How to Break Your Members' Worst Habits

Make Change Happen Associations Now January/February 2018 Issue By: Tim Ebner

To break old habits, the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professional decided to incentivize and reward members to take new action.

They say that old habits die hard, but that isn’t necessarily true for members of the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals (ANFP), who until recently were stuck in a routine of dues renewal using paper forms sent by mail or fax.

That process was both time-consuming and costly, says Jay Cariño, CAE, vice president of member services. To increase efficiency in the process, ANFP incentivized members to switch from paper to online renewals. The result: a 55 percent increase in online membership renewal. Here’s how Cariño did it.

1. Offer an incentive. Most ANFP members pay for membership out of their own pocket, which means they’re price conscious and looking for the best deal to renew. Cariño offered a complimentary professional development activity to anyone who renewed online.

2Change your own behaviors. ANFP had a habit of sending hardcopy materials to members, including membership cards and continuing education transcripts. “We’ve switched to a new online model,” Cariño says. “It helps us to get over the hurdle of change too.”

3Be patient and listen. The switch to online dues renewals didn’t happen overnight. Big changes require time and attention, Cariño says. Following the switch, ANFP made sure to answer phone calls and respond to emails from members who needed help with the new online form.

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Rules of Engagement: Make Change Happen."] 

Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is senior editor of Associations Now in Washington, DC.