Since our theme this month is membership, this week’s link round-up offers four thought-provoking membership posts that we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam. The posts we’ve featured offer: tips on how to overcome the association value gap; a reminder about what’s good in associations, insight into the characteristics of rapidly growing associations and a look at why many online communities fail.
In this post (on the Principled Innovation blog), Jeff De Cagna looks at “the value gap as an underlying structural problem within membership-centric business models”, and suggests:
These are not conventional times, and association leaders must stop thinking about the future of their organizations in conventional terms.
In the post, De Cagna offers “three suggested approaches association leaders can adopt immediately:
- Pursue value conversations – In designing 21st-century business models, association leaders need to pay much closer attention to the kind of people their current and future stakeholders wish to become and what they want to achieve in their lives. …
- Negotiate value relationships – Despite decades of evidence demonstrating that membership simply isn’t a good fit for many potential stakeholders, associations continue to make essentially the same pitch to everyone. ...
- Identify value flows – Membership-centric business models typically produce a predetermined bundle of mostly standardized products and services that are pushed out to all stakeholders according to work practices and schedules that best serve the association’s interests. ...
In this post on the Associations Now Membership blog, Joe Rominiecki responds to negative comments from “nonprofit executives who had previously worked in the for-profit sector and [who were] asked to make some comparisons”. And while he notes that “their comments are relatable and perhaps indeed accurate”, Rominiecki wants to “set the message straight” by articulating some of the “inherent advantages over the for-profit sector” such as:
Tony Rossell (Membership Marketing Blog) explains that the “2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking data shows that 24% of responding associations reported rapid growth in membership over the past year.”
In this post, Rossell outlines “some of the characteristics of these growing associations” such as:
- Associations that describe themselves as offering both individual membership and organizational membership are more likely to have rapid membership growth compared to individual or trade groups (28% to 23% to 21%).
Naava Frank (Jewish Philanthropy) tells us:
The good news is that technology has created unprecedented opportunities for people to meet like-minded peers to learn, collaborate and support each other. The bad news is that so many of these well-meaning and inspiring projects that have enormous potential to help people and strengthen causes, are failing. …What I would like to present today is a way of thinking that in my experience has helped communities succeed.
The idea is that when we focus on building a technology infrastructure, we often neglect to build an accompanying relationship infrastructure.
Frank offers a case example of how one organization focused on technology “in a way that develops relationships – both relationships between people and relationships to the mission of the organization”. The insight from this post can definitely be applied to membership organizations or non-profits.
All of these links are bookmarked in the Membership section of Apricot Jam.
Want more non-profit and membership links?
These are just a taste of the Delicious collection of membership and non-profit posts we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam lately. You can check out the latest posts on topics such as: Membership, Volunteers, Communications, Events, Social Media, Leadership and Fundraising.
You can also find additional articles and guides on non-profit and membership topics in our Membership Knowledge Hub.