What I wish I knew on Recruitment: I always approached recruitment as a sales effort, and kind of a numbers game approach. What I wish I had done differently is put a lot more effort into data gathering as part of that effort. People in the Association world are very focused on member data, but perhaps not as much on prospect data. At the last Association that I worked at we were really good at gathering data about a prospect’s meeting attendance and what they might have downloaded from the website, but not as much on their current professional needs or program interests (they weren’t members after all!).
Prospective members may not join right away, but that doesn’t make their information any less relevant to their mission. In fact, it might even be more so. We can think of the interests and focus areas of our future members as leading indicators of where an Association might need to steer itself towards in the years ahead.
Now, if I could hop in the way back machine, I would have built out a bunch of custom fields (in the AMS), email campaigns, metrics and dashboards geared solely at prospective members. Having data on what they wanted to learn and industry issues that concerned them would have allowed us to be more relevant to our current members and given us great ideas to use in recruitment campaigns. But perhaps even more importantly, it would given us the information to present the Association as ahead of the curve on future issues and positioned us a resource for the entire industry, not just our members.
And of course, we would keep all that data tied to the individual’s record so that when they eventually joined, we had the full history of all their engagement with us.
Not too shabby for some custom fields and planning, right?
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