Are you the “I” in ROI?

Are you the “I” in ROI?

By IBA President Don Thieneman


It is no secret that the amount of people who see the value in the association model has slowly declined over the past decade. It has become increasingly more difficult to communicate the value of membership not just for the builders association, but for many associations. What used to be an organic way of harvesting personal development and lasting connection has soon been overshadowed during a time of technological triumph. Face-to-face interactions have become fewer and far between and the idea of being in a room with others discussing issues, instead of reading them on a small screen, is almost unheard of. So how do we disrupt this pattern and think creatively about engaging our members? It’s actually simpler than that.

“Ask not what the association can do for you, but what you can do for your association.”

So often I hear of a member who has chosen not to renew after a year of membership. After talking with other members and local leadership I find out that the person only attended one or a few meetings and each time just sat in the back of the room and kept to themselves. A year later, when the invoice came due, the member did not see the value in the dollars spent, and chose not to renew.

Here’s where the disconnect occurs- local and state associations can employ as many tactics as possible to increase member retention and engagement, but the investment starts with you.

A study was done on membership retention in builders associations. The findings showed that members who sat on leadership councils or boards were significantly more likely to renew their membership each year. Similar findings showed that members who volunteered or sponsored at local association events had a more positive view of their association, and were also more likely to renew.

You see, the value of your association membership is what you make it and starts with you. If you are a new member, I encourage you to attend the next local or state event and introduce yourself. Look for ways you can volunteer or create recognition for your company. Long standing members in each local association need to identify their new members and help them see all of the opportunities you have to offer, understanding that you’re talking to your future leaders.

The value is all right here, you just have to believe in it.

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