Membership Engagement: Thinking Outside the Box

  • Barry Howlett (Executive Officer, Australian Deer Association)
  • Joanne Phillips (Director Member Services, Australian Retailers Association) 

Membership is the heartbeat of any association. That’s why membership growth and retention is all important. These days, thinking outside the box is essential when it comes to securing member numbers—designing and implementing unique member engagement programs can help. For instance, the ADA conducts cooking workshops, teaching members how to cook venison. They’ve also developed a ‘Family’ membership tier, as well as apparel for kids, to connect with the next generation of members from an early age. This panel will describe how and why dynamic membership programs like these were implemented, as well as their success. 


Barry Howlett, Executive Officer, Australian Deer Association

Barry is the Executive Officer of the Australian Deer Association (ADA). The ADA is a membership-based organisation representing the interests of Australia’s 100,000+ recreational deer hunters. With the contentious role that hunting has in Australian society, the ADA, by necessity, has a heavy focus on strategic communications and frontline political advocacy. The ADA is an organisation that has achieved growth and improved financial stability through embracing change. Beginning with reviewing and renewing its governance and management structures, over the past decade, the ADA has pivoted in most areas to remain relevant to its stakeholders whilst remaining true to its fundamental values. Barry has learned and grown with the association. Progressing from a volunteer role, through to part-time as the sole employee, to now leading a small team, Barry, and the ADA, have been forced to be innovative and to think outside of the box to survive. The ADA is currently experiencing strong financial growth through a strategy of value-adding to membership packages.

Joanne Phillips, Director Member Services, Australian Retailers Association

Joanne leads the membership team at the Australian Retailers Association (ARA). An experienced association manager with over 13 years in the sector, she has led teams in small and large associations spanning sport, health, and professional services industries. She is passionate about creating member experiences that deliver value, build enduring relationships, and generate revenue. Joanne has significant experience driving system improvements and is dedicated to finding innovative solutions that support collaboration at each level of the association.


Need more information?

Phone us on 03 8393 9382 or register your details and we will be in touch.

Page Tracker
First Name
Last Name
E-mail Address
Phone Number
Services interested in
Receive Our Newsletter
How can we help you?