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        Relevance     +     Retention     +     Revenue
   
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December 14, 2013    
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Are your Membership Goals Realistic?

For the majority of Chambers of Commerce, January ushers in the new board leadership. When we ask these incoming chairpersons what their major goals are for the coming year, ninety percent of them have membership as their top priority. For the other 10%, membership is the second priority.

Interestingly, the ensuing discussion about membership tends to follow a simple path. First, the question "What do you want your membership to be at the end of the year?" usually generates a straightforward answer that reflects a percentage increase over last year's number. Why? Because that's what people think they are supposed to do. They take last year's number and add an arbitrary number to show an increase.

The conversation tends to get a wee bit wobbly and uncomfortable, though, when we ask about how they are going to make all this happen. Invariably, the answer is vague at best or unattainable at worst. Once again ... Why? Because there is no written action plan defining the whos, whats, whens, etc. ... i.e. measurable accountability during this coming year. There's plenty of enthusiasm and rhetoric, but not much more.

In their defense, it's a very difficult process. For example ... Every year the latest new president of my Rotary club stands up and tells us how important it is to bring in new members and how we are going to have, for example, a 10% increase in membership this year. I look around the room and, as usual, see nothing that would make me believe that things will be different this year. Sadly -- you may say "cynically" -- I'm right. In fact we lose members every year.

I recently ran into the membership chairperson of a Canadian Rotary club and he said they have a simple goal. Retain the current membership level and add one new member. That's reasonably simple. They focus on keeping the members they have -- encouraging participation and involvement -- and all they need to do is have a net gain of one member. In these tough times, that's a great strategy that they have made work for their club.

Whatever your plans are for the coming year, keep it simple, attainable and encourage member participation. Remember ... Happy Members = Happy Chambers.

As always, we'll be happy to share some fresh ideas on implementing sustainable membership retention strategies.

I'm off to Scotland for the holidays so we'll chat again after Hogmanay (Scottish New Year).

Cheers!


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2017 Archives
  - Frustrated?   Lonely at the top?   No support?   (10/15)
  - Mission, Schmission! ... Just Tell Your Story   (9/30)
  - What's the (Growth) Plan, Stan?   (9/15)
  - Dear Jeff (Bezos) - Part 3 of 3   (9/1)
  - Speak Up ... It's Strategically Beneficial To Do So   (8/13)
  - "I Beg Your Pardon ... Did You Say $1 Billion Per Day?"   (8/5)
  - The Pies Have It!   (7/23)
  - Possibly ... the Most Difficult Sentence to Complete   (7/10)
  - Ribbon Cuttings -- A Great Membership Opportunity   (6/25)
  - It's Time For Spring Cleaning   (6/12)
  - Five Key Reasons Chamber Members Join & Renew   (5/29)
  - Membership Benefits are NOT as Important as You Think - #1   (5/14)
  - You Must Tell Your Members What You're Doing For Them   (4/30)
  - Workforce Development ... Are You Involved?   (4/16)
  - An Idea for Learning What Your Members Want.   (4/2)
  - Make Sure You Gather the "Little Data".   (3/21)
  - Make Sure Your "Voice of Business" is Heard   (3/5)
  - Associations of Chamber Executives   (2/21)
  - Do People "Out There" Know What You Do?   (2/6)
  - Just published ... "The 21st Century Chamber of Commerce" White Paper   (1/23)
  - 2020 could be your Magic Year   (1/10)
2016 Archives
  - Ditch the Contact Form, Baby!   (12/11)
  - "About Lipstick and Pigs" (Part 2)   (11/27)
  - About Lipstick and Pigs - Part 1   (11/6)
  - "Mixers ... they're so 20th-century!"   (10/23)
  - Out-of-the-Box Branding   (10/10)
  - "Hot Deals" ... Really?   (9/25)
  - Sharing Membership Referrals   (9/10)
  - An Excellent Source of Membership Leads   (8/30)
  - A Simple Value-added Benefit for your Membership   (8/17)
  - It worked . . . Immediate Results!   (7/31)
  - A Simple Media Strategy for Your Chamber ... FREE!   (7/19)
  - "Brexit" ... Positive Chamber Outcomes   (7/3)
  - Problem-solver... "Yes!"     Savior... "No!"   (6/20)
  - I like Nathan Blecharczyk's attitude.   (6/6)
  - Are you Veteran-friendly?   (5/22)
  - Are you Relational or Transactional?   (5/9)
  - Can you say "Employee Benefit"?   (4/25)
  - Re-vitalize Your Board of Directors ... and Your Chamber   (4/9)
  - From Scotland ... a few thoughts   (3/27)
  - Young Professionals are Important + Framework2020   (3/13)
  - Just Announced ... the "Framework2020 Tour"   (3/1)
  - Money Talks so ... Make Sure it's "Happy"   (2/14)
  - Conflict of Interest & Local Government   (2/1)
  - It may be time to huddle!   (1/19)
  - And Your Mission Is ...?   (1/4)
2015 Archives
  - Introducing ... Focused Growth - "A-Team" Initiative   (12/7)
  - So ... Once You've Got 'Em, What's Your Plan?   (11/23)
  - Just a reminder!   (11/9)
  - Branding Your Chamber is a Serious Process but it Does Not Have To Be Difficult   (10/25)
  - It's Time for Someone to Step Up!   (10/12)
  - Give Them Something To Do!   (9/28)
  - Do You Want/Need a Membership Analysis?   (9/14)
  - Make Sure Your "A" Team is In Charge.   (8/30)
  - And the Fat Lady Began to Sing!   (8/16)
  - Do You Walk and Talk at the Same Time?   (8/3)
  - Helping people WANT to join your Chamber   (7/19)
  - 50% Membership Loss ... that's a Serious Loss of Revenue!   (7/5)
  - Don't Keep It A Secret!   (6/21)
  - Survey the Members that Matter   (6/7)
  - Helping Nonprofit Organizations   (5/20)
  - Helping Startup Entrepreneurs   (5/5)
  - The New Normal: Energizing your members to participate   (4/19)
  - Do you have a RAP Sheet?   (4/8)
  - What is your Real Retention Rate?   (3/24)
  - Challenging times require fresh thinking   (3/10)
  - Simplifying the Economic Development Discussion   (2/28)
  - Chamber Members want Education Programs   (2/11)
  - One of the great disconnects we choose to ignore!   (1/23)
  - The "New" Chamber of Commerce   (1/9)
2014 Archives
  - Do you have a Community Leadership Strategy?   (12/4)
  - Message for New Chairpersons of Chamber Boards of Directors   (10/22)
  - Tell your members about your business advocacy efforts   (9/2)
  - Stop the Exodus! Retain your Newer Members!   (8/4)
  - Are your Sales Staff asking the Right Questions?   (7/7)
  - Understand and use your volunteers better.   (6/22)
  - Invest in your Members. Remember who's paying the bills.   (5/5)
  - Understanding your local economy and how your members are doing   (3/20)
  - Tell your members about the 'SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative'   (3/7)
  - Why People Join the Chamber.   (2/22)
  - Please participate in the Survey.   (2/10)
  - Newsletters ... the Unfortunate Reality   (1/24)
2013 Archives
  - Are your Membership Goals Realistic?   (12/14)
  - Is your new Board focusing on membership Retention?   (11/11)
  - Happier Members means Happier Chambers of Commerce.   (10/15)
  - What about the "Younger Generation"?   (10/2)
  - What are you really developing?   (9/20)
  - What happens when the excitement dies down?   (8/26)
  - Using Technology for Education   (8/4)
  - Are you a "Member-centric" Chamber?   (7/23)
  - It probably won't be pretty but .....   (7/14)
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