#1 – Do your research.
Don’t rely on a hunch – test your ideas on your members. Select a sample of current members – or prospects that represent your ideal member types – and conduct informal interviews with them. Once you have their feedback, there will undoubtedly be things you need to change or refine before you launch your new strategies. …
#2 – Plan and document your processes.
How will you administer your new membership structure? If you’re really serious about growing and have limited staff to help you do it, you will need to make your processes as efficient as possible. You may need to look for an affordable online membership management software to help you organize your member data and automate many of your day-to-day tasks.
You’ll also need to think about how you will communicate changes to your members and promote to non-members, what actions members need to take to sign up for new benefits or transition to other membership levels, how you will keep track of the different types of members, who will be responsible for each step of the process, how you will set up reporting to help you track the effectiveness of your strategies, and what systems and technologies you will need to manage your members.
#3 – Include your staff, volunteers, and Board.
Enlisting the help of the people “on the ground” can increase buy in. Go through the processes for each new service or initiative you’re introducing with your team, and assign someone responsibility for it. Do some mock run-throughs with your staff on the new procedures. Once you’ve confirmed your processes, document them so that everyone involved is consistently following them.
#4 – Pilot your programs.
If you’re introducing new programs, identify a sample of members or prospects to test the waters before you jump in – even if it’s just running the high-level idea past them. For example, if you’re introducing a new member portal online, have a diverse group of stakeholders test it out before you make it available to your entire organization.
#5 – Communication is key.
For any new event, initiative, program, or service offering, it is a good idea to create a communications plan that outlines the key stakeholders, messaging for each, time frame for communications, how you will deliver the communications, and overall goals. If you are making changes that impact your members in any way, always let them know well in advance, and continue to remind them as the scheduled changes approach.
#6 – Set specific, measurable goals.
Setting goals helps to create a sense of accountability for you and your staff. The basic metrics to measure will include participation in programs and events, sales and revenue from products, renewal and acquisition percentages, data from member satisfaction surveys, and your return on marketing investment. You may also have more specific metrics depending on your objectives.
#7 – Re-assess.
Make it a point to touch base with a few of your members through informal phone calls every month to get their feedback on what’s working and not working for them. Conduct another survey a year from now. It can be effective to use the same survey from the previous year so that you can make direct comparisons in the various areas. Analyze the data to see if your strategies helped you reach your overall goals, and continue to make adjustments on an ongoing basis.