Lapsed Membership: What You Can Learn

smiling businesswoman in office


Nobody likes looking at stats that paint a negative picture.  But you won’t have the full picture if you’re not willing to look at everything.  Remember, when it comes to marketing, you don’t know what you don’t know!

Three primary reasons for lapsed membership

Sherry Jacob has conducted lapsed member surveys with a wide variety of organizations, from small to large, local to national, and trade to professional.  In her book, The Art of Membership , she has identified 3 reasons individuals will let their organization membership to lapse:

1. Lack of relevant information

2. Cost exceeding the value

3. Satisfaction with alternative sources

Number 3 above is especially important for associations to look at. Internet and mobile access offers a plethora of DIY information resources, available 24-7. Identifying and developing unique, customized and exclusive products for your association membership is more of a challenge than ever before.

Next best alternative

As you look at your current list of benefits, do you know what the NBA is? (Next Best Alternative, not National Basketball Association 🙂 Are there other groups, competitors or organizations that are offering similar opportunities, events, education? If there is not some type of exclusivity or customization to the benefit you offer, you may be in danger of losing members.  How can you build more value into your offering?

Some questions to ask

To sharpen your focus on core benefits your organization is uniquely positioned to offer, you may want to take an inventory of areas in which your organization excels. Here are some questions to ask:

Is there knowledge and understanding among members of your core benefit product lines?

Do you have a competitive pricing structure? (Remember to compare with the nba’s that are out there—remember, next best alternatives)

Are local networking events well attended?

Are your face-to-face educations programs of a high quality?

Are your face-to-face educations programs well attended?

What is your market share for your events and products compared to your competitors?

What programs or products do you offer that are rare or hard to find?

What programs or products that you offer are difficult to imitate or copy?

The fewer the better

One, two or three core strengths is really better. Your focus is already limited. How can you make these few even better? How can you add more value? Building on what you already have will help you create a stronger differentiating position.

Put your customer hat on and create messages that answer the question, “What’s in it for ME?” Talk about those key benefits across platforms to all your audiences. Collect feedback.

Now go out and get more of that market share!!

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