Serving the Perfect Slice of Cake to Members

Apr 13, 2021

In life, I think there are two kinds of people – those who adore the frosting part of the cake, and those who prefer their cake without all that sugary fluff on top.

My husband is a just-the-cake kind of guy while I would take a whole plate of frosting, if I could.

One time, we attended a wedding and my husband picked up a slice of cake from the dessert table for me. When he handed it to me, virtually frosting-less, the only response I could think of in the moment was, “Seriously?! How long have we been married?!?”

The man should know that I love my frosting, right?

Similarly, I believe there are two layers to member experience.

You first have the “Operational Layer”. This is the functional part – it’s like the cake.

This is where we pay attention to the structural elements that make your membership work.

How you process payments

How you create, store and deliver content

How people know when it’s time to renew

What information gets stored in the database

Are renewals automatic or manually processed


On top of the operational layer is the “Value Layer”. This is the mmmmm… frosting part.

The value layer is where you spread on the things that show you’ve been paying attention to member needs, that you understand those needs, and that you care about helping him/her reach goals.

Most organizations pay a little attention to the organizational layer and a little attention to the value layer. The result is a cake that is inconsistent… it’s dry here, but better there. There’s a mound of frosting in this corner but the frosting got completely left off in that middle section.

The only way to avoid this problem is to intentionally pay attention to BOTH layers through every aspect of your experience design.

I use an 8-stage model when I'm working with clients. This means we specifically talk about:

  • Discovery – what you do to help new members find you
  • Contemplation – what you do to help new members choose to join
  • Activation – what you do to help the joining process go smoothly
  • Onboarding – what you do to help the new member access benefits
  • Early Engagement – what you do to help the new member get involved
  • Extended Engagement – what you do to help a member stay connected
  • Pre-Renewal – what you do to help a member recognize value received
  • Post-Renewal – what you do to help a member deepen the relationship

There is an operational layer and a value layer involved with each of these stages.

When I’m working with clients around building CAREpoints into their member experience, it’s really about being very intentional about what happens. By skillfully addressing both, you can always be certain that members will be served the perfect slice of cake every time.

This week’s podcast guest also believes in delivering an experience that is personalized to where they are in their journey with you.  Emily Taylor is Principle of teenyBIG, a nonprofit consultancy that focuses on member engagement.

If you’d like to tune in for my conversation with Emily, you’ll find it here!

Do These 4 Words Describe Your Member Care?

There are 4 words that members should ALWAYS use to describe what they’re getting from any membership organization they’ve joined.  There can be other words, too… but these 4 are absolutely fundamental:

 – Consistent

–  Attentive

–  Responsive

–  Engaging 

Now, I think that most of us, as membership professionals, would absolutely aim to deliver what we do with these 4 words in mind… but the truth is that it’s not always that easy to do. It’s hard to be everywhere you need to be.  It’s hard to see everything we need to see.  It’s hard to pay attention over here, when that fire is burning over there.

It’s this sort of reality that we live in that led me to create JourneyCARE, the member care software platform that I’ve been talking about for months.  With JourneyCARE, my goal has been to take the member care that you WANT to deliver and actually make that happen automatically as much as possible. It’s really not that hard when you have the right tools and JourneyCARE is how I’m making it happen.

I’d love to show you how JourneyCARE can save you time AND dramatically improve how you’re able to attract, engage, and retain members.  The simplest way to do that is to simply book a private demo at

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.