What is your Membership Worth?
Rounding up volunteers can be a challenge for any cause as time is our most precious, non-renewable resource. So if you’re going to run a successful Club, membership needs to be worth a member’s time. If your organization collects dues, there is even more of a necessity to be resourceful and impactful.
This topic comes up time after time, so our Engagement Experts at #TeamTassl felt it was worth taking a crack at it by offering suggestions to make sure your beloved Alumni Club is “worth it.”
Startups like Tassl are constantly focused on our “value proposition.”
What is a ‘Value Proposition’ — Investopedia
A value proposition is a business or marketing statement that summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service. This statement should convince a potential consumer that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than other similar offerings.
Read more: Value Proposition Definition | Investopedia
Alumni Clubs or Groups can benefit from identifying and focusing on their value proposition to alumni.
Take a look at each of these sub-headings and make sure your group addresses each one, and you will be well on your way towards membership renewals and a stronger “value proposition.”
Have a Purpose
Most clubs are equipped with Mission Statements and/or Visions from their university. They usually read something like this:
Purdue University alumni shall meet to exchange ideas, enhance their education, keep current about school events and sports, network professionally, provide community service, and support Purdue Crew Club with a goal of setting a Purdue presence in the Mid-Atlantic area.
These missions serve multiple purposes.
They provide a road map for your group to be successful on multiple fronts: social, fundraising, community service, etc. This means you will appeal to multiple needs of your members and potential members while ensuring your club does not become one-dimensional (“just” a game-watching drinking club).
A strong purpose for existing also makes it easier for people to “give” more of themselves to an organization. These missions quickly become badges of honor for their members’ as being active signifies that they are part of something bigger than themselves. If you want to elicit the strongest connection to your club, appeal to people’s desire to Contribute to something worthwhile.
Contacts vs. Members: Flip the Switch
We’ve seen a lot Alumni Clubs that have both contacts and members. Basically, some groups have dues-paying members that tend to be more active and attend events, while contacts prefer to be kept in the loop about their alma mater, but are not as active. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the “benefits” of membership by having exclusive member privileges like discounted event tickets or preferred seating at games.
As with business, converting current contacts is MUCH easier than acquiring new ones, so make sure your group makes a conscious effort to include their contacts while gently demonstrating how being a member will increase the connection to their beloved alma mater, in ways they are currently not experiencing.
Offer Exclusive Experiences
If you’re far from your school’s campus, look for cool and unique events/activities in your local area that alumni would be interested in.
Plan a group trip to a local baseball game. Start a running club for alums in your city. Schedule a BBQ at a local park.
If you have a large alumni club in your area or are close in proximity to other local groups, leverage your groups’ size for group discounts on tickets for a sporting event or concert. Using part of your group’s budget to subsidize these tickets is a good idea, so long as a majority of your members agree that certain events be “showcased” in this way.
Allow People to “Follow the Money”
If you can show how your club budgets its money (even if it’s just broken down by a percentage of where the total dues go to), people will feel a lot better about paying their dues. Tap into the pride of your alumni and don’t just make dues a one-time payment, with no further communication about the use of that money. Show numbers like “We could reach our fundraising goals with 12 more members’ dues!”
We have found that the most successful clubs make a huge effort to update their members on where the money is spent during the year, in conjunction with a blanket statement like “50% of membership dues go to support XYZ University Scholarships.”
Some clubs even have scholarships for local students or fundraising targets for charities. Again, keeping members updated on your group’s progress towards these goals are a great way to grab alums’ attention and get them on board for fundraising.
Partner with Local Businesses
Leverage the name of your university to help get special deals for your members. If you know you’re going to have a game watch on a handful of weekends during Football season, reach out to management at local bars and try to get reserved seating, drink specials and/or discounted appetizers — anything to make your membership feel exclusive. (Bars and restaurants will usually be more willing to accommodate requests like these on weekdays, but you never know if a restaurant owner is an alum too!)
As an added bonus, the more you can integrate your club with the local community, the more likely you are to catch the eyes of students that may become interested in attending your precious alma mater after they see how much fun it is to be an alum!
Here at Tassl, we’re working hard to build the technologies that help alumni networks connect in the right way, and create a culture of recognition outside of monetary donations. We can help build your Alumni Group with the infrastructure it needs to succeed!
If you are an Alumni Group Leader and are interested in learning more about the tools Tassl can offer, take a look at our Alumni Group Leader Page