“The place that I think it gets a little dangerous is when we turn membership into a transaction.” – Elizabeth Weaver Engel, Spark Consulting
This week we get a chance to explore how relationships are changing in association membership. Professional and trade associations have historically thrived on dues-paying members. Elizabeth Weaver Engel, an association veteran and current head of Spark Consulting, challenges the idea of what membership can mean. Beth and Elizabeth discuss how to re-focus attention, services and potentially business models on what a member needs from their association rather than the other way around. We look at what member-driven organizations can learn from the donor-focused communications that fundraising organizations use to build affinity with their audiences. Like other nonprofits, associations are looking at how they generate revenue and how to give their community a value exchange. Elizabeth shares her thoughts on the opportunities for new ways to create this value:
- What is it that our audiences value in their interaction to us?
- Shifting what we pay attention to, track and reward
- How the donor-centric model of fundraising could be applied to other membership organizations
- Changing our understanding and expectation of relationship, membership, community, how people want to interact
- Why is membership the only relationship we really seem to care about?
- What is a ‘mailbox member’ and what does having them mean for an organization
- Evaluating the benefit of membership growth vs revenue growth?
- Avoiding “false positives” from asking the wrong questions
- Using data and tracking to learn what members really want from an organization, and how to act on it
Spark Consulting: http://getmespark.com/
Digital Now: http://www.fusionproductions.com/digitalnow/
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): http://www.ieee.org/index.html
Association Chief Executives Symposium (ACE): http://www.acesymposium.com/
Mark Golden: http://markjgolden.com/
Jeff De Cagna: http://www.principledinnovation.com/aboutjeff/
Jamie Notter: http://www.humanizebook.com/
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