Friday, April 24, 2015

Are Your Meetings a Features of Membership?

The ROI of Membership

By Ed Rigsbee, CAE, CSP

Here is the bitter pill…if non-members can attend…the meeting is not a feature of membership. However, the discount on registration is.
Nearly every membership organization can further its mission more effectively, with more members. More members generally translate to larger meetings. To recruit more members, especially Millennials, there must be an outstanding perceived return on investment (ROI) offered.

Contemporary membership research, surveys, and reports all indicate that many membership organizations are challenged with trying to justify why one should join their ranks. There is the good old admonishment, “Join to support your industry.” This has become increasingly ineffective.  Let’s not forget the old standby, ”We have great networking.” Perhaps your organization has progressed to a more contemporary “We have great live and online communities”?

Yet, something is still missing…a truly compelling reason to join. What’s an association executive or director of membership to do?

Accelerate Your Action

In order to grow your membership and member meeting attendance, perhaps it is time to push against conventional wisdom and look in a new direction? Consider the inaccuracy that most of what is offered up by membership organizations as “member benefits” are in fact, features—perhaps features of membership. For an organization’s services, activities, or other things to be considered “features of membership” said services or activities must be available only to members.

Industry benefit activities are those things, like advocacy, that create great value for everyone in the industry—not just the members. These activities are great customer service accomplishments for the longer-term members that care about them. However, they are quite ineffective in recruiting new members—because they receive the value without having to become a member.

Show Me the Money

While advocacy generally is not a feature of membership, a legislative update…distributed only to members clearly is a membership feature which will save the member time, money, and avoidance of regulatory pain…all buying motives. These buying motives are the actual benefit…the things that make your members’ lives better…the things that will motivate non-members to join. Like the above mentioned feature of membership, discount on meeting registration, saving money is the benefit and not the meeting.

Motivating Features

Consider grabbing the opportunity to drive more value, more member ROI, for members at your meeting. There is currently much discussion in the meetings industry about “meeting ROI” but very little about “member ROI.” What the members get in exchange for their annual dues should be important to any association executive. To effectively increase “member ROI” at any of your meetings, consider including in your scheduled offering a number of “member-only” educational, networking, and/or social sessions. You will find this most effective at times when multiple activities are taking place at the meeting so there will be something for non-members to do. And, remember to develop some specific member-only education or activities for your long-term members. They need more than simply a place to see their friends once a year.

As you now know, it is only the registration discount that is the true feature of membership. Add to this feature some member-only activities and those activities also become features of membership. You will greatly increase the total perceived member ROI (member-only). You will be offering your current members more compelling reasons to attend your meetings and to retain their membership. For the non-members, this is like the take-away close—a powerful reason for the non-member to join your organization.

Influence the Decision to Join

There is no advantage in vague or fuzzy-bunny “member value proposition” marketing. In order to grow your membership base, which will increase your opportunity to influence more members to attend your meetings; it is crucial that your organization clearly communicate its member value proposition. A reasonably easy and inexpensive way to achieve this goal is to calculate the member-perceived real-dollar value of each “member-only” feature of membership. Communicating your organization’s real-dollar member ROI via your website and other marketing channels, both printed and electronic, will go a long way to telling your value proposition story and influencing the decision to join.

Give ‘em What They Want

There is the question of which segment(s) you will get the best “bang for your buck” in influencing both membership and meeting attendance? Generally it will be those people that are newer to the industry. They truly have the most to gain from membership. To influence this segment, you have to communicate how it is in their best interest to participate with your organization. During recruitment, is not the time for talking to these younger people about all the great value the organization delivers to the industry. There will be plenty of time for that after they have engaged in your organization and will better understand the value. 
Now is the time to communicate the great value that your organization delivers to its members—the ROI of membership based on each member-only feature. It is your job to help them understand the real-dollar value of each of these features of membership that your organization offers. This will hopefully include a number of new “member-only” activities at your upcoming meetings.

If you would like to explore further, the financial veracity of each of your features of membership for consideration in creating new, maintaining existing, and sun setting your various products, services, and activities, email your request to and I’ll forward back my Features Framework Exercise from The ROI of Membership-Today’s Missing Link for Explosive Growth

Copyright © 2015 Ed Rigsbee
Ed Rigsbee holds both the Certified Association Executive and the Certified Speaking Professional accreditations—an honor that only about a handful of people globally enjoy. Many of the ideas in this article are adapted from his book titled, The ROI of Membership-Today’s Missing Link for Explosive Growth.  In addition to teaching associations the qualitative process for determining member ROI and strategy, he is the CEO of Cigar PEG-Philanthropy through Fun, a non-profit public charity he founded in 1999. More about Ed’s work at

Ed Rigsbee, CSP, CAE
The ROI Guy: Alliances, Relationships & Associations
Rigsbee Enterprises, Inc.
1746 Calle Yucca, Suite 200
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

George Torok Host of Business in Motion Business Speaker Listen to Business in Motion audio PodCasts On iTunes Business in Motion on Facebook Share/Save/Bookmark

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fear Is Real and it’s Not your Enemy

You are not alone. We all have fears that we don’t care to reveal. Fear is an emotion and hence irrational. Emotions are irrational, illogical and intangible but they are still real.

We humans experience many different emotions. That includes love, hate, anger, greed, guilt, pride, compassion, lust, hope…

All are intangible and impossible to measure on any scale. Yet, our life is directed more by emotion than by any other thing. Our motivation and direction is most often guided by our emotions.

Of all the emotions we feel, the strongest is fear. You might not like to hear that but fear is the most important emotion to our survival. Fear resides in the Amygdala of our brain. That is often referred to as the Lizard brain. Why? Because it is at the top of the spinal cord and even lizards have that minuscule brain. Higher evolved species have that plus more developed brains.

The thoughtful question might be, “Why are most species equipped with the emotion of fear?” Because fear is the prime motivator for survival.

Perhaps you’ve heard a motivational speaker command you to ignore your fears. Why is the speaker telling you to ignore the strongest emotion you have? That’s funny because motivation is about emotion. Is the speaker suggesting that you ignore certain emotions while embracing others? Why? Clearly a motivational speaker doesn’t speak logically.

The speaker might even be so bold as to proclaim that fear isn’t real. They might even spout the acronym that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. That might sound cute. The motivational speaker might feel clever. But it’s nonsense.

Perhaps you’ve heard a motivational speaker or therapist command you to ignore your fears. They might have proclaimed that Fear isn’t real or specifically that your fear isn’t real.

That first statement would be a lie and the second would additionally be insulting and insensitive.

Fear is as real as any other emotion. It’s also the most powerful emotion. It’s the most important emotion to our survival.

We don’t need to live our lives in fear. We simply need to accept our fears for the illogical and powerful forces they are. When our fears seem to disrupt our progress then we need to take the time and consider the rational to manage our fears.

Acknowledge, respect and manage your fears.

George Torok Host of Business in Motion Business Speaker Listen to Business in Motion audio PodCasts On iTunes Business in Motion on Facebook Share/Save/Bookmark

Sunday, March 02, 2014

CFMU community radio looking for your support
Okay, I'm not the most interesting man in the world.  I'm probably not even the most interesting man in this room, and I'm the only one here.  Yet one thing's for sure - I work at the most interesting radio station in Hamilton.  We are 93.3 CFMU FM - listener-supported, campus-based community radio.

CFMU broadcasts to the greater Hamilton area.  Our programs are produced and hosted by volunteers from the community - by people like yourself.  We address local issues, promote local and under-represented music, and feature unique voices.  We give voice to those who need it.

Last year, we received our seventh Radio Station of the Year Award, grew our social media presence by 99%, started a blog (, and had a physical presence at many events on campus and across the city.  Our on-site Supercrawl broadcast was the most successful to date, and featured many high-profile guests.  Most importantly, our campus profile has taken a leap forward and volunteer participation has expanded by over 30%. CFMU is more interesting and valuable than ever.

We are asking our fellow Hamiltonians to offer assistance in any way they are able: donations; promotions; sharing our campaign banner; spreading the word; or any other suggestions you may have in helping us reach our goal.

Additionally, we'd like you to consider pledging to this year's drive and supporting our campaign. In order to save paper we are sending our request in digital form.  If you choose to support us in 2014, click on the "Donate" button on this page to pay by PayPal, or email me - Jamie Tennant, Program Director, at

Keep radio interesting - support 93.3 CFMU.

Click here to donate to CFMU

PS: If you've been a guest on Business In Motion or you have listened - then consider contributing to CFMU because it is community radio. Over 150 volunteers keep the station running 24/7.

Any amount is welcome. Please mention Business in Motion when you contribute.

George Torok Host of Business in Motion Business Speaker Listen to Business in Motion audio PodCasts On iTunes Business in Motion on Facebook Share/Save/Bookmark

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Click Here to Show that You've Read and Agree!

We want to make life easy for you so first read these 29 pages and 10,000 words. Then click that you have read, fully understand and agree with everything we’ve said.

That's what I faced when I signed up for online banking.

I wasn't inclined to read those 20 pages of legal sounding phrases.
I didn't want to pay a lawyer to explain them the me.

So what do you think I did?

Yep, just clicked and ignored all that legal talk. Who every reads that nonsense and who every understands it?

You know that they plan to screw you anyways.
They can afford to pay their lawyers much more that you can imagine.

So you plug your nose against the stench and jump in - and hope that you don't sink.

George Torok Host of Business in Motion Business Speaker Listen to Business in Motion audio PodCasts On iTunes Business in Motion on Facebook Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, November 18, 2013

Interview with Robert Gignac on radio show, Business in Motion.

Who is Robert Gignac?
Co-author, along with Michael J. Townshend, of the book, Rich is a State of Mind.

What is the book about?
It is a fictional story about the lessons of personal finance as seen through the eyes of a humours disfunctional Canadian family.

Who is the book for?
Individuals aged 20 to 40 who are in the early stages of financial planning.  They will discover in an easy to understand, non-intimidating story why they should care about financial planning and what they should do about it.

Insights from this interview with Robert Gignac
First simple lesson is to live below your means. If you make $100, then spend no more than $90. Its the only way to enjoy a future  that allows you to do what you will want to do.
How do you make your dream real? First write it down. “What is your goal?” is the most important chapter in the book.

The best advice that Robert received from his financial planner was to start by saving $25 a month.
To save your money, put it where it is not easy to get at.

People will call you lucky if you are doing the things that they want to do but they believe that they can’t.
Robert wrote the first draft of the book long hand because while doing that he was not tempted to stop and edit. His brain told him to just keep writing and edit later.

Rich does not necessarily mean lots of money. One definition of “rich” is the density of hue in colour

Listen to this interview with Robert Gignac

Listen to this interview on iTunes

Listen to other interviews on Business in Motion

George Torok Host of Business in Motion Business Speaker Listen to Business in Motion audio PodCasts On iTunes Business in Motion on Facebook Share/Save/Bookmark

Friday, September 20, 2013

What do Successful People Have in Common?

Ask any successful businessman or woman and they will tell you the same thing. Their success is not something that happened by chance. Of course, being in the right place at the right time is crucial, but it is only half of the equation. Just as important is trusting your gut feelings, planning, not giving up, and following through with your ideas.

The Business in Motion radio show has spent years interviewing business leaders to find out what makes them successful. Whilst they may work in a variety of industries, and have very different personality types, there are similar themes running through almost all their stories. Lets take a look at some of these themes and pinpoint what they have in common, why they provide the foundation for success, and how they can help us to succeed. 

Following the advice of business leaders who have changed the world may not make you a success, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Surround Yourself With Brilliant People
Any business leader will happily admit that surrounding yourself with brilliant people is often the difference between success and failure. A true business leader is not threatened by talented people. They embrace the abilities of others and are always willing to listen to their input. They delegate and utilize the skill-set of their entire team and are never so stubborn that they refuse to change course when necessary.

An Innovation Need Not be Original
Although this may seem contradictory, true business leaders know they do not have to 'reinvent the wheel' to become successful. Perhaps the most revered business leader of our time was Steve Jobs. The company he founded in his bedroom has been credited, among other things, with inventing the personal computer, the MP3 player, the smartphone, and the tablet. Whilst, Jobs was a colossus in the information technology world, Apple invented none of those products. The invention of the personal computer is generally credited to Henry Edwards Roberts, whose Altair 8800 kickstarted the personal computer industry. 

A German technology company, Fraunhofer-Gesellshaf, manufactured the first MP3 player back in 1997, whilst IBM were ahead of their time and developed the first smartphone back in 1992. Admittedly, these products bare little resemblance to the electronic devices that went on to change the world, but the concept and early advances in technology were there for all to see. What of the personal tablet? Well, a strong argument could be made that Pencept developed that technology as long ago as 1985, whilst Microsoft ushered in the modern mobile computing age with it's range of 'tablet' devices at the turn of the century.

Standing on the Shoulders of Others
What made Steve Jobs such a visionary was his talent for analyzing the current market, and being remarkably accurate in predicting what technologies would change the world and those that would end up 'in the dustbin of history'. By standing on the shoulders of innovators that had gone before, and designing aesthetically pleasing, simple to use products, Apple became the company it is today. 

Bill Gates did a similar thing in the 1980's with Microsoft. He agreed to a deal to license parts of Apple's Macintosh GUI for a new piece of software Microsoft had written called Windows 1.0. The next version of Windows (2.0) resulted in Apple taking Microsoft to court for copyright infringement. The case lasted 4 years. The judge eventually dismissing Apples claim. Ironically, the Macintosh GUI was heavily influenced by work that had taken place at Xerox a decade earlier. 

Once again, we find successful companies need not lead the way as innovators. However, they do need to be in the right place at the right time, trust their instincts, understand the direction the market is heading, and market their product successfully.

The Importance of Advertising
One can have the best idea or product in the world, but unless you get the word out it will never be successful. Truly successful business leaders already know this. They promote their product through a variety of media. They understand that during a downturn in the economy this is more important than ever. 

Of course, a promotional campaign does not have to cost a fortune. Business start-ups should always allocate a proportion of their budget for promotional campaigns that get your message across in unique ways. Building a brand that the consumer instantly recognises is fundamental to this strategy. All true business leaders understand the importance of this. People do not just buy products. They buy into a brand and what it represents. It becomes a lifestyle choice, something that demonstrates to the outside world who they are, and what they believe in. 

Once again, Steve Jobs knew this. Apple, under his leadership, became the technology giant it is today not just because of its great products. People also bought into them because they believed Apple stood for something. IBM and Microsoft represented the status quo. Apple stood for the counter-culture and a fresh approach.

Branding, logos and a company slogan on office products or other advertising can help you stand out from the crowd. Smaller companies lack the experience and staffing levels to compete with the industry giants. However, with a creative approach it is quite possible to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. Office products can be tailored to sing the praises of a smaller company. For instance, the personal touch is often lost when doing business with large multi-nationals. Smaller businesses can point this out whilst designing their office products or other advertising campaigns. Finding a 'niche' market or audience can help level the  playing field. Successful branding can help a business achieve this.

Hard Work and Never Giving up
Perhaps the one quality that almost every successful business leader has is their capacity to work hard, believe in themselves, and a refusal to accept defeat. At some point, most of the true giants in the business world failed. What differentiates them from most of us is their ability to pick themselves up, dust themselves down, and learn from their mistakes. They turn failure into opportunity. Steve Jobs was once thrown off the board at Apple. Although despondent, he refused to stop believing in himself. He founded another computer start up company called NeXT, bought a computer graphics company and renamed it Pixar, and 13 years later was invited back to join an almost bankrupt Apple company. The rest is history.

Guest Post by 
Melissa Barry

George Torok Host of Business in Motion Business Speaker Listen to Business in Motion audio PodCasts On iTunes Business in Motion on Facebook Share/Save/Bookmark