You’re trying to keep things running smoothly for your association (or your chapter), but are spending too much time keeping track of spreadsheets, finances, and events. Whether you’re new to your management role or going through a time of officer transition and feel like you’re running in circles, you’re not alone. If you’re ready to pull all your hair out, read this for some membership-management relief.
1. Start by organizing your members
If you aren’t already, consider using membership levels to organize your members. Membership isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all option, and that’s OK. Associations often collect more if they allow members to pay their membership dues and give a donation at the same time. The generous person/member company willing to pay a couple grand (and then some) can be part of a top-tier membership level (a high-value one with all the benefits and perks), while folks with a smaller budget may be able to access basic membership for $20. Some associations even offer free memberships as part of a strategy to entice users to upgrade to paid status later on.
Give the option to automatically renew membership. It’s great to have different levels, but you still need members to renew – and they won’t always remember (or want) to manually take money out of their paycheck. No matter how much they love you and your cause, making it inconvenient for your members to part with their money is painful, so give them the convenient option of an automatic payment plan.
For members who opt to pay manually, or those who are past due, send reminder emails to keep them informed. Communicate to members using the levels, types and auto renew statuses. Your messages should be customized to target specific recipients, whether those are your top-tiered members, lapsed members, or another list based on variable data.
2. Get mentally organized to save time and sanity
First, set realistic goals. Make them ambitious but practical; define targets that you think your team can actually achieve based on last year’s or last quarter’s data. How many members can you obtain, retain, or connect with in a realistic timeframe?
Now that you’ve got some targets, recognize the fact that you’re not likely to hit them unless you use a calendar. Whether it’s a smartphone app or a physical appointment book, a calendar is great way to get organized and hit consistent milestones or deadlines.
Set your priorities at the beginning of each day. List them in order of importance. Priorities help you finish what you start, which is always a good thing to do in business (and in life).
Review each of your goals at the end of each day. See what you achieved, what you need to achieve, what you did well, and what you could do better tomorrow.
Finally, clean up your workspace. Many leaders find it difficult to stay mentally organized if their physical workspace isn’t squared away. An office or designated work area should help improve productivity, not serve as a nesting place for small rodents. So, throw away that stack of unused lunch coupons, sift through the mound of papers, and set traps, if necessary.
3. Delegate the right tasks – and know which ones to do yourself
Delegation is simple – but if you’re not doing it right, you could be wasting even more valuable time. First, you need to identify the tasks you should delegate and the ones you shouldn't. Here’s some of the best stuff to pass off:
As a leader or manager, it’s important to let go of some of these jobs, even if you love or have gotten used to doing them.
Whether your association has 20 members or 20,000, it pays to stay organized, as well as to make sure the memberships you offer are flexible and diverse enough to attract new members and retain existing ones. Managing membership can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be a hair-pulling experience.
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Updated since original publication on 12/20/2017