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4 Tips to Enhance Your New Member Recruitment Strategy

Membership, Recruiting Lindsay Rutz

Most professional associations have some sort of a new member recruitment strategy in place. However, recruiting has become a little more difficult for associations affected by the pandemic, so the need to show immediate value is critical to attracting new members.

A few items to focus on as you develop or improve your recruitment strategy are which benefits have attracted members in the past, identifying what potential new members are looking for in an association and how you can market those benefits to draw them in. Here are 4 tips to enhance your association’s recruitment strategy to maximize new member registrations.

  1. Offer gifts or special discounts for new member referrals
  2. Create a membership “season”
  3. Offer discounts to non-members to give them a taste of your benefits 
  4. Identify ancillary members

Offer gifts or special discounts for new member referrals

Your current members are your best advocates for your association. They have experienced the value your association has first hand, making them a great source for new member referrals. 

An easy and effective way to encourage referrals is to offer a membership discount or special perk when the referral becomes a member. Make it something you would only give for this purpose to make it exclusive and desirable. 

As long as you get consent from the members who have made referrals, you can give them special shout outs in your newsletters or other member communication channels to share their success and encourage more members to make referrals. This strategy helps strengthen your member community since they are rewarded for their efforts and can see the direct impact they have on the association’s growth. 

Create a membership “season”

Dedicate a specific time period to focus on membership to help your association streamline your recruitment and marketing efforts. During this time, develop strong relationships with prospective members through intriguing content, conversations, and events to show them the benefits of becoming a member.

This focus on recruitment also gives non-members something to look forward to every year, even as they become members. It’s a time to reflect on the benefits being a member has, the opportunities they can uncover, and the opportunity to network with other professionals in the industry. 

Offer discounts to non-members to give them a taste of your benefits

Encourage non-members to join your association by offering discounts on exclusive member benefits like a virtual career fair. This strategy helps non-members understand the value of your membership and can be a major factor in whether they decide to join. For only a small fee, they will get to experience what it’s like to be a member and what else they can look forward to once they join. 

If your association offers other career advancement resources, like Career Paths, you can give non-members limited access to certain modules so they can test out other benefits you offer that they would have access to on a regular basis. This can also be done by offering a discounted resume review critique, online training, or any other benefit you think will sell non-members on joining. 

Identify ancillary members

Associations who have a focus on a specific profession can also look into recruiting members in related fields that would benefit from a membership. For example, if you are a marketing association, you can recruit members with interest in web design, SEO, graphic design, content writing, coders – the list goes on!

Before marketing your membership to these ancillary members, know who your targets are going to be (which professions, job titles/descriptions, etc.), what benefits they are looking for, how to communicate effectively with them, and the value they want out of being a member.


Member recruitment strategies are never a one-size-fits-all approach. Each association will have different goals and objectives to meet, as well as different member bases to serve. These tips can be useful supplements to an existing recruitment plan or even a great place to start creating a new one! 

Webinar | Recruiting and Retaining Association Members (& Driving Non-Dues Revenue) in the Virtual Event Era Watch the replay of our webinar to learn how to adapt your membership marketing model to recruit and retain association members, as well as learn out of the box tactics to drive non-dues revenue. Download now