Three Tools to Improve Your Association’s Membership Retention

| GS INSIGHTS

When developing your membership retention strategy, there are numerous aspects to take into consideration, and one of the most important is a strong web presence. Adapting to meet the demands of the digital world is no longer optional, so if you want to connect with your members on a deeper level, you’ll need the tools to do so. The best place to start is your organization’s website.

Your website is your association’s primary identity online. It’s where prospects and current members go for information and insight, where they can interact with other supporters, and where they manage their individual profiles. With so much relying on your website, you’ll want to make every visit as engaging as possible by encouraging action and providing members with value. If you’re not already doing this, it may be time to refresh your association’s website.

To make sure that you don’t miss a single opportunity to steward strong relationships with members online, here are some actionable tools to include on your website:

  1. Online Communities
  2. Private Pages
  3. Donation Tools

To offer the above membership engagement tools, you’ll need to start with a powerful website builder. Begin your search with Morweb’s list of top membership website builders. Then, you’ll be able to effectively advance your membership retention tactics.

1. Online Communities

Online Communities

People enjoy connecting with like-minded individuals who have a strong passion for the same cause. Capitalize on this by developing an engaging online community for your members. 

The key to accomplishing this is to remember that information shouldn’t just flow out to members. Instead, establish a collaborative culture by enabling two-way communication. In other words, encourage members to not only interact with one another but to also ask questions and discuss important ideas with your team. 

Here are some ways to accomplish this through your membership website:

  • Online Forums: A discussion board will allow members to share personal experiences and collaborate on ideas to promote organizational growth. Plus, this is a great opportunity to invite members to interact directly with your team. Simply ask for their opinions on your programs and events to start an engaging conversation.
     
  • Social Media: Nearly 3 billion people use social media worldwide, making it an important consideration in your growth strategies. A simple way to engage members on these platforms is by adding social media share buttons and incorporating social media feeds on your website that automatically update each time you post.
     
  • Interactive Member Map: An interactive map is great for promoting a stronger community. Sort and categorize members into a directory so that they can search for others to connect with. Be sure it’s mobile-friendly, too, so they can access it whenever they’d like!

Opening the door for communication is a great way to establish a positive spirit among your members, which can directly impact acquisition and retention.

Need inspiration for creating your own compelling pages that engage members? Take a look at this guide to learn the best practices you can use across your website and see them in action with professional-level examples.

2. Private Pages

Private Pages

To be able to offer members-only content, you’ll need to restrict access and privatize pages so that only members can view them. With the right website builder, associations have the ability to manage user permissions and create password-protected pages.

Once you can enable these features, you’ll need to decide on what content to offer your members. An online forum is a great start, but you’ll want to go beyond that in order to effectively steward your relationships. Consider featuring the following content in your members-only area:

  • eLearning Opportunities: Put industry knowledge at your members’ fingertips by offering exclusive educational resources. Interactive content like insightful webinars, online courses, and articles can easily pique members’ interest and deepen their engagement. Learn more about offering these opportunities with Artisan Learning’s guide.
     
  • Members-Only Events: Provide unique value by offering special events exclusively for members. This is a great way to build a strong community—even if you can’t meet in person and need to host a virtual event! Just be sure your website builder accepts online registrations and ticket purchases for a smooth user experience.
     
  • Q&A Sessions: While these can work well for nonprofits, they’re particularly effective for professional associations. Consider having a visiting industry leader or a prominent member host it so your entire membership can stay up-to-date with developments in their field.

By offering quality content exclusively to members, you’re telling them that you care about their experience and view them as a valuable part of your organization. Not only will this encourage them to stick around, but it serves as a great incentive for others to join your membership program.

3. Donation Tools

Donation Tools

Associations, NGOs, and other membership-based nonprofits are always looking for new ways to increase members’ involvement in their work. While you may be accustomed to raising funds through membership dues, converting members into donors is a fantastic way to enhance their experience while also raising additional funds for your mission.

When members decide to deepen their involvement by donating, your tools should make it simple for them. Here’s what you should prioritize when looking for an effective donation form builder:

  • Look for built-in payment processing. Using third-party vendors may require prospects to leave your website to donate. Instead, look for a website builder that allows you to create custom forms directly on your website with payment processor integration, so prospects feel secure when giving.
     
  • Prioritize customization. To start, be sure you can adjust fields so that you capture necessary information and exclude any extra steps that slow down the donation process. You should also be able to brand it with your organization’s logo and colors, creating a more consistent donor experience.
     
  • Offer recurring giving options and suggested giving amounts. Recurring giving options enable you to secure long-term support, while suggested giving amounts provide visitors with a framework for how much they should donate.

The right donation tools will quicken the process and drive donations to completion. By effectively turning your members into donors, you’ll know you’ve successfully enhanced their experience and can be much more confident that you’ve secured long-term support. 


If you’re a member-based organization, a solid membership program is a must. Transforming your retention strategy doesn’t just happen overnight, though. Rather, it takes a careful approach, all starting with your website! By equipping your members with the right tools online, you’ll effectively enhance their experience and keep them fully engaged with your cause.

Action steps you can take today
  • Invest in a comprehensive website builder that offers the tools needed to create a strong member experience.
  • Start developing your online presence to connect with members and to initiate an ongoing conversation.
  • Continually update your website so that it continues to offer value to your members.