5 Gifts on Every Membership Pro’s Holiday Wishlist

Looking for the perfect gift for your colleagues in your association's membership department? Check out this list for last-minute ideas—though you probably won't find any of these in stores.

As 2015 winds to a close, many of us are looking toward the new year in hopes that it brings more success and less stress—and maybe a nice new sweater.

Association membership pros certainly have their hopes, too, for the holidays. Spending five days a week year-round recruiting, retaining, engaging, and serving members is a busy, busy job, and often a challenging one.

The golden goose. The benefit that would bring new members in droves and stick your current ones like glue.

We’ve covered a great many of those challenges—and ideas for solutions—here on the Associations Now Membership Blog in 2015. But wouldn’t it be nice if the solutions took less work, if they could simply be wrapped up neatly with a bow on top and dropped at your feet like a gift?

Of course. And so, in addition to sugar plums, here are five more visions dancing in the heads of association membership pros this holiday season:

1. Members who read all the information their association sends to them. Think of all the trees you could save if you only had to invoice your members once each year. Or how much time and energy you’d save if members absorbed all the info in your welcome messages, directing them toward all the various benefits they might make use of. As nice as it is to be able to respond, “You’re in luck” when a member says the association “really ought to  …  [insert benefit that your association has offered for years here],” admit that you also think to yourself, “Wow, how did you not know about that already?”

2. An association management system full of accurate, up-to-date, and easily accessible data. Like the toy in the big box with tiny lettering down in the corner of the label—”Some assembly required”—even the best association management system with all the bells and whistles is only as useful as the data assembled inside it and your ability to get it out when you need it. The dream scenario would be an AMS that comes out of the box and is already constantly updated via multichannel outreach to members who happily provide their information (see above), that offers dynamic reporting and data-visualization tools, and that comes with great customer service.

3. Colleagues across the association who understand their influence on the member experience. Membership pros are held directly accountable for membership performance, but they often have much less influence on the quality of the association’s products and services than the program staff who manage them. A great gift to any membership team would be for the rest of the association’s staff to resolve in 2016 to study up on the benefits of membership and focus on how their work can enhance the membership experience every day.

4. A large economic windfall to the industry or market your association serves. It’s a lot easier to get members to join your association when they have more money, or when they feel emboldened by current events, or when there’s simply more of them entering the field or opening up shop. Just ask a few of these associations launched since 2010. Stellar member service and advanced membership marketing are great, but they may be no match for industry-level momentum. A couple billion dollars or a key legislative victory might do the trick.

5. A new killer benefit. The golden goose. The benefit that would bring new members in droves and stick your current ones like glue. Forever we search; it must be out there. Right? Chances are your association offers a variety of common, core benefits, tailored to your audience, but every association membership pro believes there has to be more. Members have challenges that need solutions, and if the association could just listen closely enough and get inside members’ minds, it could deliver exactly what they need and what no one else has given them before. If you know what that is, let your friends in membership know.

Membership professionals, what else is on your wishlist this year? What would be the best gift you could get to start off 2016 right? One of the ideas above, or something else? Share your thoughts and help us build a list in the comments.


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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