Association software | Financial

How to Increase Bar Association Membership (Quick Guide)

April 26, 2022


You know that memberships are vital to your legal or bar association. They give your organization credibility, improve the member experience, and drive revenue. The internet has given organizations more options than ever to promote awareness and drive bar association engagement. At the same time, traditional methods are also effective. The key to increasing memberships in the digital age is to use a mix of techniques and adapt them to your association.

For more practical tips on how to increase your bar or legal association's membership, download our free checklist.  


Here are eight practical ways to get started:


1. Boost membership benefits

Is your organization worth joining? Why do legal professionals join bar associations in the first place? Put yourself in a prospect’s position and ask if the benefits are worth the membership fee. 

Most people join an association to access continuing education programs, increase networking opportunities, and attend events. Others join organizations that offer discounts for services or free access to exclusive legal research. How do you know if your organization measures up?

Conduct a survey and find out! Create a list of questions using digital advocacy software and send an invitation via your engagement management system. The responses will give you valuable industry insights into what areas need improvement and what can be changed. That way, you can create an upgraded program that will attract new people while engaging current members. That’s a double-win!


2. Conduct an old-fashioned membership drive

Email, social media, forums, and SMS campaigns are convenient digital ways to solicit prospective members in online communities. At the same time, they are easily ignored.

There’s nothing wrong with using traditional business practices to attract members. Collect a list of telephone numbers and give people a call to let them know of any upcoming events or educational opportunities. Visit some law firms and leave promotional materials. You can even attend industry events and network with people in person.  

Human interaction is critical to communication. Since your organization offers valuable services, many prospects will appreciate your efforts to contact them in person to discuss how membership can benefit their career.


3. Offer premium continuing education

Like most businesses, the legal services industry has ongoing educational requirements across multiple areas of law. So why not simplify the signup and payment process and make them enjoyable at the same time? 

There is software to help you manage continuing education for legal associations, making signups and payments easy. Besides offering industry certifications, associations can create their own interactive courses, webinars, and workshops to keep members engaged. 

Continuing education is critical. When prospective members see a comprehensive list of course offerings, they are more likely to join your association and refer new members.


4. Give away some free stuff

Whether it’s an online course, ebook, workshop, or swag, most people love free stuff.

Creating an opt-in for a free digital product on your website gives you the opportunity to collect critical contact information. Giving away free pens, mugs, coasters, and mouse pads puts your logo in front of an audience for years. No matter what you choose to give away, free stuff gets noticed and it goes a long way to promote your association. 


5. Connect with universities

Colleges and universities are ideal places to find prospective members. Contact department heads, deans, or administrators to discuss how your organization can connect with current students or recent alumni. Explain how your organization can add value to their educational experience and offer excellent mentoring opportunities. Offer to give a presentation on job prospects in the legal industry and collect contact information. You may not get a boost in signups right away, but your efforts will set the stage to increase membership in the future.


6. Produce better social media

Most organizations have some sort of social media presence, but do their posts convert? Are their advertising campaigns effective? Are they on the proper channels?

Your social media presence should be producing new memberships. If not, it may be time to re-think your strategy. Create personas or avatars and put yourself in their position. Are they new to the industry, or do they have decades of industry experience? What are they looking for at this stage in their career? What do they need to progress? What educational tools does your organization offer to improve their careers?

Demonstrate membership benefits in detail. Highlight any charity or community service events. Focus on additional resources your organization offers that go above and beyond standard industry associations. Invest in professional design services to create content that stands out. 

When it comes to social media, appearance is everything. Hiring professionals may be a significant investment at first, but it pays in the long run to get it right.


7. Simplify and automate renewals

If you’re going to ask for renewals, make it as easy as possible! If you can automate dues using financial software for bar associations, that’s even better.

Running a law practice can be stressful. The last thing lawyers need is an outdated, buggy, or time-consuming system to pay for their membership. By using modern bar association software that automates payments, you’re making the process easier for them - and more profitable for you.


8. Hold events people look forward to attending

Whether online or in-person, a full calendar of events is a major membership benefit. Look for ways to go above and beyond by offering speakers from different industries, social media influencers, podcasters, and other “new media” personalities. Make it a “must-attend” affair by offering social activities that enable members to meet each other. Let members that register early bring a friend for free. Your association will not only gain more credibility in the industry, but you’ll also increase members through referrals.

Online events are another profitable avenue to engage members in different locations. An association management system for legal organizations helps you organize events, promote them online, and simplify payment options.


Looking for more ways to engage members?

An association management system for legal businesses helps you streamline workflows and automate processes so you can focus on member engagement. 


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