Refreshing your CMS can help grow your membership list and help your society thrive

I was talking with a director from a major US learned society recently, and asked her what her main objectives were for the coming year. She replied that the major one was boosting membership of the society. This made perfect sense: in many ways a society is its members, and its on-going success depends on adding new members year by year. It is important that everyone is aware that the society is there to keep them informed, and by that I do mean everyone working in that particular field – be they undergraduate students, postdoctoral researchers, industry specialists, management teams, or retired individuals who maintain an interest in the subject. Societies have a crucial role to play in Continuing Professional Development (CPD), to help people gain new skills and develop their careers – something which is only available as a member.

There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding increasing diversity within a wide range of organisations (for example, this article which suggests that the publishing industry in general has a long way to go) and societies also have a role in encouraging people from all backgrounds that studying or working in the field is for them. They can achieve this by making society membership front and centre of their web presence.

One such society which works with us here at Ingenta is the Microbiology Society, based in London. For over three years, their journals have run on the Ingenta CMS platform – you can read a Case Study describing why they chose Ingenta here. The Society’s CMS site displays a prominent ‘Join the Microbiology Society’ link to attract new members as you can see on the screen shot:

MicroSoc-Join

As a content-agnostic platform, Ingenta CMS can be used for a lot more than the hosting of a society’s publications such as journals and ebooks. For example, video content, such as an address by the Society President, presentations from a conference, or as part of a public engagement programme can be included to increase awareness of the society’s activities. Many societies also have extensive archives in print form which are inaccessible to those unable to visit their premises in person. Through Ingenta’s partnership with the British Library, we can arrange for these to be captured digitally and hosted, allowing the society to offer the online versions as a further benefit of membership.

Ingenta’s technology allows societies to take this a stage further if they wish and host their society management pages on the CMS, using Ingenta technology to manage membership. Indeed, Ingenta recommends using CMS for the society’s entire web presence as this confers a number of advantages in terms of:

  • Seamless web browsing
  • Unified branding
  • Cost savings

As a one stop shop for scholarly publishing, Ingenta’s services are not limited to technological ones, and our Publishers Communication Group can assist you by conducting a telemarketing campaign to boost membership. In addition, PCG can also represent your organisation at events which potential members might attend. PCG’s customers include the Royal Society, founded in 1660, one of the oldest learned societies in the world. By updating your CMS to bring membership front and centre of your public face, while reaching out to potential members in person, Ingenta can help ensure your society is well known to everyone in your field, and goes from strength to strength.


Mark Hester is one of Ingenta’s resident experts on digital hosting systems.

With years of experience at leading publishers, including Elsevier and Blackwell, Mark now uses this industry knowledge to help publishers maximise and optimise opportunities for their digital content

You can email Mark directly at mark.hester@ingenta.com or telephone +44 01865 397876.