How Event Management Supports the Growth of Membership Organizations

Managing a membership organization is no small task. It can feel like there’s more to do than there is time in the day: database management, marketing, reporting, outreach, event management, payment processing, etc.

How can a member organization keep track of all of these elements? By using an association member management system, which we’ll explain in more detail.

One of the most time-consuming but crucial tasks of running a member organization is event management. Events help raise awareness and funds for organizations, as well as recruit new members that provide long-term support.

This blog answers three primary questions:

  1. What is association membership software?
  2. What is event management?
  3. How does membership and event management work together?

Keep reading to learn how association member management systems and event management support the growth of membership organizations.

What Is Association Management Software?

The term “association management software” (AMS) has several variations:

  • Association management system
  • Association membership software
  • Association member management system
  • Association membership system

The list goes on. Although different phrases, they all refer to the same digital solution.

Association membership systems streamline the backend work for member organizations. An AMS is a software package that allows organizations to store, manage, organize, and engage with members using an integrated system.

As your organization grows, you’ll need to keep a secure database of names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc., of your members. In addition to being a database that stores member information, an AMS can also be used for outreach and engagement, such as email marketing and even event (membership only) management.

Some powerful features of an association membership management system include:

  • Hosting a member engagement community
  • Dues and subscription management
  • Membership and event management
  • Email marketing
  • Fundraising
  • Member portal
  • Reporting
  • Directories
  • Payment processing
  • Integrated website and CMS

These features are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the functionality of an AMS. Next, let’s talk about how it can support event management specifically.

What Is Event Management?

Event management has shifted over time. Once, people thought of “events” as large-scale-conferences, conventions, and trade shows. These large-scale events often require the services of an event management company. What do event management companies do? Depending on the event and those in charge, the responsibilities will vary.

For instance, an event manager for a member organization may host a virtual event to engage nonlocal members via its AMS. As you can imagine, the preparation for a remote event will look much different from an in-person one managed by an event company that may require permits, parking, entertainment, refreshments, etc.

Today, events have gone from being mainly in-person to online. One thing in-person and online events have in common is that both require advertising and marketing.

How do you effectively advertise an event? The first place to start is within your association’s community. Member organizations can easily promote an event by leveraging their email list hosted within association membership software.

However, an association’s best marketing asset is its members.

But why host events? Whether you’re advertising a members-only event or hosting a public event, both fall under one of the five stages of the membership lifecycle.

How Membership and Event Management Work Together

A successful member organization hosts events that aim to engage existing members and acquire new memberships. Let’s review the membership lifecycle to explain how memberships and event management work together.

Member Acquisition

The Member Acquisition phase of the membership lifecycle includes two stages: awareness and recruitment. Public events raise awareness around the organization’s cause and seek to recruit new members, asking them for long-term support.

Member Retention

Events for those who are already members fall under the Member Retention phase, the first stage being engagement. Whether the event is open to the public or exclusive, events keep members engaged in the work and mission of the association.

Members: Your Greatest Asset

A well-planned and managed event brings together a community of people committed to a specific cause. For example, a charity 5K run for colon cancer can raise awareness around the disease and fund cancer research. An event of this nature also rallies those touched by cancer, including their family and friends.

Events encourage members to invite their communities, expanding the reach of an organization through word of mouth. Effective fundraising events leave a lasting impression on all participants, increasing the membership base of a member organization.

Marketing General Incorporated: Your Member Organization Experts

As the largest association-focused direct marketing agency in North America, Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) has been helping membership organizations grow for 40 years. We partner with up to 70 associations annually to raise new membership counts, increase dues revenue, and boost non-dues revenue streams.

From small trade associations to large nonprofits, MGI’s emphasis on reliable, adaptive strategies has resulted in success for clients of all sizes. From time to time, we also share introductory insights to help those who are new to the association profession.

Want to learn more about what’s working for membership organizations in terms of virtual and in-person event management? Need help choosing the best association membership software? Looking for a strategic partner that specializes in growing member organizations?

Let’s discuss the marketing strategies and tactics that could be most effective for your organization. Request a membership consultation today.

Request a Membership Consultation