Focus on Value, Not Membership Milestones

Updated: Aug. 31, 2017  |  Categories: Volunteers, Goal Setting, Membership, Revenues  

Members are a critical aspect of associations. Without membership dues, a majority of associations would cease to exist. For this reason, most goals set by association leaders are focused on growing the number of members.

However, it is just as important – if not more so – to focus on the value provided to prospective and current members. Let’s examine why.


Word of Mouth is Still Important

Getting bodies in the door is much easier when your members are advocates of your organization. Remember, your members work and interact with a large number of your target population. When your members talk about your meetings and conferences, you want them to be excited.

In fact, in the days of social media, word of mouth may be even more important. Don’t you want attendees to create online posts about how much they gained from attending your latest meeting?

The best way to establish a positive reputation among your prospects is by providing incredible value to your existing members.


Renewals are Key

Growing your association numbers is even more difficult when your current membership is decreasing.

For example, let’s say your association chapter has 100 members and your annual goal is 125. With a 100% renewal rate, you only need to attract 25 new members. However, if your active members decrease to 75 members throughout the membership period, you now have to convince 50 new people to become members.

For this reason, renewals of your existing members are imperative.

Creating a valuable association for active members will improve your retention rate, and consequently your membership goals will be more attainable.


How to Find Out What Members Actually Value

Looking at which meetings are highly attended and analyzing recruiting campaigns are a great place to start when determining what your members value.

But the best way to find out what members are really thinking is to ASK them. Use your association management software’s survey tool to gain feedback from your members. This article details the best ways to survey your members.

When putting together your survey, remember there are many aspects to value.

  • Monetary Value – do the members feel comfortable with the fees?
  • Skills and Learning Value – are the meetings providing members with new information that will make them better in their field? Are they gaining leadership skills?
  • Networking Value – are connections being made within the group? Do members have access to people they might not otherwise?


Allow members to submit their ideas about how to add even more value to the organization. One question could be to provide ideas for the next annual meeting for example.

Instead of making your organization’s focus about growing the numbers of people, consider paying more attention to how and where value can be added. Focus on the value you can provide and odds are your membership numbers will grow as an added side effect.


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