Why Does Membership Have to Be So Complicated?



We know associations want to grow – but all too often I see big barriers to that growth. Our membership applications are overly complicated, and the dues levels are antiquated and difficult for the prospect to figure out. I’ve seen membership applications that are 5 and 6 pages long, and often prospective members need referrals from current members, and still, others must wait 6 months to get an approval.
Applying for membership shouldn’t be this hard – how can we smooth it out for these folks?
We strive to run industry associations that can be effective; and, one of the ways we can be more successful is by serving more members, right?
We must provide prospects an avenue to easily join our organizations and with less bureaucracy. The fact of the matter is, many of the people who put these rules in place at our organizations are folks who have never had to sell anything on behalf of the association. And, if they had to sell the association, believe me, there would be some procedural changes.
From where I stand, we need to intentionally focus on how we can level out the process for prospects to not only join the association but to register for a convention, buy an ad in your newsletter or a booth at your annual meeting.
Ultimately, my recommendation would be to talk to your sales team – consult with them on the processes that should be in place for people to join your association – I guarantee they will have some fantastic feedback for you.
“Streamline” is the operative word. Membership doesn’t have to be complicated:
*Eliminate those 20th century business processes
*Shorten the applications
*Simplify the dues structure, and
*Consult your sales team on membership best practices
Smooth it out for your member prospects and you just might see your numbers grow.
I hope this content has been helpful. For a new and comprehensive resource on association growth, my first book, Association Hustle is now available for purchase. Check it out! 


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