From time to time, I find myself marveling over the existence of some membership-based organizations. Microscopically niched, even oddly positioned sometimes, but still fully functioning and viable nonetheless.

Consider these:

The Association for Dressings and Sauces (ADS),, founded in 1926 and representing manufacturers of salad dressing, mayonnaise and condiment sauces and suppliers of raw materials, packaging and equipment to produce such products.

The Association for Astrological Networking,, which is a global organization that exists to enhance, protect and validate the role of astrologers and astrology have in today’s society.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention,, whose members are veterinarians and other veterinarian healthcare personnel who are committed to making the lives of dogs, cats, all other animals and people healthier and more vital.

The Balloon Council,, which has been in existence since 1990 and is dedicated to educating people about the wonders of balloons and the proper handling of them. Among its key accomplishments, their website indicates that they successfully curbed well-intentioned but ill-conceived laws which would have limited consumer rights to obtain full enjoyment from balloons.

The Jim Smith Society,, founded by Jim Smith and his wife Jane in 1969 in Pennsylvania with just 3 members all named Jim Smith. The only requirement to be a member is that you must be named Jim or James Smith, or any variation. The last number posted said they had 1826 members from around the world!

The World Elephant Polo Association,, is more than 25 years old and exists to promote what they say is fondly known as “the biggest sport in the world”.

The Cloud Appreciation Society,, was created in 2005 and has attracted more than 47,000 people from around the globe. CAS unites members who love – you guessed it, clouds – distributing daily cloud photos, hosting sky gatherings, supporting fog harvesting for creation of fresh drinking water, and more.

One of the reasons why such associations make me marvel is that I often speak to leaders who serve far larger audiences who tell me that they struggle to get people to join. The contrast is remarkable.

I believe that regardless of whether your organization is large or small, tightly niched or more broadly positioned, a growth problem can *always* be traced back to some aspect of the member experience that isn’t working.

Like a good detective, we have to look for clues that tell us exactly where that is.

This month, leaders in the Member Experience Redesign Program are doing exactly that. They are dissecting their own organization’s member experience stage-by-stage to identify where problems exist and what changes need to be implemented.

I’m planning to run just one more group through the six-week program before the end of the year – starting in mid-October and wrapping up before Thanksgiving – if there’s sufficient interest. If this is something that you’d like to hop in on, click here to get on the waiting list.

If there are enough people interested to form the group, I’ll get scheduling details out to you ASAP.

Have a great rest of your week! 

How I Can Support You:

If you ever find yourself in need of outside perspective to help you work through problems with the membership you lead, I can help in 3 ways:

1) Strategy Only – where we map out your best approach and you implement on your own; or

2) Strategy + Team Support – where we map out your best approach and my team helps you implement;

3) Strategy + Group Support – where we map out your best approach and you work alongside other organizations who are working on the same thing.

The best way to get started is by scheduling a quick call.


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.