If Your Nonprofit has Student Members, Do You Charge a Nominal Fee?

by Nick NCS. Spencer 8/28/2015 at 11:00 AM in Not-for-profit, Ideas, Opinions, Process Improvement

​Student members can be a great way to keep your membership pipeline growing and stay aware of emerging interests and needs of new generations of professionals. Engaging these potential members as they embark on their professional careers also benefits the students through  networking, professional insight, and mentoring that an association offers its members. Such early engagement can help build loyalty too.

The concept of discounted student memberships has always seemed like a natural fit until I was speaking with a large healthcare association recently.  Our discussion revealed that the process of charging the nominal fee was actually costing the organization more money than it was receiving. This led to an interesting point around whether the money would be better spent on engagement.

For example, if your association charges student members $25 annually, yet your administrative costs average $65, how can the association improve the situation for processing a member at a fixed price?  Our group’s answer was engagement.  Why not eliminate the cost of student membership and put the money that was the deficit into engaging those students?  Suggestions ranged from free local chapter pizza parties to happy hour networking events.

The thought was that these additional points of contact could yield even more student members who, upon graduation, would be readily engaged with the organization and even better, be committed to becoming full members. Alternatively, when I worked for TD Ameritrade, we would often discuss the value individuals place in something that has a cost associated with it.  The perceptions of goods or services that were free was that it had less value.

Pricing and sales professionals usually recommend charging a nominal fee for this very reason.  How can we get students to see the value in associations without having to charge them the administrative costs?  Could this perception of valuing something free be changing with younger generations who expect many services to be free?

What do you think? ​

(I have previously written about the cost of member acquisition – Read that post.)​​


© 2015 Nick Spencer & Sutton Enterprises Inc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

Nick is an experienced Marketing, Branding, and Association Management leader. Throughout his career, Nick has developed various strategies to support the nonprofit and association management worlds. At Sutton, Nick develops Marketing and Sales Strategies and plays a key role in the development and implementation of special projects.​

Learn more: Sutton Enterprises
Connect on LinkedIn: Company Page

Follow on Twitter –   Help4NFPs ​​

 

Does Your Nonprofit Consider the Needs of Millennials or is Leadership Stuck in the Past?

by Nick NCS. Spencer 6/19/2015 at 9:18 AM in Ideas, Not-for-profit, Opinions

I recently read an interesting article called, “Why Millennials in the Workplace ‘Don’t Care,’ and 4 Things You Can Do.” (Gillenwater, 2015) I thought back to my time working for a large Association Management Company (AMC) and how they quickly adapted and listened to their staff.  This AMC embraced change and valued suggestions from employees at all levels. While working in such an inclusive and innovative environment, I would observe the opposite practices from the associations we served. Many of these associations were unwilling to embrace change.
Embracing change and valuing the contributions of all individuals is something Millennials greatly value. So why are so many associations reluctant to change? Some of the concerns associations have about changes include: time to examine changes, possible voting requirements and bylaw changes, or board member attitude.
It got me thinking, if many associations and nonprofits are slow to change, how are they addressing the needs of current or future members of the Millennial Generation?  Millennials are generally referred to those born from the early 1980s through the early 2000s and comprise a staggering 76 million people in the United States (Rouse, January).  These individuals are quick to change and adapt since they have grown up with access to the computer and internet their entire lives.
On a recent project I, along with my team at Sutton Enterprises, have been working with a large national medical association, carefully examining their membership processes.  This organization has chapters or subsets in all 50 states and they each approach their membership recruitment process differently.  Some are more tech-savvy, using iPads at events to sign members up on the spot, while others prefer to use paper sign-up sheets or direct potential members to the website to apply.  After several discussions, they realized that although some members may prefer to speak with a live staff person, others may prefer to only have contact through the web.  The organization lacked the ability to capture all potential members because they were not catering to the preferences of their audience.
Being relevant to ALL members means not only successfully managing their needs, but looking ahead to see what trends are preferred by your membership base.  Take a look at your Mission Statement and ask yourself: “Is it only addressing the needs of a few?  Will your inability or reluctanc

I recently read an interesting article called, “Why Millennials in the Workplace ‘Don’t Care,’ and 4 Things You Can Do.” (Gillenwater, 2015) I thought back to my time working for a large Association Management Company (AMC) and how they quickly adapted and listened to their staff.  This AMC embraced change and valued suggestions from employees at all levels. While working in such an inclusive and innovative environment, I would observe the opposite practices from the associations we served. Many of these associations were unwilling to embrace change.

Embracing change and valuing the contributions of all individuals is something Millennials greatly value. So why are so many associations reluctant to change? Some of the concerns associations have about changes include: time to examine changes, possible voting requirements and bylaw changes, or board member attitude.

It got me thinking, if many associations and nonprofits are slow to change, how are they addressing the needs of current or future members of the Millennial Generation?  Millennials are generally referred to those born from the early 1980s through the early 2000s and comprise a staggering 76 million people in the United States (Rouse, January).  These individuals are quick to change and adapt since they have grown up with access to the computer and internet their entire lives.

On a recent project I, along with my team at Sutton Enterprises, have been working with a large national medical association, carefully examining their membership processes.  This organization has chapters or subsets in all 50 states and they each approach their membership recruitment process differently.  Some are more tech-savvy, using iPads at events to sign members up on the spot, while others prefer to use paper sign-up sheets or direct potential members to the website to apply.  After several discussions, they realized that although some members may prefer to speak with a live staff person, others may prefer to only have contact through the web.  The organization lacked the ability to capture all potential members because they were not catering to the preferences of their audience.

Being relevant to ALL members means not only successfully managing their needs, but looking ahead to see what trends are preferred by your membership base.  Take a look at your Mission Statement and ask yourself: “Is it only addressing the needs of a few?  Will your inability or reluctance to change make your organization irrelevant?”

Gillenwater, R. (2015, January 29). Entrepreneur. Retrieved June 19, 2015, from www.entrepreneur.com: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246437

Rouse, M. (January, 2015 Not Specified). http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennials-millennial-generation. Retrieved June 19, 2015, from http://whatis.techtarget.com: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennials-millennial-generation​

 

© 2015 Nick Spencer & Sutton Enterprises Inc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

Nick is an experienced Marketing, Branding and Association Management leader. Throughout his career, Nick has developed various strategies to support the nonprofit and association management worlds. At Sutton, Nick develops Marketing and Sales Strategies and plays a key role in the development and implementation of special projects.​

Learn more: Sutton Enterprises
Connect on LinkedIn: Company Page

Follow on Twitter –   Help4NFPs ​​

​​

Useful Tool to show relationships between things

​A systems engineer I know and respect, Randy Illiff, has developed a very useful tool that visually shows how things relate to, interacct with, or affect each other, including when they don’t affect each other.

If you are interested in learning more, let me know and I’ll introduce you to him.

 

Tricia Sutton