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Guest Post: 5 Best Practices for Association Management

By Joy Gregory, Membership and Operations Coordinator, National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM)

Association management can be tricky, but with the right group of people and the correct best practices, your association can prosper. Here are the top-five practices for association management from the staff at the National Association of Healthcare Access Management.

1. Get Feedback from Members

All companies and organizations should collect feedback from their customers, but this is especially important for associations. Feedback is an easy way to find out what your members’ wants and needs are and what your association can improve! NAHAM strives to be the premier organization for patient access, and in order to achieve that, it is crucial that we meet the needs of all our members.

Our main method for feedback is through surveys, but we also receive feedback through our customer service outlets. If the feedback is useful, we try our best to incorporate the feedback. We’ve used customer feedback to revamp parts of our websites, improve our education materials, and update our certification database.

2. Consider Member Segmentation

Member segmentation should definitely be considered when it comes to associations. According to Marketing General’s 2018 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, the majority of the associations surveyed segment their members based on membership level/type, followed by demographic segmentation and then occupation segmentation. It’s important to strongly evaluate your members and their needs to make sure the members are not segmented in an ineffective way.

NAHAM has two types of membership: the active membership, which is for managers in patient access, and the associate membership, which is for people who are in non-supervisory roles. Through our member segmentation, we are able to better plan our annual conference, create educational products, and promote our two certifications (Certified Healthcare Access Associate and Certified Healthcare Access Manager) effectively.

3. Take Advantage of All Communication Methods and Outlets

Marketing is a crucial part of any organization’s success, so make sure you aren’t putting all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to your communication methods. NAHAM’s members are the front line staff in healthcare settings and are often busy, so it’s important that we use all communication methods to reach them. In addition to using traditional methods like email communication and printed materials, we’ve also been building our social media presence on all social media platforms.

It’s important that you provide your association’s members with invaluable and relevant benefits.

Don’t forget about LinkedIn! LinkedIn is a great social media platform for professional organizations. We also use our publications as a source of communication with our members. This year, we were lucky enough to try something new with voicemail drops to help promote our annual conference. Don’t limit your communication methods, and don’t be afraid to be creative.

4. Offer Invaluable Member Benefits

What are your members getting out of their membership? People join associations to connect to an organization and network with similar goals or interests. It’s important that you provide your association’s members with invaluable and relevant benefits. Members join associations to gain benefits they can’t get anywhere else, whether that’s specific resources, tools, or networking events.

NAHAM constantly evaluates our current member benefits to make sure we’re providing useful tools and resources for Patient Access professionals to use on the job and their everyday lives. Last year, our membership committee suggested adding a membership discount program for all members as an added bonus. We were lucky to find Beneplace and implement the program at the start of this year.

5. Understand the Day to Day of Your Members

The members of your association came to you for a reason, whether that reason was social change, public policy, or career development. They are your stakeholders. Understanding your members’ pain points, responsibilities, obligations, and definition of success is important when it comes to association management. Understanding the day to day routine of your members ensures that you are providing the best benefits and experience.

Stay up to date on current news that can affect your members, or schedule time with volunteers to learn more about what they do. Understanding the day to day of your members will not only benefit how you manage but also benefit the association and its members.

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