Membership Development Planning:
The Secret to Getting Members Active and Engaged


by Patricia A Hudson, MPsSc and James R Hudson, Ph.D. of the Melos Institute*

In this article, Patricia and James Hudson of the Melos Institute,* suggest that if you want to generate better results in member recruitment and retention, you need to:

  • Replace Membership Marketing with Membership Development -- a strategic process that focuses attention on helping members to learn how to create their own unique ‘pathways’ within the organization to achieve their personal and professional goals. This approach suggests that the organization and the member are mutually responsible.

  • Understand Retention: A Process Influenced by Five Stages of Membership Development:
    • Prospecting
    • Recruiting
    • Orienting
    • Involving
    • Renewing

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* The Melos Institute is a nonprofit nonpartisan independent think tank that works with thinkers and shapers to find new and better ways for volunteer and staff leaders to deliver more meaningful and transformative experiences to their members. The Institute’s applied research initiatives are geared to helping us understand the strategies and tactics as well as the principles, processes and tools that will produce an active and engaged membership


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