Best Association Websites

Alliance  ·  July 13

We reviewed the 20 best association websites, as well as some awesome examples of association website designs to inspire your next project.

See Our Work Work With Alliance

In the digital world we live in, associations are recognizing that a great digital presence is one of the best ways to attract new members. To grow your membership online, an association website must engage their online audience through informative online content and an engaging design aesthetic that stays true to the brand’s mission, vision, and core values. In this article we will share the features that make up the best association websites, as well as some awesome examples of the best association website designs to serve as inspiration for your next project.

What makes the best association website?

  • A designated membership space to provide a sense of community and area for important news, events, and updates
  • An easy to use payment platform to allow for new membership signups, renewals, event registrations, and donations
  • A great CMS system that allows content administrators to easily update the association website and add new content regularly
  • A website that provides a sense of trust through good performance, security, and simple navigation
  • Responsive design that allows visitors to view services offered through a desktop, mobile, or tablet device
  • Different types of content to engage their audience online through a blog, news section, or resource area
  • Clear outline of member benefits
  • Offering “call to action” areas throughout the website, such as “connect with a membership specialist” or “register for an event”
  • Inclusion of value statements — competitive advantages, company mission and vision, description of company culture, and employee bios

A designated membership space to provide a sense of community and area for important news, events, and updates

Every association website should have a dedicated member space. This area will allow members to easily navigate an association website for important news, updates, or upcoming events that the association might be hosting. You also may want to consider including exclusive content or perks for your members as a way to show that you value the support of your members.  You will want to have your membership area on your website password protected and highly secure so important payment details and personal information is protected for all members.

An easy-to-use payment platform to allow for new membership signups, renewals, event registrations, and donations

In our research the best association websites also integrate a great online payment system to make it easy for members and online visitors to pay membership fees, register for events, or donate to your organization. You will want your online payment system to be reliable, secure, and easy to use. Some online payment systems you may want to consider integrating into your association website might include: 

  • Paypal 
  • Stripe
  • Braintree
  • Apple pay
  • Google pay 

A great CMS system that allows content administrators to easily update the association website and add new content regularly

An association website should have a great CMS system integrated into it to give content administrators the ability to easily update or add new content to the website regularly. The CMS system will allow for front-end updates to the website to be made quickly in case there is an upcoming event or important membership announcement. It is also important that an association website be updated regularly with new content to keep current members engaged and attract new visitors to the website. With a great CMS system, new content can be uploaded or integration of an online blog can easily be added as a way to keep the website relevant.

Security and trust 

Let’s start with the basics of user experience. Having an association website that performs well and is secure is more important than you think. Both performance and security actually affect search engine rankings, with less secure and poor performing websites being ranked lower by search engines. A website that loads around two seconds is considered well performing in search engine standards. In terms of security, make sure HTTPS is installed on your website for data protection purposes.

These elements also help create a sense of reliability, which has an overall impact on your brand image. You also want to make sure your website is easy to navigate so visitors can find information they are looking for fairly quickly. 

Responsive design

Having a website design that is responsive across all devices is also considered an important component for the best association websites we reviewed- as it allows visitors to access the website from virtually any device. This can help an association grow their membership, increase event attendance, and improve online donations. Now more than ever, people rely on smartphones for browsing the web, and it can be frustrating if you have to zoom in and out to view website content if it is not optimized for smartphone use. This can also contribute to a high bounce rate due to frustration with the current user experience. Responsive design also is a factor in search engine rankings, with well optimized websites ranking higher in search results.

Clear outline of your membership benefits

When someone comes to your association website, you want it to be extremely clear as to what the benefits of your membership are if you want to grow your organization. This will help a new visitor determine what your brand’s mission and vision is, and how their support will have an impact on achieving these goals. This also prevents any wasted time searching your website for this information. Be sure to include your member benefits on a dedicated page of your website so it is easy to find online.

Content creation

Association websites should also offer engaging content as a way to attract new visitors and keep current members engaged online. Not only does new content help in telling your brand’s story, but it will also serve as education on your industry and cause which can help increase your community and support online. So what types of content should you include in an association website? Below are a few examples:

  • Blog posts: could discuss industry information, highlight specific members, or recap recent events
  • Newsletter: keeps members or new visitors up to date on the current happenings in your space
  • Resource section: could include different documents relating to your industry that members might find helpful

Call to action areas

To improve online conversion rates for your association,  you should include “call to action” areas where visitors can further engage with your organization. For association websites, this could include buttons to “consult a membership specialist”, “register for an upcoming event”, or “donate online.” Inclusion of forms is another great way to improve conversion rates. These forms could have visitors enter contact information to maybe subscribe to an online newsletter as a way to keep them engaged with new updates, upcoming events, or ways to get involved.

Photography and video

Associations should include great imagery and other media to capture the attention of your visitors. Stock photography can look outdated and give less of a personal feel to your association website, which may give it a mainstream feel without personality. Instead, consider including imagery that will better personalize your association website, such as photos from recent events or of individual employees, maybe with a professional bio on their role at the association.

Consistent branding

You want to keep your association’s online branding consistent throughout your website design. Keep your association’s logo, website color choices, and content presentation professional and consistent for the best impression online. 

Inclusion of value statements

It is also important to consider including value statements within your association’s website design. Value statements help visitors understand your organization’s current mission and values. Below are a few examples of value statements you could include in your website design:

  • Badges of any awards received
  • Employee bios (Including industry experience and education)
  • Statistics (That support your associations success such as donations received or organizational impact)
  • Company culture (What does it look like to work for your association in terms of office life? This can be great for potential applicants for your organization)
  • Company mission and vision statement (What does your association hope to accomplish? How has your membership grown? How does community support play a role in achieving these goals?)

Best association websites

Including these features in your association’s website design will help your website stand out from other similar organizations and attract visitors to your site. Below are a few examples of the best association website designs that embody these features:

1

American Lung Association

Features:

  • Call to action areas to donate now
  • Inclusion of informative content such as an advocacy and resource section
  • Inclusion of statistics to show impact on years served, research grants funded, and donations
Visit Site
2

Captive Insurance Association

Features:

  • Call to action areas to subscribe to their email newsletter
  • Membership spotlight on homepage which includes testimonial on opportunity the membership with CICA has provided for them
  • List of upcoming events on homepage with short descriptions and links to register
Visit Site
3

International Association of Fairs and Expos

Features:

  • Links to recent news stories accessible right from the homepage
  • Inclusion of social media to encourage online visitor engagement- recent Twitter feed available on homepage
  • Call to action areas to become a member or get involved
Visit Site
4

National Education Association

Features:

  • Inclusion of message and headshot from the president of NEA to add personalized feel to website
  • Inclusion of informative content for visitors such as tools and training educational resources
  • Inclusion of quotes, impact statements, and statistics with option to retweet them to promote online engagement
Visit Site
5

The Center for Association Leadership

Features:

  • Inclusion of online events section with links to register directly from the homepage
  • Lots of free content available right on the homepage, such as articles, resources, and more, that are organized by topic
  • Inclusion of executive bios, headshots, and contact information
Visit Site
6

American Astronomical Society

Features:

  • Inclusion of total members of AAS located right on the homepage and updated in real time
  • Call to action link for more information on benefits included with the AAS membership
  • Subheadings on ways to get involved with clickable links- such as teaching, advocacy, becoming an astronomer, and more
Visit Site
7

The Association of American Railroads

Features:

  • Railroad 101 section provides visitors with industry news and updates and free rail resources
  • Inclusion of free content such as downloadable fact sheets, publications, and an online blog
  • Great use of imagery to showcase industries served and notable railroad companies that are involved in their membership
Visit Site
8

Classic Car Club

Features:

  • Call to action areas for membership signup and renewal
  • Inclusion of free content in a full resource section including classic car news, articles, and handbooks
  • Inclusion of events on their homepage to promote involvement with the organization
Visit Site
9

National Garden Club

Features:

  • Message from the president on the website’s homepage helps define the organization’s mission, vision and values
  • Inclusion of an awards and grants section showcases achievements as an organization
  • Free online blog gives gardening tips and tricks to visitors
Visit Site
10

National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Features:

  • Inclusion of recent news posts on the homepage to engage their audience online
  • Full events section with links to register helps promote involvement with the organization
  • Call to action area to sign up for insurance registration and training included on the homepage
Visit Site
11

Information Systems Security Association

Features:

  • Inclusion of value statements on the homepage explaining the networking, educational, and professional benefits of an ISSA membership
  • Inclusion of testimonial statements from members on job opportunity since joining ISSA
  • Links to sign up for web conferences and summit events to promote involvement in organization
Visit Site
12

Internet Association

Features:

  • News section features full online blog and press releases
  • Impact area gives visitors a glance at the organization’s mission and achievements thus far on the economy and community
  • Resource section features document library, reports, surveys, and data for visitors to engage with
Visit Site
13

Captive Insurance Companies Association

Features:

  • Inclusion of call to action area to sign up for industry news via email
  • Inclusion of events such as virtual conferences and summits to promote involvement
  • Member spotlight includes testimonial on the impact the association has had on their professional life
Visit Site
14

Copper Alliance

Features:

  • Social media area encourages visitor interaction through company LinkedIn and Twitter pages
  • Website provides information on the benefits of copper to support brand’s mission and values
  • Trends and innovations section showcases the positive uses of copper for different industries such as automotive, water, HVAC, and more
Visit Site
15

American Numismatic Association

Features:

  • Inclusion of events and webinars for visitors to engage with on money talks, trade shows, and coin collecting conventions
  • Inclusion of money museum section provides virtual exhibits and free money museum blog
  • Community section includes interactive activities for visitors such as quizzes, member forums, and support
Visit Site
16

Museum Association

Features:

  • Call to action area for free entry provides new visitors access to a featured museum
  • Campaigns area features museums of impact that focus on education, ethical concerns, advocacy, and more
  • Other call to action areas provide visitors with membership and advertising opportunity, as well as museum job openings
Visit Site
17

Marine Corps Association

Features:

  • Call to action areas to sign up for events, join the association, or request a Marine Corp magazine subscription
  • Inclusion of many free resources for marines such as podcasts,contests, and reunions
  • Professional development section gives marines resources for education and career advancement
Visit Site
18

Women Marines Association

Features:

  • History section provides timeline on military impact of women in the marine corps
  • Programs section provides scholarship and awards for marine women
  • Password protected membership section allows members to renew, as well as engage with members only content and a free online newsletter
Visit Site
19

American Marketing Association

Features:

  • Training section features conferences, events, and virtual training opportunity for marketing professionals
  • Inclusion of certifications section allows marketing professionals the ability to advance their skillset online
  • Trends area features new advancements on digital marketing topics such as search engine optimization, customer experience, and data and insights
Visit Site
20

Rotary International

Features:

  • Real time statistics provide insight on current membership level and worldwide clubs
  • Cause section breaks down important topics such as clean water, education, and protection of the economy
  • Call to action areas to donate, join, and get involved with Rotary
Visit Site

Need Help With Your Association Website Design?

Alliance Interactive is a full service Washington, DC based digital agency that creates engaging association websites and marketing campaigns that serve as an educational and communication platform for their members and help inspire members to its mission. For more information visit us here.