Preparation is the key to success. Before going to leadership with a new membership-related proposal, it’s essential to have the data to back it up—then test the presentation out on trusted colleagues.
Creating a new member category for an underserved membership segment became an excellent test case for getting leadership buy-in. Having a step-by-step, winning methodology also gives Matt Rankin, CAE, director of membership development at the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), an excellent prototype to reference for future dues restructures.
How Does It Work?
Before Rankin approached IPO’s board, he made sure he had all the data to back up the plan for the new member category. “These are very educated, technical people, and so they don’t want ‘my gut says,’” he says. “They want data and survey results.”
Rankin and his team left nothing to chance. They conducted comprehensive research that backed up everything in their proposal, including member and nonmember input on pricing for the new category, which was double the amount for the previous one. Now, when he wants to go back to the board with other dues restructures, he can remind them of the successful process they previously approved.
Why Is It Effective?
Having the data to back up a new plan is essential to get leadership buy-in. Selling it is another step in the process. To effectively get your leadership and senior staff to approve a new project, Rankin recommends finding people you trust in your association, giving them the presentation, and asking for their feedback just as you would when preparing for a job interview.
“By them time we got to the board of directors, we had given this proposal four times,” Rankin says. “We had it down.”
What’s the Benefit?
It’s important to put yourself out there, even though it can be hard to solicit feedback on something that is your project. But it pays off. “It’s worth its weight in gold to build trust and transparency with your leadership,” Rankin says.
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