I worked for two trade associations – the National Association of Broadcasters and 340B Health – both of which were obsessed with member retention and delivering member value. Not an uncommon pursuit at any association. One of the best ways to illustrate the value you are delivering a member is to show them the Total Member Value (TMV) your organization provides them.
For years the chosen method to demonstrate value to members for their dues payment was to provide them a profile report from the Association Management System (AMS), which generally listed all the products and services they received and all the other activities in which they participated. This approach had the following weaknesses:

  •  members don’t always understand the value of each service,
  •  they cannot assess whether what they received is more valuable than the dues payment that they made, and
  •  the AMS profile report can only include information that is captured in the AMS, which is a small part of an association’s overall data as we recently learned [In a prior blog, we discussed how a typical AMS only contains about 20% of an association’s data].

Some of the products and services that associations sell are easy to compute. For example, if the fee for a member to attend a Webinar is $50 and the cost for non-members is $75, the member is receiving $25 of extra value for being a member. It is tougher to assign value to services that you provide directly as a member benefit such as: access to an on-line community, participation on a committee, and distribution of a member bulletin. Even more challenging is assessing the value of lobbying or advocacy activities on behalf of the member. But for many associations, these are the most coveted benefits they provide their members so they need to be part of your Return on Investment (ROI) calculation.

Our experience is that you just need to start. Create a matrix and assign values to each benefit and adjust as appropriate if one benefit calculation is skewing the results. For example, one way to attribute lobbying value to each member is by determining the total cost of lobbying and spreading it per-capita across your organizational members, or if in the case of a professional society, equally across all individual members.

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If you have a state-of-the-art data analytics solution like Nucleus, you can create a comprehensive TMV report because you can include activity and benefits beyond your AMS such as posts in a social community or email distribution of a bulletin.

The sample visualization included in this blog illustrates an effective TMV report in Nucleus. It is calculating the Total Open Market Value of each benefit being provided to the member and comparing it to the dues that the member paid. In this example, the member is receiving a 55% ROI. This is compelling information to share with a member during the renewal cycle.

By further exploring the data, you can identify what contributes to the ROI and where members are investing their time. By aggregating the information across all the members, you will be able to determine what members value most, which will ultimately help you develop new programming to satisfy their interests.

And if you want to be forward thinking, consider posting this information to the members’ profile page on your Website. With a tool such as Nucleus, there are no additional license fees to make analyses and visualizations available to your members and other stakeholders on-line. So, if you are feeling bold, and membership transparency is an organizational initiative – you have a great opportunity to leap forward.

Looking ahead, creating the calculations and a TMV visualization is only one benefit that a member retention initiative delivers with a tool like Nucleus. Once you have all your data blended together, you can apply engagement scoring techniques and run analyses on the most (or least) engaged members, start forecasting membership renewals based on TMV calculations, and begin targeting your marketing efforts based on this data to improve your member retention.

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