True Story: one day, in advance of my upcoming annual meeting – which only members could attend – I was contacted by a leading supporter of the organization, who asked:
“Paul, I’d love to buy an extra membership fee and bring my daughter to the meeting. She’s just getting started in the business, and doesn’t qualify for membership (the organization had production and admission standards), but definitely will at some point, and I’d love her to experience the meeting and get introduced to what the organization is all about. “
Responding to a real need
As you can appreciate, I couldn’t comply with the request, but I certainly took note of it. After all, like many organizations, we were always concerned with recruiting new members, and looking ahead to the future. That same year, at my first Board Meeting following, we started a Task Force to look into establishing a new membership category, a “Provisional Membership” specifically for younger professionals who were referred or recommended by an existing member, for the purposes of exposure to our programming and educational benefits. The next year, we were able to announce the new membership opportunity to our members – to a very appreciative, and financially rewarding, reception.
Clearly, there was a benefit to the organization, in the sense that these provisional members would most likely become full-fledged members once their provisional term had completed, and, of course, the additional revenue this new category would bring in. Developing this new category also addressed the need all organizations have to prospect for new members and to qualify them for membership, where an organization has set standards.
Provisional Membership is by no means a new idea. But the idea of qualifying and engaging a new generation of leaders and members never gets old.
Look around for gaps in membership
Look around your organization. Are there gaps in your structure that could be filled with new members? Are there opportunities people – who are not currently members – would love to experience? Think about how you go about quantifying these opportunities, and then framing an appropriate pricing structure. And don’t automatically default to the free trial period option. It costs you money to create, package and present opportunities. If you simply give these away, then you have told people that’s what they’re worth. Nothing.
Start thinking about opportunities to offer value, and receive value, in return.
I’ll do the same and get back to you in future posts about some more ideas.