Are Your Members Leaving Because You Don't Heart Them Enough?

I’m noticing a growing trend of disappointment from association volunteers.

  • Several have called me hurt more than complaining.
  • They were volunteer leaders who had to take a leave for a variety of reasons…
  • Surgery, family death, job change and more.

The source of their hurt – no one from their chapter cared they were not showing up.

  • In spite of being super active for many years.
  • And believing they had deep relationships with other leaders.
  • Not a card, call – or even an email.

IHeartRadioIt has been total radio silence – expect radio isn’t so silent any more!

  • In fact one of my favorite radio station misses me.
  • More than some chapters are missing their star volunteers.

I signed up for iHeartRADIO.

  • Made some stations around the country my favorites.
  • Listened to 104.3 MYfm in Los Angeles a lot.
  • And then I stopped listening to the radio while working about three weeks ago.

Two days ago, I got an email from iHeartRADIO saying 104.3 MYfm missed me…

“Hey there,

It’s been a while since you listened to 104.3 MYfm Los Angeles.

Did something heavy fall on you? If you need help, we’ll be right over to lift it off!

Come back and let us know you’re ok!”

An app on my phone cares more about me than many chapters show caring for their members.

  • In four sentences, I felt noticed, cared about – and missed.
  • Yes, I know it was auto-generated.
  • But it still made me smile.

This type of communication is growing as for-profits want to build emotional connections to consumers.

  • Your chapter is going to have to step up its game in caring for members.
  • Members will be asking themselves, “If an app can miss me, why don’t people who I’ve volunteered with for years?”
  • Without the heart connection, the reason to belong pales.

How do you stay on top of the big events in your members’ lives – and show that you heart them too?


10 comments to Are Members Leaving Because You Don’t Heart Them Enough?

  • Mardy Stevens

    Thank you for addressing this concern. Every organization should have a specific plan for how they heart their members. I am connecting other leaders with this conversation.

  • Janice Marsh

    I even receive “we miss you” notices from the place where I get my pizzas. The problem with such automated notices of “caring” is that we all know they are automated and we receive volumes of them on a daily basis in our email accounts, which is why so many are deleted without being opened.

    By contrast, I received an email last week from a long standing and dedicated local chapter member who notified all chapter members that a long time member, who is currently blind and living in assisted living, and whose name I did not recognize, would appreciate receiving a card. She included her address so we would know where to send it. I don’t know if it is part of any specific framework set up by the chapter, or if she sent it simply because she cares, but for the reasons stated above, I suggest any plan developed to let women know they are missed NOT involve automated notices!

  • Thanks Mardy! I’m glad you are taking the conversation forward.

    Janice, I didn’t mean to say that the caring messages should be automated. Just that when businesses are doing it – especially as much as you say, then noticing a person’s participation becomes more of a expectation.

    If the pizza place and a radio station across the country miss me, why don’t my own members?

    The leaders I have talked to in the last few weeks about this are feeling a lot of pain and almost rejection by their chapters.

    It’s nice to hear your group is doing outreach to the older member.


  • Carol Bom

    We need to keep communication personal. In these days of too many emails and other electronic communications, we must remember, as leaders, to send the birthday card, a thank you card, a hand-written note to our members. The return on a heart-felt communication does wonders for making your members feel appreciated and remembered.

  • I agree about the power of the personal note. It’s totally exciting to get a hand-written note in my mailbox these days!

    It’s also very easy to order special cards for your chapter from printers like Vistaprint for very little.

    All that said, if you have to choose between something mailed, an email or nothing, something mailed is super special. AND an email is better than nothing!

    Thanks for sharing your insights Carol!

  • Personal note is the best!!

    Thanks so much for the reminder – volunteers are the heart of the organization.

  • Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Sue Ellen!

  • A note or a phone call is the least we can do for members who give their time for no financial compensation. These people are our real friends. And it’s a good point about businesses using the personal touch. Just yesterday I said I was feeling married to my health insurance company. They send me snail mail virtually every day. Frankly, I’d rather get mail from individuals I care about.

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