More than ever before, members are questioning the ROI on their membership fees.
Membership organizations must be seen to deliver value commensurate with their fees and compare favourably to alternatives. A high performing membership organization (HPO) delivers a highly efficient “back stage” and a highly valuable “front stage”.
Back stage efficiency drives down costs and improves service delivery. Front stage value drives revenue. The back stage elements are the internal systems and processes that support the outward facing activities of the organization. Like plumbing and electricity, the back stage is invisible when it is working well and painfully visible when it is not.
The front stage includes the elements that stakeholders and members see and interact with. They are highly visible and have a direct impact on the credibility and profile of the organization.
8 Elements of the High Performance Organization
There are 8 elements to the High Performance Membership OrganizationTM1:
- Resource Management
- Human Resource Management
- Revenue diversification
- Member Value Proposition
- Sponsor Value Proposition
- Stakeholder relations and issues management
These 8 elements comprise the front stage and back stage elements that tie back to the Sustainability Model TM for membership organizations.
So how do we get there?
If you’re an HPO in this area your directors and management are clear on their accountability for the following:
- They are to serve the needs of the membership as a whole; not constituent interests
- There is a process to evaluate the board’s governance performance
- Directors and the CEO are crystal clear on the distinction between operations and governance and that the CEO is delegated all operations decisions within policy parameters
- There are policies to govern actions and decisions; including specific guidelines for the CEO
The HPO has a multi-year strategic plan, and an annual business plan and budget. All directors are engaged in creating and monitoring the strategic plan and review an approval of the business plan and budget.
The HPO uses all resources, including staff and volunteer time, effectively and efficiently; maximizing the value to members.
Human Resource Management
In this back stage element, the HPO uses HR best practices. Every employee has a current employment contract, there is a documented process for onboarding new staff and there are annual, meaningful performance reviews; including one for the CEO, by the board.
This element manages business risk for the HPO. Revenue should not be too heavily dependent on any single source of income (e.g. member fees). Where this risk is an issue, there is a documented plan to increase diversification.
Member Value Proposition
This is the ground-zero element of the HPO’s front stage. The HPO has defined and documented a compelling, clearly articulated member value proposition (MVP). All staff, directors and other key volunteers can state this in their sleep. They can answer “What’s in it for me?” to current and prospective members, and they do; consistently and with a unified voice.
The HPO also has a sales and marketing plan for member retention and recruitment, with the necessary supporting collateral.
Sponsor Value Proposition
This is critical for an organization that wants or needs to attract sponsors. The HPO has defined and documented a compelling, clearly articulated value proposition for sponsors (SVP). All staff and directors tasked with recruiting sponsors are fluent with the SVP. The SVP delivers a compelling case for ROI for the sponsor.
The HPO also has a sales and marketing plan for sponsorship, with the necessary supporting collateral. This includes a professional and appealing sponsorship prospectus.
Every membership organization has stakeholders that share similar goals and/or with whom the organization wishes to have influence. Your association may advocate to government on behalf of your members an/or may work closely with other organizations to enhance member value.
If your stakeholders see value in a partnership with your association, you will have influence and support for your objectives. The trick is to look at it from their perspective. What can you do to help them achieve their objectives? How do their objectives align with yours?
If you’d like some help from Zzeem in your journey to the HPO, find out more here.
View a 2-part webinar series on this topic: Part 1 and Part 2.
1The High Performance Membership Organization, Sustainability Model and HPO are trademarks of Zzeem, Inc. These may not be used without attribution to Zzeem. www.zzeem.com