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News & Views

News and views from the team at SMS. If you have anything you would like posted here please let us know.

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  • 25 Feb 2016 10:18 PM | Anonymous

    When selling membership, the fee you charge is not the most important factor. Instead it is the value the membership fee represents and how effectively that value is communicated.

     

    Many associations struggle to articulate the true value of membership because it is generally intangible and therefore somewhat challenging to explain. So people default to speaking about the tangible aspects of the membership. Unfortunately, these are generally just features of membership (E.g. websites, magazines, events) which aren’t very compelling without being put into the context of a value proposition.  

     

    A prospective member is not making a donation to the organisation. They are making an investment. To get them to join you need to start the conversation by articulating how the member will realise a successful return on their investment. Some broad examples of how you might begin include:

     

    For a business owner seeking to join an industry or professional association – When you join our association you are making an investment into the success of your business. By joining us you will increase your opportunities to generate new business, reduce your expenses, raise your profile, and gain a competitive advantage over those who aren’t members.

     

    For an individual joining a professional association – When you join our association you are making an investment into the success of your career. We will provide you with the tools, skills and networks to help fast track your way up the career and salary ladder. As a member you can access opportunities to raise your profile, reduce your outgoings and advance your career that simply aren’t readily available to non-members.

     

    The most compelling value statements are highly targeted towards the specific member segment you are communicating with. For example, a student entering into a new career may be focused on ensuring they get the information and support to get the best possible start in their career. However, someone nearing retirement may be more interested in legacy building and succession planning.  


  • 08 Feb 2016 12:30 PM | Anonymous

    By Belinda Moore


    In the office today I was reading the statement from the Reserve Bank of Australia in relation to their decision to leave interest rates on hold. The general economic outlook isn’t feeling great. In Australia and internationally many senior economists are concerned about the very real prospect of a significant economic downturn on the horizon. So how does this affect the day to day operations of your association?


    Business Models - During a downturn your organisation becomes particularly vulnerable to losses and can easily miss opportunities for gains due to tight financial and staff resources. If you’ve got an ancient business model that is barely surviving the not-so-new millennium, then don’t count on it making it through a downturn. Now is the time to review your business model to ensure you are optimally set up to succeed in the current and future operating environment. I recommend reading Peggy Hoffman’s Mission Driven Volunteer article for more insights on this. It’s a couple of years old but still very relevant.


    Sponsorship & Partnerships - We are seeing big changes in how corporates are seeking to partner with associations. They are investing more money than ever but into fewer partnerships. They want tangible results and creative implementation. They are seeking engagement with the “right” people (rather than a lot of people). They will run screaming from the next person who puts “we will put your logo on our website” as a major potential partnership benefit (seriously … please don’t do this). When you submit a proposal for a partnership you are entering a VERY competitive space. Associations are investing heavily into business partnership programs that are highly professional. You need to ensure your program can compete. (If you’d a copy of a successful proposal to give you an idea of what is out there email me on Belinda@smsonline.net.au).


    Membership – Research has shown that membership is counter-cyclical. People tend to gravitate towards associations during downturns … provided that association is providing tangible value. Now is the time to look at the value you are providing to members. Are you really making a positive difference in their lives? Would they notice if you were gone? If the answer to those questions is “no” then you’ve got serious work to do. Your goal is to ensure you are truly entangled into the lives of your members throughout their career. If you have organisational members, you need to ensure you have multiple points of contact within each organisation - and a relationship with each contact. For membership ideas check out the  Membership Managers' Handbook (2015 Edition) Ebook


  • 08 Feb 2016 12:29 PM | Anonymous

    This month we are running Practical Sales Skills for Association Professionals in Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne. This will be closely followed Practical Strategies for Turning Around a Small Association with Few Cash Reserves and Minimal Staff Resources, in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne in April.  As always we ensure these are very practical with tool and ideas you can immediately implement. These events can also be run as in-house sessions for your entire staff.


  • 08 Feb 2016 12:28 PM | Anonymous

    I’ve had a large number of requests for the contact details of outsourced call centres as more associations are seeking assistance with outbound calls for renewals, event sales, market research, new member campaigns, and even just data cleaning. After some searching I’ve finally found one with a cost effective service. I used them in an outbound member acquisition campaign where they followed to follow up on a targeted direct mail piece. The results were outstanding and I was really impressed with both the outcome and the comprehensive reporting. Thank you to Charles Hardy for the referral! To check them out for yourself contact Angela at Optimum Contact on 1300 017 293 or angela@optimumcontact.com.au.


  • 08 Feb 2016 12:27 PM | Anonymous

    When I first started out in membership there was very little research or data available on membership. Even though membership is a profession it didn’t have a body of knowledge sitting behind it which made life difficult. Thankfully that has changed over the years and one of the organisations at the forefront of research into the sector is Marketing General who produce the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report each year. This report provides a global overview of the membership performance of associations and is an extremely useful resource. They are currently collecting for the next edition and, if you participate, you will receive a pre-release copy of the final report. Data collection closes on February 12, 2016.  Click here to take part in the research. You can also visit their website to download a copy of their last report. It makes for very interesting reading.


  • 10 Nov 2015 2:07 PM | Anonymous

    Looking for some practical training to 2016? Then check out the list below for the currently scheduled courses (more will be added over the next couple of months). If you can't see the course you want in your area please let us know. If we get enough feedback regarding a specific area we will happily put on an additional course.


    Melbourne


    Brisbane


    Sydney


    Adelaide


    Perth

    Canberra


    Wellington


  • 09 Nov 2015 12:23 PM | Anonymous

    The Membership Managers' Handbook is now available free of charge to subscribers to the SMS free-e bulletin. This comprehensive guide incorporates practical information, useful tools and innovative ideas for ensuring long term membership growth in your association. To access your copy please subscribe to our free e-bulletin or, if you are already a subscriber, log in to download your copy.

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