November 08, 2022   |   Vol. 21   |   Issue 11
By Rick Whelan, MGI President

5 actions to take before the New Year.

A lot has changed and is changing in membership marketing. However, the one constant I would argue that has not changed is the need to act–to do something. My very first supervisor told me repeatedly when I was not sure what to do as a membership marketer, I should “do something.” He cautioned inaction was the biggest hurdle facing marketers. Not time, not limited staff, not lack of ideas, not even budget–doing nothing was the biggest impediment to growing any business.

As I celebrate 36 years at MGI this month, I still think my boss was right. Too many times I have had prospects and clients alike get caught in what MGI’s Tony Rossell calls “analysis paralysis.” They become ensnared in project and program research, evaluation, and planning, but never seem to be able to act and implement any actual marketing.

With the year-end less than two months away, now is the time to do something to finish your year on a high note. Here are several “somethings” I would do between now and the end of December.

Go after lapsed members and offer them a deal: “Get the rest of 2022 free when you rejoin now for all of 2023.” And give them a hard deadline to act.

  1. Offer this same deal to all non-member customers and recent conference attendees. Often you only need an incentive to move prospects into paying members. Many lapsed members and current customers can find monies in their personal or organizational budgets they’d like to spend before year-end. Get them to think of your association’s membership as a gift to themselves or their staffs.
  2. Use remarketing on your association’s website and show visitors a “join now” ad touting the year-end deal. Many associations have thousands of visitors to their web pages, yet they don’t follow-up with these potentially promising prospects.
  3. If you can’t provide a dues discount (money is ALWAYS the strongest incentive), then offer a free webinar, a best-selling book, or something of value to get the prospect to try membership. In the old days, my best offer was a money-back guarantee of membership satisfaction–an offer that said “I know you’ll be happy with your XYZ membership. In fact, I guarantee it. If at any time you aren’t happy, just write me, and I’ll refund the unused portion of your annual dues, no questions asked....” Very few prospects who joined ever wrote asking for the rebate.
  4. Look to see how you can add support to your 2023 marketing programs. Review the data from your completed marketing efforts so far this year. What worked and what did not? What could have been done differently and what successes can you build on in the next 60 days? Then clean and update your prospect and member databases.
  5. I have a client who is contacting over 6,000 current members and prospects, inviting them to add a second mailing address, additional phone number, or email address in preparation for getting their marketing program off to a quick start in the coming year.
  6. After the above efforts, if you still have time and money, start an online awareness campaign targeting those who are looking for information about your association and invite them to contact you. Or, offer them a white paper or 30/60 days of free access to some other paid service to encourage them to join immediately or in 2023.

Whatever you choose to do, time is growing short. If you expect to end the year strong with additional membership and revenue counts, you need to start today. DO SOMETHING NOW!

Need ideas or help deciding which course of action may be right for your organization? Contact me at or 703.706.0350.

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