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Associations Now

New ASAE Publication to Teach "The Art of Membership"

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, January/February 2014 ASAE@Work

By: Keith Skillman, CAE

Summary: A comprehensive new book by marketing expert Sheri Jacobs, CAE, explains the art of successful membership recruitment, engagement, and retention. The message at its core: Give your members what they need, when they need it.

In The Art of Membership: How to Attract, Retain, and Cement Member Loyalty, membership and marketing expert Sheri Jacobs, CAE, explains how the essence of membership is engaging people in such a meaningful way that they will tell your organization's story to their colleagues and peers. The core idea is a simple one: Deliver what members need, when they need it. To get there, you'll need a little more than a paintbrush, but that's where Jacobs' helpful book comes in.

The book, the first offering in the ASAE-Wiley publishing alliance, captures a set of principles that speak to the underlying causes of organizations' membership challenges and, as Jacobs points out, "should form the basis of every membership program."

Jacobs, president and CEO of marketing agency Avenue M Group, uses those principles as a framework for in-depth treatment of a full range of membership practicalities. It's all backed by ASAE and Avenue M research, illustrative case studies from real organizations, and chapter-by-chapter "how-to" guides with checklists and worksheets that break down the concepts from goal to strategy to tactics and culminate in an actionable "to-do" list.

Keith Skillman, CAE, is vice president, publications, for ASAE. Email:

The Art of Membership (304 pages) is available at Price: $31.50 for ASAE members, $35 for nonmembers. Quantity-purchase discounts are applied at checkout.

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Members for the Long Haul."]

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  DJ Johnson , CAE , March 24, 2014
I have used this book to develop membership strategy at my association and train my staff who did not have a lot of experience or knowledge with membership. And the results have been amazing. This book is a must for any organization needing a fresh approach to determining the value proposition of your business and membership recruitment and retention.


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