The Membership Advisory Committee (MAC) was born from the strategic plan that was shared with us by Tracy Folkes Hanson, CSAE’s president and CEO, at our inaugural meeting. Tracy identified the three strategic priorities: strengthen the CSAE brand; build an engaged community of members and stakeholders; and provide value through learning and innovation. The MAC clearly fit into the “build an engaged community of members and stakeholders” priority, and were careful not to stray into the other pillars by going tangential on committee calls, which is always a danger as any association executive knows. There was a clear mandate from the board to Tracy and her membership team, headed by Ed Byers, that a key performance indicator of success in the next operational year (May 2019 – April 2020) would be to grow both the individual and the organizational membership through acquisition and retention, and we helped them get ready for that.

MAC commenced its work in August of 2018 and wrapped up its specific work for this year in February of 2019. The team was comprised of both membership staff and volunteers. The staff did a thorough analysis and provided data analytics to the team. At that time the membership statistics were:

Business Members 446
Executive Members 2505
  855 single
  778 group 2 – 5 (190 Orgs)
  872 group 6+ (64 orgs)
A total of 1027 Associations represented

An interesting item that emerged from the analytics was that the retention focus needed to shift to the first three years of membership, as that is when the turnover is highest. Although our membership remains fairly stable, there is a lot of churn due to people leaving for various reasons and others joining. If we can stabilize the former as much as possible through targeted engagement and retention strategies, it would be beneficial.

Cascading out of that strategic pillar, the agenda for the committee included consideration of the membership model, segmentation, retention and recruitment. While there is room for improvement the retention rate is slightly above average at 81% so we turned our eye to segmentation and analyzed approximately 20 different segments. The advisory council then narrowed this list down to the top four segments that the staff would work on. These included but were not limited to:

  • mid-level association professionals
  • young professionals + students
  • large associations
  • Association Management Companies (AMCs)

The final report from MAC indicates that the membership team will achieve their goals by:

  • increased membership value
  • clear communication of member benefits to new and existing members
  • increased member engagement
  • refreshing processes, tools and software to increase efficiency
  • increased direct contact between staff and members

MAC provided an opportunity for CSAE management to have meaningful dialogue with a distinct representation of its membership base to enhance the value of CSAE membership.

The committee members were:

  • Paulette Vinette
  • Jonathan Roberts
  • Rafi Mohammad
  • Cathy Cummings
  • Cindy Gonsalves
  • Allyson Gillett