Member-Centric Strategic Planning: The Mistakes Associations Make With Their Members

About This Episode
Everyone in the association world thinks they are member-centric, but there are things associations do that get in the way of prioritizing their members. It’s time to examine the ways associations mistakenly take their members for granted and how to fix it!

Listen in as we discuss how to align the goals of your board, executive director, membership manager and your members. Let’s create a robust membership program that serves members and brings revenue to your association!

About Our Guest 
Carol Hamilton is a strategic planning expert with over 20 years of experience with nonprofits and associations. She is a podcast host at Grace Social Sector Consulting and partners with associations and non-profits to help them envision their future direction and design key goals through strategic planning. 

Carol is an expert in strategic planning, organization development, and nonprofit management and is a frequent speaker and trainer on these topics. Her mission is to help associations to have a greater impact in fulfilling their mission.

Full List Of Questions We Asked Carol
Tell us about yourself and what you do?

You say that strategic planning should be member-centric — why is that and why is that difficult for associations?

What key member data is important to consider in strategic planning?

If we don’t already have the data we need, what do we do?

What is the difference between a member-focused association and one that is not? How does the management differ?

Do you have a framework that you use for associations to be more member-centric?

There is so much content online. What can associations do to set them apart from the sea of free content? How do we make value out of things that are free?

Which staff roles are most important to include in the process and who do you listen to?

We see it every day that membership managers want changes in the membership experience, but the staff that controls the budget won't green-light it — is there a way to convince the higher-ups?

What membership technology or tools should we use in making all this happen?

What is the role of the association’s membership website?

What about the members who are not engaged at all? How do you find out what they want?

Audience Questions 
How can you show value to members that you are doing advocacy when they think you are doing it anyway, so why be a member?

How can we convince members to actually fill in surveys?

What is the best way to deliver/communicate a strategic plan to members other than newsletters or email?

Do you have any suggestions on how to include membership marketing in the plan?

How do we find out what members truly want?

What is the best way to make data-driven decisions when members don’t provide input?

What size organization do these ideas apply to?

How do you address a member or group of members if they disagree with the strategic plan?

How can an association bounce back from mistakes they have made and what measures can be put in place to make sure they don’t happen again?

Can you over-communicate with members?

Tell us about your tool, the strategy screen.

What is the best way to influence decisions when you are not in charge?

How to represent the needs of members that are not represented on the board?

Closing Questions
The key takeaway for the audience?

Can you share a personal habit that has contributed the most to your success?

How can people get in touch if they have any questions?

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