When membership leaders shake their fist at the sky and lament, “Why won’t these people join???!”, there are a few troublesome spots that I usually check out.

This is Week 3 of our 4-part exploration of this topic.

In Week 1, I talked about the deterioration of value that happens when non-members are able to participate in enough to get their needs satisfied without actually needing to join. Click here to catch up.

In Week 2, I shared the concept of audiences become “offer-blind” when what you do is perceived in the same-old way month after month, year after year. Click here to catch up.

This week, I’d like to take you back to an analogy that I used a few weeks ago. Remember when your prospective member was in a leaky boat offshore and you were trying to get them to notice your beach party?

Your beach party could have been the best beach party ever thrown in the history of beach parties, but if your prospective member was worried about the leak, that’s where their focus was going to stay.

This same issue carries through to this stage of the member experience.

Perhaps the prospective member noticed your beach party but convincing them to come ashore and join you is unlikely. Furthermore, we might even need to consider the possibility that a beach party is not what you should be offering them at all. Maybe you ought to be offering leak-patching kits, or boat repair services, or buckets and pumps to help them remove the existing water in the boat.

You see, it all comes down to the fact that members will buy what they actually need. If they aren’t buying, there’s a good chance that you simply haven’t aligned perfectly with what they need yet. Or that their needs have shifted and your organization hasn’t shifted along with them.

Fixing this problem requires taking a hard look at current offers and being willing to be open-minded about the possibility of change.

Getting outside perspective is especially helpful in these situations. It’s not easy to assess our own stuff. We are simply too close to it. Fresh perspective can bring in new ideas and give you a boost of fresh energy, if you’re open to it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the changing needs of members. Is this something that you’ve noticed with your members? How is your organization responding – with beach parties or with pumps, patches, and leak repair services?

Hit reply and let me know.

If you’d like to catch the Crowdcast that I did recently on this topic, you can go here.

Have a great rest of your week!

How I Can Support Your Growth Right Now:

1) Complete the Growth Scorecard to get laser-focused on your organization’s trouble spots and areas of strength. Then, let’s have a conversation about what to do with your scores.

2) Or come to this month’s Growth Workshop where I’ll also be talking about what you can do with the Scorecard results.

3) Or skip those things and go directly to a 1-on-1 call to discuss Private Consulting on a tricky challenge you’ve been facing.

If you aren't quite sure where to begin, the best thing to do is reach out and schedule 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.