Today, we discuss how membership organisations can craft an effective member value proposition. Helping to increase acquisition, retention, engagement and growth.
We'll look at how to align your value proposition with your organisation's mission and make it member-centric. Segmentation of your audience to make your value proposition granular but relevant to various demographics. As well as three examples of organisations with compelling value propositions.
Understanding value propositions
A value proposition articulates your organisation’s unique benefits and offerings. A commitment to existing and would-be members of the value to expect when joining your organisation. Clearly communicating your mission matters as it sets the stage for stronger relationships with members.
"People are motivated both by values they hold and by rewards. Your membership value proposition will draw on value motivations when you appeal to a higher purpose
Your membership value proposition will draw on rewards when you articulate how your programme will fulfil that motivation (e.g.“gain access to exclusive content”). Powerful membership-driven organisations use their value proposition to draw on both values and rewards"
Source: The Membership Guide
Aligning Your Value Proposition to Your Organisational Mission
The core mission of your organisation is its heart and soul. The centrepiece of everything and the reason it exists. Therefore, it makes sense that your value proposition aligns with your organisation’s mission.
Your value proposition is not just a marketing tool; it's a promise you're genuinely dedicated to delivering. That's why mission-aligned value propositions are often more successful. They are a statement to your members that you're committed to achieving the mission’s success. This reinforces your organisation's identity, helping you to mark out its own unique persona in competitive landscapes.
Member-centric Value Propositions
A one-size-fits-all approach no longer suffices in the diverse world of membership organisations. Members, customers, all different types of consumers for that matter, expect personalised experiences.
In fact, personalisation is now expected by 71% of consumers.
Weaving a member-centric philosophy into your value proposition increases the appeal of your organisation. They increase the relevance of benefits to the unique needs and preferences of potential members.
Segmenting Your Members
Segmenting members allows organisations to address the diverse needs, preferences, and expectations of their audience. Understanding these unique characteristics allows your organisation to fine-tune its value proposition and product or service. You’ll have more insights into which member benefits resonate the most with your target audience.
Adopting a tailored and personalised approach to the membership experience strengthens your value proposition. A value proposition fine-tuned to specific demographics resonates with their high expectations. Therefore, tailoring added value and tangible benefits to different segments results in a more responsive and content membership base.
Recognising the unique needs and preferences of your members makes your messaging and service much more relevant to them. Many organisations and associations are suffering low retention and acquisition rates. This is mainly because of changing expectations, such as interactive, engaging and value-driven online experience.
Yet, most organisations are behind on tech innovation. Legacy tech holds many back in spite of widespread agreement in the industry that members desire a digital overhaul.
Added value for your members could include:
Loyalty & Reward Programmes: Excellent tools for improving member loyalty, advocacy and member engagement. With loyalty programmes, small and medium organisations can significantly increase their acquisition rates. Offering exclusive rewards and privileges to long-standing members shows appreciation.
Customised Learning Resources & Educational Content: Develop educational materials, webinars, courses, or workshops relevant to the industry or sector that members operate within. For instance, a professional association might offer industry-specific training, certifications or guides.
Access to Exclusive Knowledge: Offer members special access to content such as research papers, case studies or reports. This unique access to valuable information enhances the members' expertise and competence in their field.
Tailored Educational Tracks: Offer learning paths customised to different member segments, levels of experience or areas of interest. For instance, beginner, intermediate, and advanced learning modules cater to members with varying expertise levels.
Networking and Learning Events: Networking and learning events are excellent tools for facilitating connections and knowledge sharing.
Tailored Events: Organise events, seminars, workshops, or webinars that cater to different member interests and career stages. This could include both general networking sessions and specific educational forums.
Exclusive Access: Offer priority access or discounts to attend these events. Ensure the content and speakers are highly relevant and beneficial to the members' professional or personal development. This will make your events stand out even more and increase your value proposition further.
Interactive Platforms: Create platforms for members to interact, share knowledge, and network online. Forums, discussion boards, or online events can be valuable additions to in-person events. Serving as year-round networking opportunities.
Customising educational content and organising targeted networking and learning events, your membership organisation can create a compelling value proposition. This tailored approach enhances the relevance and attractiveness of membership, increasing member satisfaction and loyalty.
In this section, we’ll look at three brief case studies of membership organisations with strong value propositions. These are Unison, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and University of the Third Age.
Unison is a UK union for public service workers, improving pay and working conditions through negotiations. Unison was established in 1993 to safeguard workers' rights in various sectors like local government, education, and healthcare.
People are at the centre of Unison’s interest and it clearly shows in their value proposition. Members get access to professional support and advice and qualified legal representation. What truly stands out is the range of benefits for members. These vary from:
Great mortgage and home insurance deals.
A rewards scheme that gives cash back when shopping at selected retailers.
Exclusive travel deals (including Unison’s own resort!).
Superb motoring deals e.g., discounts on Vauxhalls, insurance and breakdown cover.
Eyecare vouchers, life and dentist insurance.
Access to courses, either free or subsidised to help brighten the career prospects of members.
Unison’s value proposition lies in going beyond the expectations of their members. Legal representation for underrepresented people, is in itself a fantastic benefit for joining as a member. But it’s Unison’s regard for its members as people that truly sets it apart.
Unison provides support for all aspects of members' lives, including home, health, travel, career, family, and shopping needs.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or the RSPB was founded in 1889. Their mission is to protect and preserve birds and their habitats in the UK. They achieve this through various actions. Restoring habitats, campaigning, conducting research and monitoring bird populations, just to name a few.
One of the most striking aspects of their value proposition is the educational content available on the website. This is a great touch as it offers everyone who visits practical steps to care for birds. Increasing the chance of what may start as a budding interest in protecting birds becoming a lifelong mission.
If you can weave an opportunity for newcomers to participate, chances are they will!
Where the RSPB delivers a truly compelling value proposition is on their What’s Happening and Days Out pages. Including regularly updated newsletters, events open to both members and non-members, and competitions to win special prizes.
Members also receive free access to any of their 70 bird reserves located across the country. This is a powerful member benefit as it aligns with their interest and passion for protecting UK wildlife.
University of the Third Age
An international organisation that offers fantastic educational and social opportunities. The University of the Third Age offers retired or semi-retired individuals a platform for lifelong learning. Members are able to share their knowledge, interests and skills in a friendly community of like minded individuals.
The U3A is a prime example of organisations building a solid community. They pride themselves on bringing people together. Whether that’s out of a shared love for a particular academic subject or a passion for the creative field. Members can get together to discuss history, write poetry or create art; there’s something for every member.
Is that the value proposition? We’d say so. What’s more member-centric than making other people the reason to sign up to your organisation.
The U3A has blossomed around three core principles. What’s more, visitors to the website get a free toolkit in addition to:
A radio podcast.
Subject-centric interest groups that foster a sense of community.
Days out and visits to historical locations and other locations of interest.
Even U3A's very own festival!
Members have access to a three day festival in York in 2024. Special invites to events like these are strong incentives for new people to join.
Testing and Iteration
You should not set your value proposition in stone. It should evolve alongside your organisation and its members. You can achieve this by regularly testing and refining your value proposition. That way, it continues to meet the needs and expectations of your audience.
Testing and refining value propositions allows your organisation to adapt and optimise its offerings. Moreover, it allows for a dynamic approach in crafting your value proposition. Therefore it will always remain relevant to the needs and preferences of your members.
A framework for continuous value proposition improvement
Your framework should collect member feedback and analyse data to improve messaging and value-added benefits. Actively seeking and acting on member feedback greatly improves the value proposition of your membership organisation. This involves:
Feedback surveys and suggestions: Regularly conduct surveys or feedback sessions to understand what members seek from the organisation. Analyse the feedback and use it to tailor your value proposition for potentially new members too.
Personalised benefits: Use the feedback received to personalise benefits and services for different member segments. For example, tailor offerings to groups that express interest in specific types of events or resources.
Continuous improvements: Consistently improve services and benefits based on member feedback. Demonstrating a willingness to evolve in response to member needs significantly increases satisfaction and loyalty.
Make Members an Offer They Can't Refuse
An effective value proposition should align with your mission and be member-centric. Segmenting your target audience and tailoring your value proposition to different demographics makes it member-centric. Membership benefits and incentives that match members' interests and passions are crucial, as shown in the case studies. Always set out to test and retest your approach and build a framework that allows for continuous improvement.
Should you want to improve member retention and engagement, check out our
helpful guide below.
This guide provides valuable tips and strategies to make it easier for you to keep members and get them more involved. Enhance your value proposition even more by following the advice in the guide.