Do Your Members GIVE Value or Just Expect to RECEIVE It?

Sep 16, 2020

“I believe you have to give value in order to receive value.” 

Evelyn Green, President-Elect of the American National CattleWomen, uttered these words in my recent interview with her for The Joy of Membership Podcast.

I found myself repeatedly returning to those words in the days that followed. 

I was thinking about how often I see organizations playing a role that’s very much like a mama bird, repeatedly dropping food into the open beaks of hungry chirping babies.

Members await, anticipating the value that is going to be dropped upon them at any moment.

But do members have a responsibility to *create* value, as well as receive it?

For ANCW, it was clear from Evelyn’s description of her association’s values and plans that members are expected to bring something to the table – that there’s an interconnectedness that is acknowledged and nurtured.

To me, this expectation for members to be part of value creation is one of the key requirements to creating a true community. 

Here are a few ways that I think you can creatively engage members in the creation of value:

  • Round-robin idea sharing – Each member is assigned to share an idea or best practice with the group on a rotating basis;
  • Peer group projects – Part of membership involves participation in improvement projects that benefit the organization, industry-at-large, or a subset of members;
  • Mentoring program – These sorts of programs not only create value for the mentees, but also provide a leadership pathway for members who have longevity with the organization;
  • Campfire chats – Do your members have specific areas of expertise that they could share with the group? Gather a group formally or informally and let members share their special areas of interest and lessons learned with each other.

One of the best parts about involving members in the creation of value is that they feel truly connected to each other and empowered to be part of advancing the organization. 

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this. Hit reply and let me know.


And if you want to listen in on my interview with Evelyn, go here!

How MY Team Has Been Helpful This Week:

In the spirit of focusing on helpfulness, I’ve started closing out these weekly emails with a snippet of insight into the kinds of things my team has been doing to be helpful to clients. This is by no means exhaustive, but just a quick peek into the many, many ways we help clients:

  • Coordinating the judging for an association’s annual photo contest
  • Conducted three separate trainings to help another association’s key staff understand how to leverage their new membership software
  • Gave another association a “refresh” on their site to address member feedback
  • Designed a virtual exhibit hall for a client’s upcoming conference
  • Planned an approach to help an organization tackle their fundraising challenge
  • Started designing another gorgeous Wild Apricot site – lots of organizations settle for “ugly” templates – I keep telling people that they don’t need to have an ugly Wild Apricot site!

Want to talk about how we could be helpful to you and your organization?

Let’s set up a time to talk:

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

Clients hire me to help them design and deliver exceptional member experiences. If you lead an association, trade group, or membership-based nonprofit, you can find FREE resources to help you run and grow your membership organization by visiting here:

I look forward to connecting with you there.