Your New Members Are Leaving...And I'm One of Them

I recently joined a professional association, and when my membership expires in two months it’s unlikely I’ll renew (cue sounds of doom).  

While I’ve received many carefully-scripted emails welcoming me to the association, explaining the benefits in long blocks of text, I’ve never felt really connected to the group. I haven’t attended any events, or really explored the website. I’m the textbook definition of a disengaged member, and I’m not alone. 

According to Marketing General's annual report, the average first-year member renewal rate across the membership industry is 71%, compared to overall rates of 81%. Think about that for a moment…all the time and effort and resources that go into recruiting new members for your association, and nearly 30% of them don’t stick around for a second year. 

Increasing the “stickiness” of new members involves detailed journey-mapping of that critical first year, and using more than just email to build a meaningful connection. This can be done through a variety of formats, such as calls, social media, webinars and our personal favorite, awesome short videos. 

At Magpie Media Group, we believe brief, engaging videos are the best way to reach your new members, share what’s most important, and connect on a deeper level. With the addition of a Learning Management System (LMS), this can become a quiz series for new members to demonstrate their knowledge and connect to the member community via your platform and social media accounts. Videos can be sent at strategic dates in their journey, starting when they first join, all the way up to their renewal period. 

I know firsthand how much effort goes into member recruitment campaigns, having led them myself for many years. I feel a little guilty to be adding to the attrition rate of the organization I’m leaving. But without receiving information in a quick and engaging format, I haven’t done my part to really jump in either. There's a lot more to new member engagement than kits and emails, and we'd love to help you get started

Miranda Barrett
The Question Association Staffers Dread
Discussing member retention campaigns with family during the we do! 

Discussing member retention campaigns with family during the we do! 

The holidays are around the corner, which means lots of small talk with friends and family. For anyone who works in a membership association, that can bring the dreaded question..."So what is it that you do?"

Explaining the work of associations to someone outside that realm can be a lengthy business, and at some point you may see eyes glaze over. For me, the extra dread came when my hard-of-hearing grandfather posed it. I would spend an awkward ten minutes shouting about members, global growth, recruitment campaigns and new member integration, while he hung on with polite interest. 

The irony is that associations are doing incredible work, representing industries, bringing people together to learn, and creating real value for their members. But it can be incredibly difficult to help an outsider understand that quickly. 

That's where a great video comes in. At Magpie Media, we combine a robust nonprofit background with the technical expertise to produce something that is both visually beautiful and packing a punch to drive action. We can get prospective members, potential sponsors, or even your 90-year old grandfather to understand what you do and why it matters.  Your work matters, and we want to help you tell the world! 

Miranda Barrett
the 10-year journey behind the curtain

In 2012, I was in a committee meeting for the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, in a discussion about how entrepreneurs are perceived to be wired differently from others. “People think that we have a higher risk tolerance,” one EO member said. “But it’s the opposite – we find it far less risky to bet on our own abilities than to trust in someone else’s!”

That concept always stuck with me, because every time I was asked about starting something myself, “risk tolerance” was always my excuse. I saw plenty of entrepreneurship-casualties during my ten years at EO – the failed businesses, divorces, members having to split dues across four credit cards because cash flow was so tight. For a decade I was very happy to support them from my favorite spot, just behind the curtain (usually with a clipboard, sometimes with a glass of wine, as pictured here in Jordan).

The great thing about being behind the curtain is that you’re closest to the stage. From my hidden spot I listened to amazing speakers teach core values, finance, hiring, lessons from the edge, strategic planning, authentic communication, networking, and one very awkward “intimacy” session.  I spent time in the company of inspiring men and women who were building things from scratch, creating jobs, and shaping deliberate paths for themselves, even through very big challenges.  

I made a professional change in January because I had fallen into a rut and was becoming cynical and negative, two words I never want to use to describe myself.  After eight months of staying pleasantly “busy” with projects, my brother and I landed on the idea for Magpie Media Group. While it may seem a bit sudden, it’s actually been about four years in the making. We collaborated on several EO / GSEA projects over the years, and frequently bounced ideas off each other. We’ve always had way too much fun working together, and we’re totally in synch with our vision for Magpie. And we really love big dogs….

I may not know one end of a video camera from the other (Ben has that covered) but I believe in the importance of showcasing good work, and driving action. I’m excited to take all the powerful lessons absorbed from that spot behind the curtain, build something we can all be proud of, and deliver powerful videos that will help our clients change the world.  

Thank you for reading, and check back here for more stories as we bring Magpie to life. Feel free to leave a comment below! 

Miranda BarrettComment