Understanding member journey needs

The attributes of the modern day member can be intimidating and worrying to a membership organisation.

If we’re honest, members are:

Time poor – you are competing to be heard, every minute of every day
Volatile – will be loyal if they see value, but very quick to leave if there is no value
High expectations – they expect a value service, which is both engaging and possessing relevant content.

Although harder to impress and retain, understanding the member’s fundamental needs at an early stage will deliver a solid framework for a mutually beneficial relationship.  These needs differ not only at a personal level, but also throughout their membership journey annually. We  break this journey into four simple stages to understand a member’s ever-changing needs.


A group who we often overlook.  In order to attract new members, we simply have to understand their motivations and expectations for joining.  Are they looking to be part of a community? Are they looking to become an active member of the organisation’s committees and shape its future? Alternatively, are they joining purely for personal development?

Understanding the reason/s for joining is key to shaping the communication and engagement strategy during the membership journey.


Getting to know the ‘Engagers’ individually will increase their loyalty to the organisation.  Although we should invest continuously in our members, the ‘new’ member period is undoubtedly the most important time to invest. Knowing their motivations and expectations from the joining phase, now is the time to continually tweak, refine and perfect the way you communicate and engage with the member.


As the relationship with the member matures, it is crucial to never lose sight of why that member joined in the first place. Here are four questions you must be asking: 

  • Are you still meeting their expectations?
  • When they joined, what benefits and value were offered?
  • Are you still delivering?
  • And what new products, services or benefits could the member have received extra value from?

The first year of any membership is where you will be scored and critically evaluated by the member. That is why it is pivotal to delight them, and why those four questions must be answered positively.


As you send out your renewal reminders, make sure the obligatory newsletter is NOT the only piece of communication the member has received from you all year. If it is, it’s probably too late to keep them. If you’ve understood their needs, invested time, engaged and provided value to the member, then a renewal shouldn’t be a worry.

Members do leave – for a variety of reasons – so when they do, make them an advocate. Understand why they’ve left, and thank them for their contribution. You never know … they may come back, OR even refer new members in.

Knowing all this is fine, but to put in it into action requires the right tools and good data management. One such piece of technology that understands members’ needs, organises communications, and manages sales and membership, is the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

A CRM system integrates with websites, financial, back office systems and email software.

It provides a single view of the member, so members feel you genuinely know them. It also offers a single data source, centrally stored.

Benefits are multiple, but include:

  • Tailored communications to meet member interests and needs;
  • Easy to analyse data from a single location;
  • Better insight and profiling of your members by understanding what they read, what events they attend, where and how they engage etc;
  • Manage member needs based on journey stages;
  • Improved reporting and business processes – membership joining, renewal fallouts, alerts.

For more information on understanding your member needs or help with your digital strategy, please call Ben Sturt on 07469 768990 or email infochrysalisdigital.co.uk

Download the full article Understanding member needs

Chrysalis Digital provides a digital transformation service designed to help build a more agile, efficient and innovative organisation. With its broad cross sector experience Chrysalis has helped many organisations map their digital path and through careful planning and assessment, choose the right technology partners.   Chrysalis Digital is 100% agnostic when recommending CMS and CRM suppliers to its clients.

13 June 2016

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