5-Step Guide to Improve Member Communication for Associations 

Communication lies at the heart of any thriving association. Establishing robust communication channels fosters stronger connections and ensures that member needs and concerns are heard and addressed effectively. An association’s success is intricately tied to its ability to engage, inform, and connect with its members. Building robust communication strategies is imperative for retention and nurturing a thriving ecosystem where members feel valued and engaged. So, let’s delve into the key components and strategies essential for enhancing member experience through communication within associations.

Here’s a comprehensive five-step strategy to elevate association communication and member engagement.

Strategic member communication blueprint for associations

Step 1: Audit Your Current Communication Strategy

Auditing communication methods within associations is critical for fine-tuning strategies and enhancing member engagement. By evaluating existing channels and processes, organizations gain valuable insights into what works and needs improvement. This assessment ensures that communication efforts are aligned with member preferences, leading to higher satisfaction levels. Moreover, it allows for identifying bottlenecks, resource optimization, and strategic planning, ultimately ensuring that the association remains adaptable and responsive in an ever-evolving landscape.

Get our free guide on 100+ Association Member Survey Questions to make your audit simpler and effective!

a) The Crucial Role of Accessible Feedback Channels: Are there Established Channels for Members to Easily Report Issues or Voice Concerns?

Effective association communication begins with accessible feedback channels tailored to members’ needs. These channels ensure seamless communication of concerns and ideas, which is vital for the association’s success. This is because a strong and efficient communication strategy within associations hinges on the ease with which members can communicate their concerns.

Different ways associations can seek out member feedback

Why is this Important?

  • Accessible feedback channels foster a sense of inclusivity and involvement among members. 
  • Effortless reporting mechanisms enable swift identification and resolution of issues, leading to smoother operation within the association
  • Transparent communication channels build trust, as members feel more confident in the association’s leadership when they see their concerns being acknowledged and addressed promptly.

As a result, ensuring accessible channels for members to report issues or voice concerns is crucial for a responsive association. Clear and established reporting avenues, whether through online platforms, dedicated forums, or streamlined feedback forms, empower members to communicate their concerns effortlessly. This accessibility not only demonstrates the association’s commitment to listening but also facilitates prompt resolution of issues, fostering a more engaged and satisfied membership base.

Bonus read: Guide to Member Surveys: Top 10 Powerful Tips for Associations.

b) Response Time: How Promptly are Reported Issues Addressed or Acknowledged by the Association?

Members expect swift acknowledgment and resolution when they voice concerns. It showcases the association’s attentiveness and ensures members feel valued and heard. A timely response builds trust, fosters satisfaction, and strengthens the association’s credibility among its members. To enhance communication, prioritize understanding your members’ challenges. Additionally, demonstrate appreciation for their opinions and feedback by consistently refining your programs and services based on their input.

Here are some tips for you:

  • Send an immediate acknowledgment receipt to members when an issue is reported.
  • Give members an idea of when their issue might be resolved to reassure them and set their expectations.
  • Keep members informed about the progress made towards resolving their reported issues, even if it’s ongoing.
  • Finally, don’t forget to notify members when their reported issue has been resolved.

c) Resolution Rate: What is the Success Rate in Resolving Issues Raised by Members?

Measuring the success rate in resolving member-raised issues is an important part of evaluating your association’s communication strategy. A high resolution rate signifies the association’s effectiveness in addressing concerns, leading to happier and more satisfied members. When issues are resolved promptly and efficiently, it enhances trust in the association’s ability to take care of its members. This, in turn, fosters a positive reputation, encourages member retention, and ultimately strengthens the association’s community and impact. 

Moreover, a strong track record in issue resolution can attract new members, demonstrating the association’s reliability and dedication to member well-being. 

Resolution rate

d) Feedback Utilization: How Frequently is Member Feedback Incorporated into Decision-making or Improvement Processes?

Member feedback should be like a secret weapon for associations! Why? Because it’s a direct line to what the members want and need. By incorporating their feedback into decision-making, you’re showing them that their opinions matter, which boosts their loyalty and keeps them engaged. Plus, it’s a shortcut to making smart choices – you’re not just guessing what works, you’re tapping into real experiences and needs. 

Channels for Communitation

Talking about the impact of integrating member feedback, the following are some of the outcomes that an association can achieve by incorporating member feedback in decision-making processes:

  • Improves service/product quality
  • Strengthens association-member relationships
  • Addresses pain points effectively
  • Introduces new features tailored to members
  • Enhances existing processes
  • Boosts member satisfaction and loyalty
  • Increases retention rates
  • Generates positive word-of-mouth referrals

Listed below (Step 2) are different strategies that you can use to get honest feedback from your members. 

e) Communication Effectiveness: Have there been instances where communication gaps led to unresolved issues or misunderstandings among members?

Communication gaps leading to unresolved issues or misunderstandings among members are not uncommon in various organizations or communities. These gaps can arise due to various reasons such as unclear messaging, inadequate channels for communication, misinterpretation of information, or lack of transparency.

For example: 

A situation might occur where an association introduces a new policy without adequately explaining the reasons behind it or providing a platform for members to ask questions or voice concerns. This lack of transparent communication can lead to confusion among members, generating misunderstandings about the intent or impact of the policy change. As a result, unresolved issues might arise, causing frustration or discontent among members.

Listen to Communication Expert Allison Shapira Discuss How Miscommunication Can Result in the Loss of Members: 

Read The Full Blog On: Navigating Challenges in the Association Landscape: Allison Shapira’s Expert Advice

To mitigate these issues, associations must prioritize effective communication strategies such as: 

  • Talk Face-To-Face with members whenever possible 
  • Ensure clarity in messaging and information dissemination
  • Practice actively listening to feedback and concerns 
  • Provide Clear Contact Points
  • Provide regular and detailed updates 

Step 2: Nail the Right Communication Channel and Frequency

Pinpointing the optimal communication channel and frequency is crucial for effective message delivery while avoiding overwhelming recipients. To start, it’s vital to understand your audience’s preferences and habits. Conducting surveys or analyzing past engagement patterns can provide valuable insights into which channels— emails, social media, or newsletters—resonate best with your members. 

Finding the optimal communication channel and frequency is key to ensuring that messages reach members effectively without overwhelming them. Here are steps to help nail down these aspects:

a) Surveying Member Preferences: Ask Members Which Communication Platforms They Prefer (Email, Social media, Mobile Apps, Forums, etc.)

Understanding members’ preferred communication platforms is crucial for effective engagement. People have diverse preferences when it comes to communication channels – some might prefer email for its formality and documentation, while others might prefer social media for its immediacy and interactivity. By asking members about their preferences, organizations can tailor their messaging to align with these choices, ensuring that information reaches individuals through channels they are most likely to engage with.

Moreover, this understanding fosters inclusivity. It acknowledges and accommodates diverse communication needs within a community or organization, ensuring that messages don’t inadvertently exclude certain members who might not engage with the default or commonly used channels. Ultimately, it enhances the likelihood of messages being seen, understood, and acted upon, leading to better overall engagement and participation.

By asking members about their preferences, organizations can tailor their communication strategies accordingly. 

b) Understanding Ideal Communication Frequency: Inquire About their Preferred Frequency of Communication Updates (Daily, Weekly, Bi-weekly, Monthly, etc.).

Do Not Overpromote!

Tailoring communication frequency based on members’ preferences ensures that they receive information at a pace that suits their needs. For instance, some members may prefer to receive updates on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, while others might feel overwhelmed by that frequency and prefer a monthly newsletter instead.

Promoting your content and products is a great way to reach the audience, however, sometimes overpromoting can backfire and lead to disengagement or even frustration among members. It’s essential to strike a balance between informing and overwhelming. Bombarding members with constant promotional content or excessive messages can desensitize them to the messages’ importance or, worse, push them to disengage altogether. As a result, ensuring a customer-centric approach in your marketing strategies is crucial to avoid significant drops in your online engagement rates. 

Here are some points you can keep in mind while sending updates to your members:

  • Timing matters: Avoid clustering promotions; spread them out amidst relevant, informative content.
  • Deliver value in every message, aligning content with members’ interests and needs.
  • Conduct surveys to understand the frequency preference of individual members and plan your promotion accordingly. 

c) Maximizing Reach: Enhance Member Engagement Through Diverse Communication Channels

Relying solely on one channel can be risky!

Diversifying communication channels can significantly enhance member engagement by meeting them where they are. People have varying preferences when it comes to receiving information, so utilizing diverse channels ensures a broader reach and increased interaction. Additionally, not everyone checks their email religiously, nor is everyone glued to social media. By diversifying channels, you’re making information accessible to individuals on platforms they naturally frequent. This convenience encourages higher engagement as it reduces the barrier to accessing information.

To reach a larger audience base, your association can adopt a multi-channel approach to reach a larger audience base. These channels could include: 

Formal Communication Channels

Formal communication channels offer official updates and notices. Think of emails, newsletters, or your association’s website. They’re the go-to spots for detailed info, event announcements, or important notices. These channels are great for clear, structured communication. 


Emails serve as a fantastic tool for consistently sharing updates about your association’s activities. With emails, you can share news about upcoming events, recaps of recent activities, important announcements, or any changes within the association. Plus, emails often allow for multimedia content attachments or embedded links, enabling you to include additional resources, registration forms, or links to further information.

Monthly Newsletters

Monthly newsletters are like friendly updates sent straight to your member’s inbox once a month. They’re packed with all the cool stuff happening in your association—news about events, stories about members (success stories and testimonials), important dates to remember, and sometimes even tips or fun facts. It’s like getting a monthly snapshot of what’s going on, so your members never miss out on anything exciting. They’re a great way to stay in the loop without feeling overwhelmed by constant updates. Plus, they often have colorful pictures or fun designs to make them interesting and easy to read!

Social Channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)

Social channels are like online hangout spots for your association—they’re the places where members can chat, share, and stay connected. Think of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. It’s where things get more casual and interactive. Members can easily like, comment, or share posts, making it super easy to engage with what’s happening in the association. Moreover, these channels are perfect for reaching a broader audience and attracting new members too!


Webinars are a fantastic way for the association to communicate with its members because they allow for live presentations, discussions, and even Q&A sessions. It’s like tuning in to a live show or seminar where everyone can see and hear the speaker, ask questions, and even participate in polls or surveys. Webinars make communication feel more personal and engaging, bringing everyone together virtually to learn, share ideas, and stay connected. Plus, they can be recorded, so members who couldn’t attend live can catch up later—a win-win for everyone!


Townhall is a way through which members can hear updates, ask questions, and share their thoughts directly with leaders or key figures. It’s a chance for everyone to be involved, voice their opinions, and get a deeper understanding of what’s happening in the association. Town halls are super inclusive and give everyone a chance to participate, making decisions feel more transparent and involving everyone in the association’s journey.

Networking channels associations should incorporate

Learn the best way to utilize your website to the fullest for better communications: Revolutionize Your Association’s Website: 16 Proven Strategies

Harnessing the Power of Informal Communication Channels for More Personalized Association Members

Being proactive on informal communication channels like WhatsApp and phone calls can be incredibly beneficial for associations or groups. These platforms offer a more relaxed and immediate way of connecting compared to formal channels like emails or official meetings. They promote a sense of community, encourage active participation, and facilitate quicker decision-making processes within the group.

There are several different ways you can use informal communication channels to better understand and address your members, some of which are:

  • Create a WhatsApp group to interact with members 
  • Creating smaller, focused WhatsApp groups for specific topics or interests
  • Hosting informal Q&A sessions on WhatsApp or through phone calls
  • Sending voice messages for more personal and engaging communication
  • Give regular phone calls to members to take feedback 
  • Open an inbound hotline to understand grievances 
  • Organizing in-person meetings with your members through WhatsApp video calls 

Step 3: Craft the Right Communication Content

The right content serves multiple roles: it educates by offering valuable insights and industry updates, inspires action through compelling calls-to-action for events or advocacy, and fosters a sense of community by sharing stories and testimonials that resonate with individuals. Beyond that, it reinforces the association’s value proposition, ensuring members feel recognized, understood, and motivated to actively participate.

To better communicate with your members through the right content, your association needs to tailor it in a way that creates an impact. Here are some ways through which you can make sure of it: 

a) Make it Relevant

Focus on understanding what matters to your members. Dive into their challenges, interests, and what they aim to achieve. Tailor your content to directly address these points, providing insights, solutions, or information that aligns with their specific concerns or goals. When members see that your content directly relates to their needs, it fosters a stronger connection, encouraging them to engage more actively and consistently with your association. 

b) Be Open and Honest

Being transparent and open about your association’s journey is key. Share not just the successes but also the hurdles you’ve faced and the improvements you’re working on. When members see that your association is forthcoming about its endeavors, whether they’re accomplishments or areas needing development, it builds trust. 

c) Get to the Point!

In today’s fast-paced world, attention spans are shorter. Keep your communication clear and concise. Avoid using unnecessary jargon or overcomplicated explanations. Grab attention swiftly and deliver your message efficiently. Succinct content respects your members’ time and enhances the likelihood of them engaging with your content more frequently and enthusiastically.

Example of how an association can effectively craft clear content and communication strategy:

Streamlining CE Communication: A Transparent and Relevant Approach

Recognizing the importance of crafting effective member communication content, the association tailors its messages to directly address the needs and challenges of its diverse membership base. 

Here are some tips on how associations can effectively communicate with their members:

  • Provide relevant insights into evolving industry standards and updates on CE requirements. 
  • Openly share the association journey, acknowledging the successes and challenges faced in maintaining accreditation standards.
  • Demonstrate transparency about ongoing improvements, helping to build trust among members.
  • Keep any communication clear and concise, acknowledging today’s fast-paced nature.
  • Avoid unnecessary jargon and straightforwardly present CE status and requirements.

This approach respects the valuable time of its members and increases the likelihood of active engagement. To further enhance communication and streamline the CE tracking process, the association provides user-friendly CE tracking tools and apps, such as the CE App. Tools like these not only offer a seamless experience for members to stay informed about their CE status but also serve as a hub for relevant industry updates and resources.

Step 4: Segment and Personalize

Why does this matter? Well, imagine being able to speak directly to a group’s interests, aspirations, or concerns. Segmenting allows associations to craft messages that truly resonate, addressing specific needs or motivations. For instance, new professionals might crave career-focused insights, while seasoned members might seek leadership opportunities. It’s about delivering content that feels personalized, almost like it’s speaking directly to each member, making them feel seen, understood, and valued within the association’s vibrant tapestry.


This involves dividing your audience into smaller, more manageable groups based on shared characteristics or behaviors. It could be demographics (age, location), psychographics (interests, preferences), engagement level, or any other relevant criteria. Segmenting your audience allows you to tailor messages more precisely, ensuring that the content resonates with each subgroup. 

Here’s how you can effectively segment your members:

  • Demographics:
    • Age groups (e.g., millennials, Gen Z, baby boomers)
    • Location (urban, suburban, rural)
    • Gender or language preferences
  • Psychographics:
    • Interests and hobbies (technology, sports, arts)
    • Buying behavior (frequent buyers, occasional buyers)
    • Engagement level with the association (active participants, occasional attendees, non-engaged)
  • Membership Status:
    • New members vs. long-standing members
    • Different membership tiers or levels (basic, premium)


Once you’ve segmented your audience, personalization comes into play. It’s about customizing content for individuals within those segments. It’s more than just using a recipient’s name in an email; it’s about delivering relevant and targeted content based on their preferences, behavior, or past interactions. Personalized communication acknowledges the uniqueness of each recipient, making them feel valued and understood. 

Here’s how you can effectively personalize your content for your members:

  • Tailored Content:
    • Customized event invitations or newsletters based on interests 
    • Specific resources or educational content matching professional fields or hobbies
  • Communication Preferences:
    • Personalize email subjects 
    • Email frequency preferences (daily, weekly, monthly)
    • Preferred language or communication channel (email, SMS, social media)

Step 5: Analyze and Optimize 

Through analysis, associations gain a bird’s-eye view of their member communication landscape, identifying patterns, trends, and areas for improvement. Metrics like open rates, click-through rates, or member response times provide valuable insights into the performance of various channels and the resonance of content.

Moreover, analysis isn’t solely about numbers; it’s about understanding members on a deeper level. It’s deciphering their behavior, preferences, and responses. By delving into feedback received via surveys, forums, or direct interactions, associations can decipher what truly matters to their members. This understanding empowers them to fine-tune their communication approaches, ensuring that messages are not only heard but also valued and acted upon.

Overall, analyzing strategies can help you understand what works and what doesn’t!

MUST READ: A Roadmap to Data-Driven Growth for Associations: 6 Essential Steps

Data driven growth for associations: Analyze member communication for better success

Bonus Tip: Use Advance Communication Tools for Associations to Make Your Life Easy

Advanced communication tools can revolutionize how associations engage with their members, streamlining processes and enhancing connectivity. Here are some tools your association can use to make a seamless and more effective communication mode for your members: 

  • Email Communication: MailChimp, Constant Contact
  • Surveys: SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Google forms
  • Customer Support Software: Zendesk, Freshdesk
  • Measure Website Engagement: Google Analytics, Hotjar
  • Social Media Management: Hootsuite, Buffer
  • Online Community Platforms: Discourse, Slack
  • Event Management: Eventbrite, Cvent
  • Virtual Meeting and Webinar Tools: Zoom, GoToMeeting
  • Education Platforms: CE App, LMS, or AMS


Effective association member communication hinges on a systematic approach outlined in the above five-step strategy. This method involves auditing current member communication strategies, prioritizing accessible feedback mechanisms, prompt issue resolution, and integrating member feedback into decision-making. Identifying optimal communication channels and frequency, diversifying channels while avoiding overpromotion, and personalizing messages based on segmentation is crucial. Creating and providing the right content with clarity and honesty. Regular analysis, leveraging advanced tools, and maintaining a member-centric focus underpin success. This dynamic approach fosters stronger connections, trust, and responsiveness to member needs, driving higher satisfaction and retention within the association.