style feed.