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5 tips for your membership planning

January 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Abby in Marketing | Membership - (0 Comments)

I delivered a seminar for the Guardian Professional Networks on Friday 20 January. I jointly presented it with Richard Gott, founder of MemberWise.

The event was entitled ’10 ways to gain members’.

40 delegates joined us to hear about membership development and growth  ideas. Feedback was really good, we are thinking about how we can run another session in the future, as we had to put people on the waiting list.

So thinking about that, I just wanted to share 5 tips on membership planning:

  1. Start with your corporate strategy/plan (assuming you have one) and use that to help frame your membership plan. Or at least make sure the two complement each other.
  2. Suggested headings for the plan; objectives, development, communications, marketing, events, advocacy, engagement, budget and targets.
  3. Ensure your activities and targets are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
  4. Obtain buy-in for your plan from staff and trustees/your Board/Council etc.
  5. USE IT!  A plan is most effective if used! Don’t just file it away until the same time next year, review and amend as you go through the year.

Good luck!

If you are interested in attending a similar course, I will be presenting on Monday 5 March at the Recruiting and Retaining Members During Challenging Times. There are only a few tickets left.

My friend Richard (who is during the day is an experienced membership body professional and outside of work he runs a very successful free network for membership body professionals called MemberWise) told me about a new membership book that has recently been published by the ‘association for associations’ in the US, ASAE.

The End of Membership As We Know It book“The End Of Membership As We Know It” is written by Sarah Sladek and basically gives a wake up call to all associations – what worked for your traditional members to date, won’t necessarily work going forward. Babyboomers (those born post World War 2) will start to be replaced as members by those in Generation X and then Y, the later two live in a different world to their Babyboomer forefathers (and mothers!) and not all membership bodies are ready for this challenge.

It isn’t just about offering an app or a QR code for your younger members (generation Z), they aren’t as loyal to membership bodies as previous generations. They are also more comfortable sharing information online, so will want true engagement from their membership body in a place where they are – eg on social networks.

The book offers a mixture of practical advice and case studies from US organisations that Sarah has worked with.

The main message to all membership body professionals is that change is happening, and you have two choices; adapt or wither. Her main advice is fairly logical, but it is good to think about it;

  • look at what your members need
  • change your services to adapt to these needs
  • increase your marketing to promote your new services
  • review and enhance your offering over time

It also offers a few practical tools, including a tool to review your benefits in light of the generational shift.

I found it an interesting read, and although American, it provided enough food for thought for the UK membership sector.

If you want to order a copy of the book, you can do so here.