Properly managing members is crucial to an NPO's success.
On the one hand, many organizations are founded with the goal of coming together and helping a specific community to flourish. From that point on, members are at the heart of the organization's mission and strategy. On the other, members represent a significant revenue source as a result of dues and the purchasing of the services offered.
Between the mission and revenues, managing your membership is essential. But what are the most effective approaches to managing members? How do you implement them without making management more complicated? We've seen all the strategies used in the world of NPOs and we'd like to share the best ones with you!
1- Invest time in strengthening your relationships with members
Why: Although time-consuming and difficult to maintain when there is a high turnover of staff within an NPO, building strong relationships with your members pays off. Through conversations with your members, you reinforce the sense of community and the value associated with being a member and belonging to a network. And it's all the better for your brand image!
How: To avoid spending too much time coordinating conversations with members, efficiency-savvy managers automate communications. The idea is to spend less time orchestrating conversations and more time in actual discussions.
For example, if you invite members for a meeting, automate the reminder email (You can do this in your memboGo account) so that you don't waste time following up with every person invited.
2- Involve your members in the decision-making process
Why: It's sometimes difficult making strategic decisions, especially when you don't have much information about future opportunities and needs. Ask your members what they think! Collaborating with members, especially on strategy, helps generate new ideas, but it also provides decision-making support and proof that your organization is truly dedicated to its members’ needs.
How: Many managers prefer to have this type of discussion during events, where members and manager meet in person. In addition to adding a “human touch,” this approach can be beneficial because its sometimes allows you to generate additional revenue. Other managers turn to the internet, for example, by sharing online surveys via newsletters. The advantage, in addition to saving time, is that analytical tools are integrated into them, such as with memboGo Newsletters.
3- Communicate regularly and individually
Why: Maintaining relationships and personalizing them reassures you that your past efforts to build relationships were effective. But how do you do avoid spending too much time on it?
How: Communicate by email and use dynamic keywords to personalize each email, automatically and not manually. memboGo Newsletters also offers the option to use dynamic keywords. To learn more about automating and personalizing emails, see memboGo’s example.
4- Set aside time to innovate
Why: At memboGo, we've noticed that users are often at the origin of initiatives that transform their sector and allow them to offer more services to their members. To be able to implement such new initiatives, they take time to explore opportunities and new trends in their field.
How: To ensure that they actually have time to dedicate to exploration, our users have put our platform to work for them: Less time and money spent on an NPO's administrative tasks means more time to think!
5- Connect your different actors
Why: Once you've gotten your members more involved in your organization, be sure to introduce them to your other contacts. This is particularly beneficial for chambers of commerce, professional associations and development organizations because this approach advocates bringing your members together with your partners, your board of directors, your volunteers and other contacts. The idea is to increase knowledge sharing and the value of your network. Plus, by breaking down silos, you're encouraging innovation and new opportunities.
How: As explained in strategy #2, NPOs often use events for this type of approach. Note that is it possible to obtain the same results with less time. The goal of a collaboration platform is to ensure that all of a project’s stakeholders interact, all while making communication easier. For example, memboGo has established private collaboration platforms for the Chambre Régionale Économie Sociale et Solidaire Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, in France, and Université de Montréal, where members can share documents, news and other information. The idea is to help NPO managers bring together all of the actors in a virtual private network.
6- Get others to contribute to your mission
Why: Engage your members above and beyond their membership contribution. Every member who invests more in your activities or your mission creates a ripple effect by expanding your network and multiplying your impact.
How: Crowdfunding is the approach used most often. It consists of asking for donations to respond to a specific need.(Here are our recommendations to attain your financial objective.) In the case of new members, it may be worthwhile to propose an optional donation in addition to the membership cost to encourage members with greater means to provide more support to your organization.
Another approach is to share your members’ news articles, blog posts or other media. This strategy has the dual benefit of showcasing your members while freeing up precious resources on your end since you don’t have to spend as much time or money on communication. For example, the French Chamber of Commerce in Canada (CCIFC) used this approach to update its website automatically, with memboGo. See the CCIFC's website (news section).