Membership Model & Strategy Development

We Can Help You Build A Successful Membership Program that Creates an Powerful Impact. 

Whether you're looking to update your membership model, attract new members, retain existing members, or enhance member engagement, we have the expertise and support you need. With our help, you can build a membership model and strategy that drives value for both your members and your association. 

The digital age has ushered in unprecedented transformations, profoundly altering the way we interact, communicate, and operate. Just 20 years ago, the social media landscape did not exist, Blackberry phones were popular, and the convenience of credit card payments was celebrated. Fast forward only two decades, and the iPhone had revolutionised our world, with platforms like Twitter becoming household names. The past five years have seen a meteoric rise in the sharing economy, powered by trailblazing apps like Spotify, Airbnb, UBER, and Airtasker. And now AI has entered the room.

These seismic shifts have profound implications for associations. The rapidly evolving landscape mandates swift adaptation. Otherwise, associations risk obsolescence, overshadowed by agile competitors. But with challenge comes opportunity. Associations stand at the threshold of unparalleled potential, provided they adeptly navigate technological and generational shifts, grapple with competition, mergers, and consolidations, and pivot to tangible, personalised, and community-centric offerings.

To thrive, associations must shed outdated models and embrace innovation and entrepreneurship at their core. They need robust operational enablers in place, from visionary leadership and governance to effective strategy, staff, financial health, technological prowess, and compelling branding. The tumultuous times ushered in by COVID-19, though fraught with challenges, have also been a catalyst for positive change, urging associations worldwide to adapt, evolve, and envision a brighter future.

At SMS, we're committed to guiding associations through this transformative journey, ensuring they're well-equipped to thrive in the modern age. We have a wide range of ways we can support your membership journey. Here are just a few:

Membership Model, Category & Component Reviews

Navigating the nuances of membership models can be intricate. Whether you're examining your membership categories or diving deep into your entire membership model, understanding the distinction is vital. While the processes for each type of review are similar, the outcome and outputs will be different.

  • A membership category review is determining if there is a better way to structure your current membership options. You are still delivering the same value (potentially with some tweaks). It is about refining how you offer that value to different market segments. It is a better way to do "business as usual" and ensures your membership categories to ensure they better align with your purpose and market.
  • A membership model review is more complex. It accepts that associations do not exist to recruit members. And that membership is one of many tools that enables an association to advance its purposes. The review process seeks to ensure the “tool" you are using aligns better with your purpose. It considers who "could" be a member vs who "should". It clarifies the value to the member in joining - and the value to the association in having that member. It is a deep look into the foundations of who the association is and what it delivers. And may result in the organisation evolving as a result. It's looking for a better way to do business.
  • A Component Review is quite different from both the above. The term “components” is used to denote the various subgroups that exist within an association. These may take the form of branches, specific interest groups, or communities of practice. There are four types of components that can coexist within a single association. Each type is designed to help different members realise the unique value they seek from the association. A component review seeks to understand the best component mix for your organisation and provide recommendations for positive change.

The purpose of these review is to create a compelling case for positive change. This includes reviewing the current situation, articulating the reasoning for change, and developing a concept for the idea state that is aligned to your purpose. This project is a great option for associations who want to better understand and clarify the future direction of their membership model – and build a case for change.

The output of this project is PowerPoint Pitch Deck that is clear, logical, and visually compelling – and the presentation of this to your Board. The Pitch Deck can be used to communicate the concept to your Board and other stakeholders. The process of developing this Pitch Deck ensures concepts are reviewed from many perspectives which provides a robust mechanism for assessing future opportunities.

Membership Strategy Development Facilitation

The purpose of this project is to assist you to develop a Membership Strategy that contains practical ideas to recruit, retain, and engage members more effectively. In addition to generating the membership strategy, the coaching format ensures those involved in the strategy finish the process with the ability to create their own membership strategies in future. This process will have a positive impact on your organisations’ membership performance by supporting you to identify your membership goals, clarify the strategy behind your membership program and map the pathway to achieve these goals.

The output of this session will your finalised Membership Strategy-on-a-page with priority areas highlighted and operational notes incorporated where appropriate.

Membership Health Check One Day Workshop

This one-day strategy session provides an independent review of your current membership program and provides insights you can apply immediately to improve your membership results. This process is ideal for people who are just looking for ideas and inspiration, rather than a formal planning process. The goal of this session is the identify and prioritise practical opportunities to quickly improve your membership performance.

The output of this session will be a prioritised list of ideas and projects. Conducting this independent review of your current membership strategies and practices will:

  • Identify immediate opportunities to improve your performance.
  • Identify issues in need of rectification.
  • Provide your team with practical skills, tools and insights that will assist with implementation.
  • Bring fresh ideas, inspiration, and tools to your membership team through sharing the insights gained through my work assisting hundreds of associations with their membership programs.

Contact Us For More Information

We've love to speak further about how we can help you. Reach out via this form, letting us know a little more about what you are looking for, and we'll be in touch to set up a meeting. You can also email [email protected] anytime.

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