© 2018 V
Share Member Success Stories
Word-of-mouth advertising is essential for every
organization. Happy members can steer potential ones your
way each year; that’s because word-of-mouth advertising is
one of the most credible forms of advertising, because the
member talking about your organization is putting his or her
reputation on the line every time they make a
The American Society of Journalists and Authors
(ASJA; New York, NY) understands this value and asks
members to submit career success stories for its website.
“We launched a call for member success stories in the
early fall of 2016,” says Wendy Helfenbaum, ASJA board
member and chair of the client networking committee.
“Being able to talk real numbers is important when you’re a
freelancer and small-business owner. For many years, we’ve
had members asking whether joining our association was
‘worth it.’ These stories show that, yes, membership has
The stories allow members to share how they are
succeeding in their fields due to their connections with ASJA
and its members. The association can, in turn, share these
anecdotes to grow its membership base.
“We print out the success stories and distribute them at
our regional and national conferences, and they are a great
way to quantify the value of membership because potential
members can see exactly how much ROI they have the
potential to get by joining the organization,” says Jennifer
Goforth Gregory, ASJA board secretary and chair of the
membership growth and retention committee. “I also use
them on Facebook groups and refer to them when talking to
potential or new members on the phone.”
Goforth Gregory adds that when members read about
other members’ successes, they learn what they have to do in
order to be successful.
“ASJA members earn money in so many different ways,
and membership gives you access to referrals from fellow
writers, opportunities through volunteering at our events and
within the organization, reading market reports that are
available on our members-only website and more,” says
Goforth Gregory. “When potential members read about all
the ways our members make money by taking advantage of
ASJA programs and people, it convinces them to make an
investment in their careers by joining.”
Helfenbaum says when the program first started, she sent
e-mails to dozens of members she knew personally to ask
them to share. She received so many great stories, she was
able to build a bank of responses that are now posted on
forums, social media and in their newsletters.
Sources: Wendy Helfenbaum, ASJA Board Member and Chair of
Client Networking Committee, American Society of Journalists and
Authors, New York, NY. Phone (212) 997-0947. E-mail: wendy@
taketwoproductions.ca. Website: www.asja.org
Jennifer Goforth Gregory, ASJA Board Secretary and Chair of
Membership Growth and Retention Committee, American Society of
Journalists and Authors, New York, NY. Phone (212) 997-0947.
E-mail: email@example.com. Website: www.asja.org
Is Your Conference Still Relevant?
How do you evaluate the relevancy of your annual
meetings to your members?
“When attendance at annual meetings and conferences starts to
drop, rather than assuming it is solely a marketing problem, it
should prompt the organization to ask how relevant these
events are to their members today. When making a decision
whether or not to attend, members consider the urgency of
their needs; the content, format, time commitment, geography,
price point and likely impact of your event; and their ability to
access something similar elsewhere. In order to maintain rele-
vancy, organizations should regularly be asking for feedback
from their members through surveys and focus groups. For ex-
ample, organizations could ask, ‘What are your greatest profes-
sional challenges right now? How big of a need are each of the
following: gaining additional knowledge about the field and
how it is changing, developing your skills, accessing expert ad-
vice, seeing best practice case studies, having a resource library
and connecting to other practitioners in the field? Where do you
currently turn for this today? Which of these needs are unmet
today? Which of these needs do you prefer our organization
help you to address?’ The information gathered from responses
will help organizations deliver higher-quality and more relevant
programs and services. Additionally, it will guide them in tailor-
ing their marketing messages to highlight how their programs
address the needs of their members.”
— Sarah Glatt, Founder and Principal Consultant,
Paper Crane Associates, Westford, MA.
Phone (978) 206-1502. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our association has a convention committee comprised of
eight member-volunteers who work in different sectors of
the indoor air quality industry. Since they are active in both
the organization and the industry, they have a great under-
standing of what technical presentations would be relevant
to our members. I also keep an eye out for trends, feedback
received from previous meetings, attendance at past ses-
sions and suggestions I’ve received throughout the year and
make it a point to relay those findings to the committee
while they are selecting the technical program. We then
work with the education committee to ensure a robust and
diverse education program during our annual meeting.
“Our members also find significant value in networking
opportunities. We include ample networking breaks through-
out the meeting, including a breakfast hour each day and a
welcome reception on the first night. The welcome reception
provides a laidback atmosphere with games, music and an
open bar to allow attendees to relax and catch up with each
other. We consistently receive positive feedback on these
events and plan to expand them in the future.”
— Jennifer Baker, Assistant Manager of Chapters and Conferences,
Indoor Air Quality Association, Atlanta, GA.
Phone (844) 802-4103. E-mail: email@example.com.