The Compleat Guide to Successful Association Management
10 Top Tips to increased success
1. Survey your members, understand their behaviours, likes and dislikes and address their concerns early. Use software to analyse the data. When you email them, what gets opened most, what gets forwarded to others and is there an opportunity for others to join if they like what they read.
2. Approach your membership organisation like it is a business. This can be challenging as most Associations are run by volunteers and time is scarce but if you want to achieve success it has to be approached in just the same way as a business. Write a business plan and set clear targets you want to achieve within 5 years, 3 years and the next 12 months. Break it down and agree responsibilities for each area. Make people accountable and review progress regularly. Use the wealth of knowledge you have within your organisation and find volunteers with the skills you need for the project in hand.
3. Agree a calendar of activities which will ensure member engagement and deliver without fail, regardless of time pressures. Agree with your team the processes to make this happen and measure your progress. If you don’t measure you will not know if the plan is working.
4. Does what you offer align with what your members want? Be very clear on this – don’t assume you know. Look at the goals you have set in your business plan and the benefits you are offering your members. Do they match? Will what you are offering deliver on their expectations whilst achieving the targets you have set for growth.
5. Whilst writing your business plan you will have reviewed your aims and objectives. When surveying your membership you will have come to understand their needs and there could be many across all member types – can you deliver to them all and is there a member type which will have a bigger impact on you achieving your goals.
6. Member retention is the key to your success. Create value, take care of your members, deliver to their expectation and they will stay. Fail to do this and they will leave. Finding new members is way harder and far more costly than taking care of your current membership; so invest your energies in what they want.
7. Find your ‘would you like fries with that’. Upselling is such a normal part of life now I think we would be surprised if we weren’t asked to buy something else with our purchases. What can you offer your members over and above their membership to increase your revenue and their enjoyment? What do they want? Of course, membership can also be your upsell. If a non-member attends your conference give them a financial incentive to become a member.
8. Make them feel special. Call them, ask their views, thank them, and give them things that non-members do not have access to. By ensuring exceptional member engagement you will retain your existing members and they will share their love of the organisation with others, thus increasing your membership revenue growth and avoiding a high turnover of members. Offering the highest quality education through conferences, workshops, study days and webinars is another way of generating income and engaging your members.
9. Have a strong marketing plan and make sure you use it. Your website and in particular your members area within it, needs to be constantly updated so your members feel a real benefit
10. Look to those in your field of expertise to support your work through grants for your members, sponsoring your events, prizes and awards. Endourcement from other experts also increases your visibility.
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