Membership is the job of every staff person in the association, Membership Directors often say, and they are right. Membership is one of those across the association responsibilities. Everything impacts membership and membership impacts everything.
There’s one person who has more influence on membership than even the Director or VP of Membership, and that is the association’s CEO. CEOs have a tremendous impact on each member’s perceptions of the association, member culture, and membership metrics. Why? Because the CEO determines the focus of the membership department. You can choose between two paths. A membership department can focus on members or focus on the mechanics of membership.
Consider this scenario. The CEO markets a particular job description with a specific set of skills then recruits a Director of Membership who becomes the member expert, and an advocate for members, and a welcoming committee for members. Membership becomes an experience. The director takes the lead, finding and delivering more and more value for members all the time. In addition to the CEO and other members of staff, the Membership Director becomes the face of the association making the association staff even more accessible and highly responsive to the needs of members. The membership team spends time talking to members about the industry, profession, and about the challenges members face.
In another scenario, the membership department focuses on the mechanics of running a membership organization. The membership staff is tasked with becoming experts in the AMS and keeping the data clean. They follow a strict calendar in which renewal notices and welcome kits are sent out on-time. The membership team spends time talking to members about the benefits available to them and answering questions about misplaced login credentials.
Which path would you like the membership department to take?