6 Membership Drive Ideas and 3 Steps You Shouldn’t Miss While Planning Your Campaign

Membership drives are a great way to recruit and retain members. They are particularly important if your current focus is to raise funds and keep your association in the black.

To make the best use of your time and energy, you will want to plan your recruitment efforts strategically.

With a few simple steps, you can brainstorm membership drive ideas that will draw new members into your association and keep them there.

Best of all, Impexium’s premium AMS software can help make this process smooth and easy.

You’ll be adding new members before you know it.

What Is a Membership Drive?

A membership drive is a planned, strategic, limited-time campaign during which you intentionally grow your network by adding new members to your association.

By setting clear goals and knowing exactly who you’re trying to attract, you can craft an effective campaign that brings people in and keeps them there for the long haul.

3 Steps You Shouldn’t Miss While Planning Your Membership Campaign

As the old saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you’ll be sure to hit it. Before launching a campaign, always make sure you have an organized plan in place.

If you haven’t run a successful membership drive before, these three steps can help you get started.

Microsoft Teams

Identify potential members.

Before you plan a campaign for membership growth, you must know exactly who you’re trying to attract.

In other words, who are your ideal members?

You can determine this by using your current data.

Analyze your current core members for clues about who your association is primarily serving. This gives you an idea of exactly who your target audience is, and who is already bringing the most money into your organization.

There are plenty of ways to segment audiences within your organization’s members. Some key demographics to target may include:

  • Age group
  • Gender
  • Income Level
  • Education
  • Occupation

Of course, depending on the nature of your particular organization, there may be other aspects of your association membership to analyze as well. Take a moment to note what they are and be sure to factor them into your data analysis.

The good news is that Impexiuim’s powerful analytical tools can create easy-to-understand visualizations to help you target your key demographic fast.


Create SMART goals.

Once you know exactly who you want to base your drive ideas around, you can create tangible goals to guide your campaign.

Here at Impexium, we recommend that you always create SMART goals for your membership drives.

SMART goals get their name from an acronym.

The term SMART stands for goals that are:

  1.   Specific
  2.   Measurable
  3.   Attainable
  4.   Relevant
  5.   Time-Bound

Writing goals with these aspects in mind will not only help you set clear expectations for your recruitment drive but also measure how successful it has been.

Setting your SMART goal will give you and your team criteria by which you can craft and refine your membership drive ideas, simplifying the next step exponentially.


Brainstorm membership campaign ideas.

It’s important to remember that when it comes to membership drive ideas, there is no one-size-fits-all plan.

The best ideas will always be the ones that best suit the demographic of the people you’re trying to attract.

For example

  • If the data shows that your existing members value gathering information, consider creating a free download to incentivize prospective members to connect.
  • If the data shows that your existing members prize personal connections, host a live event (either online or in-person) that will allow prospective members to have face time.

And don’t forget to think outside the box!

Every year, design studio Fell and Fair Productions hosts live, immersive fantasy-themed events such as their Hobbit Day Party held in Greenville, South Carolina.

Whimsical events like these not only attract like-minded people from around the region, but the buzz around the online content they create at the event also helps them expand their network nationally and even internationally throughout the year.


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6 Membership Drive Ideas for Associations

Take what you know about your ideal members and what sort of approach might best meet them where they are. You can begin to sort through membership drive ideas and hone in on the one that will work best for you and your association.

Short-term Membership Offer

Create a limited-time offer during which someone can join your association at a steep discount.

There are various ways to set this up.

  • Waive the start-up fee for a limited time
  • Offer new members who join during a set time their first month for free
  • Offer new members their first few months at a discounted rate if they sign up within the designated time period

The short-term nature of such offers will motivate new members to join during your membership drive, increasing your membership and helping you meet the time-sensitive portion of your SMART goal.

Member Referral Program

The best connections to new members can often be found through your current members.

Create a system by which you can easily gather and pursue referrals from current members. (By relying on automation tools, you can even make this process feel automatic!)

Member Rewards Program

With this plan, you will offer incentives to current members to promote the association and attract others.

For example, a new member who signs up through a referral may receive their first month for free, while the member who brought them in will receive a gift card.

Partner with a Local Business

Plugging in with an established organization, such as a local business, can create an audience overlap from which both of you can benefit.

Consider hosting a popup or an event in a brick-and-mortar location near you, thereby raising awareness of your association within a pre-established community.

Host Free Events

Free, one-off community events may require a bit of organization and planning, but when it comes to membership drives, they can pay huge dividends over the long haul.

  • Networking Events. Everyone who signs up for or attends the event enters your pipeline and learns about your association.
  • Influencer Appearance or Talk. Big names can be a big draw. Use that to your advantage to grow your association membership.
  • Training or Educational Event. People will come for information on a specific topic, but as a bonus, they will also walk away with an invitation to join your association.
  • Charity Event. People love giving back to the community. By sponsoring a charity fundraising event, you’re not only doing good in the world, but you’re also raising awareness about your association and inviting others to join you in a work they already care about.
  • 5k or Cycling Race. Road races are more popular than ever. They can be a fun way to build community, encourage people to keep fit, and raise awareness (and funds!) for a good cause—including your association!
  • Silent Auction. Silent auctions not only give current members a way to support the association but can also bring members of the community into your orbit as well.

Free Resource Giveaway

A free resource is called a “lead magnet” for a reason.

Offering free resources will draw new leads into your pipeline, giving you the opportunity to follow up with an offer to join your association.

Understand retention shifts

How to Judge the Effectiveness of Your Membership Drive

When your membership drive ends, don’t drop the ball.

The best time to begin refining your next membership drive idea is right now.

Revisit Your SMART Goals

Remember, SMART goals are always measurable. With a SMART goal in place, you have all the data you need to measure the overall effectiveness of your drive.

Revise and Retool

Once you know how successful your drive has been, you and your team can meet and brainstorm ways to adjust, tighten, retool, and brainstorm your next membership drive ideas.

Run Your Next Successful Member Drive with Impexium

This might all sound a bit overwhelming, but you don’t have to run membership drives alone.

Impexium is here to help.

Our powerful Association Management Software (AMS) empowers associations to attract and retain members quickly and easily.

With Impexium, you can

  • Analyze. Leverage Impexium’s premium dashboards and reporting software to gather data on your key demographics and craft your next recruitment drive.
  • Act. Form and implement your membership drive based on your current SMART goals.
  • Automate. Allow Impexium’s powerful automation tools to take care of the grunt work during your next membership drive.

From start to finish, Impexium’s Microsoft integrations (including Power Platform) can support your membership drives, vastly simplifying the amount of work you need to oversee.

Impexium’s membership management software will help you:

  • Boost efficiency
  • Reduce costs
  • Deliver faster ROI’s


Impexium Can Help

We’d love to show you more about how our premium tools can help you with your next membership drive. Stop by, tell us more about yourself and your association, and request a demo today! We look forward to hearing from you.

Smarter, Simpler Membership Management

Impexium’s association management software (AMS) empowers associations to focus on what matters most—your constituents. We help you streamline operations, reduce development costs, and improve business outcomes.

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