The most successful membership organisations are those who clearly demonstrate their passion for their cause, industry, profession, and/or trade in both word and action. They are committed to their purpose and work hard to provide tangible benefits and positive outcomes to the members they serve. Over the next couple of months, I will be showcasing the member engagement strategies used by different types of member-based organisations including - Unions, Industry Bodies, Professional Associations and Charities.
This month we start our series with a look at the Electrical Trades Union Victoria’s highly successful member engagement strategy …
Electrical Trades Union Victoria
The Electrical Trades Union Victoria, led by State Secretary Troy Gray, are unusual because they have experienced a consistently high retention (mid-high 90s) for well over 10 years and have over 94% penetration into their core member segment at a time where many other unions are suffering from declining participation rates.
While there are undoubtedly a number of reasons for this, a significant factor would be the high level of personal engagement they have with their members. The degrees to which they become personally involved in their member’s lives is something rarely seen in professional and industry associations. A member of the union is seen as part of the family and the support of the union goes well beyond the industrial action they are most well-known for in the public forum. Some of their member engagement strategies include:
Showing empathy at important times for a member – For example, when a member has a baby they send a congratulatory basket to the family (with an ETU branded jumpsuit).
Showing direct support for the families of members – For example, if a member’s children are members of a sporting club, they can access up to $1,000 via the ETU grants program to support that club.
Being tangibly “there” to support a member during tough times – For example, if a member dies, or if a member falls on hard times, then the union will often step in the provide financial support to the partner.
Showing appreciation and recognition to members for their support and length of that service – After 10 years of membership, members are given a badge and certificate of appreciation signed by the State Secretary, showing their years of membership. Members continue to receive these badges and certificates for every additional five years of service.
Rewarding members who pay their membership in full prior to year end – Each year members who pay their membership in full prior to year end receive a 10% discount. While discounting is not always appropriate it is quite effective for this market. Especially combined with the opportunity to win a Nissan Qashqai (this year the winner was a 39 year member of the ETU).
Clear, decisive advocacy campaigns that create tangible positive outcomes for members - Perhaps the most compelling engagement strategy used by the ETU Victoria is the passion that the leadership of the union shows for the members – and the way that passion is demonstrated in clear, decisive campaigns designed to achieve a positive outcome for members.
Belinda Moore is Australasia’s leading membership specialists and has worked with a large number of associations, charities and other non-profit organisations to assist them with their membership challenges. She specialises in training, motivating and up-skilling boards, staff and volunteers to improve membership performance. She is the author of two books including "The Membership Machine" and "Membership Fundamentals". More recently she authored the popular paper "Membership is Dead?". Belinda is an experienced presenter and arrives on the platform armed with an array of topics relating to membership. Revealing insights from her personal and professional experiences, she ensures that participants walk away with practical ideas and insights that can immediately be applied.