Strategies for Cultivating a Strong and Supportive Association Community

In the association sector, cultivating a sense of community among members is critical for building strong relationships, encouraging engagement and loyalty, and achieving organisational goals. Here are some of the ways successful associations are making it happen:

Facilitate communication and collaboration among members

One of the ways associations can cultivate a sense of community is by facilitating communication and collaboration among members. This can include providing online forums or discussion groups, hosting regular webinars or conference calls, and facilitating in-person networking events. For example, a professional association might host a monthly virtual roundtable discussion on a specific topic of interest to its members, or an industry association might host an annual conference that brings members together in person.

Encourage member involvement and participation

Another way associations can cultivate a sense of community is by encouraging member involvement and participation. This can include providing opportunities for members to volunteer their time and expertise, or to take on leadership roles within the organisation. For example, a trade association might encourage members to participate in committees or task forces that help to shape the direction of the organisation, or a hobbyist association might provide opportunities for members to lead workshops or presentations at annual events.

Foster a sense of belonging

Associations can also cultivate a sense of community by fostering a sense of belonging among members. This can include creating a welcoming and inclusive culture, recognising and celebrating member achievements, and providing opportunities for members to connect and socialise. For example, a sports association might host a member appreciation night at a local game, or an alumni association might hold a reunion event for former members.

Promote a shared sense of purpose

A shared sense of purpose is another important factor in cultivating a sense of community. Associations can promote a shared sense of purpose by clearly communicating their mission and vision, and by providing opportunities for members to contribute to the organisation’s work. For example, an environmental association might provide opportunities for members to participate in conservation projects or advocacy efforts, or a healthcare association might offer opportunities for members to contribute to research or education initiatives.

Provide resources and support to members

Associations can also cultivate a sense of community by providing resources and support to members. This can include access to information and expertise, as well as practical support such as discounts on products and services. For example, a professional association might offer members access to a members-only online library or provide discounts on continuing education courses, or an industry association might offer discounted rates on industry-specific software or tools.

Create a welcoming and inclusive environment

Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment is another key factor in cultivating a sense of community. This can include initiatives to be more inclusive and diverse, and being mindful of the needs and preferences of all members. For example, an association might have a diversity and inclusion committee that works to ensure that all members feel welcome and included or might provide accommodations such as sign language interpretation at events for members who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Recognise and celebrate member achievements

Finally, associations can cultivate a sense of community by recognising and celebrating member achievements. This can include publicly acknowledging member contributions, awarding awards or accolades, or recognising milestones such as anniversaries or retirements. For example, an association might hold an annual awards ceremony to recognise outstanding member achievements or might create a member hall of fame to honour long-time members.

If you are looking for support to maximise the success of your membership program we can assist. Email Belinda Moore for more information.

Increasing Online Community Engagement in Your Association

An online community can be a valuable resource for associations, providing a platform for members to connect, collaborate, and engage with the organisation. Here are seven ways to build a successful online community for your association:

Clearly define the purpose and goals of the community.

Before launching an online community, it’s important to define its purpose and goals. This could include creating a space for members to share resources and knowledge, fostering a sense of community and connection, or providing a platform for members to engage with the association and its leadership.

Invite and onboard new members.

Invite members to join the community and provide a clear onboarding process to help them get started. This could include an orientation video or tutorial, a welcome message or guide, and an introduction to the community’s guidelines and expectations.

Encourage participation.

Encourage members to actively participate in the community by posting content, asking questions, and engaging with others. This could include hosting weekly discussion topics, hosting live events or webinars, or providing incentives for participation such as prizes or recognition.

Moderate and manage the community.

It’s important to have a team in place to moderate and manage the community, including enforcing guidelines and addressing any issues that may arise. This can help create a safe and welcoming environment for all members.

Foster a sense of community.

Encourage a sense of community by promoting social connections and creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. This could include hosting virtual social events or providing opportunities for members to connect with each other based on shared interests or professional goals.

Keep the content fresh and relevant.

Keep the community active and engaged by regularly posting new content and updating existing content to ensure it remains relevant and useful. This could include sharing industry news and updates, hosting expert guest speakers, or highlighting member achievements and success stories.

Engage with members.

Make sure to regularly engage with members and respond to their questions and feedback. This can help build trust and strengthen the relationship between the association and its members.

By following these seven steps, you can build a successful online community for your association. From clearly defining the purpose and goals of the community to fostering a sense of community and keeping the content fresh and relevant, there are many ways to create an engaging and valuable online space for your members.

If you would like an online community for your association, take a look at Trybz. Trybz in an online community platform specifically designed for associations. To see it in action, check out the  Answers for Associations online community for association professionals.

JOURNAL: Associations Evolve: 2023 & Beyond Journal Released

We are excited to announce the release of Associations Evolve: 2023 & Beyond Journal, a compilation of articles from over 50 association thought leaders from around the globe.

This journal offers a unique perspective on the future of associations and the role they will play in shaping industries and communities. From innovative ideas for growth and sustainability to strategies for adapting to changing environments, the articles in this journal provide valuable insights and inspiration for association professionals.

As the association landscape continues to evolve, it is important for professionals to stay informed and stay ahead of the curve. The Associations Evolve: 2023 & Beyond Journal is a must-read for anyone looking to drive positive change and impact within their organisation. Get your copy today and join the conversation on the future of associations.

JOURNAL: Associations Evolve: 2022 & Beyond

Forty-six association experts from around the world have collaborated to produce a collection of articles showcasing contemporary thinking on governance, membership, revenue, events, and much more.

This is a great resource for those looking for inspiration and motivation to make 2022 your best year ever. It makes great holiday reading for those who are feeling particularly enthusiastic (tip: this publication pairs well with red wine and cheese).

Download “Associations Evolve: 2022 & Beyond”

This publication is part of our Associations Evolve project which looks for ways to help associations to thrive into the future. 

Thanks to Beau Cummin from Visual Traffic for his fabulous work designing this publication, Northern Territory Business Events for their great support of this project, and all our wonderful contributors.  

We hope you will find this collection of articles from experts in the association space as informative, inspiring, and motivating as we did. 

All the best for a fun and relaxing break over the festive period. I hope you arrive back at work refreshed and ready for an awesome 2022.

Warm regards,

Association Hackathon Outputs Released

The outputs of our recent association hackathon have been released.

A hackathon is a great way to generate a solution to a problem in a short timeframe. We worked with hackathon specialist Joanne Jacobs from Disrupters Co to develop and deliver a online hackathon for associations.

Thirty amazing association professionals volunteered. They split into six groups who each addressed a specific challenge. You can check out the interesting outputs they generated in the resources library of the Answers for Associations community. Just look for:

• Choosing an Association Management System.
• Creating a Minimal Budget Public Awareness Raising Campaign for Associations.
• How to Successfully Launch and Develop and Online Community.
• Monetising Online Communities.
• Shifting Member Engagement Frameworks from Traditional to Contemporary Operating Models.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated. It was great to see such stimulating and interesting conversations and solutions generated. This is something we would definitely do again as it was an opportunity to intensely address very specific issues so stay tuned for other opportunities to get involved.

If you are interested in running something similar for your organisation, I recommend reaching out to Joanne from Disrupters Co on She was great to work with.

WHITEPAPER: Association Apocalypse

The operating landscape of associations is undergoing a seismic shift. Associations need to act now to ensure they can navigate these shifts to emerge stronger and more relevant than ever before. In my new whitepaper, Association Apocalypse, you can read more about the:

  • Six fundamental shifts occurring in the association operating landscape,
  • Three key models associations will need to re-invent, and
  • Eleven core operational enablers associations must get right along the way.

This whitepaper has been designed to assist association leaders to understand the scale of the change coming and create a platform for productive discussions within their associations about appropriate pathways forward. If you have more questions please feel free to contact us to find out how we can assist.

Read the whitepaper.