Tuesday Buzz: Rethink Your Membership Strategy

An association industry consultant thinks it's worth taking a look at groups that are successfully holding their own during a difficult period for membership growth. Also: Think you can keep your emails to just five sentences?

We may be in a world of consolidation, but thinking in terms of industry opportunities (rather than limits) will get us a lot further.

That’s according to Plexus Consulting President Steven M. Worth, who suggests embracing niche opportunities in an effort to keep member bases growing, rather than contracting. He says that, when building your own membership strategy, it’s worth keeping an eye on those who are managing to see success during a difficult time.

“Despite what is happening to the majority, some associations are actually seeing their membership grow,” Worth notes. “Some associations have indeed benefited from these trends and increased their membership by pursuing niche strategies. Others seem to have resisted the laws of physics and have grown their programs, publications and finances despite declines in membership.”

Worth has a variety of tips for those looking to build out their long-term strategies. But for some associations, a non-member-focused strategy might be a better idea.

“Associations that are growing the fastest are measuring growth by users/consumers of products and services and not members,” Worth explains. “Rather than trying to fight this trend of declining membership loyalty, successful associations have defined themselves according to the market they serve and taken steps to ensure they serve it well.”

Where do you think the balance is?

Is Less More?

Our inboxes are full. Could the path to making all those messages more manageable be a self-imposed limit on their length? That’s the recommendation of, which recommends setting a limit on the number of words we write in each of our emails. Think this is too restrictive, or just enough? We’ll let you enter your thoughts below. (ht @JacobWilder)

Other Links of Note

Is your office a Box office? If so, the news that Box now supports live editing of Microsoft Office documents could prove extremely handy.

Keep your mission short and sweet, National Fluid Power Association CEO Eric Lanke writes.

Looking to live-tweet an event? Get your ducks in a row before you start tweeting stuff, says MemberClicks blogger Callie Walker.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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