I facilitated a group in April for people who are in the very early stages of planning their membership communities. They want to build and maintain a thriving community. This is one of my FAVORITE things to do because I love, love, love when people are excited and passionate about starting something new. They come in dreaming and they leave with a clear path forward and all of the initial important decisions made.

One of the things that we think through during the planning process is what our members *really* want. I’m not talking about the membership benefits they want, but rather, what do they actually want to be different about their lives, businesses, industry, etc.?

What you may not know about me is that I never give anyone an assignment that I’m not willing to do myself, so I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks thinking about what MY members want. When someone comes into my membership community and starts connecting, what’s the end result or future state that they desire?

I keep coming back to the same word – “THRIVING” – they want a “THRIVING community”.

But what does that actually mean?

I’d be curious what your definition is, but to me, I think of 4 things:

  1. Meaningful connections – One of the most compelling reasons to start a community is to gather people around you who share similar goals and aspirations. A thriving community *feels* amazing. You are literally with “your people” and the connection energizes you.
  2. Financial flow – Naturally, the recurring revenue associated with a membership program is appealing to most people. In a thriving community, revenue is flowing in predictably and the organization or business is profitable.
  3. Visible impact – Every membership begins with some sort of end state in mind. In a thriving community, the impact becomes apparent. There are success stories and positive metrics that can be shared.
  4. High retention – How many people actually continue on through their renewal periods is an indicator of health. Thriving memberships have high retention rates. Members are happy, so they stick around.

When you think about your own membership community, what is YOUR definition of “thriving”. Drop a comment below and let me know!


Joy Duling is Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.  Since 2005, Joy and her team have helped associations, trade groups and membership-based nonprofits run their programs more easily and deliver exceptional member care.

You can find FREE tools, tips and training to help you run and grow your membership organization in The Joy of Membership Help Hub.




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *