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The 5 Habits of Engaging Membership Leaders

Terry Ibele 02 October 2017 0 comments

This is a guest post from membership program expert Joy Duling, host of The Movement Summit, a free virtual conference for membership-builders.

Engaging Membership Leaders

Do you know what sets an ordinary, ho hum, limping along membership program apart from one that is vibrant and growing?  

  • It’s not their marketing.
  • It’s not their spending.
  • It’s not their size.

It’s the ability of the organization to ENGAGE effectively… and that engagement begins with those who lead.

Recently, I’ve embarked on a series of interviews with 30+ leaders of thriving membership programs as part of The Movement Summit. I asked these leaders to share their stories with me to help me understand why their members are so passionately engaging around what they do.

In their interviews, several themes emerged.  I call these themes “The 5 Habits of Engaging Membership Leaders.” Here they are.


Habit #1:  They Are Always Listening.

Engaging leaders listen not only to what’s being said directly to them by members, but they also listen beyond the answers. They listen for what’s not being said. They listen for what’s being talked about when they aren’t in the room.  When you ask an engaging leader what their members care about, they actually know without equivocation. They use data. They use surveys. They use interviews. They use social media. They are tuned in to the right channels.


Habit #2:  They Continuously See Possibility.

I’ve always believed that people join membership programs because they want something to be different in their lives, their businesses, their industry or their world.  What became clear to me through the interviews is that leaders of engaging memberships are masterful at describing the future as it can be. They shift their members beyond the problems of the present to reveal a future that is worth the effort to create.


Habit #3:  They Show Up.

From daily emails, to making personal phone calls simply to check in, to introducing people who should know each other, engaging leaders often spoke of uncommon ways they show up for their members. For anyone who ever thought that membership could be a “set-it-and-forget-it” experience, listening to just a few of these interviews would surely reveal the folly of that approach.


Habit #4:  They Care About Value.

Leaders of thriving memberships don’t just talk about creating value.  Value is their measuring stick, determining what they do more of and what they strip away.  Are members participating?  If not, why not?  Are success stories happening?  Have member needs changed?  Are there new ways to serve?  Never satisfied with the status quo, you’ll find engaging leaders continuously seeking improvement. 


Habit #5:  They Connect.

Engagement is, in many ways, the organizational equivalent of “charisma”. When you’re with someone who oozes charisma, you feel their presence in a room. When they talk, they have a way of communicating and persuading that is irresistibly charming.  If they’re passionate, your own excitement stirs. If they’re deeply disturbed, you’ll find yourself rising to the defense.
Leaders of engaging memberships become expert communicators. They leverage the language of their people. They work toward shared goals and they combat common enemies.


A Free Online Event to Learn How to Build Highly Engaged Communities

Interestingly, every membership leader I interviewed had a unique tale. Their memberships were different sizes, structures, and technologies, yet the same themes emerged repeatedly and their insights were invaluable.

That’s why I’m bringing their stories to you in a free, online event called The Movement Summit, starting November 6th, 2017.  If you want to build a more engaged community for your membership organization, sign up now. You’ll get actionable advice, based on the real-world experience of people who are actually doing membership-building work every single day.


Additional Resources:

Joy Duling Engaging Membership LeadersSince 2005, Joy Duling has been quietly helping smart, creative, passionate changemakers launch membership programs. Joy believes membership is more than a business model. It’s a powerful platform for uniting your unique tribe of followers around the change you were meant to bring to the world.  In addition to her consulting role, Joy has served as Executive Director for a community-based nonprofit, growing the organization from scratch to annual revenues of $1.3 million exclusively from membership contributions in just 3 years. 

Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Posted by Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Published Monday, 02 October 2017 at 11:24 AM
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