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I've been working with a nonprofit that relies on members. Specifically, the local "chapter" of that group. They shared with me last year that they'd made a change in how they talk to people about prospective memberships.

As is the case with many membership organizations, their fiscal year lined up with the membership year. In their case, the fiscal year started in October.

They also didn't make pro-rating available for memberships. What that meant was that if someone became a member of their organization in September, you have to pay another yearly fee the very next month, in October.

So what do you think their worst month was for membership recruitment?


I may be a little off on the numbers here. They have around 2 million members worldwide, and in September 2013, they enrolled just 20 new members in the local chapter.

In September 2014, they enrolled over 800!

When I asked what they did differently, they said, "We changed the type of conversation."

Of course, being a good salesperson, I asked, "What do you mean?"

Turns out, prior to September 2014, here's how the conversation had gone with prospective members during the month of September:

"Annual membership is so many dollars, but you'll have to renew again next month."

If that's how they were approaching it, it's no wonder most people just waited another month! And the conversations in August were probably not that different.

They determined that their conversation needed to change. So they actually raised their price, and now that gets any new member a year's membership starting whenever they sign up.

And nobody even questioned the price increase!

Interestingly, this nonprofit has a couple hundred different chapters, and they all struggle with this same issue!

Which conversations can you change in your organization to make an impact like that?

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