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Memberships are a crucial component of every association. These professionals enhance value and promote industry growth. But, with so many strategies to improve members’ careers and encourage involvement, how can you develop the most effective solution to attract and retain them?

We interviewed notable association leaders who are making a difference in their members’ lives by creating impactful programs. They discuss building and running an association specifically for members, generating trust to ensure lifelong memberships, and identifying, serving, and resolving members’ objectives and issues. These executives even share how they curate each membership to align with their organization’s mission.

Lauren Imparato, The Association

Lauren’s advice for generating a steady flow of memberships is not to discriminate. Every potential member has the ability to learn and advance their skills within an organization, which is why she doesn’t enlist people solely based on titles and rankings. It’s essential not to deny perseverant people the opportunity to participate as they may bring additional value to your association.

The Association is an organization of elite, extraordinary women carefully selected in order to create Your Personal Board of Directors. Using a proprietary methodology, The Association helps women elevate their careers, achieve their goals, and conquer their dreams.

Learn more: Lauren Imparato, The Association


Lori Gracey, Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA)

When building an association, Lori emphasizes the importance of referrals. Members are more likely to mention your organization to a friend or family member when you provide quality services that simplify their professional lives. Word-of-mouth marketing helps you generate new members and amplify your mission to grow your organization.

Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) is a member-based organization devoted to advancing technology in education. TCEA’s primary focus is integrating technology into the PreK-16 environment and providing members with state-of-the-art information through conferences, workshops, newsletters, the internet, and collaborations with businesses and institutions of higher learning.

Learn more: Lori Gracey, TCEA


Steve Casey, Florida Sheriffs Association

How does Steve create value in his association? He establishes each member’s objectives and develops programs that reflect those goals. By acknowledging the reasoning behind his member’s participation, Steve can work to refine and enhance his programs for a mission-based organization that produces a long-lasting impact.

The Florida Sheriffs Association was established in 1893 to serve the needs of Florida Sheriffs. It is the largest and oldest criminal justice service in the state. Today, the group boasts a membership in excess of 75,000 and is committed to fostering the effectiveness of the Office of Sheriff through leadership, innovative practices, legislative initiatives, education, and training.

Learn more: Steve Casey, Florida Sheriffs Association


Marcos Leal, Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA)

Often, association leaders are hindered by their own values and judgment and, as a result, struggle to grow their organization. That’s why Marcos maintains the importance of opening your mind to different ideas and opinions. He supports his member’s perspectives and allows them to determine his association’s direction, as he understands that the purpose of an organization is to serve others.

The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) is a nationwide organization with 50 chapters that connects Latino leaders for impact. The association helps Latino students network to find jobs, internships, news, resources, and scholarship opportunities.

Learn more: Marcos Leal, ALPFA


Melissa Dornan, Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association (MASTMA)

For Melissa, generating sponsorships is all about building relationships. That’s why she’s created a partnership program to acquire dedicated sponsors who are passionate about her organization’s mission. By gathering feedback from her donors, she can establish their needs and partnership goals and even offer them a seat on her board to sustain the relationship.

Members of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association (MASTMA) manage the sports fields of schools, universities, and parks and recreation departments, as well as those used by professional teams throughout Maryland, Delaware, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia. MASTMA offers members the opportunity to meet regularly to earn continuing education credits, advocate on behalf of the industry, discuss and develop athletic field programs, and share expertise to best serve athletes at all levels.

Learn more: Melissa Dornan, MASTMA


Rebecca Oyler, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association(PMTA)

As an association leader, you need to provide members with the most beneficial experiences to help them advance in their careers. For Rebecca, this means advocating for safety measures and education in the trucking industry. You can elevate your mission and support members’ personal and professional growth through promotion campaigns.

As part of a national integrated network of trucking associations and affiliates, the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association identifies the key issues that impact the trucking industry and fights to preserve and strengthen the industry and its jobs. The organization also provides an array of tangible business services to members and delivers education and awareness programs, up-to-the-minute industry news and trends, and money-saving services.

Learn more: Rebecca Oyler, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association


Sharon Goodson, North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA)

Membership services and programs have to generate a favorable outcome for members and the association as a whole. With this goal in mind, Sharon asserts the importance of maintaining transparency in your commitments. She builds trust with her members by adhering to her word and exceeding expectations in her delivery.

North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) is a trusted resource and proven advocate for its statewide network of 34 Community Action Agencies. NCCAA gives voice to the needs, concerns, and stories of North Carolina’s disadvantaged and low-income citizens and sheds light on the collective impact of Community Action Agencies.

Learn more: Sharon Goodson, NCCAA


Trina Andresen Coe, American Association of Endodontists

American Association of Endodontists
Association leaders don’t often follow up with people whose memberships have expired, which is why Trina creates check-in efforts. These annual events ensure that she can reinstate value for these members and convince them of their significance to the association. It’s crucial not to disregard former associates as your organization can always benefit from their involvement.

The American Association of Endodontists is a global resource for knowledge, research, and education for the profession, members, and the public. Endodontists are specialists in saving teeth. The AAE is dedicated to advancing the art and science of endodontics and promoting the highest standards of patient care.

Learn more: Trina Andresen Coe, AAE


Ted McKinney, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

As a leader in the agriculture industry, Ted is passionate about developing policies that enhance the field for the welfare of the nation. He oversees his association with the core values derived from his upbringing. When managing an organization, it is essential to stay true to yourself and lead with determination.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is the only educational and research organization that directly serves the nation’s state departments of agriculture. NASDA’s mission is to advance agriculture to shape a changing world, connect farmers to new markets, and preserve the environment while maintaining agricultural viability.

Learn more: Ted McKinney, NASDA


Cynthia Barnes, National Association of Women Sales Professionals(NAWSP)

According to Cynthia, the best way to serve members is to get to know them personally. First, identify an ideal audience that aligns with your organization’s goals. Then, spend time understanding each person’s characteristics through endeavors such as surveys, engagement events, and personalized mentoring programs. With a friendly and accommodating approach, your members are more likely to pay it forward.

The National Association of Women Sales Professionals (NAWSP) represents the largest, most diverse collection of women in sales. The organization offers robust mentoring programs, training, and professional development designed by women for women. NAWSP connects women to progressive employers to help them succeed in their roles and discover their authentic selves.

Learn more: Cynthia Barnes, NAWSP


Elizabeth Johnson, National Association of Medication Access & Patient Advocacy(NAMAPA)

In some cases, people join associations to receive guidance on professional issues. According to Elizabeth, leaders must develop programs, services, and resources that deliver impactful solutions to advance members’ careers. Since these demands are often complex, it can be challenging to stay relevant and consistent, so it’s critical to stay on top of market developments and industry trends.

The National Association of Medication Access & Patient Advocacy (NAMAPA) is an educational and nonprofit organization. NAMAPA empowers healthcare advocates by providing a collaborative community focused on providing resources to navigate medication access and support.

Learn more: Elizabeth Johnson, NAMAPA


Kimberly Shatzer, Esports Trade Association (ESTA)

Kimberly and the Esports Trade Association’s committee and board members have a unique and effective method of recruiting members. Their board, committee, volunteers, sponsors, and leaders include prominent and notable people that create a lasting impact on members. These influencers are passionate about promoting the organization so members are assured of its value and can receive top-notch services.

The Esports Trade Association (ESTA) promotes, protects, and advances the broader interests of the esports community. The organization provides members with forward-thinking professional development programs, networking opportunities, relevant industry research, and valuable tools and resources. ESTA focuses on promoting business expertise and sustainable growth of the esports industry by growing the number of participants, sponsors, products, and services, procuring industry research, and executing industry events.

Learn more: Kimberly Shatzer, Esports Trade Association


Linda Kulla, International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA)

As an association with multiple chapters, it’s important to scale and advance in your industry. To accomplish this, Linda suggests recruiting members for volunteer work. Members of her organization help grow their local chapters by hosting webinars and other educational events, sustaining interest, and promoting the association’s legacy.

The International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) is a worldwide professional alliance of leaders representing the diverse industries that constitute the universe of residential and commercial furnishings and design. IFDA’s mission is to inspire collaboration within the furnishings and design industry to support its people, products, and services.

Learn more: Linda Kulla, IFDA


Michelle Mills Clement, Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR)

Michelle’s secret to managing a successful organization is remaining authentic and inclusive. She upholds her mission by staying open to diverse members and sponsors, so she can create a comprehensive reputation that encourages further involvement. With this method, Michelle generates trust in her people.

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) represents 17,000 members from all real estate specialties, including commercial sales, development, property management, appraisal, auctions, and residential sales. CAR unites all facets of the industry as a leading advocate for real estate, driving REALTOR® business success and economic development of communities.

Learn more: Michelle Mills Clement, Chicago Association of REALTORS®