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Top Features Your Association's Mobile App Should Have

10 min read

9 April 2024

Engagement and connectivity are paramount for associations looking to foster a vibrant and growing membership. And a well-crafted mobile app can be the cornerstone of your association's strategy through enhancing member interaction and streamlining your communications. But what features are essential for making your mobile app a powerful tool for both your association and its members? In this article, we’ll explore the top features your association's mobile app should have, how they can drive engagement for your membership, and provide a handy checklist to help you assess and choose the right features for your app. 


Essential Features for Your Association's Mobile App

It is critical for your association to meet the evolving expectations of today’s professionals while building a strong, engaged community that values its association members By creating a dynamic, interactive, and personalized mobile member experience, your association will be able to launch a cycle of engagement: where increased member participation leads to richer content and interactions, which in turn attract more engagement. Create your own cycle of engagement by integrating the following key features into your association’s mobile app.

Tailored News Feed 

  • Why It's Essential: The news feed keeps members updated with the latest happenings, announcements, and content relevant to their personal interests and the industry at large. It's the pulse of the association, keeping the conversation and engagement lively and informed. 
  • Benefits: This feature boosts member engagement by delivering personalized content, fostering a sense of community, and keeping your association top-of-mind. It encourages regular app usage and provides a platform for instant dissemination of important information and encourages members to contribute regularly. 

Engaging Forums 

  • Why It's Essential: Forums offer a dedicated space for members to discuss topics, share knowledge, and solve problems together. They are the backbone of member interaction, facilitating meaningful conversations and peer-to-peer support. 
  • Benefits: By promoting community engagement, forums help in building a supportive and interactive membership base. They also serve as a valuable knowledge resource, where members can find answers and insights from their peers. 

Unlimited Events & Conferences 

  • Why It's Essential: Integrating events and conferences features allows members to discover, plan, and participate in association events with ease. This feature simplifies the management and attendance of events, making them more accessible to all members. 
  • Benefits: Enhances member experience by providing a seamless way to engage with events, leading to higher attendance and satisfaction. It also offers opportunities for networking and professional development, which are key member benefits. 

Useful Resources 

  • Why It's Essential: A dedicated section for resources such as whitepapers, case studies, and educational materials supports continuous learning and professional growth. It positions your association as a thought leader and go-to resource for industry insights. 
  • Benefits: Members gain easy access to a wealth of information that can help them in their professional development, increasing the value of their membership and encouraging renewal and long-term engagement.

Targeted In-App Advertising 

  • Why It's Essential: In-app advertising allows for targeted promotion of relevant products, services, and opportunities to your members. It creates an additional revenue stream while providing value to both members and advertisers. 
  • Benefits: Generates revenue for the association and offers advertisers direct access to a highly engaged and niche audience. For members, it means receiving relevant offers and information on products and services tailored to their professional interests. 

Featured Sponsorships 

  • Why It's Essential: Similar to in-app advertising, sponsorships provide an opportunity for relevant businesses to connect with your association's members. It can enhance events, content, and features within the app through branded experiences. 
  • Benefits: Increases revenue and adds value to the membership experience by bringing in expert content and exclusive opportunities from sponsors. It also helps in funding additional app features and other association programs. 

Advanced Personalization for Chapters & Groups 

  • Why It's Essential: Groups allow members to connect based on specific interests, geographic locations, or professional criteria. This feature fosters micro-communities within your association, providing a more personalized engagement experience. 
  • Benefits: Encourages deeper connections and engagement among members with similar interests or challenges. It also helps in tailoring communication and events to meet the unique needs of different member segments. 

Direct Member-to-Member Messaging 

  • Why It's Essential: Direct messaging enables members to connect, collaborate, and network privately. It's crucial for building personal relationships and facilitating professional opportunities within the community. 
  • Benefits: Enhances networking opportunities, making it easier for members to reach out, share opportunities, and seek advice. It personalizes the member experience and strengthens the sense of community within the association.

Timely Push Notifications

  • Why It's Essential: Push notifications are direct and immediate, making them an effective tool for engaging members with important updates, reminders, and personalized content. They ensure that your association stays top-of-mind and that members don't miss out on valuable opportunities. 
  • Benefits: Increases engagement by delivering timely and relevant content directly to members' devices. It supports retention by keeping members informed and involved with the association's activities and offerings.

Fostering a More Engaged Membership

A mobile app equipped with these capabilities not only increases member engagement but also supports your association's goals.  Here’s a breakdown of how these features foster a more engaged membership:

  • Personalization and Relevance: Members are more likely to engage with content that resonates with their professional interests and personal preferences, leading to increased app usage and participation in association activities. 
  • Community and Connection: A strong sense of community encourages members to regularly engage with the app, participate in discussions, and contribute content, which in turn fosters a vibrant and active membership base. 
  • Convenience and Accessibility: Simplifying the process to engage with events leads to higher participation rates, more networking opportunities, and enhanced member satisfaction. 
  • Continuous Learning and Development: Providing valuable resources helps maintain member engagement by meeting their professional development needs, thereby reinforcing the value of their association membership. 
  • Revenue Opportunities with Value: These revenue-generating features can fund further app development and content curation, improving the overall member experience. Additionally, by showcasing relevant opportunities, members feel the association is a key facilitator in their professional landscape, increasing engagement. 
  • Timely and Direct Communication: Timely notifications can boost event registrations and attendance, prompt immediate engagement with tailored content, and ensure members are aware of all the benefits their association offers, leading to a more active and involved membership. 

Checklist for Your Association's Mobile App

To help you assess your current mobile app or guide you in selecting the right features, here's a checklist: 

  1. Does the app provide a dynamic and regularly updated news feed? Is the content tailored to your preferences? 
  2. Are there forums or spaces for members to regularly engage in discussions? 
  3. Is there an integrated events and conferences feature with registration and itinerary planning capabilities? 
  4. Can members easily access valuable resources and educational materials? 
  5. Does the app offer opportunities for personalized in-app advertising and sponsorships? 
  6. Are you able to tailor in-app content for your Chapters or other groups based on interests, regions, or specializations? 
  7. Is member-to-member messaging available for personal connections? 
  8. Are push notifications personalized, timely and relevant? Are they utilized to broadcast important announcements, encourage app engagement and improve awareness of your programs? 

The Bottom Line

A mobile app with the right features can transform how your association engages with its members, making it an invaluable tool for communication, event management, and community building. By focusing on these essential features, you can ensure your app not only meets the needs of your members but also supports the goals of your association. Remember, the key to a successful mobile app is not just in its features, but in how those features are utilized to create a more connected, informed, and engaged community.

Elevate your association's engagement year-round with the Clowder mobile engagement app and create a more connected and engaged community, request a demo today.

Written by Debbie Willis

Debbie Willis is the VP of Global Marketing at ASI, with over 20 years marketing experience in the association and non-profit technology space. Passionate about all things MarTech, Debbie has led countless website, SEO, content, email, paid ad and social media marketing strategies and campaigns. Debbie loves creating meaningful content to engage and empower association and non-profit audiences. Debbie received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Information Systems from James Madison University and a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing from The George Washington University. Debbie is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, American Society of Association Executives and dabbles in photography.

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