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December 4, 2008

Member Retention

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Worried about losing membership? Protech, Microsoft Dynamics, ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership brought 28 guests together at the Tower Club in Vienna for a panel discussion and reception to talk about ways Associations can retain members. On the menu (along with the fried shrimp egg rolls) was everything from software technology to adding services that show members personal attention.


Microsoft’s Christine Zmuda, The Council of Independent Colleges' Christoph Kunkel, ASAE's chief technology officer Reggie Henry, and manager for engagement and retention Alyssa Thomas took turns talking tactics and answering questions from the audience. Christine says more than 100 Association clients use Microsoft’s “Protech CRM for Members,” a tool that works with MS-Outlook to give a “360° view of an Association’s members.” She says you just right click on the e-mail and you can see a summary of the member’s committee interests, past participation, payment (or non-payment) of member dues, and what they’ve bought lately from the Association.


Christoph says CRM helps him to be more informed when on the phone talking to a college president from one of the 600 small and medium-size private college members CIC serves. He says CIC has 100% member retention going into 2009, and the more information you have at your fingertips when talking to a member, the better you’ll be able to convince them to stay on. Although he’s been able to hold on to his members this year, he told us he’s not banking on membership growth and he’s anticipating only  modest participation at big conferences next year.


Reggie says associations today need customization and personalization. “Members are getting very picky,” he says, and they think, “you should know me by now.” Reggie says associations who don’t offer customized services and individual attention are “in for a rude awakening.”


The American Trucking Association’s John-Charles Quinn told the panel he believes the economic downturn is an opportunity for Associations to offer more, better services and enter the marketplace to boost non-dues revenue. He says “retention is the critical component,” and he is proud of his Association’s 92% retention rate. John-Charles says when his members are faced with the choice of paying for diesel fuel, tires or liability insurance, association membership has to do more than advocate on the Hill. They need to provide services that historically have not provided. 


KeyTech Services’ Carl Jarrett and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s CEO Pat Jones. Pat says getting Congress and the Administration to “open their funding tool box” is a huge educational challenge. Pat reminds us that the Second Stimulus will be borrowed money, and his members can help return the money and pay for future road work with tolls. Pat says DC is about to add HOT (High Occupancy Toll) Lanes to a 14-mile stretch of the Capital Beltway, with dynamic pricing that changes according to the level of congestion.


Delcor’s Brian Sheehan, Christoph, and Syscom Services’ Lee Weinstein enjoy the open bar – and, of course, the stimulating conversations - at the Tower Club.

Do you know anyone in the Association community who inspires you with their leadership qualities, ingenuity or creativity? Association Editor Abraham Mahshie wants to meet them; email him at: Abraham@bisnow.com.

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