There is a unique moment in time for an organization when a breakdown in the integrity of deliverables is rising and morale amongst the ranks becomes strained. If members and the board become misaligned, in core values or otherwise, tensions begin to surface rapidly. The support your organization offers begins to weaken. This can hurt the members’ ability to create balance in their profession and life, which can contribute to burnout. It’s hard to be at ease when you aren’t sure who has got your back.
This can be an uncomfortable area to navigate, but when done with awareness and patience, this discomfort will act as a magnifying glass to show where vulnerabilities lie and improvement in your overall services can be made.
Look back at your original mission statement.
Go back to the foundational documents of your association and examine your values and goals. Audit the processes that come together as your brand. Do you still represent what your members need and require? Are there areas that are going unexamined? Do newer members make use of the resources that are offered when they join? Where can you begin to support your members as their needs evolve? This is the perfect time to work on strengthening foundational functions and look for ways to increase efficiency and ease.
Enhance your brand by focusing on members’ needs.
Look at the areas of the professional arena that your members are put under the most pressure. Those most motivated and skilled can be at the higher risk for burnout. Providing access to resources that support your most driven members can achieve longevity in the workforce. Think about how to cultivate endurance necessary for a lasting career. Know how to offer the most valuable resources that allow members to be supported and productive.
Use this opportunity to develop supportive systems.
Let’s take a look at the Buyer’s Guide Case Study which documents VPG’s success in increasing Partner Client’s membership and retention rates by connecting members with easy access to valued and necessary resources by creating a buyer’s guide.
A buyer’s guide serves as an industry directory for every business and individual that serves the industry with relevant products and services. Introducing a buyer’s guide to an organization’s list of services provides several benefits, including:
1) Enhances brand recognition as an industry leader
2) Increases membership participation and involvement
3) Generates additional advertising opportunities
4) Expands membership value
5) Increases networking opportunities between members and industry professionals
The buyer’s guide serves as a dual benefit to both the association and the external vendors who participate in the guide.
VPG developed, designed, and launch a buyer’s guide mini-site, which included setting up a profile listing and login for each company member. A free profile listing was provided as a value-add to members, with the option to enhance or upgrade their listing and/or advertise in the guide for a fee. Non-member industry professionals and businesses were able to set up a profile listing for a fee. This gave every business in the industry an opportunity to showcase their product or services to prospective customers and clients while promoting the association and its benefits.
The Partner Client Buyer’s Guide was first implemented in July 2015 and currently includes over 500 business profiles that serve the industry and is linked directly to Partner Client’s main website. Within the first four months of implementing the buyer’s guide, VPG secured over $10,000 in revenue for Partner Client, with a current total revenue of $42,750. Averaging 668 views per month among the top ten viewed listings, each business who purchased an enhanced listing in the guide was able to increase their brand recognition within the industry. The guide has become a favorite among the list of membership benefits. Adding a buyer’s guide to an association’s offering is a great way to quickly increase revenue through enhanced listings, advertising sales, and ultimately membership recruitment and retention.
Megan Van Petten
CEO & President
Van Petten Group, Inc.