How to Give Members An Experience That Keeps Them Coming Back

Abila MIP Makes It EasyMAS 36

Recent studies indicate that many membership organizations struggle to retain and attract new members. Marketing General reports that among the associates it surveyed, membership is down 6 percent overall. Sixty-eight percent report that retention remains stagnant.

What’s happening?

It seems that members no longer feel that their ‘user experience’ or membership experience, if you will, is providing them with the emotional satisfaction or experiential satisfaction they once had. Membership, in other words, isn’t providing the same value today that it once did. They are taking their money and memberships elsewhere, or foregoing membership altogether to find other ways of enhancing professional value, education, and interactions.

Some of the issue stems from the rise of new technologies, such as social media, which make it easier than ever before to interact and network with people who share similar interests, professional background and experience. This important function was once held solely by membership organizations, which provided meetings, forums, newsletters and other tools that enabled people within a similar profession or interest to find common ground, share industry information, and support one another in their careers.

But we can’t lay all of the blame at the feet of social media. Members always had a choice to join or not, even if it was a choice between local networking groups versus national membership, or organization A versus organization B.

A closer look at how big brands such as Amazon enhance user experience may help us learn how to enhance member experience and turn the tide on flagging interest in membership organizations. Then, using a software such as Abila MIP can help you manage the experience more easily.

What Membership Organizations Can Learn from User Experience

Several online brands offer lessons in user experience we can translate into daily member experience.

  • Amazon: People love shopping on Amazon’s site because it provides seemingly limitless choice. The retailer began with books, added music to its list, and now boasts almost every category under the sun. The site’s search engine is excellent and makes it easy to find what you are looking for. Site members also rank and comment on their purchases, adding quality assurance for ‘real people’ just like you to each listing.
  • Google: Over 60 percent of the world turns to Google to find what they need online. It’s fast, intuitive, and easy to use.
  • Apple: Apple’s products were originally created for graphic designers. Microsoft’s PCs were introduced for office and home computing, so Apple staked out a niche as the computer for graphic design. Today, it’s sleek design and powerful, virus-resistant computing power appeal to many.

What can we learn from the user experiences listed above?

  • Amazon – comprehensive selection, something for everyone, easy to find what customers need
  • Google – easy to use, fast, understands it customer base
  • Apple – innovative, cutting-edge, new, fresh

These concepts are important over-arching concepts for membership organizations. Taking a cue from the popular brands, member organization can infuse “member experience” into their missions, values and offerings so that potential members see and experience greater value from their membership.

To enhance your member experience, think of ways in which you can:

  • Add comprehensive offerings to your member benefits, making it a ‘one stop shop’ for your members. Abila MIP can help you track aspects of member benefits and other pertinent data.
  • Enhance your membership so that it is as easy to use as a Google search.
  • Refresh your educational opportunities so that they are cutting-edge, and different from what members may find at their local colleges, universities, or other professional development providers.

With a little planning and a lot of creativity, you too can come up with ‘member experiences’ that rival that of the big brands. Membership organizations need to evolve, grow and change to keep pace with consumer demand. Make member experience part of your organization starting today.

More Mission, Less Accounting Worries

To make time for your new “member experience” mantra, shift some of the accounting tasks into a software that makes things easier. Abila MIP Fund Accounting makes it easier for nonprofits to report and track the information most important to them. It’s a solution that grows and changes with you.

RBP Methods offers nonprofit organizations expert insights from a nonprofit perspective. We help you find the right software solutions for your organization, providing you with choices so that you can make your own decisions. We’d love to talk to you about your online fundraising or other needs. Contact us today or call 503-648-9051.