Relevant Schmelavant... Your Association Right Now Can Deliver Meaningful Experiences to Your Members


by Patricia A. Hudson, MPsSc, Melos Institute*

Are you tired of industry experts telling you that your association is no longer relevant and its
days are numbered? Trish Hudson (Melos Institute) begs to differ. She suggests that:

“associations are on the cusp of their finest hour. Indeed some adjustments must be
made in order to get there. And if you’re willing to pursue them, your association has the
capacity to be a place where members across generations can benefit in distinctive ways
that cannot be replicated elsewhere…not now…not ever.”

In her latest article, Trish suggests that “the problem we are facing is not one of relevance, but
one of perspective.”
Even though, as she notes, “associations have been in existence since the
dawn of the Republic, our understanding of what makes them operate best remains limited.”

Trish challenges the notions that “you need to transact business with your membersand
[sell] a membership’ as though it is no different from buying a new mobile device. And that
multiple transactions with your members will engender loyalty. And that will ensure retention.”

This perspective, Trish cautions, “distorts the way you relate to your members; and how they
in turn relate to you. This approach is guaranteed to produce a viable customer base but is
guaranteed not to generate a highly-engaged membership community.”

In this article, Trish explains:

  • That members and customers reflect two distinctly different roles and behaviors
  • Why member-based organizations are distinctive from other types of associations and
    nonprofits
  • That shifting management practices from transaction-oriented to relation-centered can
    generate greater member engagement
  • How changing two key perspectives can change your outcome:
    • Membership is not a marketing function
    • Membership is not a transaction

 To read this article, click on the link below.


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Relevant Schmelavant... (Melos Institute, 2012)


* The Melos Institute is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit independent think tank focused specifically on
addressing the challenging issues that have persisted within membership-based organizations.

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