Whenever the question on member directories comes up, our clients have a broad response. Some associations love them and wouldn’t ever consider not doing one, others have combined their member directory with an annual magazine or report, and still a few have decided that they hold no value and have either stopped publishing or won’t consider starting. Regardless of the reason, the response is surprisingly strong.
Member directories, however, do add value throughout the association:
- They demonstrate the association’s strength. Readers can see the organization’s size, and the association’s leadership can give public attention to important members, especially when they achieve something remarkable. The larger the association, the more apparent it is that it is a professional, stable organization with the clout to help potential members develop their careers professionally.
- They make it easier for members to network online. The directory is a connection point that strengthens the connections formed at events or classes by members. It helps engage and retain members while also giving them the sense of community and connection that are essential to any association’s purpose. This feature became incredibly important during the height of the pandemic, starting about March 2020. It is still important as the country continues to deal with variants.
- The association’s leadership and staff benefit on a day-to-day basis. They can use the database to see membership status, segment member groups and communicate with members based on their interests and needs. Databases can efficiently send the right message to the right people.
If an association wants to provide members with a directory, they can send a print version, a digital version or both. They can also experiment with size and presentation. And directories can also focus on different data, such as associate members only, endorsed members or a mix.
We publish many versions and we are always up for trying something new.