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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Membership

It’s been almost a year since we launched our Membership Knowledge Hub and began collecting and developing articles and guides on topics such as: membership renewal; event planning; volunteer recruitment; communication planning; and much more.  

So to take stock and plan for the upcoming year, we published a very brief online survey to find out what additional topics we should add to the Hub as resources for the volunteers and staff of small membership organizations.

What did our survey tell us? Top 3 Topics

In general, the survey response confirmed our hunches around the top challenges that membership organizations are facing. To summarize, here are the Top 3 Topics or themes that ran through the survey results :

  1. Attracting members and keeping them involved is a key challenge mentioned by many of the survey respondents.
  2. Recruiting and managing volunteers (“a never-ending task”) was also noted as key by the majority of survey respondents.
  3. Communications – finding the right strategies, messages and tools for reaching members and volunteers (diverse communities - from students to retirees).

Key highlights from our survey:

Who participated?

While response to our survey was lower than hoped, we were glad that those who did respond were among our target audience of small non-profits and membership organizations – with 63% of respondents from organizations with fewer than 250 members and another 21% from organizations with 250 to 500 members.

Have you visited the Hub?

First we asked respondents if they’d visited the Membership Knowledge Hub and checked out the existing resources. We were pleased that just over 60% of the respondents had already visited “the Hub.”

Topics of interest:

We asked respondents to rank the following 7 topics and here are the priorities noted for small membership organizations:

    1. Membership management
    2. Volunteer management
    3. Communications – Membership & Non-profit
    4. Technology & website
    5. Events
    6. Leadership
    7. Fundraising

What part of your membership / non-profit role do you find most challenging? 

Here is a sample of what the respondents told us about the challenges they are facing: 

  • Volunteer recruitment and management  /  Finding and retaining reliable volunteers
  • Attracting new members
  • Keeping Members involved. Getting members to step up to board positions.
  • Figuring out what will get people to show up at our events
  • Getting members to update their profiles and to use member forums
  • Renewal promptly
  • Making the most efficient use of technology
  • Adjusting to turnover and new leadership
  • Coordination of committees/initiatives to fit into the strategic plan.
  • Facilitating the Transition from a paper system to an online member management system for club officers and members
  • Getting our message out to the right demographics.
  • Time required in old system to administer membership records and email communications

What information would help you with your role at your organization?

  • Recruitment techniques / strategies
  • Ways to find, train, retain and communicate with volunteers.
  • Strategic planning tips
  • Non-profit leadership stories
  • Database or "shopping list" of online/social media tools
  • Programming and communications strategies for diverse membership communities - students to retirees.
  • Suggestions for getting members to move into leadership roles.
  • Information on how to keep in touch with members 

What one resource would make a difference for yours or your volunteers’ work this year?

  • Convention planning guide
  • Turn around stories - what did other groups do to rebuild leadership teams and member involvement? Our group was hit hard by relocations of key volunteers during the recession and we have been trying to exist with a skeleton crew of volunteers. (Our local chapter is 120 people out of an international parent organization of 36,000 engineers.)
  • Tutorials for members who are new to passwords and usernames, navigating and scrolling!

Acting on this survey data  

We feel that our Hub survey provided us with some direction on topics for resources that we can develop or source for the Hub to help small non-profits and membership organizations in the coming year. So stay tuned to this blog and our Hub for everything you always wanted to know about membership!

As always, we plan to add at least one article or guide to the Hub each month, so visit often to see what’s new – or sign up for our email updates so you can be the first to know when new resources are added to the Membership Knowledge Hub.

 Thanks to all of the participants who offered their feedback in our survey!

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Published Monday, 01 October 2012 at 8:56 AM

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Email:
We hate spam, and promise 100% privacy.

Thank you!

We will be emailing you your copy of "What is Membership Management" shortly.

As a bonus, we'll be in touch with regular updates on topics of interest to small associations, clubs and non-profits.

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