a board member reading a newsletter

How a Newsletter is More Than a Newsletter 

Nearly every association has its own newsletter. It’s a standard member benefit, provided quarterly, monthly, or weekly, and sometimes even daily. Newsletters are a great way to inform members about your association’s activities, from advocacy work, educational programs, upcoming events, to plans for new programs in development. Newsletters fill those roles. But newsletters play another important role:  

Newsletters can be a critical component in member retention. 

Engaged members tend to stay members. Newsletters provide members with opportunities to contribute to their association, which boosts their engagement and strengthens their personal connection to the association and its mission. In other words, it increases member engagement with the association.  

Let’s look at some of the levels of engagement.  

Being informed: We can’t discount the importance of engaging members simply by communicating with them. For many members, just being informed on what the association is up to is engagement enough.  

Providing feedback: Newsletters can be leveraged to encourage feedback and insights. Member surveys are easily linked to from electronic newsletters and with QR codes in print pieces. The opportunity to tell their association what they need and want can give members the knowledge that their input is sought and the association wants to improve. 

Volunteering: Traditional volunteering opportunities, what we might call macro-volunteering, give some members very specific tasks that can require a large commitment. For a newsletter, these can include editor roles, which allow members to guide the content. They can serve as editor in chief, or as a book review or other special department editor, or as a columnist. Other members can take advantage of micro-volunteering opportunities. which offer the opportunity to undertake bite-sized activities that don’t require an on-going or long-term commitment. Writing an article, being interviewed for a profile, or submitting photos or other content are smaller commitments that can generate big rewards for the members and for the association as well.  

Making connections: Being a volunteer, at either the macro- or micro-level, means connecting with other members. Newsletters and other publications are generally group efforts. This gives members the chance to meet new people within the association, or to strengthen existing connections by working more closely together toward a common objective.  

Sense of pride: Seeing your name in print, as a byline, in the list of editors, or as the subject of an article can be exciting. What’s more, even seeing an article written by a friend or colleague can strengthen members’ connections to the association.  

Member engagement is a bit like Newton’s First Law of Motion: An object in motion tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest. An engaged member tends to stay engaged, and tends to renew.  

Are you looking to deepen your membership engagement and encourage retention?

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