Never forget that you (CEO, your board and staff) know and understand more about your benefits, your offerings and your value than do 90% of your membership.
Here are three steps to take to help you decide if you would join this association the way it “looks” to a member today.
FIRST, verify the most important member groups that you most want to influence across this association today? Be specific.
SECOND, ask this question to yourself, “What value do we deliver to our most important members that they cannot get anywhere else?” If you have a formal value proposition, read it aloud – now. Is it still relevant to those three audiences above? Is the explanation reasonable for a new member to hear on their first day? To a large business owner? A busy operations manager? Do you communicate it in different ways to reinforce what you do very well? Does every director as well as your staff know this message and explain it in a similar way?
THIRD, ask ten members (involved and not involved) this question: “What value do we deliver that you cannot get anywhere else?” If the responses to these three steps are not in line, once you have the answers, you know the work that lies ahead.
Talk about what’s missing. Choose from below:
a. Does your message of value need some attention?
b. Do you need work to incorporate your value proposition into your communications strategy?
c. Do your leaders know the message? Can they summarize it? Do they believe it and talk about it? Do you talk about it during strategic planning?
d. Does staff need a reminder or is the next step to start from scratch?
I suspect your gut will give you the answer. Now is the time to make sure your value message is in all of your communications. More than anything else, members need a reminder at dues renewal season.
The infographic below can help you determine if you rely on a list of member benefits on a piece of paper, or if your message of value sells members on why they would choose to belong to your organization for that one or two unique things that makes their business better.
LOOK FOR SIGNIFICANT CHANGE
If your audience changes, your offerings or expertise changes, or the market changes, your value proposition could be due for a change. Most of the time, the value message simply needs some attention.
Mary Cano, Association Executive put it into words that any association leader will agree with: “We must be relentless in convincing our member that we matter to them in order to survive. It’s our job to show them how we matter.”