Sunday, June 24, 2007

Developing a Participation Matrix...

During a session of the ASAE Membership Marketing Conference, one of the presenters encouraged attendees to keep a close eye on the participation levels of their members. His argument was that membership was about participation, not about revenue. Although I understood his point, membership and subscriptions are about both revenue and participation.

Keeping this in mind, I would encourage marketing directors who are responsible for growing membership or subscriptions, to monitor the participation levels of their "members" (for our purposes in this post, I will use the word members, but please note this includes subscriber programs found at most performing arts organizations around the country). I am in the process of building a participation matrix that gives quarterly reports on the participation levels of members. That way, I will know, especially with our important donors and members, how active they are with our organization. Usually a member's participation level is a steady predictor on whether or not the member values their membership, and subsequently decides to renew. If I notice at the end of the first and second quarters that a certain portion of our membership isn't participating, that will give me enough time to find ways to engage that segmentation before they are asked to make the decision to renew their membership for the following year.

I would also suggest sending a participation report at the end of the year to each member along with a renewal solicitation. Something along the lines of --

Did you realize during the 2006-07:
  • 30% of your employees participated in member's only listservs
  • your organization saved $1,400 by using your membership discount through bookstore purchases and convention registrations.
  • you attended 7 performances at the magnificent PLUG THE NAME IN HERE theatre, which received 5 critics picks and 3 RANDOM Awards during the year.
  • you enjoyed an evening with acclaimed artistic director SOMEBODY FANTASTIC and the cast of AMAZING PRODUCTION #5.
Keep your members involved, and remind them of the value of their membership when you ask them to renew. Members who don't use their benefits or tickets aren't likely to renew--so catch them early, and find a way to get them active.

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