A Few Deep Questions for Membership Pros

Take a short break from dues invoices and engagement efforts to noodle on these membership conversation starters.

Last week, I was asked to participate in a survey about a survey. Marketing General Inc. is looking to improve its annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report by asking association membership marketers for suggestions for new questions to add to the 2013 survey.

Is the job of a membership professional more art or more science?

After some thinking, I came up with a few questions, but I’m not sure how useful they’d be in a benchmarking survey context, and they’re not all directly about membership marketing, anyway. But I’d still like to put them out there, so here goes. A few deep questions for association membership professionals:

1. Is your job more art or science? I see two sides to membership: One relies on community, engagement, customer service, and positive experiences to drive a desire for belonging in members and prospects. The other relies on retention rates, invoice frequencies, lifetime member values, and 1-9-90 ratios. So which is more important?

2. Would you rather your association continue to depend on dues revenue or be free of it entirely? Which would be better for your association and your industry? And your job?

3. Which is harder to find: a database system that meets your needs or colleagues who are willing to learn how to use it? Those of you who have led an AMS migration know both halves of this equation well. Which part was more challenging?

4. What’s the single most important skill set for a membership pro? No one majors in Membership in college. It’s a field that draws on a variety of disciplines. What has been most vital in your career? Or, what do you look for first in potential hires?

5. How many members do you personally interact with each day? Be honest. Too few? Too many?

6. Would you rather have 100 percent of your potential members join or 100 percent of your current members actively engaged? A purely hypothetical thought exercise, but still fun to think about.

Share your thoughts in the comments, plus any other tough questions you might have.

(Brian Hillegas/Flickr)

Joe Rominiecki

By Joe Rominiecki

Joe Rominiecki, manager of communications at the Entomological Society of America, is a former senior editor at Associations Now. MORE

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