Advocacy associations often have a difficult time connecting with members regarding industry news and events. As email open rates decline, association executives are searching for new ways of reaching members to keep everyone informed. In order to match the changing demographics (millennials), associations are beginning to migrate to mobile apps.
Within the last few years, many advocacy associations have begun developing mobile apps to provide members with a mobile-first approach to engagement. Mobile-first strategies are implemented with the goal of allowing members to access content on the platform of their choice, and not limiting the user to a desktop. If your association is considering a mobile app for member engagement, here are six must-have features to guarantee mobile engagement.
1) Targeted push notifications
Sending a mass push notification is the same as sending a mass email, though useful, segmenting communication will increase engagement and open rates. Mobile apps for associations must be equipped with targeted push notifications so members don’t feel overwhelmed with constant alerts.
Associations should target members based on a variety of factors, such as age, location, personal interests, profession, etc. When members first launch the mobile app, they should be asked a series of questions to personalize their experience with your new app.
The Washington State Pharmacy Association asks users to list their profession (either pharmacist, retired, student, or pharmacist technician). In doing so, the WSPA can send news and information to those who it’s most relevant; meaning students will not be notified for events regarding retired professionals in Washington.
2) Polls, surveys, and forms
When adopting a mobile-first strategy, integrating polls and surveys is critical for two-way communication. Associations are able to collect data and information that help better understand the needs and opinions of members for future development. It’s important to eliminate barriers that members face when attempting to engage with your association – make engagement as easy as possible.
Use polls to ask members about recent legislative initiatives, their favourite parts of the app, or whatever your association finds most important. Coupled with targeted push notifications, quick polls are a powerful tool to receive member insight fast.
It’s important to ensure that the polls you create are linked to a backend data source for collection and organization. If the poll requires immediate attention, such as a live event or political policy action, it would help for association staff to receive the forms via email or text if needed.
3) Event integration
Gone are the days of “one-and-done” event apps. Associations are now realizing the value of a year-round mobile app as a platform for member engagement. As many marketers are aware, the hardest part of marketing your mobile app is getting people to download it to their personal devices. It’s believed that once a user has downloaded the app, you’ve passed the largest hurdle for mobile engagement. Provide the event schedule, speaker lists, sponsor list, etc., for event attendees to make the mobile app a must download.
It’s common for associations to have multiple events per year, whether an annual general conference, a local meeting, or even online webinars. A mobile app should allow your staff to create new pages and content for every event your association hosts.
Event pages in the app should allow users to add events to their native calendars and schedule reminders. To improve engagement, event pages should let users seamlessly share on social media to promote attendance by more members. Further, users should be able to find key information, such as directions, contact info, and links to sign up for the event.
Coupled with targeted push notifications and polls, your mobile app will provide a next-level event engagement strategy and create a new event experience for members.
4) Political contacts
At its foundation, advocacy associations strive to make positive change with respect to political policy and government action. An association mobile app should link users to their local state/provincial/municipal representative to contact via email or phone.
One mobile app integration to consider for political advocacy is KnowWho, a membership engagement service to contact legislature representatives. By adding a third party service like KnowWho, associations can run a mass advocacy campaign in a mobile environment with targeted push notifications. Send call-to-actions to members and ask them to send an email to their state representative through the app or share information on social media.
5) Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns
Mobile apps provide a mobile-first environment for rallying members (Click here to learn about our “Campaigns” feature for Associations!). Grassroots advocacy can be streamlined in a mobile setting when combining targeted push notifications with association campaigns. Unifor runs advocacy campaigns, such as “Support Local 597! Send a letter to Dwight Ball” or “Universal Pharmacare” and plans to use the app to gain public momentum. A series of targeted push notifications, based on union sectors, member status, and geographic location, can be sent to members across the country in seconds. Union members have immediate access to campaign links and can send an advocacy email in minutes.
6) Backend content management system
Mobile apps must make the life of association staff easier, not harder. Many mobile apps developed today are equipped with a backend content management system to allow staff to easily add and edit content. 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform is easy to learn and offers drag and drop mechanisms along with simple data import capabilities.
A second way to reduce the workload for association staff is to provide unique logins for the backend of the mobile app. Specific staff should have their own login information and authority within the backend, meaning not all staff would have the same power to change content. Association executives should be able to appoint new staff to edit content or send a notification without fear of a mass application error. The backend should require no coding knowledge to make changes and to add content.
7) Member ID Cards
Mobile apps are a great way to provide access to association benefits to members. The Minnesota Education Association allows members to launch their unique ID card to redeem benefits where accepted.
8) Donation Portals
It’s essential for your mobile app to feature donation portals in easy to locate places to help streamline fundraising campaigns on mobile devices. For member donations, it works best to link members to your existing association web page from the app.
The Missouri Education Association uses its mobile app to link members to three separate donation portals: The PAC, the Hope Fund, and the Cheer Fund. By providing a donation portal in your mobile app, you are making the donation process as easy as possible for members.
Read more about Why Associations need a mobile app here.
14 Oranges provides mobile apps for associations across the U.S. and Canada. Info Grove is the platform designed to make mobile apps easy. With Info Grove, association staff can build a unique mobile app with features specific for each association. No coding required. Click here to see if Info Grove is right for your association.