20 Proven Membership Engagement Ideas for Associations

5 min read
March 31, 2023

Member retention should always remain a top priority for any membership association. Sure, gaining new members is important, but it’s also crucial to retain the audience you already have. This can be done by implementing membership engagement ideas.

Any membership association focusing too much on the acquisition and not enough on retention is setting itself up to fail. This is especially true in the early days when each and every member counts!

The problem many associations have is generating membership engagement ideas that actually work for the many, not just the few. Members will engage in different ways depending on their wants and needs, so a variety of membership engagement ideas need to be put in place.

In this blog, we’ll explore 20 proven membership engagement ideas for you to implement in your member engagement and retention strategy. Let’s get started!

The Best Membership Engagement Ideas

1. Free Trial

Offering a free trial to your association can be a great incentive for potential members that might be sitting on the fence, especially if it is expensive to join. This gives people a chance to see if your group is the right fit.

2. Member Benefits

If your association doesn’t have them already, ensure you have exclusive benefits in your packages for members. These could include things like resources, professional development opportunities, discounts and more.

3. Welcome Package

Once a new member has officially joined your association, a proven membership engagement idea is to send them a welcome package. Welcoming new members to your membership can really add a personal touch.

4. Personalisation

After you’ve sent a welcome package, you can expand on that personalised experience throughout their time as a member. This can be done by sending personal notes and acknowledging achievements or special dates such as birthdays.

5. Share Their Stories

Everyone loves a bit of attention and publicity. Creating stories about members and sharing them on relevant channels can be a really nice personal touch. An example could be a simple introduction to a new member, so everyone can join in and welcome them.

6. Buddy System

Establish a buddy system or mentorship program to help connect your members with each other and build up that community spirit. It can also benefit new members and help guide them and offer support and development.

7. Recognition Programs

Putting recognition programs in place can be a great idea for membership engagement. We all like to be celebrated for our accomplishments and contributions. It can boost morale and help you handle negative sentiment in your community as members will feel much more appreciated.

8. Make Them Advocates

Introducing an advocate programme can incentivise and boost the number of loyal and committed members in your association. Another advantage is it could help spread the word about your association and engage new potential members. Make sure your advocates feel like VIPs and offer exclusive benefits.

9. Communicate Your Values

If your association has a clear set of values and a mission statement, members who also believe in these ideas will want to join. It can make a difference when trying to create a passionate community. Mission and vision are important in membership associations, so make sure you work on yours.

10. Host Networking Events

Networking is a major reason why a lot of people join associations in the first place. It gives members the opportunity to meet like-minded people which is especially useful when it comes to career-based associations. 80% of professionals believe career success can be elevated through professional networking.

11. Online Community Space

One of the most important ideas for engaging with your members is enabling them to have a space to interact with each other. This will play a major role in building your online community. The best way to do this is via a bespoke app or association management software.

12. Mobile App

A mobile app can be one of the best membership engagement ideas when building a community. Ugenie is an easy-to-use and professional membership platform that costs only a fraction of the price of a custom build.

Rather than having multiple applications to operate your membership, why not manage it in one place? As well as saving your time and money, take advantage of the many features Ugenie has to offer such as a community feed, white label app and web, member directory and much more!

13. Social Media

Most associations will use social media in some way. However, only 16% use them effectively as an engagement idea for their members. By regularly sharing interesting content related to the association's industry or field, members will be informed and therefore engaged. It can also be a great place to share success stories and promote events.

14. Storytelling Session

Having members join in with storytelling sessions can really boost membership engagement in your association. It humanises the experience. It allows members to learn, relate and laugh together through each other's experiences.

15. Online Courses

Providing information and education through online courses can be a great way to engage members. If exclusive educational resources are offered by your association then members and more likely to stay to develop further. Community is important in online learning as it enables members to learn together, building a sense of camaraderie.

16. Referral Incentives

Another proven membership engagement idea is to give benefits and incentives to members who refer the association to others. It could be as simple as a discount or a free resource. Not only are you making your current members happy, but potentially gaining new ones!


17. Offer Giveaways

Who doesn't love a free gift? Offering giveaways is a proven membership engagement idea that has worked since time immemorial. Giveaways significantly increase member engagement and, as a result, retention.

18. Support a Cause

One popular reason to join an association is rally behind a cause. Whether that’s advancing the goals of your association or supporting charitable endeavours, it’s been shown to boost engagement and appeal to a new audience. Try organising events or fundraisers to build passion and engagement in your own association.

19. Volunteer Opportunities

Having members contribute their time and skills to volunteer opportunities within your association can be a great way to bring your community together and increase engagement. Not only will it consolidate your association’s values and mission, but it will also boost loyalty in members and bring new perspectives to your leadership team.

20. Gather Feedback

Gathering feedback from your association members is crucial as it shows you value their opinions. It also demonstrates your commitment to improving their experience and the association as a whole. When members feel seen and heard, they’ll be much more invested in your association.


Membership engagement is crucial for associations as it helps to retain existing members and attract new ones. The cost of acquiring new customers is higher than retaining existing ones, making engagement incredibly important.

Associations need to understand that each member will engage differently and, therefore, a variety of membership engagement ideas need to be explored. But if you get the balance right and implement a range of membership engagement ideas, your association will be able to engage your members effectively, increase retention rates and attract new members.

If you’ve found these membership engagement ideas useful, why not bring your association online with a bespoke app? Book a demo with one of our community experts and let’s take your membership association to the next level.

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