Membership: What’s in it for You? (678 words)

(678 words)

If you are taking advantage of the “member-only” products, services and activities that (fill in org name) provides—you realize that membership is a smart decision. You demand a reasonable return on your investment (ROI) in membership and you should get it. You have done more than the non-member outliers; you have invested in this organization. Simply put, you deserve more.

You differ from the other industry/profession stakeholders that simply take advantage of the (fill in org name) activities that serve the (fill in the blank) industry/profession. You have decided to actively participate with your time and resources. Let’s make sure you are getting all you can.

Several Years of Research

Over the last several years, Rigsbee Research has been conducting qualitative research in the area of calculating the ROI of membership in actual dollar numbers. Surveying members as to their perception of value in dollar numbers for every member-only feature delivered by their organization. Association and society members like you, have valued their memberships accordingly: in the category of Professional Development at an annual real-dollar value of just under $4,000. The number for the Business Solutions category is just over $7,100, with Knowledge Management delivering a little over $2,400.

Professional Development

Professional development and career growth are basically synonymous. Some of the member-only features are as follows:

  • Income differential through certifications
  • Gained knowledge and experience through volunteer leadership positions
  • Peer support and mentoring
  • Access to National or State Chapter resources
  • Special interest groups
  • Career development services
  • Peer and Industry prestige

Business Solutions

The business solutions category is a large one for many organizations. Some of the member-only features measured included:

  • Safety programs, education and resources
  • Business development and peer referral opportunities
  • Affinity or partner program discounts
  • Innovative business/practice solutions
  • Access to other organizations through affiliated membership agreements
  • Discounts on organization’s goods, services and events
  • Access to assistance at organization’s field or headquarter offices
  • Legal seminars and consultations

Knowledge Management

In days of old, associations and societies were the hard-copy depository for industry or professional knowledge. Today, membership organizations compete against Google daily; however to organizations that excel in knowledge management have found ways to make access by members to their vast resources quick and easy. Some of the member-only features measured included:

  • Industry research, benchmarking and compensation studies
  • Legislative updates
  • Member-only password protected knowledge sections on organization’s website
  • Industry/profession standards, regulations and codes
  • Printed and electronic magazines and newsletters
  • Member directories

Buying Motives

In the above listed examples of features of membership delivered my various membership organizations—your specific value might depend on your buying motive for joining and belonging. Of the six buying motives listed in The ROI of Membership, the three most frequent membership buying motives tend to be:

  1. Profit and Gain
  2. Fear of Loss
  3. Avoidance of Pain

With this in mind, consider the (fill in org name) to be your number one strategic alliance for success. Much of what you and your organization need to prosper is available to you as “member-only” features of membership. Just think how much more value the (fill in org name) could deliver to you in products, services and activities if there were twice as many members. Help the (fill in org name) to help you by recruiting just one new member this year. Then, help that new member to assimilate into the organization by influencing them to attend the annual meeting—and when they do—introduce them to your network of friends and colleagues. This will better assure their long-term membership.

Interestingly enough, we found that most membership organizations today are far better at delivering value to members than they are at calculating and communicating the ROI of membership. It has been quite common for various membership organizations to deliver, annually, in the range of $10 to $50 in return for every dollar invested in membership. What does this mean to you? While the (fill in org name) may not have communicated all the value they deliver to you, you can be assured that if you access all that is available to you—you will enjoy an excellent return on your membership investment.

Edrigsbee

Edrigsbee

Ed Rigsbee is the consummate evangelist for member recruitment and strategic alliance success. He holds the Certified Association Executive (CAE) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) accreditation. Ed is the author of The ROI of Membership-Today’s Missing Link for Explosive Growth, PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances, and The Art of Partnering. To his credit, he has over 2,500 articles in print and countless articles electronically published.

Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.
Edrigsbee