Restructuring Your Membership Business Model? How to Get it Right.



IStock: Credit_Natali_Mis

We’ve been in discussions with a good many organizations and one of the reoccurring questions we hear is, “We’re restructuring our membership model – what benefits need to be added?”
A few recommendations:
Begin by taking a hard look at member activity within your association. What are they paying for? What events and programs are they’re attending? What webinars are they choosing to participate in? You need to track this activity from a transactional perspective.
Then do a deep dive on the most popular benefits.
What percentage of your membership is engaged with certain offerings – a few examples: your LinkedIn message board or the job board you offer to post job listings in their industry? Get a good sense of the percentages of your membership engaged in those benefits.
Clearly, that participation analysis will reveal what benefits resonate with today’s members.
In fact, if you survey them, they are highly likely to provide you fresh ideas about new benefits that should be launched – by the way they might give you some insight into benefits that need retooling.
One of the benefits I see languishing in the association space is the annual meeting. Participation is flat. But specialty conferences and more-focused events are becoming popular. Again, the numbers will guide you in launching new benefits and services – or, eliminating some.
Eliminating benefits in decline with the membership is one of the most important moves to make because the strategy actually helps in developing a value proposition that is more defined and focused.
So, do your research – survey members about what they find valuable, what they seek, what they want from the association. My experience is these folks aren’t going to demand anything that is far reaching – they will perhaps look for some enhancements to some of the benefits you currently offer. But you have to ask.


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