Tag Archive for: Member Recruitment Evangelist

Ed Rigsbee, top speaker on Membership Growth

Smart Member Recruitment; Use Evangelists (679 words)

For effective member recruitment, highly engaged and long-term retained members are your first, best hope. Who more than these members are qualified to sing the praises of the value your membership organization delivers to members? These members could easily be converted to member recruitment evangelists. Since these members can also access their (non-member) colleagues far easier than can professional headquarter staff, why not make the most of what you’ve got?

The Problem

The majority of your engaged and retained members are of Baby Boomer age. Their membership paradigm is that of joining their trade association or professional society because they should, because they need to support their industry or profession. Yes, those were the association good old days—gone perhaps forever. Today, the majority of the younger association and society stakeholders (non-members) are less interested in joining because they should and much more interested in what’s in it for them—what’s my return on investment? This creates a huge selling/recruitment chasm between the generations. Quite frankly, most Baby Boomers are ill-prepared to successfully engage and recruit those of Generation Y age (the twenty-somethings).

The important question is what do current members need in the area of selling tools and ideas to be successful in engaging the interest of non-members, especially younger ones? First, let me tell you what it isn’t. Your current member recruitment “hard-copy package” is most likely ten pounds of paper and other stuff that you have assembled over the years, with a lack of strategy, to convince someone to join your organization. I call this baffling them with bulk. The important learning point here is that you most likely send out gobs of information that a prospective member might, if you are lucky, scan. They surely will not read all the material as it is just too much. A prospective member just wants the core information that explains the, what’s in it for me—how will I profit from membership—prove to me that it is in my best interest to join.

An Argument for Qualitative Research

First is the pre-solution step. You must be able to prove in relative simple terms that membership in your organization is a good business decision. The best way to do this is to conduct active qualitative research among a sampling of your membership to determine the yearly sustainable real-dollar return that they receive from each of their membership investment dollars. Too many well-intended associations have their staff “determine” the dollar-value of member benefits but unfortunately the staff-driven numbers fail to pass the member smell test. For a glance at how this is done visit: http://www.rigsbee.com/association-member-retention-1.htm

The Solution

This the tool for which your engaged members have been waiting. Build a simple member recruitment brochure that dazzles membership prospects with brilliance as opposed to the old way of baffling them with bulk. I am happy to provide any association or society executive with my recommended member recruitment brochure template. To receive this, just email your request to ed@rigsbee.com and put “template request” in the subject box.

Now that you have the proper tangible member recruitment tool (brochure)—one that proves the return on investment (ROI) of membership, you need to re-educate your members on how to promote the organization. Get off of the tired old, no-sale method; of talking about all the advocacy and legislative work the organization does as a reason to join. This is crazy! The non-member already receives this “industry stakeholder” benefit at no cost. Why would they be motivated to pay for that which they already receive for free?

Better, is to teach your current members about all the “member-only” benefits in real-dollar numbers that your organization delivers. Give your members this awesome member recruitment selling tool. Educate your members in how to properly explain why membership on your organization is a good business decision through proving and explaining the real-dollar ROI of membership.

I guarantee you that effective selling technique, proving membership ROI, is far more successful in recruiting long-term members than is attempting guilt—very few people these days join an association or society just because they should.

Riding the Member ROI Wave—Proving Real Dollar Member ROI for Consistent Growth (1292 words)

Ed Rigsbee, top speaker on Membership Growth

Ride the Member ROI Wave to Accelerated Organizational Growth

State associations, more than national associations, are riding the member ROI wave of accelerated member recruitment. They are proving the real-dollar return on investment (ROI) of membership in order to influence industry members into joining. These associations have realized that the “join because you should” died a long time ago. Today, the “prove to me that membership is a smart decision” has taken hold across North America and is indicating there will be no letup of this paradigm any time soon.

Still Hooked on Days Gone Bye

Unfortunately, far too many associations are still hooked on the opiate of the more senior members belonging to, and attending meetings “because they should,” regardless of the quality of events or ROI of membership. They are not riding the member ROI wave. Wake up! These lovely folks, in huge numbers, are retiring and/or passing away. In their place, are appearing a different breed of industry participant and joining because one should is about as foreign to them as your Grandfather’s Oldsmobile.

There are those that cling to the fading idea that associations must be mission driven, without concern for delivering member value. Some say that associations that deliver real-dollar member value are nothing more than buying clubs. Perhaps today’s Mission-Driven philosophy might be nothing more than an excuse for non-performance while Member-ROI-Centric demands that association staff and volunteer leaders perform at the highest levels possible in order to member ROI wave.

Member ROI Centric

Associations that cling to obtuse missions as opposed to delivering high-level member value can imprudently spend the lion’s share of time and resources conducting activities—activities that serve the industry and all that are involved without holding membership. Where’s the value for those loyal members that annually render their dues payments? Many say that it is non-existent. It’s not always easy to be high-performing and deliver actual real-dollar value to members—value that the non-members do not receive. However, for staff and volunteer leaders that use “member ROI, member retention, and member recruitment” as one of their important considerations in decision making—across the organizational silos—these organizations are learning how to create and deliver member ROI. These organizations are enjoying consistent membership growth.

Today’s Forward-Thinking Associations

Progressive association staff and volunteer leaders of today are taking a different approach to member recruitment and retention—one that centers on member value and ROI. They are riding member ROI wave by focusing on how every decision affects member ROI. They are:

·        Seeing their organization through the eyes of the non-member to better understand why the non-members have not accepted the invitation of membership.

·        Promoting the benefits of membership features. They have learned how to explain the “what’s in it for me” to prospective members. They no longer rely on just a list of membership features and erroneously calling them benefits, they are riding the member ROI wave. Additionally, they have learned to differentiate between the features only accessible to an individual or company through membership and the activities they do that delivers benefit to all in the industry. They are learning how to sell through the window of member-only benefit and relying less on things their organization does that delivers benefit to all.

·        Proving beyond the shadow of doubt that membership in their organization is a good business, career, and financial decision by conducting qualitative research sessions to determine what their members believe is the actual, annual real-dollar ROI of each member-only, feature of membership is worth.

·        Discovering, identifying, and engaging their organization’s Member Recruitment Evangelists—the members that have been around for a while, are influential, and understand how a larger and stronger organization can deliver more value to members and their industry alike. And…arming these Member Recruitment Evangelists with an effective tool for influencing non-members into becoming paid members.

The Member ROI Wave Evangelists’ Tool

The trend is moving away from the traditional three-pound prospective member packages. Those packages of yesterday were really an effort to baffle with bulk rather than to dazzle with brilliance. Today, nobody will read a box or folder full of information—it was something like an association member recruitment data dump. Member Recruitment Evangelists and prospective members alike want something (hard-copy and electronic) compact, tightly written, and clearly explaining the “what’s in it for me” in real dollar members. They want to get an idea as the member ROI wave they can expect. The days of saying, “Membership is Priceless” are gone.

This trend of producing a compact tri-fold member recruitment brochure for the organization’s Member Recruitment Evangelists, and everyone else, has been embraced more by state associations than has national associations.

Some of the state and local associations that have produced the Member Recruitment Evangelists’ tool include:

·        Mechanical Contractors Association of South Carolina

·        Southern Illinois Builders Association

·        Associated Builders and Contractors Minnesota/North Dakota Chapter

·        American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado

·        American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia

·        National Association of the Remodeling Industry Central Ohio Chapter

This tool succinctly communicates the “member-only” features of membership and how the membership-at-large values each feature in annual real-dollar numbers. The brochure also communicates the “what’s in it” for the individual, their company, and their industry. Not every prospect will care about all the features of membership that is offered to them. As such, Member Recruitment Evangelists have the ability to discover which features of membership matter to the prospect and then can help them to understand the ROI they can expect from using just those features. For a free template to help you produce your own “dazzle them with brilliance” member recruitment brochure, email your request to ed@rigsbee.com

Member ROI Wave Buying Motives

Selling guilt is like having only one tool in one’s toolbox. The days of people joining because they should, have vanished. With that said, selling guilt along with several important reasons to buy can still be effective, in some situations, for getting CEOs to sign up large numbers of their employees. This is something that some Member Recruitment Evangelists and others are discovering. The something else is buying motives.

The organizations that are riding the member ROI wave, are doing so by helping their members to couple the evangelists’ tool with the knowledge of buying motives is proving very effective. Association staff and volunteer leaders are starting to understand the difference between a feature of membership and how each of the various features make their members lives better—the benefit of the feature. They are moving toward great benefit copy writing for both electronic and print publishing to help current members and prospective members alike to better understanding of the “what’s in it for me” that the association offers.

Each feature of membership relates to one or more buying motives within the framework of non-member decisions to buy (join). The six basic member ROI wave buying motives are:

·        Profit/Gain

·        Fear of Loss

·        Avoidance of Pain

·        Comfort/Pleasure

·        Love/Affection

·        Pride/Prestige

As association staff members learn how to write benefit statements for each feature of (member-only) membership and do so through the window of one or more buying motives held within the minds of prospects—the power of the written word exponentially accelerates. How well an organization’s website communicates member value and ROI has an enormous effect on the organization’s member recruitment results.

Chief Staff Executives Getting Onboard

For years, many chief staff executives (CSE) truly believed that member recruitment was solely the responsibility of the membership department, and focused elsewhere. Today, many CSEs are riding the member ROI wave and realizing the critical nature of everyone in the organization being on-board for the organization’s quest for member recruitment. CSEs are working hard to breakdown the silo mentality of the boards of directors and the staff members—becoming member-ROI-centric and charging everyone with the simple question, “How will this action affect member retention, recruitment, and total delivered member ROI?” After all, Membership is Everybody’s Business. They are effectively riding the member ROI wave.

“Compelling conversations is the single best way of creating concrete conversions… CONSISTENTLY!” –Ed Rigsbee