Member-driven associations like yours play a vital role in bringing together businesses, professionals, and stakeholders within your industry. A well-crafted website is not only a digital hub for your members. It’s also a powerful tool for demonstrating the value of membership. As the next generation takes over the workforce, you need to rethink your website to serve a new audience of digital natives.
We’ve found that every member-driven website thrives with the support of several core features. While the use cases for the following elements may vary depending on the size of your organization or its focus, each offers a crucial opportunity to empower members and make a positive impact on your industry.
Core Elements of Every Website Experience
Your website often gives the first impressions of your organization. Given its importance, every element of your website must look, feel, and function in a way that attracts and engages your members. For associations, that effort begins with ensuring your brand draws a strong connection between your organization and its audience.
Once your brand and messaging are aligned, every association website begins with the following foundational elements:
- A clear and compelling design: A design that’s appealing and user-friendly is essential to ensuring your site’s visitors have a positive experience.
- Intuitive navigation: A logically structured and easy-to-understand menu is necessary to ensure your site visitors can find what they need.
- Responsive and ADA accessible: A responsive design that’s optimized for all devices and accounts for the differing needs of your audience ensures your website offers an inclusive experience.
- Seamless integrations with external systems: Real-time integrations with outside data sources are essential to providing streamlined functionality that builds user trust.
- Flexible and functional CMS: Your site editors need an easy way to create, edit, and update your website.
7 Must-Have Features for Every Association Website
When your website is built on a platform that’s tailor-made for associations, you can access a suite of features to serve your current generation of members — and the next one.
With effective design and seamless integrations, your site can operate at a higher level by utilizing the following seven features.
1. Member Login and Member-only Content
Your login page should be easy to find and enable access to member-specific features with single-sign-on (SSO) capabilities that keep them logged in across your site, AMS, and any other resources.
Create a custom user experience by determining the sections of your website that should be accessible to the public as well as vital information that is exclusive to your members. By incorporating single-sign-on (SSO) capabilities between your website and your AMS, your members will be able to log in once and have access to managing their membership, signing up for events, as well as member-only content across your site based on their level of membership (member, associate, committee, board, etc.)
Events are the heartbeat of most associations. They’re often the primary way for members to connect with each other and the organization. Every conference, seminar, and convention should be branded in a way that elevates the attendee experience and draws a positive connection to your organization. Incorporating a dynamic and easy-to-use event section into your website allows members to find and engage with these events, purchase tickets utilizing the AMS, and streamline the registration process. Plus, it builds excitement for what’s ahead.
3. Member Directory
Nurture the bond between members by offering a full directory of members. Users should be able to browse membership by whatever category suits their needs (region, role, etc.) By syncing your website member directory with your existing member database, you can ensure information about your organization’s most important audience is current and accurate.
4. Resource Library
Tap into your website’s potential as an educational resource by offering a library of articles, white papers, toolkits, webinars, and other content vital to your members and their industry. It’s critical to organize the resources by categories and implement robust filters that allow users to find what they need quickly and easily.
5. Automated Job Board
Manually managing job board submissions is both tedious and inefficient for your members and staff. A modern website enables members to submit and pay for job postings on their own. An approval process allows your staff to review and approve each posting with ease before it’s published, and the posting will automatically expire at the end of its contracted time. This process will not only empower your members to more easily and readily use this important resource, but you’re also saving your team’s time from having to manually manage all these details.
6. Testimonials and Success Stories
Your membership is a community. Strengthen those bonds by publishing stories and updates from your members that highlight the positive impact of your association. Real-life examples and testimonials inspire current members and encourage new members to join.
7. Committee and Working Group Pages
Volunteering is critical to most associations. Highlight the various groups and committees within your organization on their own pages. Your website should include details about these groups as well as their leadership and objectives to encourage member involvement. When integrated with the single-sign-on(SSO) functionality, you can give board and committee members tiered access to protected documents.
Strong Websites Are Essential to Member-Driven Organizations
Association websites are much more than digital brochures or informational archives. They’re the lifeblood of the industries they serve. Implementing these features empowers your organization to connect with its audience and deliver education and advocacy for your overall mission. If these sound like features that will enable your organization to function at a higher level, we should talk.