How do you sell advocacy as a valuable association member benefit?

Advocacy can be one of your most valuable association benefits.  (Advocacy is also referred to as lobbying, governmental affairs, or public policy at times.)

A great example of strong association advocacy can be found in the malpractice compensation limits in various states.  Regardless of whether you agree with them, the limits did not magically appear. They were the result of strong – and ongoing – advocacy. The resulting savings in malpractice insurance for physicians in those states is worth many times the cost of membership.

However, when a prospective member is told of this benefit, their reply is too often, “I don’t need to join because you will still lobby even without me – and I’ll still get the benefit.”

This may be true to some degree, so associations often have a difficult time arguing that someone should join if advocacy is their primary benefit.

The key is to anticipate this objection and have a response ready, such as:

  • “However, if no one joined, there would be no advocacy possible.”
  • “We would be even more effective if we could prove that we represented a larger percentage of professionals/businesses.”
  • “Imagine what would happen if we stopped all of our advocacy because we couldn’t reach a critical mass of members.”

If you are marketing to prospective members, include these ideas if the marketing itself.  Acknowledge the sentiment of, “I’ll still get the benefit,” and then prove it to be a poor assumption. Sometimes you have to push it further … graphically describe a “world” without your advocacy.  They’ll get the point.

How have you sold your advocacy to prospective members? Let us know.

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