It’s customary for membership organizations to track the rate at which their membership is growing or declining. Professional societies can chart the health of their organizations by membership growth and churn (the rate at which members leave).
But what about trade associations? I think simply tracking the rate of membership growth and churn is a mistake. Even though companies are members of trade associations and it’s obviously important to track membership growth, it‘s individuals who attend meetings, buy publications, serve on committees, etc.
One metric I encourage our trade association clients to track quarterly and yearly is the rate at which new individuals are added to member (and non-member) companies. By the same token, it’s valuable to track individual churn at member companies, or the rate at which people leave member companies.
For example, one client recently reported a dramatic decline in their annual conference registrations–a decline not at all predicted by previous years’ registrations. After looking at their data, we observed that individual profiles added in MatrixMaxx and connected to member companies were down by approximately 2/3 in the current year, when compared with previous years.
Could that have been the reason behind the decline? We can’t really ever tell but if your membership churn stays constant, adding fewer individuals (even when your total company member count stays constant) means a smaller pool of people to market to.
How to Run the Report
How to run this report? In MatrixMaxx (and most other AMS systems), you can run a search for profiles added in a specific date range, by specific member types(s). I bet you will find the data illuminating. Be sure to comment with your findings.