Rules of Engagement: Make Change Happen

To break old habits, incentivize and reward your members.

They say that old habits die hard, but that isn’t necessarily true for members of the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals (ANFP), who until recently were stuck in a routine of dues renewal using paper forms sent by mail or fax.

That process was both time-consuming and costly, says Jay Cariño, CAE, vice president of member services. To increase efficiency in the process, ANFP incentivized members to switch from paper to online renewals. The result: a 55 percent increase in online membership renewal. Here’s how Cariño did it.

1. Offer an incentive. Most ANFP members pay for membership out of their own pocket, which means they’re price conscious and looking for the best deal to renew. Cariño offered a complimentary professional development activity to anyone who renewed online.

2. Change your own behaviors. ANFP had a habit of sending hardcopy materials to members, including membership cards and continuing education transcripts. “We’ve switched to a new online model,” Cariño says. “It helps us to get over the hurdle of change too.”

3. Be patient and listen. The switch to online dues renewals didn’t happen overnight. Big changes require time and attention, Cariño says. Following the switch, ANFP made sure to answer phone calls and respond to emails from members who needed help with the new online form.

(MarkBrazier/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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