Spark Consulting

Membership Q&A: Is There a Tipping Point?

Spark Consulting

Is there a “tipping point” when too many benefits start to get lost in the shuffle? . People associate because they’re trying to accomplish something or solve a problem that they’ve been unable to do alone. So yes, your members come to you looking for something in particular – help solving a particular problem that has so far proved intractable or achieving a particular goal that has so far proved unattainable.

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Membership 101: The Full Series

Spark Consulting

I’ve gotten through all the topics I had planned for the Membership 101 series, which leads to two additional questions: What did I miss? Are there membership topics you were hoping I’d cover that I never did? So then you might ask: “Um, what were all the topics you covered again?”

Membership 101: Who Counts?

Spark Consulting

Who do you consider to be your members? That seems like an easy question: “Anyone whose dues are current,” right? But if you dig a little deeper, it quickly gets a lot more complicated. Do you offer a grace period? Are there ways to pay other than money?

Membership Q&A: Discounts

Spark Consulting

Are members who join with a price incentive more or less likely to renew membership the following year? Less likely. Don’t offer pricing discounts unless your audiences are EXTREMELY price sensitive or your membership is declining and you’re desperate to get people in the door by any means necessary. Does offering a discounted membership based on time of the year (i.e. a summer sale) dilute the value of membership?

Membership 101: Exit Surveys

Spark Consulting

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to understand your members’ most pressing problems and most important goals, and provide solutions for them, members lapse. What happens next? You should try to find out why they left.

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Membership 101: What About Trade Associations?

Spark Consulting

If you’ve been following the Membership 101 series, you may be wondering: “What about trade associations? A lot of your advice seems directed to individual membership/professional associations. My members are companies/institutions. Does your advice still hold?” ” The answer?

Membership 101: The Role of Volunteerism

Spark Consulting

“Engaged members renew. Disengaged members don’t.” ” If you’ve been around the association industry for more than a few minutes, you’ve undoubtedly heard at least one membership professional say that. Volunteerism is a MAJOR opportunity for engagement.

Membership 101: Reinstatement

Spark Consulting

Hopefully, your exit survey recaptured a number of your members who lapsed due to inattention. What about the ones who lapsed for cause? Is it worth trying to get them back? Yes, with some conditions.

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Membership 101: Effective Renewal Cycles

Spark Consulting

At some point, after generating leads and nurturing relationships and persuading people to join and helping them find their own individual engagement paths, it’s time to ask your members to renew, to stick with you another year.

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Announcing: Membership Q&A

Spark Consulting

You’ve got questions – I (may) have answers! Now that the Membership 101 Series has concluded, it occurred to me that folks might have some more questions about membership I didn’t think to address. I have some membership FAQs my clients have asked me over the years that I’ll address, but you might have questions too, and might want the opportunity to ask them in an anonymous setting (rather than on ASAE’s Collaborate community or other public forum).

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The Passive Experienced Member

Spark Consulting

The MCI Group recently released the American Engagement Index 2017 (the link takes you to a page where you can enter your contact information to get your own copy, and you really should).

Membership 101: What IS “Engagement,” Anyway?

Spark Consulting

Association membership professionals, particularly in the last several years, talk about engagement A LOT. We want our members to be more engaged. We want to measure engagement. We want to score engagement. We want to reward engagement.

Bridging the Education to Employment Gap Will Take An Industry-Wide Movement

Spark Consulting

I recently had the opportunity to contribute to Association Success’s SURGE 2018 spring conference, hosting a “monitor-side chat” with Shelly Alcorn and Tracy Petrillo on the association role in the new educational paradigm.

Membership 101: Should You Reward Novelty or Loyalty?

Spark Consulting

It’s a trick question! You should reward both. . Associations generally do a good job rewarding novelty. The new member gets the special rate. The first time attendee gets the unique badge ribbon and the exclusive reception with the board of directors and committee chairs.

Growth Strategies from Top Fundraisers Q&A

Spark Consulting

In my last post , I shared the link to the webinar my Steal Like a Fundraiser co-author Sohini Baliga and I presented for Wild Apricot on March 21.

Growth Strategies from Top Fundraisers

Spark Consulting

My Steal Like a Fundraiser: Innovations in Cause-Oriented Fundraising for Associations co-author Sohini Baliga and I recently had the opportunity to talk with some smart people about the information in the whitepaper.

Reduce Barriers to Entry

Spark Consulting

Just about every association I know of is struggling to recruit younger members (aka Millennials). Part of the reason for that is that we’re erecting barriers to entry rather than removing them. What’s required to be considered part of your association’s community?

Q&A on D&I

Spark Consulting

Did you miss the July 12 webinar my Include Is a Verb co-author Sherry Marts and I presented for the Wild Apricot Experts series on living your talk on D+I? Never fear!

Letter to John Graham and Scott Wiley

Spark Consulting

Monday, November 21, 2016. John Graham, President & CEO, ASAE. Scott Wiley, Chairman, ASAE. Dear John and Scott: This letter is a call for meaningful community-wide dialogue and action on behalf of a nation at risk. One week ago, Associations Now Daily announced that ASAE signed a National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) letter “to the president-elect” expressing a desire to “work productively” with the incoming administration.

Retention is a Relationship

Spark Consulting

And you can’t claim to have a relationship with people you don’t know.

Four Keys to Writing Good Marketing Copy

Spark Consulting

How do you write good marketing copy? In a nutshell: Think about your audience. Who are they? What do you know about them? Use that information to craft a personalized message. Talk like a real person, and write like you speak. Shorter and simpler is better than longer and more complex.

Is It Time for a Digital Detox?

Spark Consulting

Over-work and too much stress are pretty much the norm for most association executives. Every day, we’re trying to do a lot for our members, and most associations are perpetually understaffed and tight on budget. This makes a digital detox sound like a really great idea. “Yeah!

Seven Keys to Great Testimonials

Spark Consulting

One of the best ways to promote your association and its programs, products, and services is to let your members, customers, audiences, and other stakeholders do it for you. In other words, to use testimonials.

Associations Respond to Hurricane Harvey

Spark Consulting

In case you missed it, ASAE’s Collaborate forum (member login required) has recently been hosting a robust discussion of how associations are helping their members and the local community in Houston and southwest Louisiana respond to Hurricane Harvey.

Where are the YPs?

Spark Consulting

“How can I recruit young professional members if there are no young professionals entering our industry?” ” I’ve been thinking about this question a lot recently, not least of which because I have a client that is in this EXACT situation.

Membership 101: Why Did They Join?

Spark Consulting

My last membership 101 blog post addressed the question: how do I know when it’s time to ask a prospect to join my association? . The answer was: by studying your data.

What Really Worked in 2016?

Spark Consulting

Beth Brodovsky, who hosts the Driving Participation podcast (and if you haven’t checked it out yet, what are you waiting for?) recently asked a bunch of her former guests this insightful question for a year-end episode.

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Boosting Membership Retention from the Start: Your Members’ First 3 Months

Spark Consulting

Editorial note: the following is a guest blog from Callie Walker of MemberClicks. Does membership retention really begin the second a member joins your association? It should! The better you onboard, the more likely your members are to renew. So the question then becomes…how do you effectively onboard your new members? What should you be doing in their first few months? Here’s a breakdown: Month 1 – Welcome.

Associations and Trump’s Travel Ban

Spark Consulting

Airports and cities large and small erupted into chaos this weekend as Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning Muslims from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen from entering the US took effect.

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Rethinking What It Means to Be a Member

Spark Consulting

A few months ago, I had a chance to sit down (virtually) with Beth Brodovsky and talk about what’s changing in membership relationships. The podcast is out !

Don’t Get Lazy!

Spark Consulting

Putting it all together, maybe the most important thing Sohini and I learned from fundraisers as we were researching Steal Like a Fundraiser (and as Sohini has worked with them over the past two decades) is: don’t get lazy.

Your Baby Is Ugly

Spark Consulting

One of the great things about being a consultant is that we get to tell people when their baby is ugly without them getting mad at us – hey, they’re PAYING us to tell them when their baby is ugly. Well, your (campaign) baby is ugly. But it’s not your fault!

Treat Members Equitably Not Equally

Spark Consulting

In the association world, we tend to want to treat all our members equally: nobody is more important or special than anyone else. That’s a noble impulse and helpful, up to point.

Letting Go for 2018

Spark Consulting

I recently had the opportunity to contribute to Beth Brodovsky’s Driving Participation podcast year-end special. Beth posed the following question to her contributors: In 2018 what marketing tactics, social media, or tech tools are you letting go of and why? . My response? DeleteFacebook.

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Five Tips to Increase Your Email Open Rate

Spark Consulting

Want to increase your bulk email open rate? Of course you do! The subject is the most important part of the email. Spend time writing a meaningful one that will ensure your recipient will open and read more.

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Membership 101: Data, Data, Data

Spark Consulting

If you’ve been following this series – and I hope you have! – you’ve probably noticed that I talk a lot about data. You need data to calculate LTV. You need data to construct your ladders of engagement. You need data to personalize effectively.

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The Mission Driven Volunteer Rides Again!

Spark Consulting

Earlier this month, Mission Driven Volunteer co-author Peggy Hoffman and I had the opportunity to present about our research on this topic for Wild Apricot. As is often the case with webinars, we weren’t able to get to all the questions during the Q&A. So we’re answering them now.

Catch Spark at #ASAE16

Spark Consulting

I’ll be presenting two sessions at the upcoming ASAE Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City in a few weeks: Unsession: The Association Role in the New Education Paradigm, Sunday, August 14. Deep Dive: The Lean Startup Changes Everything, Tuesday, August 16.

Membership 101: Life Time Value

Spark Consulting

One of the questions I get asked a lot is: “How much should I be willing to invest to recruit a member?” ” The answer is not obvious. For example, let’s say you invest $1000 on a recruitment campaign and bring in five new members.

Are You Ready to SURGE?

Spark Consulting

I’m excited to share that I’ll be speaking at Association Success’s inaugural SURGE virtual event, November 7-9. Around the world, thousands of association professionals confront the same challenges. We all have insights to offer on how to grow, adjust, adapt and innovate.

Membership 101: The Importance of Personalization

Spark Consulting

Associations are built on relationships. .

How Do I Know What to Charge?

Spark Consulting

One of the hardest things to do in creating a product or service is to set the price – too high, no one will buy because it’s too expensive; too low, no one will buy because they think what you’re offering isn’t valuable. So how do you determine your pricing strategy?

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Walking Your Talk on D+I

Spark Consulting

For those of us who are “on the bus” on the value of genuine diversity and inclusion, this is the crux of the matter: how do we effectively walk our talk on D+I? .