By Craig Johns
Are organisations actually making a difference to their members?
Organisations flourish by adequately resourcing their activities to meet member requirements. However, they often make decisions based on on how membership will benefit the organisation, rather than focusing on the actual member/s. They focus on aspects such as how many members should they target, what benefits they can leverage off their partners to provide to members and how much they should increase the membership fees.
But is that really what organisations should be focusing on?
Achieving organisational success is dependent on two key things:
- effectively resourcing its activities, and
- providing something to a member that makes a difference to their lives
Now, if organisational success is based on resources and members, then every new decision, policy, change, program and service must consider the effect on both aspects.
Are resources or members the most important consideration?
The answer is simple. Without members, there is no organisation! If the organisation doesn’t provide relevance or value to a person, they are highly unlikely to become or remain a member.
So how can organisations ensure that members are front and centre on every decision made?
Developing a key focal point based on the members, which every decision and every change is challenged against, is critical in achieving organisation success. If the decision or change doesn’t positively effect the key focal point, then the organisation should reconsider what they are about to implement.
A focal point that I commonly use with organisations is:
ENHANCE THE EXPERIENCE
Let’s use tennis as an example. Anyone can play tennis as long as they have a racquet, ball and either a wall or someone to play against. To enhance their experience they would need to subscribe, create or join a learning platform, group, club, program and/or organisation. They may consider joining a tennis club or group to receive coaching, to socialise with like minded people, and to have opportunities to play and compete against other tennis players. They might subscribe to an online tennis magazine. They could join a state/regional or national tennis organisation.
The person interested in tennis will assess whether joining will enhance their experience by helping them learn more, improve their performance, meet and play other people, provide access to courts, make it more enjoyable, etc… before signing up. If the learning platform, group, club, program and/or organisation doesn’t enhance their experience, they are unlikely to join or retain their membership.
It is therefore vitally important that every decision is cross-checked with “does it enhance the experience of the players” first, before checking whether the organisation has the resource capability to manage, deliver or support it effectively.
You might be asking “What key elements are required to ensure that membership provides value and relevance?”
Current and potential members like to (some or all of the follow):
- belong and feel part of a community
- share knowledge and experiences
- learn and understand
- improve and achieve
- support and feel like someone cares
- have access and opportunities
MaccaX provide a great introductory video that clearly shows their relevance and value to their members.
What is your organisation going to base its decisions on?