By Stephen Tweed
Every year, I spend ten to twenty days speaking for state and national home care and hospice associations across the US and Canada. I’m a huge advocate for home care associations, and I think every owner of a home health agency, hospice, or private duty home care company should be a member of at least one national association and one state association. I believe you should be active and participate in as many association events as possible.
|Stephen Tweed with The Cavett.
As many of you know, I have been active in all three of the national home health and private duty associations. I have also been very active for over 25 years in my professional association, the National Speakers Association. I’ve chaired committees. I’ve served on the National Board of Directors. I served as National President in 2003. I achieved the associations highest earned designation, the Certified Speaking Professional or CSP. For the past four year’s I’ve served as Chairman of the NSA Foundation, the charitable arm of our association. And this past July, I was awarded The Cavett, the lifetime service award that is given each year to the member who most represents the spirit and values of our founder, Cavett Robert.
Over the years, I’ve spend thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars in my role as a member, a leader, and an evangelist for the National Speakers Association. I even have a line item in my company’s P&L for my NSA expenses. At the same time, I’ve been able to track millions of dollars of revenue in my company over the past 25 years to specific ideas, strategies, and techniques that I learned from my fellow professional speakers. It’s been a terrific return on investment for me and my company.
What’s Your ROI on your Association Membership?
What return are you getting on your membership in your state or national association? How do you know? What are the benefits of belonging to your association, and how do you measure it? How much revenue or profit in your company can you track to value you have received from your association?
At our national convention in Indianapolis this summer, I was having a conversation with my friend and colleague, Ed Rigsbee. Ed is a nationally known expert on association member recruitment and retention. Ed has developed a method to measure ROI on association membership, and to use that information to evangelize to association members and prospective members.
After our conversation, I went to Ed’s web site and read a number of articles he has written to help associations measure, increase, and sell the ROI of membership. Here are six points I got from Ed’s articles that I think you can apply to your own national, state, or local home care or hospice association.
1. Put a price on it. Anything that you provide to your association members that has value should have a price for non-members. If you do free webinars, put a non-member price on the registration page.
2. Make Knowledge Management a Members-only benefit. Anything that relates to knowledge about our industry has value. When your association provides knowledge, make sure it is only available to members.
3. Focus on Benefits versus Features. Too many of our associations focus on the features of membership. They list all of the deliverables you receive as a member. We need to focus more on the tangible benefits that association members take away from conferences, conventions, publications, and online learning.
4. Dollarize the line items of members benefits. For each of the features that your association provides to its members, define the associated benefits. Then find a way to measure the value of that benefit to members on an annual basis, and put a dollar figure on it. When the dollar value of membership exceeds the dues, time, and cost of participating, then the membership becomes a real value and the member gets a measurable ROI.
5. Nuture Your Member Recruitment Evangelists. My friend talks about “Evangelists” as those members who are actively seeking out others in the the home care and hospice industry and inviting them to become members of the association. You can become a true evangelist for your association when you can demonstrate significant dollar value in return for your membership.
6. Re-recruit your existing members. Too often, members of your association get complacent about their membership and forget the real value. Then when times get tough and their lives get busy, the focus on othe things and drop out or reduce their participation in association activities. We need to keep reaching out to our association members and re-recruiting them into the value of belonging.
If you would like to read more about how you can measure the ROI of your association membership, or if you would like to get new ideas on how to make your home care and hospice association more valuable to its members, take a few minutes to read through the long list of terrific articles and videos on Ed Rigsbee’s web site.