Monday, December 21, 2009

Members are Much More Than a Checkbook

I recently wrote about how critical it is for associations to continuously evaluate how they are communicating to members and make sure to change things that are not effective. To add on to that I think it is critical that associations talk to their members on a consistent basis, not just when they want them to purchase something. Over time the typical member communication strategy has become something like this:

1. Member joins or renews—thank you for joining or renewing package goes out
2. Annual Meeting comes up so members receive numerous promos asking them to pay to attend the Annual Meeting
3. A new publication or video or webinar gets released so members receive numerous promos asking them to purchase whatever it is you are selling
4. Your foundation has a critical issue it wants to focus on so members receive a number of communications asking them to support your foundation
5. It is now 90 days before their membership expires so they start to receive renewal notices asking them to renew their membership

Since they have joined/renewed the only communication members have received that is not asking them to pay for something is probably the print and electronic publications that the association produces. Associations have come to treat their members as checkbooks, not people or organizations. This has to change and even though it takes more time and effort to talk to your members on a consistent basis while not asking for money your members will respect your more and therefore their loyalty to the association will increase and their likelihood of renewal will as well. Is the time and effort you need to figure out a more member centric communications plan important? I think so.


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