Thursday, April 3, 2014

When fishing for members or donors, use the right lure.

A week or so ago (3/20), I wrote that successful associations fish where the fish are.

But, that is not enough.

Success means not only selecting where to fish but also carefully selecting which lures you should use to find those members or donors.

For example:
  • If I want to catch bass in a fresh-water lake, on the surface, I’ll select a spinner, popper or buzz bait. But, if the bass are not on the surface, I’m going to go with a crank bank or some other deep running lure.
  • If I want to catch trout in a mountain stream, I’ll use a fly rod and flies. 
  • If I want to catch walleye in a Canadian lake, I recognize they run deep. So, I may troll with a deep-running lure or perhaps jig over deep holes.
Get it?

So, if you are seeking members, what lures do you need to use?

What do your members or prospects really want or need from your association that they cannot find elsewhere?
  • Is it content via a printed magazine or an online blog?
  • Is it engagement or networking within their community?
  • Is it support for a mission-based cause?
  • Is it findings from ongoing research projects?
For the last 20 years, associations have pushed to find non-dues revenue. Sometimes this includes discounts on insurance, rental cars or similar services. I’ve offered these too but I’ve often wondered if such non-dues generators really are the right lures or just a way to raise money. I mean, do members really join to get a rental car discount?

As you think about your association and the benefits (lures) you offer, think about it in terms of which lures should I use to get the fish (members, donors) we seek.

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