Being the Best-Kept Secret is Not Great for Your Membership

Nov 24, 2020

Do you ever feel like your membership is the “best-kept secret around?” YOU know that what you do is valuable, so why aren’t people lined up down the (virtual) block ready to join? 

I found myself thinking about that a lot after a recent conversation with Jennifer Landini and Kate McElwee from the American Women’s Association of Rome. (You can listen in on that conversation in my most recent podcast episode.)

During our chat, both of them mentioned how they quickly found AWAR and joined. That’s the sign of an organization that has positioned itself well to show up where people are looking for solutions – and that the value of joining was immediately apparent.

If that isn’t happening for you, it makes sense to explore why. There are two systems involved in these situations. First, a Discovery System puts you out in front of prospective members consistently. The tell-tale sign that your Discovery System needs improvement is a stagnant prospect list. If you’re not consistently adding new people to your non-member contact list, you’ll have trouble growing.

Of course, a Discovery System alone is not enough for growth. The second system that needs to be in place is a Sales System which strategically moves the people who discover you through the contemplation stage and into making a decision about joining. 

Many organizations that have growth problems involving these front-end stages of member experience may think that they have a marketing problem, but when we dig in, we find out that people know about the organization. They simply aren’t making a joining decision. You can always tell when this is the issue because an organization will be connecting consistently with new people, but then those people just sit on the mailing list, or attend event, or follow social media posts without actually making the decision to join.

The good news is that these challenges can absolutely be fixed, but it’s typically not through marketing. Instead, we need to take a critical look at what’s happening in the member experience and sort out what’s working, what’s not, and what may actually be completely missing.


You can listen in on my interview with AWAR here!

I’d love to hear what’s happening for your organization as you aim to consistently get in front of new members. How is that going? Drop a line and let’s talk about it.

Ways to Work with Me

A flawlessly-delivered, high-value member experience doesn’t happen by accident.  It requires thoughtful planning and intentional action.

Here are 4 ways that you can work with me:

  • Member Experience Makeover – when you know *something* needs to change, but you aren’t sure exactly what
  • Facilitated Focus Day – when you know what to fix but not how to do it, or you can’t stay focused long enough to make the fix happen
  • TeamShare – when you need extra hands but don’t know who could possibly have competence in all of the different areas you need
  • Wild Apricot – when your current tech (or lack of tech) won’t let you do what you need to do


You can learn about all of these options by clicking here

Like this article?

   I’ll bet you’re going to *LOVE* JourneyCARE…  what is JourneyCARE?

Hey there.  I’m Joy Duling, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

If you’re the type of person that is committed to providing an exceptional member experience and you’d like to attract, engage, and retain members more easily, you’ll want to check out the new software platform I’ve created to support you.

It’s called JourneyCARE,, and there’s a good chance that when you see it, you’ll realize that you’ve always wished for something exactly like it.

Come on over and check it out.  I’ll see you over there.