The acquisition of a new member signifies the moment when someone acknowledges the value in your organization and its mission. Amy Lestition Burke is the CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and says it is the indicator of an efficiently operating organization.
"Membership is a result of doing everything else well and right,” she says.

Indeed, while membership is the culmination of various efforts—such as relevant programming, exceptional events, and a dynamic community—it also holds a unique position at the forefront of your organization’s growth and sustainability.

Earlier this month, Burke led a meetup of PAR members to exchange insights on outbound membership sales. Here are the key takeaways:

Amy Lestition Burke, MA, FASAE, CAE

CEO of Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA)

Develop a Business Mindset

Adopt business development practices to enhance your membership growth. Transition from passively filling orders to proactively making an impact in the industry.

Build a robust prospect list using third-party tools or databases, and approach this task with intentionality and focus. No organization can be everything to everyone. Instead, excel in the specific areas that are relevant to your target groups.

Be Specific

Tailor your pitch to the specific categories or personas identified in your prospect list. Highlight the work your organization is doing in these areas and invite prospective members to join your mission.

Move away from generic mass mailings. Instead, personalize your membership pitch based on specific disciplines or topic areas to make a more meaningful connection.

Know What You’re Offering

As a membership executive, it’s crucial to be thoroughly acquainted with what your organization offers, both currently and in the future.

Sharing insights into upcoming programming, training, or events can be a powerful way to entice prospective members to join. Provide a glimpse of what’s on the horizon to create excitement and anticipation.

By integrating these strategies, your organization can not only attract new members but also sustain and grow your membership base, ensuring long-term success and impact.