Trade associations and expert societies that mostly concentrate on legislative matters can run the threat of neglecting its membership. Does that imply that focusing on influencing politicians is a negative factor? Not as lengthy as the organization's members never get left behind. However, this is just what occurs, substantially as well often.
Right here is an significant query, “Does your organization's legislative activities generate worth for non-members?” You will most most likely answer, “Yes they do.”
What is the Advantage?
If so, what is the advantage in membership? Where's the motivation for a particular person or a business to continue providing the organization revenue when other people acquire essentially the similar advantages with no price involved?
You could answer with, “Properly, they need to have to help their sector.” I agree, nevertheless the drop-offs or non-joiners intensely disagree. And, they vote with their checkbooks.
Not lengthy ago, an association in the Pacific Northwest hired me to conduct my Member Worth ProcessTM at their annual meeting. Whilst we determined that the association delivered acceptable worth to its members, it was crystal clear to the board of directors that substantially of the operate in which the association focused (legislative), benefited the sector as a entire and not just its membership.
Never Shoot the Messenger
Gosh, I hate it when folks want to shoot the messenger rather than to listen to the message, but that is the life of a consultant. As you guessed, the board was not satisfied with the findings-couple of actually do take pleasure in seeking into the mirror, let alone bringing it up close.
So, what is the remedy?
The basic remedy is to provide a lot more worth to your members than to your sector. Granted, some non-members will often get worth from the significant legislative operate in which associations participate nevertheless, this requirements to be minimized.
Right here is the most significant query that organizational employees can pose to the volunteer leadership, “What else can we offer you to our members that expenses us really tiny however is perceived by members as getting very worthwhile to them?” You answer that query, and you have solved the age-old riddle!
As an instance, the association pointed out above charged the non-members the similar value to attend the annual meeting as the paid members-justifying this horrific action by saying that they required a lot more bodies to stroll via their expo to satisfy their vendor/allied members. Hogwash I say. Honor your members by providing them a HUGH discount.
One more association gave members, and non-members the subscription to their newsletter at no charge. That is okay for the members, but hellfire-make the non-members spend.
A third instance is the association that sold its membership list to non-members for the similar value as to its members. Let's not go down the path of the ethics of promoting membership lists but rather the ethics of treating your members so poorly.
I bet if the employees and volunteer leaders of your organization have been to invest a single day brainstorming concepts on how to provide a lot more worth to the membership, you would be amazed at what you'd uncover.
My parting words…
“Please never whine about poor member retention or recruitment if you have by no means spent a day brainstorming how to provide adequate worth to your members so they could justify the price of their membership.