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Does your association engage in effective member communication?

3 min read

Communication is essential for associations to grow and retain their members. The professionalism of an association is demonstrated via the polished appearance and the insightful content of its publications. Well-designed publications with high-quality content that conveys the value of an association’s membership will engage members and convey industry understanding.

There are various media platforms that associations can utilise including:

Magazines and journals

A print publication is a valued member benefit. When surveyed, members of associations often nominate their magazine as the most valued aspect of their membership. With more than eight out of ten Australians reading at least one magazine frequently, a magazine focussed almost exclusively on an association’s interests will be read and adds membership value.

Magazines are often kept as a reference, preserving your association as an expert and leader in your industry. Magazines are also shared in the workplace, exposing your association, the services it offers and its valuable member benefits to an industry-specific pool of potential members.
More than a quarter of all readers pick up a magazine three of more times before they are finished with it.

CEO of the Australian Counselling Association Philip Armstrong believes a printed publication is a must for an association. “Many readers comment that having a member magazine is the difference between meeting the expectations of what a professional peak body should deliver and just another body of professionals that simply meet every month. We have been overwhelmed by how well members have received our publication.”

Benefits of a magazine or journal:

  • Adds value to membership, which can attract, retain and increase an association’s members
  • Promotes an association’s services
  • Differentiates an association from its competitors
  • Defines an association’s culture and brand
  • Enhances an association’s image and reputation
  • Increases stakeholders’ perception of an association
  • Positions an association as a leader and pioneer in its industry
  • Exposes your association to potential members, as magazine are shared in industry workplaces
  • Educates members and other key stakeholders regarding an association’s projects and member experience
  • Brings your association to life
  • Can be an effective communication tool for increasing members’ and workers’ pride in, and affiliation with, an association.


An e-newsletter is a great accompaniment, but no substitute, for a hard-copy publication. E-newsletters complement print publications, providing more frequent updates between printed editions.

E-newsletters expose an association to a wider audience and increase search engine optimisation by drawing increased web traffic to an association’s website and highlighting its services and products to more people, more often.

While an e-newsletter is a great way to communicate efficiently and affordably with members, a print publication is more conductive to longer articles containing multiple figures, images and more in-depth analysis.

Benefits of an e-newsletter:

  • Allows associations to remain in regular contact with their members and stakeholders
  • Provides frequent association and industry updates
  • Increases search engine optimisation, generating more traffic to an association’s website
  • Educates members of an association’s services and member benefits.


Custom-designed books record, celebrate and reflect on the milestones of an association. They can further increase key stakeholder engagement by interlinking an association’s history and achievements with the history of their industry and members. This could include lobbying achievements, or a celebration of a 20, 50, 75 or 100 year existence.

Benefits of a book:

  • Celebrates the achievements of an association
  • Defines an association’s culture and brand
  • Increases key external stakeholders’ perception of an association
  • Positions an association as a leader and pioneer in their industry
  • Educates key stakeholders regarding an association’s projects and member experience
  • Is an effective internal communication tool for increasing members’ and workers’ pride in an association, fostering brand ambassadors and potentially aiding member retention
  • Enhances image and reputation
  • Attracts new member organisations
  • Educates on, and promotes, new projects as well as past successes
  • Positions an association as a thought leader and pioneer in the industry it works in.
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