Association Online Community Success Story: Romance Writers of America

“The opportunity to engage members is really what will drive the success of the association. If we can make their opportunities more structured, if we could make things easier for them, if we could make it easier for them to take part, if we could make it easier for them to get into a particular area, then they’re going to be happy. It’s going to drive traffic to the website and it’s going to keep our members engaged. That’s our goal. And so, Socious has given us a platform for being able to do that.” – Judy Scott, Romance Writers of America (RWA)


Romance Writers of America (RWA) is an international association that serves authors and the industry professionals that support them. The organization is dedicated to advancing the professional interests of career-focused writers through networking and advocacy. RWA represents more than 10,000 members in 145 chapters offering special-interest events and education.


  • Romance Writers of America was using a patchwork of member-facing systems, including Avectra netFORUM Enterprise, to manage their public website, member community, events, and emails.
  • The basic online community pages integrated into RWA’s association management software did not offer much interactivity for members. Additionally, their Yahoo Groups were not completely private and were difficult to maintain as membership changed.
  • As the association grew, Romance Writer’s public and members-only websites did not offer the valuable member benefit and sophisticated a member experience that their vision called for and members demanded.


  • Value to Members. Using the Socious online community platform, Romance Writers of American created a member experience around engagement opportunities and interactive educational information. The leadership was able to add new member benefits, such as RWA University, built on the online community features in Socious online community software, including video libraries, blogs, and forums.
  • Segmentation. Romance Writers was able to segment information in the online community for different member types so that members and staff can easily participate in specific communities and provide relevant information to improve the organization’s value to specific member groups.
  • Chapter Management. The leadership at RWA brought 145 worldwide chapters under the brand umbrella of the national association while maintaining each chapter’s autonomy to manage their own groups, events, and websites. Using the Socious platform, RWA empowered chapters with the full set of Socious online community tools to capitalize on the community-building features to grow membership and member engagement.
  • Brand Presence. By managing their public website, online member community, and event management in a single system, members have a consistent online experience all under the Romance Writers of America brand.

“The member value aspect is really important to us. The fact that we can now offer more value for the membership dollar is really going to help because our members don’t have a big company paying their dues. They all pay their own way. We have to make sure that it’s worth their while to be there. We have to make sure that what we’re offering them is something that’s of value to them. Now we’re able to add another layer to the membership value.” – Judy Scott, Romance Writers of America

Video Music Credit: ACOUSTIC BLUES (Jason Shaw) / CC BY 3.0