Resources for volunteer leaders to bone up on their membership knowledge.
ASAE’s 2007 study The Decision to Join is, eight years later, still a go-to resource for association leaders to understand the fundamental reasons why people affiliate with groups and join associations (or not). A 54-page companion guide, Supporting the Decision to Join: What Association Boards Should Know and Do About Membership and Affiliation, outlines five key points for volunteer leaders, adapted below:
- Focus more on the collective benefits of membership, less on the personal benefits. Most professionals appreciate that association membership helps them advance the common good of their profession.
- Define, encourage, and measure member involvement. Performing one task, on one occasion, is all it takes to change a member’s disposition toward the value of membership.
- Don’t assume that elected leaders can correctly identify the priorities of rank-and-file members. Leaders have access to unique information that puts considerable distance between conclusions they reach and assumptions under which rank-and-file members operate.
- Stop worrying so much about the younger generation. They may be masters at social networking, texting, and blogging, but that doesn’t mean they don’t value many aspects of association membership.
- If the association plans to go global, first square up with domestic members. Launching a global strategy without fully analyzing motives or objectives can alienate domestic members.
For these resources and more, visit the ASAE Bookstore and search “membership.”