Membership as a badge of honour

At today's NCVO conference about Membership Schemes we had two excellent opening speakers talking about the marketing strategies needed to attract and retain members, and also membership as a process of engagement and belonging.

Diane Lightfoot, Director of Communications and Fundraising, United Response, emphasised the need to be very clear about who you were targetting, understanding the internal and external context, and making an offer carefully designed to meet member's need. Diane also said it was important to be clear about what relationship and involvement you wanted with members - ranging from receivers of information to having a role in governanance.

Will Reeves, Membership Development Manager at the Society of Operational Engineers, suggested member recruitment was the equivalent of Will you Marry Me? There might be flirting, dating - at an event - chatting online before the proposal ... the membership pack. His advice: engage gradually with potential new members, and target the "divorcees" who have left. They are the easiest to re-engage.

I asked what difference the Internet might be making, and we ended up talking about belonging. Membership could be a "badge of honour" and a talking point to start conversations others. Somehow signing up for a Facebook group was not as strong a bond.

I shot the video on a phone ... so sorry about the sound quality. Still experimenting.