Are you telling prospective members the story they need to hear in a simple way? Do they know how your organization can solve their problem?
Framing the problem you solve in just one sentence is a great discipline and one that most businesses have never practiced, which is why the ones that do succeed. By Bernadette Jiwa from her amazing The Story of Telling blog.
Associations are inclusive. The more the merrier. Grow membership. Why would we want to limit ourselves by advertising that we solve just one problem? Because prospective members need to know that you are going to solve THEIR problem before they devote any money or time to your association. It is their problem they care about, not 25 of your 30 benefits or the mission of the association, they need to solve their problem.
Associations are complicated. The benefits lists are long. The ways to engage and participate are numerous. How do you know what problem to focus on? I am glad you asked:
1. What problem are you solving? Talk to members who have been members between 3 to 6 months. Ask them what problem they were trying to solve when they joined. Determine which members are the most engaged and have also joined in the last 3 years. Ask them what problem they were trying to solve when they joined. What problem brought up most often? This is your big problem to solve.
2. List the ways your association solves that problem. Determine the one or two solutions i.e. benefits and offerings that you have that solves the problem.
3. Try to frame the problem that you solve for them in a short phrase or two from their point of view.
4. Get the message out there. Where do potential members go first? Do they go to your home page, your about page, your join page, your Twitter page or LinkedIn page? Perhaps some call or request a brochure. Include this message of how you can solve their problem in these places. Spread this story with staff, engaged members and the board.
5. Don’t worry. This simplistic feeling message about your association will appeal to potential members because they know that you can solve their problem. The message won’t be off-putting to existing members because they know the association and they already understand the benefits they value the most.
Do you feel there is an opportunity to grow membership? Try framing your story around the problem the your organization solves.