30 March 2017 Christine

How to encourage referrals

For a membership, non-profit or charity organisation, you have to be careful where your money goes, so coming up with innovative and interesting ways to market and ultimately grow your organisation is vital. How is it possible to get the word out, increase website traffic and foster membership growth without denting your precious budget? That’s easy! Get your members and supporters to do it for you!

Word of mouth has always been one of the most powerful marketing tools, for anything from products to events. Here’s how to get the word out.

Just ask

This is first on the list because, despite it being the most obvious channel to use, people rarely ever do it. There’s no point sitting round a boardroom table scratching heads and throwing ideas around on how to encourage referrals without actually asking your members or donors. A simple yet elegantly designed eShot or, better still, a post card saying “We appreciate your support, please tell your friends about us” can be surprisingly effective.

Use a member star rating

This is something we’re working on implementing in RiverCRM. A member star rating will take into consideration interactions from your members and give them a rating. Members who have attended events, opened and clicked on emails and even interacted on social media will automatically generate a high rating. Once this data has been gathered you will know which of your members are more likely to recommend you to a friend, so you can send email campaigns their way. This will benefit you as you spend time on members likely to yield great results, and will benefit members as only those who respond positively to your marketing will be contacted. Win-win!

Which is more important to your organisation?
Tracking which members are more likely to visit events
Seeing who is engaging with emails and newsletters
Analysing who is spending time exploring your website
Please Specify:

Find out what your members want…

…and BE that for them! The best way to ensure your members refer you to their colleagues and help you encourage the next generation into your organisation is to provide exactly what they’re looking for. Present your community’s most up-to-date news and information in an easily accessible way online with a future-proof website serving as an industry knowledge hub, and see return visits and recommendations grow.

Offer incentives

It’s lovely to think that members would recommend you without even having to be prompted, and it can happen, but what about those who may need convincing? Offering something from your shop for free, a discount off your next event, an invitation to a breakfast meet or rally, or even giving away free merchandise are all fun ways of encouraging those not-so-low-hanging fruit. Initial costs are often outweighed by the positive response you could receive.

Be inclusive

This last pointer is definitely a good idea in general. Even the most well-established, professional organisation should value being seen by a diverse array of people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. This will portray you as an organisation which is adaptable, innovative and welcoming. These are attractive traits for any professional - after all, folks who join organisations are looking to be a part of something, so give them something to be a part of.

As always, our team are waiting to get your thoughts on our latest article. To discuss this or an up coming on- or offline marketing project with us, contact the team or get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

View more like this: Are Targeted Ads the future of marketing (& how can CRM help?)

Want to receive monthly articles and updates containing advice and inspiration for the membership, nonprofit and charity community? Why not subscribe to Senior's mailing list?

In case you missed it...