Do you want to know what our members really hate? When we ask them for more money right after they join.
I can empathize with our members. Recently, a colleague decided to raise money for a cause near and dear to his heart. I got an email asking if I would sponsor him in a race event. I grabbed my credit card and made a donation. The society hosting the race sent me a series of emails over the next 3 weeks.
First I got a thank you.
Then came a receipt (file this away in my tax folder).
Next, I received an invite to the race (can’t make it but, thanks for the invite).
After the race, there was an email about the highlights of the actual event (cool)!
Finally, and within three weeks of my original donation, I received an email asking for another donation. (Now, wait a minute…) Suddenly I did not feel like my first donation was valued. I hear this is a ‘thing’ in charitable non-profit circles. Donors who have donated in the past are more likely to donate in the future. But the timing of this last request feels all wrong.
I’m not alone. Members agree with me.
When I talk to members they tell me they really hate receiving a plea for money right after they plunk down their dues. This is not true for every association but, it is true for many associations.
The new member joins and then emails start pouring in. There may be overt requests like, please donate to our foundation. Or upsell requests like, our conference is in two months and the member cost is only $850. Or even time-delayed requests for money like, join a chapter in your area and after a few clicks the member finds out joining the chapter is yet another additional few hundred dollar fee.
For the member who has not received any value for his membership yet, the requests for more money seem like a scam. He wonders, “did I just pay to get marketed to?”
If your association has these tendencies, there is a fix. Develop a new member engagement email series designed to prove value to new members within the first 3 days to 3 weeks of their membership. Then hold off on all other promotional emails from the association until you are sure that new member has received significant value from the association. Some associations hold off on the promotional emails for one week and others for a few months.
Don’t disengage new members by asking them for more money before they get the chance to experience the value of their membership.