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"Hello it's me, your new member, and I'm leaving!" Why Is Member Retention a Challenge? Denise Williams, Director Member Programs & Branch/Region Development.

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Presentation on theme: ""Hello it's me, your new member, and I'm leaving!" Why Is Member Retention a Challenge? Denise Williams, Director Member Programs & Branch/Region Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 "Hello it's me, your new member, and I'm leaving!" Why Is Member Retention a Challenge? Denise Williams, Director Member Programs & Branch/Region Development American Counseling Association 800.347.6647/703.823.9800, x303

2 Why Is Member Retention a Challenge? If you are finding it difficult to recruit and retain members to your association, ask why? What is it about the association that makes it unappealing? We have a tendency to look externally for the reasons, i.e., “the economy” or “they are joining other associations.” This may be true, but if you find these reasons often used, challenge yourself to take a look INTERNALLY as well.

3 Why Is Member Retention a Challenge? People fall in love with motivated or ganizations. Members who love your association act substantially different than members who are simply "active." Passionately devoted members not only forgive you when you err; they try to help you correct what caused the mistake. They don't just recommend you; they assertively insist that their colleagues enroll for membership. They vehemently defend you when others are critical. Even if the reason for the criticism is accurate, they dismiss it as an exception. Some even guilt their fellow members into volunteering for association committees. Do you know how many of your members love you? When was the last time you asked?

4 Why Is Member Retention a Challenge? Ask your current members to evaluate your Association in the following areas to better understand where you are strong and where you need to direct more attention. Internal communication. Growth and development opportunities. Team building - cohesive membership. Membership participation. Recognition.

5 Do you know the generational makeup of your membership? From baby boomers and annual conferences to social networking and generation Y, the impact of multiple generations and evolving technology has transformed how we should deliver value to members. Traits that distinguish the generations support many communications and product development decisions, but now many associations recognize that the future is now and are drawing gen X and baby boomers into the online world of gen Y. (See attachment 1)

6 Tip #1 - Get Organized and Stay Organized Organization is key. Keep a good list and record of all your officers, their positions, and objectives so that you and your group can look at them any time you need to.

7 Tip #2 – Make your association worth the time to join Empower your members, give them responsibility and the opportunity to practice their leadership skills. This not only will increase their confidence level but will also make them more experienced officers in the future.

8 Tip #3 - Recruitment is an on-going process If your organization gets involved in the beginning, that is a recruitment and image development opportunity; if you co-sponsor or collaborate on a program with another group or participate in a community service opportunity with other non- members that is a recruitment and image development opportunity. Use those opportunities to educate people about your organization. All members should be prepared to answer the question, “tell me about your organization, what you do?” Can your current members do that and is the message consistent?

9 Tip #4 - Create a positive and welcoming environment Know your members’ names. Know your members’ needs. Personal contact is the key. Email is great and easy, but if you want to really keep your members and show them that you value them, you must work toward more personal contact. Does your exec board know people’s names? If there are too many members to know all their names, it is even more important to have personal contact. People want to feel important and know that they are appreciated. By knowing your members, it shows that you care and that this person matters to you regardless of the importance of their job.

10 Tip #4 - Create a positive and welcoming environment (continued) Some disagreements and conflicts, if handled in a professional and respectful way, make organizations stronger. Strive to have a very diverse membership base. Different perspectives, experiences, and life styles will make the organization stronger as long as everyone is working towards the same vision and accomplishing the same goals.

11 Tip #5 - Recruitment is not one person’s job Although one person may need to coordinate efforts, EVERYONE should be responsible for maintaining and sustaining membership. Your recruitment campaign should include specific techniques and tasks to be accomplished, a timeline, and an indication of who will be responsible for completing each task.

12 Tip #6 - The GRAPE Principle… GRAPE is the acronym for the five most common reasons people join organizations. It’s important to ask everyone why they joined to make sure you understand your members’ needs. Ask them each year, since members’ needs will change.

13 The GRAPE Principle… G - GROWTH; having opportunities to increase your skills and competencies, personal skill development opportunities, becoming more competent, experienced, and confident. R - RECOGNITION; gaining respect from others you admire, receiving recognition and praise for a job well done, receiving feedback on your work within the organization. A - ACHIEVEMENT; having the opportunity to solve problems, seeing the result of your efforts, being given meaningful responsibilities, seeing your feedback and ideas become reality. P - PARTICIPATION; planning and scheduling work, given the opportunity and being allowed to make or contribute in important decision making, being “active”, not just a member. E - ENJOYMENT; having fun, working as part of a team, feeling a part of something important.

14 Rate your Association’s Retention Recruitment Effectiveness Organizations often describe their member retention strategies in terms of the services they offer and how they collect dues. Although it is important to offer services and programs that benefit members, and to collect membership dues efficiently and ensure positive cash flow, these alone do not encompass effective retention strategies.

15 Rate your Association's Retention Recruitment Effectiveness Member retention strategies are not based on reactive activities and additional paperwork. Use the handout “Recruitment and Retention: How Does Your Association Score” to evaluate how well you use proactive strategies to retain members. Keep in mind, some Associations only have one person doing the job of 10. This scorecard can serve as the start of your membership recruitment plan to address those challenges mentioned in this presentation.

16 Hello it's me, your new member, and I think I will stick around for awhile!"

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