Friday Buzz: What It Costs to Serve a Member

An association veteran discusses the best way to calculate the price of providing services to members. Also: Are you burning out your meeting attendees?

What does it cost to serve your members? Tony Rossell, senior vice president of Marketing General Incorporated and author of the Membership Marketing Blog, says that if you calculate by taking your organization’s total budget and dividing it by the number of members, you’re doing it wrong.

This method risks assigning too much cost to servicing members, Rossell says in a new post. He points to one real-world example in which his client determined that it cost his organization $300 per year to serve a member, but annual membership dues were only $79.

Rossell says the best method is based on incremental servicing costs. “The incremental cost is simply made up of the variable costs that the association would incur to serve an estimated number of additional members,” he writes. “These variable costs might be as simple as printing and mailing additional magazines and renewal notices.”

He goes on to discuss the pros and cons of the incremental-service cost calculation and what it means to find the “real” cost to serve a member.

The Stress of Meetings

Earlier this week, we asked whether your most engaged employees are also your most burned-out. But burnout isn’t exclusive to staff; it can also affect your meeting attendees.

A study from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence found that of more than 1,000 U.S. employees surveyed, one in five are both highly engaged and highly stressed. A recent MeetingsNet blog post considers what these findings mean for meetings.

Meeting planners are always looking for ways to increase attendee activity and engagement, but you may be stressing out some attendees by demanding too much.

To counteract this, “be kind and include lots of ‘white space’ where people can take some time to absorb, relax, zone out, and center themselves,” Sue Pelletier writes.

Other Links of Note

Do you do training? Beth’s Blog extols the virtue of hands-on interactive learning activities.

Here’s an interesting update for community managers with active Facebook pages. The social giant is testing a downvote feature for comments, reports The Verge.

Is your digital content slow to load? eMarketer says “slow-loading content remains one of the industry’s biggest scourges” and turns users away.

(Foryou13/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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