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Membership marketing.

Filling the need. Three years ago, the National Student Nurses' Association, New York City, had only 13,000 members. Thanks to its powerful recruitment campaign "NSNA: Your Professional Connection--A World of Difference," nearly 28,000 people now belong to NSNA--winner of the best membership marketing plan category.

How did NSNA perform its membership marketing miracle? It began in 1990 when a survey of NSNA members--nursing students studying to become licensed professional nurses--explained their reasons for joining the association. The number one response: professionalism--connecting themselves to a professional nursing organization while still in school.

Here are some of the tactics NSNA used to make nonmembers aware of the association:

* Imprint magazine. The deans and faculty at nursing schools provided NSNA the names of incoming nursing students. NSNA in turn sent each student a free copy of Imprint, a membership brochure, and an invitation to join the association.

* Project InTouch Recruiters. Approximately 400 recruiters--NSNA members--received NSNA membership materials for use in recruiting members. Recruiters received credit for each recruited member. Prizes--such as an expense-paid trip to NSNA's annual convention--were awarded to winners bringing in the most new members.

* NSNA kit. NSNA created and sent a kit--containing information on NSNA activities and how to start or improve an NSNA chapter--at the beginning of the academic year to all schools of nursing. NSNA--which had focused on recruiting individual members--theorized that if schools and states could start and maintain strong chapters, membership would be perpetuated with less effort.

* Membership benefits. NSNA created benefits and services--student loans, group health insurance, scholarships, publication discounts, and so forth--based on information collected from its 1990 membership survey.

"The membership marketing survey plan works because the students are so involved and committed to NSNA, and they believe in the organization," says NSNA Deputy Executive Director Diane Mancino, CAE. "Our job is to take that commitment and turn it into positive action by providing them with the skills to succeed in the professional nursing world."

A service orientation. The American Bar Association, Chicago--winner of the best membership retention/member service activity award--had experienced a slow but steady decline in membership renewal rates for 20 years. In 1989-1990 alone, more than 38,000 members failed to renew their ABA memberships, which resulted in an association loss of $3.85 million. To reverse this trend, ABA established a 19-member task force in February 1990 to find out how the association, could better respond to the needs and concerns of its members, the public, and other constituencies.

To assess the perceived quality and quantity of ABA services, the task force conducted staff and member surveys and focus groups, established subcommittees for users of ABA products and services and service providers, and evaluated information from experts on achieving service.

"One of the more interesting findings was that members indicated that they would be willing to pay more to have an improved level of service," says ABA Director of Membership Susanne Wegrzyn.

Thus, one of the main efforts of the task force was improving or creating new membership services: establishing a service center, training employees to provide better service, implementing a toll-free telephone line, creating staff incentives and recognition for superior service, improving internal communication, and developing feedback mechanisms.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society of Association Executives
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Hard-Earned Rewards; award winners of the American Society of Association Executives
Author:Mascari, Patricia A.
Publication:Association Management
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Previous Article:Government relations.
Next Article:How can you thank your staff?

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