What is a membership inner circle?
When you look at an organization there are typically a few conclusions you can draw: The health of the organization, who the Power Users or Leaders within it the organization are, and finally, the clicks that exist within the structure. This is true of a physical institution, however how do we see this in a virtual setting? How are is the health of an organization measured by its online presence? How can we tell who the leaders and power users are? How are we to identify the clicks or groups that exist within this visual structure and take advantaged of knowing it?
Three simple factors to build, maintain, and benefits from building an inner circler for a membership organization.
Oddly enough, some organizations never understand the concept of developing an inner circle to draw insights from their members. What I mean by drawing insights is 1- who are your members? 2- what motivates them to be part of your organization, and 3- why do they stick around year after year? Next, how do we actually get this information? Can we do this at the application process? If so, how do we do that so that it is not a 3 page interview for someone to join? Do we do it post joining the organization? How many takers do we actually attract when we ask for input, and is their input targeted or all over the place? Below I outline some ideas that may help your organization start and keep a inner circle member program to gain this kind of insight from your membership.
Designing your organization’s Membership inner circle program
An inner circle program does not have to be complicated. In fact, have you ever asked a person a question about their profession or passion and noticed how much information they are willing to share? The key factor of designing an inner circle program is to understand what information you want and how you want to use it; to what end I outline 3 simple steps below:
Step 1 – what information do you want to draw
Step 2 – why is this information important to your organization
Step 3 – how can you use this information to form a better member experience
What information do you want to draw? You should already know their name and basic information. So, do not ask redundant questions that are part of a member’s profile or application. However some things are basic and useful as heck: Gender, level of education, income, interest, how they heard about your organization – are pretty much the basics. Digging deeper, perhaps, you may benefit from knowing a member’s satisfaction with your organization, its leadership, benefits, and activities. Lastly, often overlooked are things like points of improvement, perceptions about your organization’s direction, and what benefits the inner circle presents the handpicked members.
Why is this information important to your organization? Knowing why it is important serves two purposes. 1- you have a goal, and 2- you can communicate openly with your inner circle those goals/purposes. Find the pain points within your new member and retention abilities. Say you are losing 1 out of every 5 members at time of renewal. Does it benefit to ask them why they are not renewing? They are already telling you something by virtue of not renewing. What may be time and resources better invested can be focusing on your members who have been with you since day 1? These are your power members. So, gaining insights from members who have been with you long term is better insight than asking members who joined for a year and left. Why did you not renew V. You have been with us for X years – what are some of the top reasons for your continued support?
Power users are great source of membership insights; a power user is one who partakes often, renews often, and is present a high percentage of the time. Understanding who they are is very important to not only understating them, but perhaps attracting more like them.
How can you use this information to form a better member experience? So, now you have the information you want and from the membership base you have identified as your most valuable. How you use this information and reward those inner circle members is key to the longevity of your program. Partner up with businesses and other organizations that interest your inner circle members, and offer the inner circle perks, benefits, and honors not available to all other members. This in my humber opinion is the easy part. Keeping that list of perks and highlighting their contributions is also very important.
The great membership inner circle program
A great membership inner circle membership program is well thought out, targets top members, draws useful insights from its top members / power users, and rewards them for participating. A great website design for this doesn’t hurt either.
At Nicasio Design and Development we help organizations thrive on the web. Contact us for a free consultation on how to do it better.