The membership experience is crucial for organizations looking to build a strong community of supporters and long-time members. The more positive the experience with your association, the more likely your members are to contribute to your mission, advocate for your organization’s cause and provide valuable feedback to help it grow.
However, engaging members can be challenging, especially when an organization has a large membership base and limited resources.
Fortunately, advancements in technology have made it possible for associations to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to improve that member experience. From personalizing content and programming to behind-the-scenes insights that give organizations insights into the behaviors of their members, AI can go a long way to streamlining member experience.
Why Is Member Experience So Important?
Member experience takes into account all aspects of a member’s interaction with your association – from the moment they join until their membership expires. The better the experience, the more likely your members are to feel connected to your organization, ensuring they renew each year while also encouraging them to advocate for your organization.
It’s also important for improving engagement with members, as happy and engaged members are more likely to participate in events, contribute to conversations and take advantage of the services offered by your organization.
By prioritizing improving member engagement, you can streamline the way your organization operates and create a better overall experience for all involved.
Related: Creating Member Onboarding Experiences That Drive Retention
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How Can AI Benefit Your Organization?
AI can address your membership experience in two ways. On the one hand, AI can provide personalized experiences to members. By analyzing member data, understanding member preferences and looking for engagement trends, it can tailor communication and services to each member's needs, creating a more positive and personalized experience that encourages engagement.
Similarly, AI provides data-driven insights that can help organizations make better decisions and address members that are not actively engaging with your content. AI algorithms can analyze large datasets to identify patterns and trends that may not be apparent to humans. This information can be used to inform the organization's engagement strategies and improve the effectiveness of its outreach efforts.
5 Member-Focused Ways to Implement AI
There are several ways organizations can use AI to improve membership engagement:
1. Personalized Communication
Anything from AI-powered chatbots and email marketing campaigns to targeted social media ads, and more, can be used to deliver personalized communication to members.
You can program chatbots to answer frequently asked questions and provide personalized recommendations to members. Email marketing campaigns can be customized to each member’s interests and preferences, while targeted social media ads can be used to reach members who may not be actively engaged with the organization.
Related: 7 Must-Haves in Your Membership Renewal Letter
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2. Member Data Analysis
AI algorithms can be used to analyze your existing member data to identify patterns, preferences and behaviors. Whether it’s insights on behaviors that identify a member will churn or interest in a specific topic, it can help associations adjust their efforts to better support their members. This information can also be used to identify members who may be at risk of disengaging and develop strategies to re-engage them.
3. Streamlining Processes
AI can also make your day-to-day business processes work quicker and easier. AI can be used to automate repetitive tasks such as membership renewals and event registrations. This frees up staff time and resources, allowing them to focus on more strategic engagement efforts.
4. Enhanced Networking
Using your membership data, an AI algorithm can identify common interests and professional connections among members and suggest potential collaborations or facilitate networking opportunities.
Not only would this increase your members’ connection with each other, but it could also open the door for co-produced projects, events and even business opportunities.
5. Content Brainstorming?
Having writer’s block, or need just one more point in your article? AI can help. One of the largest use cases for AI in associations is content creation.
Whether it’s generating session pitches, marketing emails, outlines for blogs or choosing popular comments from a discussion board, AI can provide you with ample opportunities and inspiration to make your content creation efforts ten times easier.
Who’s Already Using AI?
Several organizations have already started to use AI in their own day-to-day processes.
For example, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has already begun experimenting with using AI algorithms to predict the ways to combat poachers and integrating data from wildlife sensors.
Sidecar has also implemented an AI Chatbot on our own website. BettyBot, our ChatGPT-inspired bot, analyzes member data and personalizes communication for each user to answer member queries and direct them to relevant resources on the website.
Other associations have used AI algorithms to analyze member data and predict their likelihood of donating to the organization. This information is then used to develop personalized fundraising campaigns that encourage members to donate.
Are There Any Concerns?
While AI can be a powerful tool for improving membership engagement, there are potential concerns that organizations should be aware of. These concerns include privacy issues, bias, and the risk of alienating members who prefer human interaction.
To address these concerns, organizations should be transparent about their data practices and ensure members have control over their personal information. Organizations should also use diverse data sets to avoid bias and regularly audit their AI algorithms to ensure that they are performing to an expected standard. For those members who prefer human interaction over AI, provide an opportunity to contact a real staff member.
The Future of Member Experience
All in all, AI presents an exciting opportunity for associations to improve the membership experience. By using AI to personalize their interactions, gain data-driven insights, and automate tasks, associations can deepen their relationships with members and achieve greater success.