What Association CEO’s Need to Do About Membership

Smooth The Path

CEOs have a tremendous impact on each member’s perceptions of the association, member culture, and membership metrics. Membership departments tend to focus on members or they focus on the mechanics of membership. The CEO markets a particular job description with a specific set of skills then recruits a Director of Membership who becomes the member expert, and an advocate for members, and a welcoming committee for members.

Common Trap for Association Professionals

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” This happens all the time in association leadership because we are coming at everything with a different perspective than our members. “I am upset because I can’t drill down and see the benchmarking data from the 15 companies just like mine, the association should have made this study more robust,” members say. We think, “man, we killed ourselves to get as many responses as we did, this member should go out and recruit more respondents like her.”

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We Should Value Members Who Value the Association the Most

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Here’s an unpopular view: association staff should focus most on those members who value the association the most. My guess is because we are the voice of the industry or the voice of the profession we have to be more inclusive. But here’s the problem, we don’t have the resources to serve every type of member with every type of problem, often competing problems, really well. Instead we become more generic serving most members in an average sort of way.

Developing My Dream Association

Smooth The Path

If I were to build an association, I would pull the most significant insights from all of the research I have conducted. One of the core staff values would be to be intensely member-focused. We would talk with members often, conduct listening tours, and interview them. We would use all the member insights we gain to develop our member communications, set our strategy, and create an innovation plan. Related: The new member engagement rule of three.