Cultural Organization Reopening Protocols

As cultural organizations are in the process of planning for reopening their facilities around the country, we have been in communications with a variety of organizations nationally.  Here are some experiences and guidance we are offering as plans are being made to reopen institutions:

  • To date, outdoor facilities are the only institutions that have reopened, although many are in the planning phase
  • Most organizations are planning to reopen with some controlled visitor volume situation
  • Timed ticketing for both members and visitors is a predominant plan – free reserved times for members
  • Some organizations are planning to host soft openings, some for members only, as a way to test opening policies on smaller groups
  • Giving members the first chance to visit or reserve timed visitation slots can be seen as a thank you for their patience during the closure
  • Many organizations have given members a two month extension on their memberships due to their institutions closure; the implementation varies by organization
  • Reopening plans are being directed by governmental entities which differs by location and type of organization
  • Capacity of visitors is anticipated to be lower, perhaps at 25% of what would normally be possible.  Some of this will be directed by governmental policies.
  • Communicating opening plans with members and the public is key.  Informing audiences of the cleaning and safety protocol is important to communicate.
  • Most places are requiring masks for staff and making it a recommendation of masks for members is common. Some are requiring masks for visitors and make them available for sale.
  • Many are making plans for a one -way traffic pattern once inside the facility
  • Any interactive exhibits with a touch component are probably going to be closed for now. Some specific include:
    • Eliminate as many high touch points as possible.  This could include propping open doors to restrooms, cafes, gift shops, etc.  Remove lids from trash/recycle receptacles.
    • Place signage where high touch points exist warning visitors that this is a high touch point. 
    • Additional signage about safe distancing through the venue.
    • Place markings/signage indicating six foot spacing in areas where lines form to ensure safe distancing.  Consider similar markings in special exhibitions or high traffic areas.
    • Additional hand sanitizer stations, especially near high touch points
  • Some places are requiring all admissions be timed tickets and reservations that will minimize personal interaction at entry.  If this is the fact, the opportunities for membership sales at entry could or will be impacted.
  • According to visitor intent research being conducted by IMPACTS and spokesperson Colleen Dilenschneider, a prominent firm in the museum and visitor attraction market, the following data points have been documented:
    • Intent to visit within a particular time period (1 month, 3 months, etc.) is mirroring that of data collected in 2019, suggesting that people are looking forward to visiting their favorite institutions again once they are open
    • The venues that people feel comfortable visiting include outdoor venues first, followed by museums and indoor venues, and lastly by theaters and venues with confined spaces
    • There is greater intent to visit by households with incomes of $100,000 or more
    • An institution that has well defined safety and cleaning practices and communicates that plan will make the returning public feel safer and more likely to visit
    • The ability to avoid lines is a factor that will make people feel safer when they visit

What are you and your organization planning to do to reopen? Let us know in the comments!


Have a question for us about what to do to reopen? Fill out the form here to contact us with your questions!

Stewardship, Fundraising and Advocacy – What’s Working Right Now?

Our very own Dana Hines and Alicia Lifrak joined Mike Fulton of the Asher Group on April 7 to discuss what’s working and what’s not working right now during the global pandemic.

The discussion, which was moderated by Cyndi Greenglass from our sister company Diamond Communication Solutions, explored traditional, online and virtual tactics that can be employed by nonprofits in order to stay engaged with constituents without in-person experiences.

Specific topics included:

  • Helping clients develop innovative, virtual advocacy and communications strategies to reach and motivate elected officials and government regulators during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond in the absence of face-to-face communications.
  • Navigating the “new normal” with an industry roadmap to finding stability and a course to recovery from human services to health care to cultural institutions – the path ahead is riddled with uncertainty, but nonprofits are not totally unprepared to meet the moment for the third largest employment sector in the U.S.
  • Thoughtful strategies and tactics on the way forward for membership departments at visitation-based cultural organizations including planning, communicating and engaging audiences in uncertain times.

Watch the recording here.


Have questions concerning what you should be doing with your membership program right now? Contact us with the form below and we’ll get back to you soon!

Do You REALLY Know Your Membership Program?

The Usefulness and Importance of Membership Audits and Strategic Plans

As a membership manager, you live and breathe your membership program.

You know all the weird quirks of your database system.

You know the names of your “problem” members—each direct mail campaign is accompanied by the phrase, “Make sure Mr. Jones does NOT get two letters this time!”

You know all of the basic things like your membership numbers, popularity of your benefits, renewal rates, and annual revenue.

So, you know just how well your program is doing—right? Possibly. Here are a few reporting metrics you should also know. Do you know the answers to these questions about your membership program?

  • What is your first-year renewal rate?
  • What is your cost per member household?
  • What is your net revenue per member household?
  • What are your response rates and revenues of your last direct mail campaign?
  • What are your response rates and revenues of your last direct mail campaign after a matchback analysis? (Have you ever had a matchback analysis performed on your acquisition campaigns?)
  • Do you have the right amount of staff for your membership size?
  • Do your membership benefits match the dues your members pay? Are you doing enough in terms of benefits? Are you spending too much compared to your dues?
  • Have you met your membership projections from last year? (Did you have projections?)
Image Credit: Max Pixel

These questions cover just some of the many caveats of really knowing your membership program. If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, you should try to find the answers. These answers help to tell you exactly what your program is up to, and they give insight to what your program could be. Knowing these answers also gives you the information you need to construct a well-rounded membership strategic plan.

Developing a well thought-out membership plan will ensure that your membership program is functioning properly, and that you have a course of action put into place to maximize all of your efforts to maintain and grow your membership. A membership plan is a step-by-step guide to success.

Have you ever stepped back and really had a look at your membership program? Have you looked at all of the things you offer, the things you and your staff do on a daily basis, the ways you communicate with your members, and all of the data that your membership program creates? Performing an audit lets you take a critical eye to all of the aspects of your membership program. It shows you your program’s strengths and weaknesses; the things you are doing well and the things you could improve on; and all of the many special quirks and facets of all that you do in your program.

So, why do a strategic plan for membership? Here are a few reasons:

  • Jump start a stagnant membership program
  • New direction when new staff take the reins of the program
  • To take advantage of the excitement of an expansion, new building or remodel of a current building by revamping your membership program

Your plan should cover every aspect of your membership program—from acquisition and renewals, to processes and staffing, marketing and communications, dues and benefits. Your plan should also include a general schedule and projections for the next five years, taking into account anything out of the ordinary, such as…

  • Grand Openings (and closed buildings)
  • Anniversary years of your organization as well as other stakeholders (such as city celebrations)
  • Major events and exhibitions (or lack thereof)
  • Major institutional changes, such as price increases, change in leadership, mission expansion, to name a few.

These could impact your numbers in unique ways. Your projections will give you goals to aim for, as well as a way to see how your program is actually doing compared to what you projected could happen.

Often, we look at the creation of a strategic plan as something that should occur at the beginning of the year. It’s great to get a solid set of data to guide your decisions for the upcoming year. But, let’s face it—the beginning of the year is crammed full already! With all of the added planning for the New Year and processing from end-of-year appeals and gift memberships, you’re busy!

But, truth is, you will always find yourself too busy to do an audit and plan. You’ll always be busy with something.  Even in your slow season, you’ll find other matters more pressing than an audit and plan. But, you just need to find the time and energy to do it NOW. It’ll seem like at pain while you’re pulling everything together, but when you are done, you’ll be very happy that you have a comprehensive plan for your membership program.


If you are still sure you don’t have time to perform your audit and plan, we can help! Just fill out the form below to find out how we take the burden off of your shoulders by performing your membership audit and creating your strategic plan for you!

2016 New Year’s Resolution: Healthy Habits for Your Membership Program

berriesIt’s the New Year, and we are all looking to start off on the right foot. We’re promising ourselves that we’ll exercise more and eat healthier. We resolve to keep better organized and get to those projects that we never seem to get to. While you’re getting organized and starting those fresh and healthy habits, we’d like to offer a few good habits to keep your membership program fit and focused throughout the year.

Reporting.

Do it and do it often. Membership software programs hold a lot of data about your program. However, some don’t give you the reporting you need in the way you’d like it. The best option is to do monthly reporting and compile your own data. This way you, you’ll have accurate data for your program that you can use for benchmarking, projections, and goals—both short- and long-term.

Benchmarking.

Do you know how much more (or less) successful your program is from last year? What about how your program stacks up to other membership organizations of similar type, size, and budget? Do you know how you compare to your “competitor” organizations in your area? These are all very useful figures to know. Knowing each of these benchmarks gives you a good and data-backed way to measure the success of your program.

Keeping Up on New Trends and Membership Options.

Did you know you can remind your members to renew though Facebook retargeting? Have you ever conducted a back-end analysis on your direct mail or email campaigns to see how successful they really were? How about using mobile strategies and other member-focused social media posts as a way to communicate with your members? Have you thought about implementing a loyalty rewards program that will compliment your membership program? These trends and more will become the membership waves of the future. You need to know what’s out there to know what you could be doing with your program, and keeping your membership program relevant in today’s world of ever-changing technology.

Communicating.

Make 2016 the year of communication between you and your members. While the means and frequency of your communications are not always in your control, you’ve got to try! Work with your communications or marketing team to make sure you get membership messaging into your organization’s email, social media, and print communications. A new year is an excellent time to get membership needs on your institution’s communications calendar. Being proactive with your communication and promotional needs for the whole year heads off push back at busy times. Email, social media, and other channels can be utilized to communicate with members.

Planning.

Departmental and institutional planning are very important tasks. Get all of your acquisition, renewal, and member events on everyone’s calendars NOW! Make sure membership is everyone’s priority. Members are your organization’s most loyal audience and stable revenue stream!

If you have any membership questions, please feel free to contact us at any time!

What If?

You are at the end of the year, the end of your wits, and just a little bit delirious. The Membership Fairy makes an appearance, handing you a magic wand. So why not believe in what “could be” in the new year?

What if….everyone at your organization made you the Membership Queen, or King? They let you have anything you want for a whole year, when it comes to your membership program, of course?

What if…. Everyone listened to you about what membership had been able to achieve this past year (without everything you needed to have a robust program) and what you COULD attain in the new year with all the tools, budget, staff support you needed?

What if….you got to set your own goals for membership in the new year? Rather than someone in the finance department assigning a certain percent of increase in your revenue expectations without your input or without giving you additional budget to make that increase a reality?

What if….your members were totally delighted with the turnaround time on receiving their membership cards, and with all of your member events and communications?
What if….you could make all of this happen in the new year?

Maybe you can! Here’s how. Wrap up the numbers from 2014 and then create a “State of Membership” report. Tell your story – how did renewals do? What about new member acquisition? What worked the best? Where were your challenges? How was attendance at members’ events?

Then, pick at least one doable thing you can do to improve each of those areas. Some of your additions can be done without additional budget, some will require investment.

Renewals. Ideas such as adding email to the snail mail renewal reminders if you are not already doing, adding a phone contact for first year members who are the most vulnerable, adding a Facebook renewal contact to people up for renewal using Facebook retargeting.

Acquisition. Adding direct mail or new lists to your direct mail. Or a backend analysis to more fully understand exactly how many of your new members were touched by the mail that you are already doing, adding an online campaign that uses email to your audiences and outside audiences as well, to simultaneously conduct a Facebook campaign.

Engagement. Getting members engaged in your conservation mission, getting members to become your social media advocates, to recognize members when they visit, get members to give memberships as gifts or to involve them in a member get a member campaign.

Pick ideas to help tick up your renewal, acquisition and engagement numbers, commit to it in writing, make that new year membership plan part of your “State of Membership” and then share your report and plan with your boss, the marketing department, with your Director. Then put your plan into action! Catch everyone’s attention with these new efforts, and then report back. You will be a proactive Membership Manager who is not willing to accept the status quo. Hopefully you will grab attention and be more likely to make the ‘What if’s” come true for you and your program in 2015!

100 Tips for Revolutionizing Your Membership and Development Program

By Sheldon Wolf and Dana Hines

1. Have an annual and a longer-term Development Plan. Have this plan (based on Board participation) approved by the Board.

2. Define success to include cultivation and stewardship.

3. Know your marketplace. Who is your competition? What are they doing?

4. Read donor lists. Collect playbills. Read donor walls in libraries, hospitals, wherever names are listed. Having money is not enough. Who has charitable intent?

5. Know your Board? Who has greater capacity?

6. Seek out a Board member who will challenge other Board members to increase their gifts.

7. Use the nominating process to introduce the expectation of high giving levels.

8. Expand the circle of people invested in your museum by adding non-Board members to your committees.

9. Create ad hoc committees of non-Board members.

10. A major gift named after the founder or a key generous donor allows the message to be “Join this chain of philanthropy that extends back to our very beginnings.”

11. Draft a letter for Board members to send to their personal and business contacts.

12. The words, “Join me,” are extremely powerful.

13. The words, “Join us,” are extremely powerful. 100% participation by your Board in your campaigns is essential.

14. The more personal the approach, the more effective it will be.

15. Cultivate long-term relationships with donors to the collection.

16. Join the most important civic groups in your community. Be seen as a “player.”

17. Be visible at other cultural institutions and major community events.

18. Foundation executives are people. Meet them.

19. Every grant proposal tells a story. What need will you address? Why now? Why you?

20. Use special events to cultivate new relationships.

21. Thank special event guests as they enter, during the event, and as they leave.

22. Engage your staff and Board at events to make sure strategic conversations occur with the most important people.

23. At events, seek out people who are standing by themselves.

24. At a special dinner, your Board Chair and your CEO should be at different tables. Have two head tables rather than just one.

25. Read your local newspaper.

26. Use your communications to donors/members to help them feel like insiders. Give them information about your exhibitions and programs they can use to “show off.”

27. Invite special prospects to see recent acquisitions.

28. Once you have a constituency, and a sense that the organization is here to stay, mention planned giving in annual report, newsletter, online, etc.

29. Most planned gifts are bequests. You don’t have to be an expert in everything else.

30. Create a planned gift advisory group of experts from your community.

31. If you have a community fund in your area, work with the people there.

32. A capital campaign is an outcome of good strategic planning.

33. What is your Museum’s value for the community? Will changes in the program make it even more valuable?

34. Stress community in your communications.

35. Use photographs strategically. If your museum serves a poorer constituency, be careful with black-tie images.

36. While your annual report might acknowledge the past, use it to inspire donors about the future.

37. With your Board, create a Development Policy that addresses how/when you will accept gifts, who must approve them, who acknowledges what, etc.

38. The “public campaign” is the most costly part of your capital campaign with the smallest return, so hold off as long as you can.

39. Don’t let “public campaign” be an excuse for your Board and solicitors to stop doing their work.

40. Development must be included in marketing decisions (especially products=exhibitions).

41. Ask donors for feedback and advice.

42. Corporate philanthropy hardly exists anymore. It’s all about marketing.

43. If there are not enough people coming in the doors, development goals will not be reached.

44. Look at the relationship between admission fees and membership. When does membership become an offer that cannot be refused?

45. Develop a Membership Plan.

46. Your emphasis on money (we want more cash from our members) vs. people (we want more members) may lead you to different strategies.

47. A plan helps you stay on track and fend off other people’s ideas that will take you off track of what you are trying to achieve.

48. Include others in your membership planning

49. Have a monthly goal for number of members to join, renew, and a revenue goal, too. Check to see if you hit your goal and figure out why you did or did not meet goal.

50. Keep an eye on the competition. But don’t copy anyone else’s campaigns unless you know how it performed (don’t copy a failure)

51. Pick three top goals for your membership program and spend the year achieving those goals

52. Test offers – a premium vs. a discount.

53. Know your audience. Who is your typical member? Plan accordingly.

54. Ask people to join

55. Tell people why they should join your organization. Tell people why you deserve their support – quantify what you do

56. Tell people what you want them to do – be explicit. I want you to upgrade to $150, I want you to renew at the Patron level, renew your membership by December 31

57. Sell memberships face to face.

58. Train your frontline admissions and sales staff.

59. Develop an incentive program to get front line people to sell memberships

60. Don’t abandon direct mail – it still works!

61. Do letter packages to ask for money, not self mailers.

62. Code all sources of new members – you need to know what is working!

63. Put your museum’s name and address on each piece of the mailing.

64. Track the number and source of new members

65. Track renewals by each mailing – know what your response rate is for each contact.

66. Combine the methods of asks and track each method – phone, email, direct mail

67. Lapsed members are gold – solicit them often

68. Segment you lapsed member campaigns by year – learn how far back you can mail or email and still be able to recapture Members

69. Offer a premium to get people to join, renew, upgrade or give to the annual fund

70. Do not abandon the phones. Telemarketing works to renew memberships, get lapsed people to join or to get members to give a second gift

71. Run reports at month’s end

72. Know your renewal rate

73. Track numbers of renewals sent by each renewal contact. Use this to figure out your renewal rate

74. Stay in close touch with members. Email, phone or visit with members often

75. Survey your members at least every three years in a comprehensive, professional survey.

76. Survey lapsed members at the same time and compare the results.

77. Raise your dues every three years

78. Figure out how much it is costing you to service each member – make sure you are charging at least twice that amount in your lowest level membership category.

79. Evaluate your membership categories. Do you have too many? If so revamp and make easy, simple categories.

80. Know your average gift, response rate and cost per dollar raised on each campaign that you perform.

81. Learn from failures. Evaluate each campaign and find a gem of wisdom in each one.

82. Take risks, try something new.

83. Experiment with colors, shapes, formats.

84. Ask your members/donors to give in other ways. Annual fund, upgrade, tributes, give a membership gift, special project. Don’t be afraid to ask again and again!

85. Ask for more.

86. Keep stats on everything. Keep files to give to the person who take over after you leave. Don’t leave them in a lurch!

87. Share information with your peers – at your organization or at others. Being secretive doesn’t really pay off.

88. Share the names of key donors and prospects with the person who answers the phone for the Director.

89. Thank people profusely!

90. Evaluate often. The reality around you is changing often.

91. Remember to thank your staff, your volunteers, your Board.

92. Schmooze. Darcy Rezac in his book, The Frog and the Prince, wrote that schmoozing is “Discovering what you can do for someone else.”

93. Continually move from transactional to relational.

94. Survey people who are involved. Survey people who are not involved.

95. Involve the entire staff in your Plan. Everyone is meeting people and/or engaging with the public and/or improving your program.

96. Support your museum at the highest level you can. Challenge others on staff to give. (“Join me.”)

97. Hire staff with good people skills. The technology can be taught.

98. Your most important skill is listening.

99. Celebrate victories – not matter how large or small.

100. Pat yourself on the back every day.

BONUS POINTS

101. Have a membership and development presence on Facebook and social media

102. Mirror your mail campaigns with a simultaneous, similarly branded email request

103. Have a JOIN tab on your Facebook page

104. Don’t abandon mailed asks (still the most important driver of giving) for electronic only asks

105. Don’t forget the members or donors you don’t have email addresses for.

106. Make email collection a priority with every contact

107. Host Facebook and social media contests and engagement to involve, excite and Create buzz – and make sure there is a way to collect name and addresses

108. Create branded landing pages for each of your campaigns that mirror the brand of the mail or email campaigns

109. Make sure you are in control of your communication schedule with your members/donors

110. Make friends with your organization’s marketing and IT teams – to get the support your campaigns and communications need

Sheldon Wolf

President

AdvancementCompany, LLC

806 Pleasant Avenue

Wyndmoor, PA 19038

215-836-8484

http://www.advancementco.com

Dana S. Hines

President & CEO

Membership Consultants

3868 Russell Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63110

dana@membership-consultants.com

314-771-4664 ext 105

314-771-2759 fax

http://www.membership-consultants.com

Coffee and Conversation – an end of year Membership chat

Sit back. Get yourself a nice cup of hot coffee or tea. Or maybe pop a cork if you would like to celebrate. Let’s talk as you wrap up your membership year.

Clear your mind of all the clutter of last minute things to do before the holidays or the end of the year.

Let’s revel in our little successes – or big successes. The year is over. At this point there isn’t a whole lot we can do to change the outcome. So just sit and reflect for a moment.

What are you most proud of this year? No matter what kind of year you and your program may have had, there is probably at least one thing that will make you smile. What is that? How did you make it happen? Or how did you take advantage of a situation that happened on its own?

Over the course of the next month, count the times that someone asks you “How did membership do this year?” You should be ready with your Membership elevator speech! So thinking about what the high points were and how you want to communicate that is what we are focusing on now.

I was struck at the end of last year, when out of the blue, I got a note from a client at the end of the year. We had not yet done the final, official wrap up of the year and the projects we had done together, but she put the whole big picture together. Her email went like this…

“Online transactions are growing rapidly. In 2012, we sent online renewals for the first time. On average, we sold 14.2% of our Memberships online in 2012 – compared to an average of 9.3% in past 3 years. In December, we recorded the largest number of online Membership sales, ever in one month – 18%, thanks to the new eReminders instituted this year”

That was one membership manager’s reflection on her best accomplishment for the year – and she could quote that to anyone who ask the question of how her program was doing for that year.

So take a moment, reflect, and think about what makes you feel good about your accomplishments for 2013 as we wind down the year….Sing your own praises for a moment, before it is time to crank it up for the new year.

Share your 2013 Membership accomplishment “elevator speech” on our Facebook page.

Happy Holidays!

Successful Marriage: Membership and Marketing!

In the Zoo and Aquarium world there has long been a debate on where Membership “belongs.”   Marketing or Development?  And every time a poll is taken, it always seems to be a split decision.  No matter where your organization comes down on in this poll, there needs to be a very cozy relationship between Membership and Marketing.

At the 2012 AZA National Conference, the message that seemed to run through all of the Membership sessions what to make sure there is a close working connection with your Marketing Department.

In too many organizations we still see the silo mentality, where one department has blinders on and doesn’t cross the line with other departments in planning, communications and in implementing the activities of their own department.  Here are a few examples of projects and ways of thinking and planning that will help ALL departments be more successful:

Communications:

  • Membership usually pays for the mailed newsletter, but often can’t get “real estate” it its own publication – be sure that there is always a member and donor news page in the newsletter.  And, if there are promotions going on in Membership or Development, make sure those activities are highlighted – like Adopt campaigns, Annual Fund Appeal, Gift Membership Appeal.
  • The same goes for website and Facebook pages – make sure Membership has a tab on the Facebook page – people will join from the page, especially since people like to stay on the page and don’t have to jump over to a web site.
  • eNewsletters are another opportunity to get everyone on the same page. Plan for the eNews to members to have messages that relate to them – which may mean eNewsletters to the public and members that have some unique differences.

Planning:

  • Sit down with Marketing and Membership – map out your promotions for the year, get on the other department’s schedule, make sure you are not working at cross purposes, get on their calendar, be sure to get those tweets, Facebook entries and banner ads planned for when your major membership drive is happening.
  • Have Membership be part of the Marketing Departments planning sessions and Marketing sit in on Membership’s planning meetings to make sure you are covering for each other – AND get everyone’s brain power to work for each other.

Implementing:

  • Membership direct mail campaigns work the best when they have the support of advertising.  And the campaigns work the very best when a marketing message and graphics work in tandem.  Membership works months ahead of other people’s schedules especially for graphics – so get everyone working ahead instead of last minute!

In summary, a well oiled, non siloed relationship between Membership and Marketing is a perfect marriage for everyone!

Making Goal

Making Goal – the time to Act is NOW!

This is the time of year when December 31st is looming large! Revenue goals are a measure of our membership and fundraising success – at least internally. How close are you to your goal for the year?

If your numbers look good, then you can just coast through to the end of the year – no worries. BUT! If you are questioning how or if you are going to meet your program’s goals for the year, then it is time to pull a few tricks out of the playbook and get busy! Here are a few ideas and ways to boost numbers and revenues:

– Do a membership upgrade campaign. This effort, done by mail, but with possible support via email or phone, just asks for members to consider upgrading their membership. They have to go up one full level (paying the full amount now) and then get rewarded with an additional 12 months of membership with benefits at the higher level for the full amount of time. Reward behavior with a special offer – tickets, guest passes or a premium – or more of those goodies if the jump up more than one level. This can be done as a free standing effort or combined with a dues increase announcement if one is coming in 2013.

For one client last year, we performed this type of campaign and the $40,000+ that it raised got them within inches of their goal! But if they hadn’t done it……?

– Do a Lapsed Member Campaign. Round up all the 2012 non-renewers and ask them to get back on board! Many times an end-of-year reminder is very lucrative because it helps the members get their gift in under the tax wire in time for a deduction. For some members this feels like their end of year gift. Some members have simply just forgotten and welcome a friendly reminder. This is most productive if done by mail with a couple email reminders.

– Its gift giving season! Make sure you have a nicely packaged “Give a Membership as a Gift” campaign. With holiday graphics and special pricing on multiple membership purchases, put this offer out via email and on-site signage, especially at the gift shop. Have holiday fulfillment packages pre-packaged – maybe even in a wrapped box – for easy and attractive gift presentation. You may feel like the membership office has turned into a fulfillment house but if it pays off from a happy member/customer perspective, go with the flow!

– Finally, some membership managers are also in charge of the annual fund campaign. If so, add something new to your already tried and true approach – an email appeal with video, an additional mailing right before the end of the calendar year, reminders on your Facebook page, especially if you are a zoo and can remind people they are helping to provide for the food and caring for their favorite animal. Pick an animal, find out his food budget for the year, and do a little crowdsource fundraising by putting that goal out there and ask people to put their pennies in the pot!

Set your sites on your year-end goal and then celebrate the day that you cross the finish line!

Spring Fever! Be prepared with this On-Site Sales Checklist

Spring is on its way and so is Spring Break. That means ringing cash registers, lines at the admission window and the opportunity to cash in on the throngs of visitors to be able to convert at least some of them to members! So here is an On-Site Sales checklist to make sure you are ready!

• Set Goals. Do you know what percent of visitors you have been able to convert in the past? If not, track down your paid visitor numbers for last year. Also find the total number of people who bought memberships while visiting. Divide that number by paid visits and your will know your on-site sales conversion rate. Set you goal a little higher this year. Shoot for a 2% to 4% conversion rate.

• Publicize your goal – the percentage you want to convert and a numeric goal. Break that down by week, or month or just for spring break. Be bold and put that number out there so everyone knows what they are working towards. Put a tote board where staff can see progress towards that goal!

• Signage. Break the rules and make some bold, clear signage that will support your salesperson’s efforts. “Members Enter FREE!” “ Membership is a Great value!”

• Select and Train staff. Sales aren’t for everyone. It takes an energetic, outgoing, fearless kind of person. Select people who represent your organization well and who are not afraid to ask people to join! Then train them about everything they need to know about membership and your organization. Retrain frequently to keep them pumped up and up on the latest changes.

• Use an incentive. People are suckers for something FREE! Walking away with a plush or a tote bag makes the member feel good and it will cause ENVY among other guests who will ask “Where did you get that?”

• Tabulate sales by salesperson. Let everyone know how many memberships they sold, reward them in some way and let them know what a great job they are doing and how they are moving the needle on the sales goal.

Now, go out and break some spring sales records!