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!