NAIOP Maryland, the local trade association serving the regional commercial real estate industry, attracted 64 new members to its group last year and increased its overall membership to the highest level in its 30-year history. NAIOP Maryland now has more than 380 members consisting of professionals working for commercial real estate firms, or affiliated companies including construction firms, financial institutions, architects and interior designers, accountants and lawyers and title companies.

Members are attracted to and retained by the organization through the work of the NAIOP Maryland Membership Committee, a ten-person group chaired by Taylor Fields of Knott Realty Group. Through his leadership, the committee implemented a number of new marketing and organizational tactics designed to raise the profile of NAIOP Maryland and highlight the benefits of membership. Among those was the origination of the new Ambassador Committee.

“The role of this new committee is to promote all NAIOP Maryland events through the use of social media vehicles, arrange introductions between new members and current ones, and help facilitate the transition of new members into various elements of the NAIOP platform,” Taylor explained. “Our retention plan with each member begins the first day that they actually join.

“Not everyone is as out-going and socially aggressive as they would like to or need to be,” he continued. “So, the Ambassador Committee exists to help them. As soon as a new member joins, they receive a personal telephone call. We take them under our wing and explain what upcoming events are happening with NAIOP Maryland and what committees are available for them to join. We feel the maximum value of membership is derived when someone joins and becomes an integral member of a committee.

“At the next Chapter function, a committee member will be assigned to this person and help break the ice by introducing them to various people in attendance throughout the program,” he added.

NAIOP Maryland also sponsors a formal orientation process in which a staff member sends the new member information on the organization and explains all the resources available. In addition, they are invited to the NAIOP Maryland “New Member Breakfast” which was sponsored last year by Hill Management Services at the Executive Plaza business community.

“Among our messages are: you’re missing a lot if you don’t attend our events,” Fields concluded. “The positive word-of-mouth communication in the commercial real estate community supports this and our events are attracting the largest audiences in our history. We are doing many things right.”