Membership

Lunchtime Links: What's Your Member Uninvolvement Rate?

By / Dec 4, 2013 (iStock/Thinkstock)

How to get more members involved in your mission. Plus: three kinds of leadership succession planning.

You love tracking how many members sign up for and participate in your events. But do you pay attention to other ways they may—or may not—participate?How to calculate your member uninvolvement rate, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

Get involved: Calculating event attendance is a good way to gauge member participation and excitement, but it hardly tells the whole story. Writing for his blog, chamber and association consultant Frank Kenny encourages organizations to get a fuller picture of member participation by tracking the “uninvolvement rate.” Kenny, who got the idea from a professional workgroup on Facebook, says the uninvolvement rate is calculated “by tallying the numbers of members who didn’t attend an event, didn’t advertise, or didn’t sponsor anything.” Once you have your uninvolvement score, Kenny suggests you can use that number to determine how many members actually are involved and to step in in those cases where you might lose membership. “After all, those members who are engaged and actively participating are more likely to renew and vice versa,” he says. Reach out to the uninvolved and see if there is something you can do to light their enthusiasm. It’s true that participation is not often a requirement of membership, but it is a good indicator of your effectiveness in carrying out your mission. Does your organization have strategies for keeping its members involved?

Know IT all: “I’m not a tech person.” That’s a pretty common refrain in association leadership circles. Technology can be intimidating and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Writing for Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), Lisa Rau, CEO and cofounder of Confluence, a technology consultancy, says many of the same skills that apply to organizational leadership also apply to technology management. “I believe some of the fear comes from the fact that technology changes so fast, and it is harder to know what you don’t know,” she writes. But managing information technology is less complicated, and more familiar, than most leaders probably realize. Rau offers several pointers, including understanding the scope of your technology universe, hiring people you trust, protecting your investment by putting money away for upgrades and fixes, and creating an effective cost-benefit analysis—so that, essentially, your technology pays for itself. Want to learn more? Check out her full list of suggestions.

Lessons in succession: As more baby boomers leave the workforce, planning for leadership succession is a challenge that associations—particularly board members—face every day. So, what’s the best way to plan for succession? The truth: It depends on the organization. Writing for Forbes, contributor George Bradt details succession plans at three large and very different organizations—Kroger, Microsoft, and Walmart. These are massive corporations, not associations, but the different ways each chose to handle recent leadership changes might inform your own process. Where Kroger decided to announce its leadership moves ahead of time, giving staff plenty of time to prepare, Microsoft chose instead to “shock the system,” announcing the departure of longtime CEO Steve Ballmer without a successor already in place. Walmart, meanwhile, announced a surprise successor but decided, like Kroger, to promote from within the organization. Bradt suggests all three companies had a reason for their approach. The question now is whether they can take advantage of those decisions.

How does your organization plan for a leadership change? Tell us in the comments.

Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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