How staying true to your values can build better relationships with your membershipBy David Richardson
If you work for a membership organisation, you’ll probably already understand that there’s more to life than transactional relationships.
Across the sector, there’s been more than enough evidence to suggest that people are looking for more from their membership than special offers, incentives or a few letters after their name.
What’s more, the spread of coronavirus has meant tighter budgets – and sharpened organisations’ focus further.
But if good old fashioned value for money isn’t enough, what is?
Looking for something deeper?
Over the past couple of years, the smartest membership organisations have started to circle around the answer.
By centring their offering on values and beliefs, rather than simple transactional benefits, they’re finding that they can create deeper, longer lasting – and ultimately more rewarding relationships.
Here are three steps that could help you do the same.
Chances are, your organisation already has clearly-defined core values – but how effectively are you communicating them in the experience you give to your members?
You could start by asking them the question: so why not add some questions into your next member satisfaction survey to get a sense of what messages people are taking from your communications?
If the messages aren’t quite landing, think about whether your member stewardship journeys need tweaking to make sure they do.
Does every piece of comms you send out tap into your core beliefs and values? If it doesn’t, it might be time for a rethink.
It’s worth considering how you can make sure your messaging is on the money, too.
Creating crib sheets with clear, flexible messages that can be dropped into emails or mailers can be a simple way of keeping your values at the heart of every piece of comms you send out.
And by holding regular reviews of your comms, you can make sure your underlying organisational purpose is always coming through loud and clear.
If you’re communicating your values clearly, make sure you’re asking your members how you can help them to live by those values themselves.
Then make sure your member experience empowers them to do so.
Think about what tools you can offer them – from offers and incentives, to training and support.
If you can, try to demonstrate how your organisation is standing up for their interests as well – whether you’re bringing the community together to create conversation, or leading campaigns on issues they care about.
When it comes down to it, many people join membership organisations because they want to be part of a community that positively reflects their identity – and their values.
If you’re not doing so already, look for ways to reinforce that sense of community in the content you share.
So celebrate the members who embody what you stand for – and encourage your members to share their stories and experiences too.
Think about ways you can keep connecting your community, too. By inviting your members to share advice and ideas with the wider network, you’ll empower them – and further strengthen the bonds that your community’s built on.
A part of your identity
We’re living through challenging times – but at a time when many people will be looking to tighten their belts, successfully communicating what you stand for has never been more important.
After all, if your members see you as a positive reflection of their identity – and feel part of your community – it's going to be much harder to justify cancelling their membership.
Sometimes the seemingly intangible things can turn out to be the most valuable.Got a challenge around your membership comms? We’d love to chat – email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start talking!