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Shiny Rings And Membership Programs

I’ll admit I’m a hopeless romantic, so whenever I hear “engagement,” I immediately think of someone on one knee with balloons, flowers, and a small velvet box.  

A membership program is like a romantic relationship. There’s no velvet box, but the basics are there.  
  1. I read about (or visit) your organization and decide I want more information—similar to noticing a profile on a dating website or a chance meeting with someone who could be special.
  2. I get together with your organization and want to visit regularly—similar to a first date going well and resulting in a second, third, and fourth date—and beyond.
  3. I commit to being a member of your organization—similar to getting engaged.
Let’s stop there. Engagement is where the relationship becomes serious. Not only are you committing to each other—committing that you’ll stick togetherbut there’s an underlying agreement that you’ll keep each other company. You will connect with each other’s goals and missions.

When it comes to your membership programs, are you stopping at member commitment, or are you following through by engaging your members? What do you do to promote a continuing connection with your members? Do you ignore them after the courtship, or do you have a plan to grow and steward your relationship?

Because your members know your organization and have made a commitment to stick with you, they can be your champions—if you encourage them and give them the right tools. They can spread the word about your mission. Are you honoring the relationship you have with your members by showing them how important they are to you?

You don’t need to get down on one knee, but you do need to profess your devotion to your members. Uncertain how to start? Don’t fret. Blackbaud University’s Organizational Best Practices: Membership—Engagement workshop has tips, tools, and resources to help you build a successful membership engagement plan. Learn to build that special relationship and steward it in a way that benefits both your organization and your members.
Posted by Mary Aquino on Feb 12, 2019 7:00 AM America/New_York

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I like the analogies, Mary. They help me visualize. Thank you.
  • Posted Wed 13 Feb 2019 08:36 AM EST
Thank you for sharing, Mary! What an interesting viewpoint of memberships like relationships... That's exactly what they are and it's interesting viewing them that way. I'm hoping I'll be able to participate in the Membership Engagement workshop - who doesn't love renewing, happy members at their organizations? :)
  • Posted Tue 26 Mar 2019 02:09 PM EDT
This is something that I'd like to create a class specific to Altru also - new, not the two data entry/setup type classes, but more of a "how do we keep our members not only engaged, but renewing....excited to renew, bringing others to our membership program. Would anyone be interested in that and how it relates to Altru? (Please, go to the Best Practices class too! I've attended it and it's fantastic...)
  • Posted Tue 26 Mar 2019 02:14 PM EDT
So many good points!  We send our members a monthly newsletter, offer member pre-sales and other member only promotions.  We are working on refining our targeted marketing to members for programs that are similar to the ones they have recently attended.  We also need to create a forum to request feedback from our members more often.
  • Posted Tue 26 Mar 2019 03:24 PM EDT