Does your professional association offer a membership benefits program? As organizations look for new ways to offer more value to attract members, prospective members are also being more frugal and demanding increasing value from their memberships. A membership benefits program, which partners with a wide range of service providers and companies to offer member discounts, can help be a significant value-add to your members. Here’s a closer look at the specific benefits that a robust member benefits program can offer.
Generate Revenue Through Partnerships
Member benefits programs typically establish a partnership between the professional organization and the vendor. With the membership details, members are able to access a discount on every purchase. In return, organizations may receive a percentage of the sales (similar to affiliate income) or a fixed fee each time a member makes a purchase. The residual income is a nice boost to your organization’s financial baseline, while also providing a return for very little ongoing effort.
Establish Partnerships with Recognized Brands
The companies featured in membership benefits programs tend to fall into two categories. The first are specialized companies that are going to be of high interest to your members. Examples might be a discount to Home Depot for contractors, a discount to a scrubs and uniform provider for nurses, or a discount on fuel for taxi drivers. The second category is more general lifestyle or mainstream products and services, such as travel discounts, credit card programs, insurance providers, and technology discounts. These relationships can lead to a number of other opportunities for your association, from discounts on facilities for conferences via hotel partnerships to advertising deals with vendors in your industry in your association publications.
Membership Programs Increase Renewals
If you architect your program with your members in mind and make them aware of the benefits through ongoing strategic marketing, three things are likely to happen. First, members are more likely to attribute increased value and prestige to your membership programs. Second, members are more willing to experiment with and come to rely on those discounts for services they use. Finally, renewal rates will go up as individual members are unwilling to let the discounts go.
Differentiate from the Competition
If you’re working to establish a clear value proposition that explores why members should join your organization instead of others in your field, a member benefits program can help provide differentiation. In particular, organizations that offer industry-specific partnerships; benefits that have a bottom line impact such as credit card offers or insurance discounts; and those that can negotiate steeper discounts at mainstream retailers are especially valued.
Member benefit partners provide associations with ongoing residual income, but they also provide value to association members by providing a product or service that members need at discounted rates. And because of that value, members tend to renew their memberships. It’s a cycle that can help you grow and remain sustainable over the long-term.