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The End of Membership as We Know It

Overview of the book by Sarah L. Sladek

Amy Williams

on 5 November 2012

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Transcript of The End of Membership as We Know It

Building the Fortune-Flipping, Must-Have Association of the Next Century The End of Membership as We Know It By Sarah L. Sladek Two key factors will prevent associations from having success: Technology
Demographic Shifts More technology has been developed in the past 5 years than the previous 50 yrs

Entire generations that have never known life without technology are now entering the workforce

Technology is a game-changer From now until 2030, every 8 seconds someone will turn 65
The shift in human capital is the greatest threat to associations
Few are developing strategies to cushion themselves from the massive exodus of volunteers
Only 2% of board members are under 30
The youngest generations have dramatically different needs, values, wants and expectations.
They will be questioning the value of membership
They will demand an ROI unlike any other before them
An entirely new recruiting approach is necessary
The Boomer-centric association that refuses to change will be extinct by 2020 These 2 factors are rendering associations irrelevant.

What worked in the past, isn't going to work anymore

The concept of transactional membership is under question

Components to consider when rebuilding your association:
Dues Niche

Trying to be all things to all people is a sure way to fail

Its not a one-size-fits-all world anymore

Seek to be meaningful to someone (not everyone) and the rest will follow Culture

Culture makes a difference in recruiting & retaining members

Look for red flags that indicate culture is a concern

Younger generations are driven by personal happiness

Eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive Dues

People will no longer pay dues because it's the right thing to do. They want to know "what's in it for me?"

Proving the value of membership is less about number-crunching and more about marketing
What does your association do?
How does it add value to the lives of its members?
What's the cost-to-value ratio? At-Risk Associations Avoid change as long as possible

Entitlement Syndrome

"Not My Fault" mentality

Squander limited resources

Cling to ineffective, outdated programs

Fail to anticipate the future Association Life Expectancy Calculate retention rate (5 yr trend): (# of renewals/# of eligible to renew) x 100
Calculate loss rate (5 yr trend): (# of dropped members/# of eligible to renew) x 100
Calculate turnover (i.e. life expectancy) = 100/loss rate

* the formula doesn't take into consideration the losses encountered as Boomers retire Boomer Turnover When you can measure the loss of Boomers you can effectively project your losses and prepare

Use an attrition planning survey
Distribute to staff and most invested members (i.e. volunteers)
Give each person an attrition score of 1 to 5 (5 = someone gone within a year)
Analyze the data regarding members' age

Develop a strategy to move forward Offer Better Benefits Nickel-and-diming is not going to work anymore

Don't list the features of membership, focus on the outcomes

Value Mistakes (common diagnosis: failure to deliver value)
Scrooge Associations
Milk Associations
Antique Associations Scrooge Associations Charge too much and give too little
Difficult to distinguish the benefits of membership because members still have to pay for everything
Don't think about how you can make money; think about how you offer a product/service that is valuable and useful Milk Associations Why pay for the whole cow when you can pay for just the milk? Membership offers little exclusivity or access
These associations give away too much or offer too little membership value, so they struggle to get people to join vs. just pay for programs/services
Become more focused on membership ROI than programming ROI Antique Associations Have been in the marketplace for years and have renowned brands.
Declining because they are no longer relevant & are unable to adapt
Must take measures to stay relevant; that starts with an analysis of the member benefits Member Benefits Formula Members join because they believe you can solve a problem for them; they renew when you are successful in:

solving the problem
engaging them in a community
making them feel good about being a member

A successful benefits formula is equally practical and emotional

If you don't have a compelling reason for members to join/renew, especially to the younger generation, you don't stand a chance of survival The Values of Gen X & Y are focused on 3 primary objectives: 1. The Opportunity to Lead
Want to lead, but don't want to jeopardize personal happiness to do so
Turn-offs: multiple day board meetings, long term length
Want rewarding experience with real outcomes and recognition for their efforts

2. The Opportunity to Learn
First generations to never know job security - constant fear of losing job
They are well-educated, fast learners, capable of multi-tasking, easily bored
Offer a variety of ways to access training and make them affordable (or free)

3. The Opportunity to Make a Difference
Salary and prestige take a back seat to work-life balance
Transactional membership doesn't hold much appeal
Make membership beneficial to people other than just your members Member Benefits Matrix Engaging Younger Generations If younger generations aren't joining, it isn't because they haven't grown into it yet . . .

It's because your association isn't delivering value to them.

Gen X has a high willingness to join but they expect more info and involvement opportunities

Belonging to an association = trusting in it

Gen X & Y are less trusting and less accepting of lapses of trust

To build trust:

Listen to their POV

Create solutions

Encourage feedback

Be inclusive Tips for Building Remarkable Online Communities Appoint a leader

Give up control

Find an expert

Determine your mission

Tell your story

Be timely

Engage your audience

Use your influence

Keep working on it

Just do it 5 Emerging Membership Models Other Models . . . Lifetime membership

Career transition membership

Student membership

Young professional membership

Monthly automatic payment membership

Trial membership Build a Next Century Association Step 1: Focus
Define your reason for being & niche
Don't be distracted; cut out unnecessary effort, expense or programming
Step 2: Goal-setting
Won't make progress if you're focusing only on day-to-day operations
Set a stretch goal
Step 3: Marketing
Determine what differentiates your association
Determine your guarantee
Identify your core benefits
Determine your target market
Step 4: Troubleshooting
Identify obstacles for growth & potential solutions
Focus on the top 3 challenges
Step 5: Targeted progress
Day-to-day implementation plan
Track progress
Determine 3-7 priorities for the year (SMART)
Have a projected budget to support the plan
Break the year into 90 day targets
Change or die - there is no alternative
Full transcript