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Partnership v. Membership: Is There a Membership Role for Suppliers?

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In my previous post in this series, I concluded with the question: What role, if any, does supplier membership play in this ecosystem?

Partnership v. Membership: ROI

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Lewis’s latest post in our ongoing, irregular series addresses making sponsorship offerings more valuable to your corporate supporters: understand what’s motivating them, structure the relationship to address their specific business needs, and offer different levels of investment.

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Partnership v. Membership: Prospecting Dos and Don’ts

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In Lewis’s last post in our ongoing series , he shared some great advice on prospecting for corporate partners. Lewis highlighted DO items, such as: Weed out “dead ends” Understand your potential partners’ business challenges and goals for your audiences. Focus on mutual benefit. He also called out time-wasters to eliminate (I love that framing!), such as: Pursuing a company that has no connection to your profession/industry.

Partnership v. Membership: Defining Terms

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Lewis and I are both going to take a crack at this topic, and I’ve elected to go first. I see partnership and membership as being founded on the same broad idea: individuals or organizations that seek some type of a relationship with an association.

AMC-Managed Organizations are More Stable than Standalone Organizations

Why do organizations managed by Association Management Companies outperform standalone organizations? This paper seeks to answer that question through the results of a study examining the rates of change in the length of chief staff executive tenure and changes in office locations of membership-based organizations between 2009 and 2015.

Partnership v. Membership: What Behavior Do You Want to Encourage?

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That question is not rhetorical. Corporate membership can be complicated. To being with, there are at least two main types: Companies that are your core audience (i.e., trade associations’ typical members). Companies that are NOT your core audience (i.e.,

Membership Q&A: Why Won’t They Join?

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Why aren’t our prospects joining our association? They don’t see value in joining. Let’s unpack that a little bit. The reason they don’t see value in joining may be because they don’t see it YET, or it may be because it isn’t there. They don’t see value yet. What that means is that you’re moving too fast.

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Blockchain for Associations

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In the spring of 2018, I had the opportunity to attend one of my favorite conferences in the association year: digitalNOW. At that event, among all the cutting-edge content, I heard one word over and over: blockchain.

Membership Q&A: Call or Text?

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Let’s say you’re over email and want to take your welcome, retention, and/or renewal communications to the next level. Should you call, or should you text? Well, who are your members? What generations are represented and in what quantities? It’s not just your imagination – Millennials and GenZ genuinely do prefer text to voice calls, by pretty significant majorities (in the US, nearly 3/4 prefer text). You can get the full study here.)

Membership Q&A: Don’t Leave Us!

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What’s the #1 reason a long-standing member would not renew? As Dr. Theodore Woodward of the University of Maryland School of Medicine taught his med students in the 1940: “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras” For our purposes, that means start with the obvious: Did that member switch careers or retire? If so, you may have to chalk this one up to “forces beyond our control,” and let that person go.

Membership Q&A: What’s the Most Effective Renewal Cycle?

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When is the best time of the year to begin renewal communications to members? How many notices should we send? Should we send paper or electronic notices? What should we send WITH the notices? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no one right answer to these questions. There are some good guidelines, which we’ll go over in a minute, but really, you have to test different options and, more importantly, PAY ATTENTION to what happens.

Influence Across America

Spark Consulting

Thanks to the generosity of my friend and colleague Ed Barks , I had the opportunity to attend Influence Across America: The Rise of State and Local Power and the Impact of Digital Media , a National Digital Roundtable panel event at the Newseum earlier this week.

Membership Q&A: How Long Should Our Grace Period Be?

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Ah, the grace period, the bane of the membership profession’s experience. Should we have a grace period at all? How long should it be? I will admit to being a hard-ass about grace periods. My preference is none. If your membership lapses on July 31, 2019, then your access is cut off as of 12:01 am August 1. Remember how I recently wrote about rewarding the behavior you want to encourage ?

Membership 101: Who Counts?

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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?

What Should We Do to Get Ready for Blockchain?

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One of the key elements of blockchain networks is the network. This technology is a system-level technology. What that means is that its true power lies in the network effect, in the system.

How Will Blockchain Affect My Members?

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As you may recall from my previous post on my new whitepaper, Blockchain for Associations: Separating the Hype from the Promise , my co-author Shelly Alcorn and I think that this is the REAL question association execs need to be asking ourselves right now.

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Membership Q&A: Calendar v. Anniversary Renewals?

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Which is more member-centric? In most cases, an anniversary renewal cycle – that is, I renew at same time as I joined (or renewed) last year – is going to make the most sense to your members. My annual membership starts when I pay, and I get 12 months of service for my dues. A calendar renewal cycle is generally seen as association-centric. We renew everyone at the same time, on a cycle that’s driven by our business needs (often tied to the association’s fiscal year).

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Should Associations Care About Blockchain?

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And if so, why? Blockchain for Dummies offers some qualifying questions when you’re trying to figure out whether blockchain is an appropriate solution for your association and for which projects: Do we need to track transactions that involve more than two parties?

What IS Blockchain?

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At it’s most basic level, blockchain is a ledger-style database. “Wait a second!” ” you might say. “There are PLENTY of database options out there. Why do we need ANOTHER one?”

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Membership 101: Ladders of Engagement Revisited

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Once members join, the next question becomes: How do you keep them? How do you build real relationships over time that deepen your commitment to each other and lead to long-term loyalty on both sides? The answer is ladders of engagement.

Membership Q&A: Online Communities?

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No, I’m not going to get into which white-label platform you should use – for that, we have ReviewMyCommunity. Take one step back: white-label or public ? That is, the publicly-available, commercial platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, and their ilk). This is a tough one. The advantage – and it’s a BIG one – of using a public platform is that your members are already there. They already know how to access the site. They already have an account.

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Member Q&A: Who Makes the Call?

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Who should make contact around things like joining and renewing: other members or staff? Member-to-member (or member-to-prospect) communications can be very effective, IF you can persuade your members to actually make the calls. We’re often tempted to ask volunteers to call lapsed members – in fact, that can be a stated requirement of serving on a membership committee.

Membership 101: What IS “Engagement,” Anyway?

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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.

Membership 101: The Role of Volunteerism

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“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: The Full Series

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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?”

Retention is a Relationship

Spark Consulting

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

Membership 101: Exit Surveys

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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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Four Keys to Writing Good Marketing Copy

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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.

Seven Keys to Great Testimonials

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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.

Letter to John Graham and Scott Wiley

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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.

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 !

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 About Trade Associations?

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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?

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!

Membership 101: Reinstatement

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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.

Survey 130

Membership 101: Should You Reward Novelty or Loyalty?

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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.

Five Tips to Increase Your Email Open Rate

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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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Where are the YPs?

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“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.

The Mission Driven Volunteer Rides Again!

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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.

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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