Change is critical. It’s also risky. There are 4 inescapable facts to keep in mind.
- We cannot succeed without regular, meaningful change
- Some changes will fail
- Some changes will fail at first but become successful over time
- There will always be a vocal contingent of opposition
There are some changes that are simply essential. You have to do them on an ongoing basis.
Don’t keep serving the same meal. No matter how good it is, people will tire of it. Even if your event is awesome in every way, it will die if you don’t keep it fresh. Also, don’t forget to keep your event price current. Make sure you know your costs and that your price at least ensures break-even.
Keep ahead of the curve. The content, format and delivery of your member programs must continuously position your association as the leader in your sector. Take a chance on radical new ideas for content. Borrow ideas that are working in other industries and professions.
Member Discount Partners
These are the companies you partner with to deliver their services to your members at a special member price. Are your partners working with you to deliver great value to your members? Or not? It’s better to have one great partner that values their relationship with you than many who deliver sporadic, inattentive service to your members. If a member is disappointed with their first call to a partner, they’re not likely to continue down the list. They’ll just assume the whole program is of no value.
As your industry or profession evolves, it’s important to ensure your membership categories are keeping up with the changes in your sector. Are they still relevant or do they need revisions? It’s also critical to increase member prices on a regular basis. Remember, your costs go up every year. If membership prices do not go up by at least the cost of living each year, you’ll be forced to make a large price increase down the road.
Tips for Pricing
- Communicate increases well in advance
- Use association leaders as advocates
- Keep increases regular, to keep them small
Tips for Member Categories
- Keep it simple: No more than 3 categories
- Do market research in advance: Where is there potential confusion? Who will be impacted?
- Get feedback
- Communicate, communicate, remind
Managing the Opposition
There will always be opposition to change and often the most vocal opponents are long-term, highly influential members. Sometimes they fear losing the comfort of a known quantity. Sometimes they resent the dismantling of a program or event that they helped initiate years ago. How do you deal with the opponents?
- Bring them inside the tent. Invite them to be on a task force or committee that’s driving change. If they feel they have input to the future, they are more likely to want to be part of it.
- Keep communication open. Don’t hide from the opposition. Keep the lines of communication positive and open and build relationships on common ground.
- Nothing works better than success. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Every successful change weakens the opposition to change.