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MC Talks
The MemberClicks Blog

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Which of These Volunteer Trends Will You Try This Year?

Asking for volunteers and really getting the most out of their activity can be a struggle. Everyone feels the “there are only so many hours in a day” sentiment, your members included. It can be difficult for them to commit to yet another regularly scheduled activity - let alone give it their all when it comes after a crazy day at the office.

It becomes quite the conundrum when your association relies on volunteers to provide certain benefits, or even to function. If you can identify with these difficulties, it might be time to rethink your association’s volunteer structure. Take a look at these trends and think about how they could fit into (or even replace!) the ways you currently drum up volunteers:

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Moving Your Organization to a Tiered Dues Structure: Getting Started

Chambers and associations are a vital source of connection, but (just like many other industries) they’ve been forced to find ways to stay relevant in the age of the Internet. It’s become very easy for members to find each other and connect on their own time, use online tools to easily generate leads and market themselves, and access resources to learn more about their industry and how to advocate for it.

While organizational membership is still important, all benefits simply don’t apply to all members anymore: That’s where tiered dues comes in. A tiered dues structure virtually eliminates any loss of membership value, because you’re asking members to invest in a package based on value. Inviting members to have more control over their benefits ensures they will get the value they want out of their membership, which in turn will increase engagement, retention, and overall satisfaction.

I know - it sounds daunting, but the process for implementing a tiered dues structure can be totally painless with a little guidance and planning. And with any change, you’ll want to do some homework. Here are some “assignments” to get you started:

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3 Types of Surveys That Actually Boost Membership Retention

Increased membership retention doesn’t just happen on its own. Various initiatives have to be implemented.

One initiative that we highly recommend: surveying your association’s membership. Regardless of how long your association has been around - or what your retention rate currently is - there’s always room for improvement.

Now one of the responses we commonly hear when pitching membership surveys is, “Our members just don’t respond to those! Is the effort really worth it?”

YES! The key, though, is conducting a variety of surveys - short, long, open-ended, close-ended, etc. - throughout the year to garner maximum interest.

In fact, here are three types of surveys we recommend sending your members to boost membership retention:

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[Guest Post] Membership 101: Life Time Value

The following blog post was written by Elizabeth Weaver Engel, M.A., CAE, CEO & Chief Strategist at Spark Consulting LLC.

One of the questions I get asked a lot is: “How much should I be willing to invest to recruit a member?”

The answer is not obvious.

For example, let’s say you invest $1,000 on a recruitment campaign and bring in five new members. That means you spent $200 each to acquire those members.

(Don’t get distracted by: “But I contacted 100 people, so I only spent $10 per person.” No, you didn’t. 95 of those people didn’t join.)

What if your annual dues are only $100?

Was that campaign a waste of money?

It looks like it might be, but it’s not necessarily, because of something called the Life Time Value (LTV) of membership.

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3 Ways to Use Testimonials to Your Association’s Advantage

We now live in the review economy. What does that mean, exactly? Well it means people - your members and potential members - trust third-party reviews more so than they do the messages that come from companies and organizations. In fact, 91 percent of people trust online reviews, even if they don’t know the person/people making those reviews. That means your association can say something 100 times, but the second one of your members says it (even if it’s the exact same message), it instantly becomes more credible.

Why do we bring this up? Well, to emphasize two points, really: 1) You NEED to have member testimonials (if you don’t already), and 2) You NEED to be using those testimonials as much as you possibly can. (You may think having them in one place - on your website, for example - is good enough, but trust us, there’s way more you can be doing with them than just that.)

So how exactly can you use member testimonials to your association’s full advantage? Here are three primary (and fairly easy) ways:

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[Guest Post] Retaining New Members Through a New Member Orientation Webinar

The following blog post was written by the Indiana Society of Association Executives, whose mission is to support and strengthen the success of association professionals and the associations they serve.

According to Marketing General (in their 2017 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report), the retention rate among new members for individual membership associations averages 64 percent. This is much lower than the overall member retention rate, which averages 77 percent. Therefore, it is important associations engage new members as quickly as possible after they join.

One traditional way of engaging new members is to send them a new member welcome kit, which explains all of their various member benefits. Given the digital era, some associations have even gone to an online kit. Many associations also sponsor a new member orientation at their annual conference - to further engage new members.

However, given the importance of a personal touch immediately after a new member joins (and how that can have a major impact on retention), have you thought about hosting a new member webinar and then posting that information online so those who attended can later review it?

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15 Event Ideas for Your Young Professional Members

Engaging young professionals is tough, especially when it comes to events. Throw the word networking out there, and people seem to run for the hills.

But you know what makes networking a lot less intimidating and a lot more appealing? When there’s an activity to break the ice. (And no, nothing cheesy.) Remember, young professionals want to connect. It’s a big reason why they joined your association in the first place. Help them do so in a way that’s going to be fun for them.

Here are a few event ideas to consider:

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[Guest Post] The Problems Attendees Experience at Conferences

The following blog post was written by Amanda Kaiser, qualitative member researcher, writer, and speaker, and author of the Smooth the Path blog.

Members love to talk about their conference experience during in-depth interviews with me. We spend a lot of time talking about their conference experience because the conference is where most members get the most value.

Looking at the responses across more than three hundred interviews, of mostly very engaged members, a handful of typical weak spots in association conferences emerge:

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The 3 Most Engaging Photo Spotlights for Social Media

With the rise of advertising on varying social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc), it can be hard to know how to get your profile to stand out from the crowd. You need to be considerate of the varying relationships your followers have with your organization, ranging from those considering joining your organization, wanting to engage further as a member, or maybe thinking of leaving altogether.

It’s crucial now more than ever that your social media photos make a real impact and leave a lasting positive impression of your organization. If you’re not sure where to start, check out these three photo spotlights to help you get the most out of your social media channels.

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[Guest Post] Your Association’s Website Is Your Best Member Recruitment Tool

The following blog post was written by SBI Association Management, a Seattle-based and AMCI-accredited association management company.

How shopping for an association is a lot like buying a toaster on Amazon

Online purchases for all consumer goods are at an all-time high. Prospective members are used to finding everything from the best-rated camera to the safest car seat online, so it’s no surprise they’re using similar “shopping tactics” to decide on joining your association. There are many parallels between buying a product and buying a membership in a professional association. Your website’s home page is the most important recruitment tool you have to market the value of joining and close the sale.

From page one, your website needs to draw customers in and showcase the value of your association. It’s an asset that you need to vigilantly polish so it shines bright with potential.

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Association Basics: How to Navigate a Sick Day

No matter your industry, there is one thing that every professional dreads - a sick day! The combination of feeling miserable and knowing you’re falling behind in work is enough to make anyone feel worse. And we're sorry to tell you that it's the prime sick day season.

So the real question is: How can you make the best of it? While we don’t have any tips to cure your illness, check out these suggestions to help you make the most of your sick day.

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