Membership Isn’t About You (Oh, but it IS!)

Mar 3, 2021

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage “it’s not about you…it’s about the member,” haven’t you?  

Or sometimes you might hear it as, “It’s not about you…it’s about the mission” or “…the greater purpose.”

On the surface, these things sound like they ought to be true – and certainly, I am one to advocate for being sure that you are intentionally providing an experience that is meaningful for your member.

Yet, it is ALSO important that the programs and benefits that you’re offering to members DO fit your style of leadership, the team of staff or volunteers who run things, and the resources that you have available to you.

Trying to deliver anything that falls out of alignment with those things is going to feel harder than it needs to be. You’re going to burn people out. You’re going to have members who are frustrated and confused by the disconnect between what was promised and your ability to deliver. Ultimately, the member experience that you wanted to provide won’t be able to happen.

This is not good for you and it’s not good for the member.

I believe that it is possible to achieve both. You can intentionally design an experience that works beautifully for a member, while still staying well within the bounds of what works for you and your team.

Your organization’s preferences and resource capacities can be woven into:

  • Where you look for members
  • How you look for members
  • What type of members you try to attract
  • The price point you choose
  • What a sales conversation looks like
  • The member benefits that you offer
  • How you engage with members after they join
  • What the long-term relationship with members looks like
  • And probably many other decision points along the way

These aren't decisions to be made ONLY with the member in mind… your choices HAVE to work for you, too.

My most recent podcast guest provided a great example of rethinking her membership program so that it worked better for both her and for her members. Holly Rustick is CEO of Grant Writing & Funding, a best-selling Amazon author, and host of the podcast “Grant Writing & Funding”. 

During our conversation for the show, she shared how she made a very intentional shift in who she wanted to serve as a member and why.  I think you’ll very much enjoy hearing her story.

You can catch that interview with Holly here!

I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on this topic. Have you, or your organization, made any intentional decisions around how you serve your members, based on what actually works/doesn’t work for you?

Drop a line to me at

MemberCare Software Updates

The new branding for the software is beautiful and modern and it’s making the whole software initiative feel very real! Pilot projects are underway and everything is still on track for a public launch by the end of Q1. It has been fun and rewarding to see people get as excited as I am about what’s possible. 

If you’d like to what I’ve been making such a fuss about – or if you think your organization might be interested in becoming a pilot site before the official launch – please visit There’s a form there on that page to request a demo and I’d be delighted to talk with you about the possibilities!

MemberCare Software

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.