When it Comes to Your Membership – Embrace Change

MGI recently released our 2019 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. While it’s filled with nearly 80 pages of data, one stat in particular stood out. 22% of associations experiencing an increase in the number of new members this year recently adopted a new membership model.

IPMA-HR, the leading public sector human resource organization, knows the impact of a new membership model firsthand. Faced with a declining membership, concern grew that their offerings were no longer meeting the needs of public sector HR professionals. To turn the tide on their membership, they knew that something needed to change.

And change it did — within one year, IPMA-HR’s membership grew by 21%.

So how did they get there?

IPMA-HR members represent all levels of HR from local, state, and federal agencies. A collaborative review of their membership offerings revealed significant potential in revamping agency membership. Recognizing the value of current members’ voices, MGI conducted an online bulletin board focus group (BBFG) on behalf of IPMA-HR to gauge the interest of IPMA-HR members in moving toward a new agency model that would cover all HR staff under one agency membership. Over the course of three days, respondents participated in two sessions of questioning focused on membership drivers, perceptions of IPMA-HR and other associations, and membership models and benefits. The findings from this research were favorable to IPMA-HR: members were very likely to recommend IPMA-HR to others as the “go-to” organization in the public sector HR profession that consistently delivers on member expectations. Based on these findings, it’s no surprise that, despite some expected uncertainties with a new model, participants generally saw the overall positive aspects of the agency model — greater coverage for all of their co-workers, access to more benefits, and in most cases a lower cost per member.

As analysis of the survey results showed that the new agency model would be beneficial to both the participants personally and to the organizations for which they work, IPMA-HR and MGI worked in tandem to roll it out in late 2017. A communications plan was put in place to announce the new model, including the newly added benefits of free webinars, online access for all agency members to the entire library of IPMA-HR publications, and special pricing to their annual International Training Conference & Expo. Multi-channel membership acquisition campaigns consisting of print, email, and digital promoted this new model, and within one year IPMA-HR realized 21% membership growth. Coming up on the two-year anniversary of the new model roll-out,membership continues its growth pattern with membership now up 25%.

Combination membership associations are achieving more membership growth and are the most likely to report increases in membership counts of more than 10% over the past five years. With ever-changing market conditions, reviewing your membership offerings to ensure you’re giving members the options they need at a competitive price can give you that membership bump you’ve been looking to achieve.

If you have any questions or would like to start the conversation on reviewing your membership, please do not hesitate to contact Jana Sabol, Senior Account Director, at jsabol@marketinggeneral.com or 703.706.0349.

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