kevin cahalane Archives - Syneka Marketing

Webinar: 12 Key Steps to Growing Your Membership

By Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities No Comments

Join us for a Redback Conferencing webinar hosted by Kevin Cahalane from Membership Growth.

What could be severely impacting your organisation’s current membership growth? What is one crucial strategy that will build your membership, more than any other in 2014 and beyond?

Don’t know the answers? Well, you will have to join this webinar to find out!


  • How you can attract new and engaged members
  • How you can retain your current members
  • How you can turn your members into raving fans
  • How to immensely build your revenue streams

Kevin will guide you through a 12 stage program that will give you great ideas, as well as some vital guidelines that you can use right now to have your best year yet!

When: Tuesday, 15th April 2014
What Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Sydney Time (Australian Eastern Time)
Your Host: Kevin Cahalane – Membership Growth
Learning Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Register through Redback Conferencing for this free webinar.

The Membership Growth Toolkit is the ultimate resource for successful Member Recruitment, Retention, Renewals/Reactivation and Revenue earning, designed specifically for anyone in the not-for-profit sector.

Membership Mastery Melbourne 2013 Workshop

By Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources No Comments

Membership Mastery is a joint workshop organised by Kevin Cahalane from Membership Growth and Syneka Marketing. Kevin outlined processes for membership retention and recruitment, including the need for comprehensive database membership and customer service.

Kevin Cahalane presenting at the Membership Mastery Workshop

Kevin Cahalane presenting at the Membership Mastery Workshop

I discussed membership marketing and the need to adopt a consistent approach that is reinforced through key messages:

The recruitment and retention of members should be considered an important marketing goal for any membership based organisation. Membership provides an independent revenue stream and opportunities for ongoing growth.

A marketing plan should articulate the strengths of your organisation and the key messages that will appeal to potential members. An organisation’s strengths provides a competitive advantage and should be adapted as tangible membership benefits.

Every organisation competitors, whether through competing causes or other alternatives to the expense or time required for membership. Understanding tangible benefits creates a value proposition to prospective members.

The value proposition should be articulated as key messages that are reflected across all communication tools. Prospective and current members need consistent messages to reinforce the value of their membership. The importance of membership should be conveyed to existing members to encourage renewals. Prospective members should be encouraged to realise the value and benefits they would receive from membership.

Alex Makin discussing marketing and membership at the Membership Mastery 2013 Workshop

Alex Makin discussing marketing and membership at the Membership Mastery 2013 Workshop

Websites provide the potential for a comprehensive and instantaneous membership resource, but need to be updated to demonstrate their importance. If access to a membership section is considered a benefit, then it needs to include ongoing value added content.

Websites are often the first point of entry for prospective members and someone will question whether the organisation still exists if there is only outdated content. Similarly, social media needs to be maintained to foster online communities. Content can be integrated between and a website and social media, providing a base level of communications and freeing up time to engage communities.

Social media can be an effective tool in membership engagement, but there is a need for policies and clear guidelines. Social media guidelines should be published on your website and in areas such as the about section on Facebook to ensure that members are clear on acceptable usage.

You should designate spokespeople who make official announcements, but board members, staff, members and volunteers should be encouraged to interact and respond to conversations. The authorised spokespeople should be empowered to manage difficult situations and encourage offline discussions to manage negativity.

Online engagement enables the ability to strengthen membership retention. Stronger levels of engagement increases the likelihood of word of mouth recommendations and extend the organisation’s reach.

Ongoing communication with consistent messages will reinforce the organisation’s value proposition and the ability to appeal to current and prospective members.

Membership Growth

Ten Ideas for Welcoming New Members to Your Organisation

By Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Resources 3 Comments

You have put in the time and effort, spent the money, promoted your organisation far and wide … now you are reaping the reward of a growing membership base.

Yet in so many not-for-profit organisations, more members leave after the first year than at any other time. I have conducted surveys in this area and the reasons are numerous and complex – financial and changed circumstances are a couple of reasons; however, other responses relate to things such as a lack of benefits, poor service, lack of opportunity, poor facilities … in other words there is something deeper, particularly with first year members.

Below are ten ideas and suggestions which, if combined properly and worked well, can reverse the ‘first year member drop-out’ syndrome.

Ten Ideas for Welcoming NEW Members to Your Organisation

  1. Send them a ‘Membership Road Map’ – a total package that contains some free ‘goodies’ for them and, more important, a road map that takes them on a tour (virtual if on a PC or in the form of a printed brochure) of your organisation – location(s), people, how to contact, who to contact, events, meetings and all relevant information/timeframes.
  2. Invite them to a new member orientation night. Make it a fun and memorable event (avoid a sleep inducing ‘welcome’ from someone lacking genuine skills in this area) ensure they are made welcome and to feel at home.
  3. Move from free to fee – they get the goodies in the ‘Membership Road Map’ package (it can be a calendar, key ring, personalised membership card, boxer shorts … BOXER SHORTS?!? Hey, no one does boxer shorts, right? Be different!). Also, offer them a discount on an item of merchandise or memorabilia, kind of a ‘new member’s special offer’. It works! However, you should not offer discounts to new members at the expense of your current members – ensure the new members special offer is available to current members also, perhaps under a different promotional banner such as a ‘member loyalty’ offer.
  4. Contact them within 30 days of joining, by telephone if possible, and…
    • welcome them;
    • ask them if they have any specific questions regarding their membership;
    • update them on any events, seminars, functions that are about to happen;
    • ensure they are happy and utilising their membership benefits.
  5. Membership Benefits? Well, why did this new member actually join your organisation? If you don’t know – find out (refer back to #2 or #4, you can ask the question/record the response at either of these early interactions). You see, this person joined the organisation for their reason, not yours. If you know why they joined, you need to focus on that reason in future dealings with the member.Record all feedback on your database.Did they join to gain new friends, save time and effort in studies, improve their social position, build a network, get closer to their team or …? Once you know the reason … you can personalise offers and target them for events and functions that they are interested in.Perhaps they will volunteer their time for a cause that interests them, or utilise their skills to help the organisation or …?This is where a good ‘relational’ data base becomes invaluable.
  6. Appoint a mentor or buddy, which is a good idea for smaller organisations but can be utilised by larger organisations as well. There are people within most organisations who are willing to reach out and help others. Sometimes they will take on more than one person. If your organisation has educational/professional development requirements it would be an excellent idea to appoint your new members with a mentor, who can guide them over the initial hurdles. Retired members are a great recruiting source for this task.
  7. Call them a ‘New Member’ for the first full year of membership. It is absolutely vital that you develop a 12 month retention plan – first year members are your biggest defectors.Ensure you make quality contact (phone, email, social media, post) – yes, post. 37% of members of an organisation prefer their contact via the mail. Who says this? Why, Australia Post, at planned intervals, e.g. seasonal, cyclical or prior to major events, throughout the year.
  8. Commence the Member Renewals process early. Segment first year members within your database and target them. Although you should be trying to renew all of your members early – first year members need to be tracked and monitored.A phone call just before renewals time … a planned contact … won’t hurt either!
  9. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who has contact with members – and here we are talking about that new member – should be trained in delivering superior member service. Your people should be absolutely the best in telephone response, first time contact when a member visits, managing their complaints and concerns and simply making them feel that they are #1 at that point of interaction.An old US corporate study identified that 65% of people did not return to an organisation because of ‘an indifferent attitude from an employee’. Some boffins refer to Service Excellence as a ‘soft skill’. Well … it isn’t  It is an absolute necessity to give your people the skills and knowledge to be the best at what they do.
  10. Your Bonus. You have given the new member a lot of benefits and value throughout the year, now it is your turn to gain some value back, for your organisation:
    • Promote ‘Member-get-Member’. If they are happy with you, do you seriously think they won’t tell others? Well, prompt them!
    • Conduct a new member survey – what did they like, dislike and what changes would they
      recommend from the experiences they had in their first 12 months.
    • Say ‘thank you’ … that will gain you a ton of value!

Kevin Cahalane and Alex Makin will be presenting at Membership Mastery for Professionals on Thursday 14th of March.  The full-day workshop is available for just $595 (GST inclusive).  Visit membershipgrowth.com.au/membership-mastery-for-professionals-2013 for details.

Lost member reactivation – Case study: Zoos Victoria by Kevin Cahalane

By Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News No Comments

In March 2011, Eamonn Verberne (Membership Manager, Zoos Victoria) and I held some in-depth discussions to look at the best ways to entice lost members back to Zoos Victoria (www.zoo.org.au), a deeply committed wildlife conservation organisation.

Reasons why people left after one year included … a tick on the list of ‘100 things to do in my life’ or a one off family trip – visit the three Zoos in a year and we’re done … or another reason, after a few years, was the kids are at a certain age and they no longer want to go to the Zoo … time to cancel.

By May, Eamonn and I had a strategy developed, which involved utilising the services of three telemarketers to conduct a campaign on 8,000 lost members between late June and early/mid October (the members had not renewed within the past 6 – 9 months).

My task was to conduct initial interviews, train the team and work with Eamonn to finalise a series of contact guidelines for the team to follow.

Eamonn took the team to all three Zoos (one is actually a wild life sanctuary), where they gained useful knowledge and were able to say things, during the campaign, such as ‘what’s your favourite Zoo? Oh, yes, Werribee Plains … I’ve been there and the brand new gorilla exhibit is about to open …’.

Our objectives for the campaign were to re-gain a minimum 10% lost members but aim for a 20% win back.

The team achieved in excess of a 60% win back result. Over 5000 lost members actually renewed their membership.

This was a remarkable achievement by any standards. The campaign was not a late payment renewals campaign – it was a lost member campaign.

This team was incredible. All highly trained, tough as nails pro’s? Not at all. Two of the ladies were mums who were seeking part time work (we also had a young lad at the start, however his work was not up to standard – so Eamonn made the decision to let him go) and an agency temp. The term ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things’ comes to mind every time I reflect on this campaign.

How did we achieve such a stunning success, measured not only in numbers regained but in revenue earned?

Here are the five steps we followed:

  1. Leadership – Eamonn Verberne was great to work with … a leader by any definition. There were times where we alternated leadership roles to ensure the best outcome. One of the ladies became team leader during the campaign. She was really good.
  2. Strategy – Eamonn and I developed a series of clearly defined action plans based around our objectives. Once you have a strategy, and everyone is on board, things tend to fall into place.
  3. A good team – We chose well. We let one go who was not working. We gave them training, we gave them knowledge (eg the three Zoo trips) and we gave them feedback. This helped their individual and team motivation. They were a strong team who worked well together.
  4. Reporting – We all knew where the campaign was going, week by week, and were able to correct any issues as we went along. This is a very important component of any campaign.
  5. The Offer – We gave a financial concession … if you re-join now, you will not have to pay the joining/processing fee, but mainly focussed on benefits and value of re-joining (free to children every day, new exhibits, upcoming events and more …we simply captured their hearts!)

Profoundly simple. Very successful.


Introducing Survive and Thrive – the Not-for-Profit Masterclass – Thursday 29th March

By Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government, News, Presentations 2 Comments

Grow your Membership – Improve your Communications – Strengthen your Marketing

You simply cannot afford to miss the best opportunity you will have in 2012 to grow your membership, build member loyalty, strengthen your marketing (and image) and ensure long term sustainability for your organisation.

Survive and Thrive – The Not-for-Profit Masterclass – 29 March 2012

In a highly intensive, interactive three hours – Alex Makin (social media, website and marketing expert) and Kevin Cahalane (membership growth and revenue earning specialist) will provide you with the knowledge, resources and tools to bring you outstanding results in developing and growing your membership, strengthening your communications and building your revenue in 2012 … and beyond.

Survive and Thrive – the Not-for-Profit Masterclass will be held from 1.30pm – 4.30pm on Thursday 29 March 2012 at the Frankston Mechanics’ Institute.

Registration is great value at $127.50 per person – however, if you register by 2 March 2012 … you will save money with our Early Bird Special at only $99 per person (gst inclusive). Take advantage of this great rate – book today.

Register Now

To register for this exclusive and interactive masterclass please visit www.surviveandthrive.com.au or contact us on 1300 965 989.