Devastating your organization’s member value proposition is quite easy if you follow my below listed five steps. These steps will help you to create a bankruptcy of member value in your organization.
Give your printed and/or online magazine to non-members.
Sure you advocate that by giving it away potential members will see the value and join. How’s that working for you? You say my organization makes a lot of money from advertisers so maximum distribution is necessary. All this might be true, however what you are telling your members is they do not matter. No need to hold membership as you can get the value as a non-member.
Don’t have any member-only activities at your conference.
By now we should all realize that our “open” meetings are not a feature of membership because non-members can also attend. So the true member benefit is only the discount on registration your members receive. By not having member-only activities at your meeting, you successfully minimize the member value. You say that having member-only activities would aggravate the non-members and make them feel like second class citizens. I answer, ABSOLUTELY. Because, if you were to offer member-only activities that benefit only members, non-member attendees might be motivated to join your organization to get access…and who wants that?
Keep chapter meetings open to non-members…forever.
This is an excellent way, at the local level, to devastate member value. You say that it is important to keep the chapter meetings open to non-members so they can get a “taste” of the value. Fair enough, but only their first meeting. By continuing to allow non-members to continue to attend meetings they see that they do not need to join your organization to get the value. And your members will soon follow their lead and not renew their membership.
Keep your member discounts slim to none.
You definitely do not want to give your members a substantial and legal discount on all your products and services. It is far better to be equitable in the marketplace and provide the value to all. Stay away from showing the valuable discounts members receive on products and services. You do not want them to see that membership is a good financial decision.
Give your proprietary content away.
Sharing with the marketplace feels so good; you can really feel the love. As mentioned earlier, you believe that by sharing access to your website and your organization’s knowledge management system will lure non-members into membership. As the old saying goes, if you get the milk for free why in the world would you want to buy the cow?
Follow the above five steps and your organization’s member value proposition will effectively disappear, your members will disappear, your organization will fail and you can retire to working in your garden.
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.
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