First of all, don’t leave member acquisition decisions to your board or the membership committee. Trust me. Here’s what can happen…
Several years ago, I was working with an association when a new board chairman took over and declared his goal for membership was 20,000. However, the declaration apparently was not based on facts. The association maybe had 3,000 members at the time. And, the most they’d ever recruited was 500. So, declaring a goal of reaching 20,000 members was not based on data, industry standards, or the strength of the organization’s infrastructure to reach and accommodate that goal.
To set realistic goals, look at your existing renewal rate across your membership categories or membership segments. Review your past performance – and, how many new members you brought on board over the last 3 years. What are you capable of doing in the next 3 years? What kind of assets, budget, and bandwidth do you need in place to reach your goals?
Finally, and fundamentally – take a good look at your value proposition. In order to grow your membership, does it need refinement and be better articulated? Perhaps you should strive to differentiate your association from the other organizations of which your members and prospects are members?
Combining these ingredients creates the soup of what your membership goals should be – not just an arbitrary number pulled out by a very well-meaning volunteer. Hey, I’m all about aspirational and recruiting more members than ever. We do it for our clients all the time, but it’s got to be based on some basis of validity. Good luck, and I’m pullin’ for you. – JP