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Membership Recruitment & Retention

"The Value of Membership Reports"
By Peter J. Michener, Manager

For any association one of its most important, yet often neglected, functions is to manage the data. When the data has been managed accurately and effectively, it can be used to generate membership reports that contain far more than just numbers. These reports can paint a picture of association trends which if used correctly, can become a valuable management tool. Membership reports come in a variety of sizes and formats, and can assist Boards and Committees in making logical decisions with regards to the most appropriate allocation of staff and volunteer time in support of membership initiatives.

Report Components and Common Uses: Following is a list of the kind of data that is typically included in a membership report and how that information can be used to benefit your association:

  • Member Counts - This number, typically broken into specific member types and totaled, is an integral component for just about every member based organization.

    For most associations, total number of members has a direct correlation to dues which is one, if not the, most important source of revenue. Keeping a close eye on member counts monthly will alert you to potential challenges and allow leaders to quickly implement an action plan.
  • Member Counts with Category - This groups members by member type and dues category and is an extension of the first bullet point.

    By distinguishing your members in numerous categories such as suppliers and distributors or individual and corporate members; decisions can be made with regards to where membership recruitment or retention efforts should be focused. For example, if renewals are down in the supplier category, you may want to review existing supplier benefits to determine if they still provide value to this category of membership and adjust accordingly.
  • Member State or Country Counts - For some associations it is important to identify where members are located geographically.

    This can be especially critical for associations that hold regional seminars or training sessions. Electronic targeted marketing campaigns can be expedited to specific members based on city, state, or zip code - making the most of your marketing dollars.
  • New and Resigned Members - A monthly list of new members and/or a monthly list of resigned members.

    This can be valuable for associations with active volunteers willing to make personal contact to welcome new members or follow-up with resigning members to encourage them to reconsider.

In Summary
The function of a monthly membership report is to provide meaningful data to the leaders of your association in order for them to make informed decisions about the strategic focus. Effective reporting needs to be accurate, consistent, and flexible to meet the varying needs of each individual association. Next time you see a monthly membership report; look a little closer and you'll see more than just numbers.